PHOTOS: Boston Common Christmas Tree Lighting 2013
Beneath a shimmering sky thanks to a comforting layer of wintry fog, for the 72nd time, Boston welcomed the holidays on the Boston Common last night, where a Christmas tree gifted by Nova Scotia was lit in red, green, and blue.
Festivities began with an ice skating show at the Frog Pond and culminated just before 8 p.m., when the 47-foot white spruce donated by Mary Lou Milligan of Lunenberg County, Nova Scotia, was lit.
With a perfectly nippy winter chill and more holiday spirit than one could hope for, Bostonians crowded the lawn to watch countless performances from Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the block, the Boston Ballet, and much more, including a pyrotechnic show and the Christmas tree lighting by Mayor Tom Menino (his last Boston Common Tree Lighting as mayor).
Check out some highlights from the show:
Ashanti Phillip, of the Blue Hill chapter of the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, performed her rendition of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to start off the night. The club sent a school bus full of children to the event to watch Phillip sing.
Members of the Wheelock Family Theatre’s production of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, enacted a scene from the play, adapted from the holiday classic.
It’s no wonder that Berklee grad Christina “Isabelle” Pasqualone made it through the top 40 on American Idol as she wowed the crowd last night with “This Christmas” and “Grown Up Christmas List.”
“We consider the people of Boston friends,” said Andrew Younger, a minister for the Nova Scotia government, at last night’s tree lighting. Along with members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Younger attended the ceremony to dedicate the tree to survivors and families affected by the marathon bombings. The bond between the groups extends back to the Halifax explosion, when Boston was the first to send help.
Who says the holidays aren’t a time to be blue? The Blue Man Group got the crowd energized at the lighting.
Through a tarp covering over the stage, the group was ready for their explosive performance, bringing a world of color to the Common.
The crowd went wild for Joey McIntyre, member of New Kids on the Block, in a theatrical performance of “Jingle Bells.” Members of the Boston Children’s Theatre performed a skit along with McIntyre to the classic Christmas carol.
A giant bear shifting from standing effortlessly on point to taking great leaps across the stage was the centerpiece of the Boston Ballet’s excerpt from the first Act of their Nutcracker. After a complete redesign of the production last year, the company received rave reviews. McIntyre returned again later in the night for a performance of “O, Holy Night.”
Erika Van Pelt, a top 10 American Idol contestant, performed twice during the night, beginning with “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” and returning with a sultry “Santa Baby.”
Melanie Davidson, of Warwick, Rhode Island, and Cara DiBenedetto from East Boston stood front and center with signs declaring their love for Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block. “We’ve been fans of him for 25 years,” said DiBenedetto. The two attended the 2013 Boston Marathon to watch McIntyre run, leaving just after he finished the race. The bombing happened not long after. Davidson explained that they have since felt a special connection to McIntyre, as his finish time prompted them to leave the area before the blast.
Jim Corsi, a Red Sox pitcher from 1997 to 1999, raised the World Series Trophy high and proud to the roaring crowd. “You guys were probably expecting Jacoby, but he’s a little tied up right now,” joked Corsi.
Mattapan’s Morning Star Baptist Church certainly brought joy to the Common with their spirited rendition of “Joy to the World.”
Arguably the best dancers of their age in Boston, the Celtics’ official Junior Dance Team, “LilPhunk,” showed their moves during their performance last night.
Drumming, bagpipes, violin, beatboxing, stepdancing… Alongside a beatboxed version of “Dashing Through the Snow,” Nova Scotia’s SQUID took percussion drumming to a new level.
Boston Police officer Stephen McNulty opened the night with a performance of the national anthem, and finished off the ceremony beside Santa Claus.
Attending his last Boston Common tree lighting after 20 years as mayor, Tom Menino was welcomed by a thankful crowd.
After a burst of fireworks, a shower of confetti fell over the crowd to usher in the holiday season with a bright and beautiful tree.