Filipina singer Charice Pempengco has been chosen to join a superstar lineup performing in NBC’s 13th “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special.
The annual tree-lighting extravaganza has become one of New York City’s most celebrated events for the past 76 years.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is 74 feet high, 40 feet in diameter, and weighs a whopping 12 tons.
Made out of Norwegian spruce wood, it will be lighted by 30,000 “environ-friendly LED lights,” according to the Rockefeller website, which are strung on no less than five miles of wire.
At its crown, the Christmas tree will have a star made out of Swarovski crystal.
Considered a must-see attraction in New York City, the tree will be lighted on November 30, in a grand ceremony from 7p.m. to 9p.m., and will stay illuminated until January 2, 2011.
Charice, all of 18 years old, will be part of that ceremony. This makes the diminutive girl the first Filipino artist invited to perform at the annual New York City event.
Josh Groban, Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue, Jessica Simpson, and Sheryl Crow are among those expected to take part in the musical spectacle.
Other artists invited to the event are Welsh classical singer Katherine Jenkins, Scottish pop singer Annie Lennox, Britain’s Got Talent contestant Susan Boyle, and 10-year-old opera singer Jackie Evancho of America’s Got Talent fame.
The dance group, Radio City Rockettes, is expected to kick off the holiday special that will feature a mix of current hits and holiday classics.
The Rockefeller Center plaza is a complex of 19 buildings spread over 22 acres of prime New York City real estate. Located between 48th and 51st streets in midtown Manhattan, the center was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1987.
According to the Rockefeller official website, the center was named after John Davison Rockefeller, “a major philanthropist and businessman” who lived from January 28, 1874 to May 11, 1960.
Charice admitted she was overwhelmed when told she had been invited to the lighting ceremony of the world-famous Christmas tree.
“Parang nahulog naman ako sa upuan. Mabigat ang lineup, e. Nabigatan ako sa sarili ko, parang kailangan ng malupit-lupit na kanta dito,” she said.
She added, like a kid, “Biritan na ito!”
She also said, “Blessings po and thank you. Sobra namang good news. May bakasyon na nga, may good news pa!”
When asked what song she will perform for this high-profile event, the young girl said, “Actually, iyon pa rin po ang pinag-uusapan namin. Isa po sa pinag-iisipan namin yung ‘The Christmas Song.’”
This classic was composed by Mel Torme and Bob Wells in 1944 during a particularly hot summer. At the time, according to the wikipedia, composer Torme said that writing the song was an effort “to stay cool by thinking cool.”
The great Nat King Cole recorded the song in 1946, and it joined the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974.
Words go: Chestnuts roasting in an open fire/ Jack Frost nipping at your nose/ Yuletide carols being sung by a choir/ and folks dressed up like Eskimos/ Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe/ Help to make the season bright/ Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow/ Will find it hard to sleep tonight.
They know that Santa’s on his way/ He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh/ And every mother’s child is gonna spy/ To see if reindeer really know how to fly.
Chorus: And so I’m offering this simple phrase/ To kids from one to ninety-two/ Although it’s been said many times/ Many times many ways, Merry Christmas to you.
It will be interesting to see how Charice interprets this classic. If, as she said, this is “biritan na,” that ups the ante on the singer’s versatility. After all, everyone knows it’s not enough for Charice to fly with those high notes. She also needs to hew to the classicism of a song known nearly the world over and to keep the song close to what Christmas believers hold dear.
Currently, Charice is in the Philippines after completing the Asian tour of David Foster and Friends, with sold-out concerts in Tokyo, Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore.
The singer, who is the first Asian artist to land in the Top 10 of Billboard 200, received standing ovations for her performances, as did her fellow performers Natalie Cole, Ruben Studdard, Peter Cetera and The Canadian Tenors.
Charice also recently won the Icon of Tomorrow title in J-14 magazine’s Teen Icon Awards, beating teen stars Bella Thorne, Bridgit Mendler, Frankie Jonas, and Greyson Chance from the U.S. and Cody Simpson from Australia.
(Story courtesy of Jocelyn Dimaculangan of Philippine Entertainment Portal or PEP)