DETROIT – For the 14th consecutive year, the Downtown Detroit Partnership continues one of the city’s most highly anticipated holiday celebrations – the annual Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony. Brought to you by DTE Energy Foundation, the event will feature a Michigan-grown, 60-foot Norwegian Spruce wrapped in more than 19,000 multi-colored lights and ornaments. The event begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 17 and is free to the public.
“The DTE Energy Foundation has been a proud sponsor of this iconic holiday tradition for 14 years, which helps to showcase the beauty of our city and draw visitors downtown throughout the season,” said Faye Nelson, vice president, DTE Energy, and board chair and president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “Our support of the tree lighting is 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.”
U.S. Olympic medalist and four-time U.S. Figure Skating Champion Jeremy Abbott will headline the holiday ice show. The Colorado native began training at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills in 2009 and has skated alongside Olympic champions Kristi Yamaguchi and Scott Hamilton. Recently retired from the professional skating circuit, Abbott still tours internationally and will return from the Japan Open just in time to perform in Detroit.
While Abbott is sure to steal the show on ice, Detroit-rooted soulful funk band Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas and “Detroit’s Queen of Blues” Thornetta Davis will captivate audiences on land.
Emerging on the music scene with their 2014 debut album Secret Evil, Southwest Detroit native Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas hit the ground running. Following an appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” Hernandez and crew took off on a two-year tour with stops at SXSW, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. Hernandez’s Cuban and Mexican roots inspired the group’s sophomore album Telephone/Telefono, released summer 2017.
Grammy nominated and internationally renowned R&B and Motown star KEM calls Detroit home. KEM’s musical/songwriting inspiration developed during his journey from homelessness and addiction to sobriety in the early 90s. After releasing his first album, KEM was quickly signed to Motown Records and has since earned one platinum and two gold albums, three Grammy nominations, and five #1 hit singles including “Love Calls,” and “It’s You.” KEM stays connected to his home state through his non-profit organization Mack & Third, which focuses on funding humanitarian aid organizations related to homelessness, hunger, substance abuse, domestic violence, natural disasters, educations, etc.
Thornetta Davis is an internationally recognized singer and songwriter. Her strong, commanding, and smooth voice, accompanied by her band of Detroit musicians have been a part of the city’s blues/soul music mosaic for three decades. In 2001, Davis was inducted into the Detroit Music Hall of Fame and in 2015 she was crowned “Detroit’s Queen of the Blues.” She has earned more than 30 Detroit Music Awards and has opened for legendary blues and R&B icons B.B. King, Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, and Bonnie Raitt.
“This year’s show will be an experience unlike any yet,” said Robert Gregory, Chief Public Spaces Officer, Downtown Detroit Partnership. “Spectacular city views plus award-winning, home grown entertainment is sure to leave a lasting impression with all attendees. Jeremy Abbott, Jessica Hernandez, Thornetta Davis and KEM are just a few of the performers who have strong ties to Detroit. It will truly be a celebration of our great city.”
The evening’s entertainment will also feature performances by noteworthy local musical groups including the Metropolitan Detroit Chorale whose 80 vocalists and 20-piece orchestra has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Alongside them, the internationally known Detroit Concert Choir boasts 70 singers which represent 35 communities in the tri-county area.
The Casali Holiday Dancers will take the stage for the first time at the Detroit Tree Lighting. And rounding out the show on stage, Make- A-Wish Michigan will present a solo vocal performance by 16-year-old, Farmington Hills resident Kevin.
Supporting Jeremy Abbott on ice will be metro Detroit’s most prominent figure skating groups including his alma mater, the Detroit Skating Club. Like Abbott, Detroit Skating Club alumni have competed in U.S. Figure Skating and World Championships as well as Winter Olympics since 1949.
Not to be forgotten, nationally recognized Dearborn Senior Crystallettes will perform along with The University of Michigan Skating Club which is ranked second among both college clubs and varsity programs in the nation.
Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. The Salvation Army giant Red Kettle will be lit at 6:30 p.m. and will include a musical performance by Motown artist KEM to kick off the organization’s $1 million fundraising campaign.
Other activities will include carriage rides along Woodward Avenue, The Salvation Army Family Fun Tent, photos with Santa, free hot chocolate from DTE Energy Foundation, enjoy a drink at the Winter Fountain, and much more. Detroit’s Christmas Tree will be lit just before 8 p.m. The official Rink Opening Party kicks off at 9 p.m. with a live concert from Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas. Channel 955 will take over with a live music mix from 10 p.m. to midnight.
New this year, in response to the anticipated crowd of more than 40,000, there is a larger main stage on Monroe, and a state of the art sound system and LED video wall that will ensure Detroit’s Annual Tree Lighting continues to be one of the best in the nation.
The 14th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony and show will be streamed LIVE on WXYZ.com and broadcast LIVE on WXYZ-TV Channel 7 from 7 – 8 p.m. The tree lighting marks the beginning of the Detroit holiday season, which includes public skating at the Campus Martius ice rink and the Season of Winter Magic brought to you by Quicken Loans, for which the full program will be announced soon.
Special thanks to our City of Detroit Tree Lighting presenting sponsor DTE Energy Foundation and Season of Winter Magic title sponsor, Quicken Loans and all of our season’s wonderful supporters that make this exceptional community programming possible, including:
WXYZ Channel 7, Meijer, Detroit Free Press, Compuware Corporation, Ernst & Young, Honigman, Marketing Associates, Bedrock, Absopure Water, Faygo, Detroit Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, iHeart Radio, The Detroit News, Detroit People Mover, michigan.com, Aloft Hotel Detroit, People’s Transit, Motor City Popcorn, Greko Printing, Blumz Florist, MichPromos.com, and many others.
About Downtown Detroit Partnership
Downtown Detroit Partnership strengthens and supports Downtown Detroit through strategic initiatives and programs. DDP convenes business, philanthropic, and government partners to create a vibrant, resilient urban core for Detroit and the surrounding community. For more information, visit downtowndetroit.org.
About the DTE Energy Foundation
The DTE Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, continuing the legacy of community support and involvement of its electric and natural gas utilities, which serve 2.2 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.2 million natural gas customers in Michigan. In 2015, the DTE Energy Foundation provided $15 million in grant support to nonprofits throughout the company’s service territories. As one of Michigan’s leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. http://www.dteenergy.com/foundation
Source: DTE Energy Foundation/DDP