DETROIT – For the 13th consecutive year, the Detroit 300 Conservancy continues its holiday tradition with the annual Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony in Campus Martius Park, presented by the DTE Energy Foundation. The event will be held Nov. 18, and features a 60-foot Michigan-grown Norway Spruce – a gift to the City of Detroit from the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy. The event begins at 5 p.m., and is free to the public.
Four-time platinum recording artist Aaron Neville, along with Olympic skating champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White, will headline the evening’s entertainment, with appearances by local Detroit musical acts and five metro-area skating clubs.
“The DTE Energy Foundation presentation of the holiday tree to the city of Detroit – and to all the residents and visitors who come out to enjoy its beauty – has become a wonderful tradition for us,” said Faye Nelson, vice president, DTE Energy, and board chair and president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “It’s one of the special ways we show our appreciation to the communities we serve, helping thousands of families create memories that will last a lifetime.”
The legendary Aaron Neville, of the famous New Orleans first family of funk, The Neville Brothers, will take the musical entertainment to a stellar level with his beautiful, distinct voice. During his 56-year recording career, his musical styles have ranged from pop, rhythm and blues, gospel and soul. In addition to the Neville Brothers, he has worked with and won Grammys with Linda Ronstadt and Trisha Yearwood. He also has recently released a new solo album, Apache, which puts some of his poetry to music. This very special performance in Detroit precedes his 2016 holiday show tour.
Detroit’s hometown skating heroes and U.S. ice dancing team Meryl Davis and Charlie White will heat up the rink with their amazing talent. Paired in 1997, the acclaimed duo is the longest-running ice dancing partnership in the history of United States figure skating. They are the first American ice dancers to win the World title, as well as the first Americans to win the Olympic ice dancing gold medal. Just one month after winning Olympic gold in 2014, they continued dancing their way into the hearts of millions on ABC’s Dancing with Stars. Davis became season 18’s champion with her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and White reached the semi-finals with his partner Sharna Burgess. As part of the evening’s programming and prior to Davis and White’s performance, there will be a very special announcement made about an exciting initiative coming to Detroit that will impact youth development.
“The Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony and Show has elevated over the years and now attracts national entertainers and Olympic Gold Champions. It’s one of the top tree lighting shows in the nation,” said Robert Gregory, president, Detroit 300 Conservancy. “Along with all our partners, including DTE Energy Foundation and Quicken Loans, we’re pleased to officially kick off the holiday season in downtown Detroit each year with such a spectacular celebration.”
The evening’s entertainment also features noteworthy Detroit area musicians and groups. The lineup includes the electro-pop violin band Nuclassica, Detroit’s own 2014 Kresge Artist Fellowship recipient and operatic soprano Kisma Jordan, soul-moving inspiration from The Gospel Truth vocal ensemble, Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus and, Wyatt, a 14-year-old trombone player and Make-A-Wish Michigan Wish Kid.
Detroit’s prominent skating clubs will also be showcased. Performing on the Campus Martius Rink for the first time will be young skaters from Fraser Figure Skating Club. Returning groups include Detroit Skating Club and Arctic Figure Skating Club, which have both been part of the program every year since its inception; the Dearborn Figure Skating Club’s nationally recognized synchronized skating team, the Crystallettes; and the award-winning U-M Synchronized Skating Team.
Festivities begin at 5 p.m. and include The Salvation Army Family Fun Tent, photos with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, free cinnamon rolls from IKEA in the Varming (Warming) Tent, free hot chocolate from DTE Energy Foundation, McDonald’s giveaways and much more. The Salvation Army will light its giant Red Kettle at 6 p.m. and the entertainment show starts at 6:15 p.m. Detroit’s Christmas Tree — wrapped in more than 19,000 energy-efficient, multi-colored LED lights provided by DTE Energy, and decorated with sparkling red and silver ornaments, will be lit just before 8 p.m. The Rink Opening Party, with Channel 955, opens the rink to skaters for the season with a live music mix from 9 p.m. – midnight.
The spectacular Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony, presented by DTE Energy Foundation, is an entire evening of activities and one of the great family traditions enjoyed by thousands of Detroiters. It is also the birthday of Campus Martius Park and the beginning of the Detroit Holiday Season, which includes public skating at the Rink and Quicken Loans Season of Winter Magic.
The 13th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony and Show will be streamed LIVE online at www.WXYZ.com and broadcast LIVE on WXYZ TV 7 from 7 – 8 p.m.
The full program for Quicken Loans Season of Winter Magic will be announced soon.
The 13th Annual Detroit Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is produced by the Detroit 300 Conservancy, an affiliate of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, with the support of the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department.
Special thanks to our Official City of Detroit Tree Lighting presenting sponsor, DTE Energy Foundation and Season of Winter Magic presenting sponsor, Quicken Loans and all of our Season’s wonderful supporters that make this exceptional community programming possible, including: WXYZ Channel 7, IKEA, McDonald’s, T-Mobile, WNIC, The Detroit Free Press, Compuware Corporation, Ernst & Young, Honigman, Marketing Associates, Bedrock, Channel 955, Great Lakes Beverages, Absopure Water, Faygo, Atwater Brewery, Sanders Chocolates, Detroit Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Fifth Third Bank, Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, AutoLiv, iHeart Radio, The Detroit News, Detroit People Mover, Opportunity Detroit, DEGC, michigan.com, GalaxE Solutions, Clark Hill, City Loft, Aloft Hotel Detroit, People’s Transit, Taste Love Cupcakes, good people popcorn, Greko Printing, Blumz Florist, MichPromos.com, Berline, The Michigan Christmas Tree Association, and many others.