KGUN 9NewsLocal News


Tucson Boys' Chorus to perform at White House Christmas tree lighting

Posted at 2:09 PM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 17:18:46-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — It's a tradition that dates back to 1923, when First Lady Grace Coolidge first lit the National Christmas Tree.

Now, for the third time in its 80-year history, the Tucson Boys Chorus will perform at the tree-lighting ceremony at the White House.

"We got a phone call a couple of months ago that said, 'Come to the White House and light the national Christmas tree," Tucson Boys Chorus director Julian Ackerley said.

This comes 56 years after the chorus first went to Washington for the tree-lighting ceremony. It was December of 1963 -- one month after te assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Ackerley says the alumni on that trip still have strong memories of the day.

"They were talking about the importance and how they felt about being there at a significant time in history," he said.

Twenty eight years later, in 1991, Ackerley was director when the chorus was invited back for the tree lighting at the George H.W. Bush White House.

Now, exactly 28 years later, they've been invited again -- this time with a special honor.

"They've selected the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus to do that first number," Ackerley said. "The first number is going to be our traditional Carol Of The Bells. So we'll sing Carol of the Bells to open the televised part of it. Then President Trump will come out and give his message of peace, light the tree, and then the program will continue."