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Capitol Christmas Tree

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The lights on the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, from the Stanislaus National Forest in Congressman Denham’s district, will be lit during a ceremony on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, at 5 p.m. on the West Front of the Capitol. This will be a proud moment for Congressman Denham, Tuolumne County and all of California.

“I am extremely proud that our district is supplying the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree this year. Supplying ‘The People’s Tree,’ as it is commonly called, is an honor for our district, the Stanislaus National Forest, and the state. This year’s tree showcases not only the beauty of California’s natural resources but the diversity of its cultures and charity of its residents. We take pride in knowing that this great representation of our area will be a symbol of the holidays in our Nation’s Capitol this year,” said Congressman Denham.

Congressman Denham invited the choir from Summerville High School in Tuolumne County to perform at the lighting ceremony and requested an invite from President Obama for the choir to perform at the White house during public tours on the morning of December 6. After a joint community effort and much support, the 18 member choir will arrive in D.C. on Monday to take part in the lighting of the Christmas Tree – a tradition at the U.S. Capitol since 1964, and sing for visitors at the White House. The tree will be lit from dusk until 11 p.m. each evening through January 1, 2012.

“The invitation to perform in Washington D.C. is a distinguished honor, and our students have been rehearsing every day to prepare. We would like to thank Representative Jeff Denham for making this opportunity possible. The Tuolumne County community has been enormously generous and supportive of the students, the program and the school, providing the entire funding for our students to be able to make this once in a lifetime trip,” said Diana Harford, Principal at Summerville High School’s Connections Visual and Performing Arts Academy.

At the ceremony, Johnny Crawford, a seven-year-old from Congressman Denham’s district, will turn the lights on with Speaker of the House, John Boehner. His name was drawn from the thousands of Californians.

In early November this year’s tree, a 65-foot Sierra white fir, was placed on a trailer and traveled more than 4,500 miles to arrive at the U.S. Capitol on November 28th. The tree is decorated with 10,000 LED lights, and nearly 3,000 ornaments handcrafted by the people of California that reflect this year’s theme, “California Shines.”

The ceremony is open to the public and no tickets are required. Congressman Denham will give remarks about the tree at the ceremony. Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, AIA, LEED AP, will serve as the master of ceremonies. The Honorable John Boehner, Speaker of the House, will press the switch to light the tree for the first time at dusk.

Learn more about the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree:

About the Jazz @ 8 Choir: The Jazz @ 8 Advanced Jazz Choir has a 30-year history of outstanding performances. This year, the 18 member group is comprised of 10 girls and 8 boys, ranging from sophomores to seniors. The members are students of Summerville High School and the Connections Visual and Performing Arts Academy, which was established 10 years ago on the Summerville campus to support the interests of students in visual and performing arts. Jazz @ 8 is directed by Madeline Young, who is the vocal music and drama director and teacher. Throughout the school year, this group performs at many community and school events, including parades, Veteran ceremonies, luncheons for service groups, benefit dinners, and at football and basketball games.

ACCESS: Access to the West Front lawn on December 6 will be from First Street and Maryland Avenue S.W., and First Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., where guests will proceed through security. Parking near the Capitol is restricted; therefore it is recommended that those attending the ceremony take Metro. (Union Station, Federal Center S.W., and Capitol South are the nearest stops.)