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BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Broadcast from The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on 12/24

BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

The 62nd Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration, an annual free, 3-hour event appropriate for all ages and families, has been an L.A. tradition every Christmas Eve since 1959 and is the largest multicultural holiday celebration in L.A. County. Broadcast and streamed live by PBS from the stage at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Friday, December 24 from 3pm-6pm, the event features a mix of 22 professional and community groups of music, dance and choral ensembles representing the diverse neighborhoods and cultures of L.A., representing cultures and traditions from Mexico, China, Korea, India, Ireland, Africa and Hawaii. Out of an abundance of caution given the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, there will be no live audience at the event.

BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Pictured: Actor Brian White is back for his 6th year, co-hosting alongside internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán.

Brian White is an accomplished actor and producer, best known for his roles on Showtime's Ray Donovan and UMC's Monogamy. He recently starred as Evan Lancaster in OWN's Ambitions from Will Packer, and has also had recurring roles on series including Scandal, Hostages, Mistresses, and Chicago Fire.

But the world of entertainment was not his first career choice. After college, Brian was signed to the New England Patriots; however, his career was cut short due to injury. He then began a lucrative modeling career and co-founded a professional dance and theater company, Phunk Phenomenon Urban Dance Theater Company, which uses the art of dance as a catalyst for youth outreach. "Phunk" has visited over 200 schools and has collaborated with MTV, the NBA, the WNBA and more; the company has performed with Britney Spears, TLC, Run DMC and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. While developing "Phunk," White seized an opportunity to work on the television show Moesha in Los Angeles. This opportunity kick-started his acting career and allowed him to steadily grow in the entertainment industry.

BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Pictured: Adam Mandela Walden, an autistic savant who is currently a senior at Berklee College of Music in Boston, the first severely autistic student to attend a conservatory full time, will perform at the L.A. County Holiday Celebration.

Brian, thank you for speaking with me about this upcoming festive event. What can you tell me about its inception at The Music Center?

The L.A. County Holiday Celebration was founded in 1959 by the late Kenneth Hahn, supervisor of the Second District of Los Angeles County. He was an advocate for the arts and developed the idea of a free daylong concert along the lines of a neighborhood talent show. When Dorothy Buffum Chandler asked Supervisor Hahn to support her plan to build an arts complex in Downtown Los Angeles, Hahn agreed, as long as the performing arts center would open its doors to the public for free every Christmas Eve. The Music Center has hosted the L.A. County Holiday Celebration since our doors first opened in 1964.

BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Pictured: Amare Girls Band breaks tradition, seamlessly combining traditional Chinese instruments-guzheng and pipa-with the Western flute and violin to perform an inclusive composition by band leader and guzheng artist Annie Zhou that highlights the power of women in music.

How and when did you first get involved with the event?

This year is my 6th time hosting this wonderful event; I began in 2015 with the 56th Annual event. My publicist, Shannon Barr thought I would be interested in this event given my history in the arts (dance), and originally connected me.

BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Pictured: Celtic Irish Dance Academy, L.A.'s premier Irish dance school under the direction of Riverdance star, Maeve Croke, will perform a traditional Irish dance that showcases fast feet and the ability to tell a story through music and dance.

How are the performers selected?

Community performers submit an application together with video and/or audio footage.

Groups are selected during an intensive review process with the arts and culture deputies from the 5 supervisorial districts in L.A. County, as well as curatorial, production, marketing, education and events staff members from The Music Center. This is the 5th year that The Music Center has taken on a curatorial role, helping to select the performers and manage the process with our producing partners, CDK Productions.

BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Pictured: Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, whose holiday concerts are a beloved, decades-old L.A. tradition, returns to Holiday Celebration for the 31st year in a row to perform classic and inspiring holiday songs from Holiday Homecoming at Royce Hall. Photo by Gennia Cui

Are there any standout performers from past years that you personally look forward to seeing again this year?

As a host, I don't actually get the pleasure of watching the majority of the show. The broadcast is LIVE, and that means my co-host and I are running lines (copy) and going over name pronunciations with our producer, during the show - to do our best to insure the people at home watching the broadcast can enjoy all the performers, and hopefully not our mistakes.

BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Pictured: Daniel Ho & Hālau Hula Keali'i o Nālani, performing original Hawaiian music and hula together for over a decade, return to Holiday Celebration with a medley of two original Hawaiian songs composed by six-time GRAMMY® award-winning Ho and co-writer Amy Ku'uleialoha Stillman. Photo by Gennia Cui

Switching subjects, as a former teacher myself, I'd like to ask you about Phunk Phenomenon Urban Dance Theater Company, the professional dance and theater company you co-founded that uses the art of dance as a catalyst for youth outreach. I'd like to hear about the process which led to its creation in Everett, MA and what the group is up to these days.

Phunk is still going strong! Back when I was with the New England Patriots, my co-founder, Reia Briggs was helping lead the team's professional cheerleading squad. She was a teacher, and we shared a history and passion for dance along with vision for edutainment (using the arts as a platform to educate). In 1999 we created a non-profit professional dance school and working ensemble, still going strong today with over 700 graduates.

BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Pictured: Dembrebrah West African Drum and Dance will perform "Koredjuga," a rhythm shared by the Bamana and Malinke ethnic groups on the border of Mali and Guinea, traditionally performed by intermediaries between the people and the traditional chief whose only purpose is to educate others through laughter and irony.

Thank you for speaking with me, Brian. Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?

To stay up to date on anything and everything that is Brian White, and even to text me directly or schedule time for us to talk live, click preneur.ai/BrianWhite

BWW Interview: Brian White on Co-Hosting the 62ND ANNUAL L.A. COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Pictured: Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy, the official Korean cultural ambassador to Southern California, returns to Holiday Celebration with Geom-mu, a Korean sword dance traditionally performed at royal and official feasts to celebrate victory over war, hardship or disease. Photo by Gennia Cui

This year's 62nd Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration will be broadcast live from the stage at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Friday, December 24 from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. The program will air on PBS SoCal on Friday, December 24 and stream on PBSSocal.org, KCET.org and holidaycelebration.org. Out of an abundance of caution given the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, there will be no live audience at the event. For more information, including a complete list of scheduled performers, please visit holidaycelebration.org

Watch the promo reel on You Tube: https://youtu.be/Pkm0Z9gJmfw



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