Macy's at Lenox Square Celebrates Magical 66th Annual Great Tree Lighting



ATLANTA - Experience the magic of the holiday season as so many generations of Atlantans have with the lighting of the Macy’s Great Tree.  The holiday tradition continues this year as country singer and songwriter Brett Eldredge takes the stage to partake in this cherished holiday event, which also includes a special performance by Megan Hilty from Smash and the current comedy Sean Saves the World. The Voice season four finalist Judith Hill will also be performing at the event.

The lighting of Atlanta’s most beloved and recognized Christmas tree will take place at Macy’s at Lenox Square Mall from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, Thursday, November 28, 2013.  A pre-show concert featuring behind the scenes interviews and exciting performances by the evening’s entertainers will begin at 5:15 p.m.  The celebration will be capped off with a fantastic fireworks finale set to holiday music – a moving and memorable way to kick off the holiday season! The Great Tree will be on display from Thursday, Nov. 28 through Jan. 1, 2014.

A new tradition will begin this year as Macy’s lights a more ecologically friendly reusable tree manufactured by Atlanta-based Christmas Lights, Etc. This year’s tree stands 56 feet tall and is adorned with 45,000 white and multi-color sparkling LED twinkle lights. More than 8 miles of light strings will be draped around the tree. The giant star atop the Great Tree will shine more than 56 feet above onlookers. Additionally, the show will have a new format as the Great Tree will be relocated to the North Macy’s parking lot providing a more intimate experience for the audience and Macy’s customers.

“For more than six decades, generations of families have shared in the beloved tradition of the Great Tree Lighting on Thanksgiving night,” said Michael Krauter, Macy’s president and regional director of stores.  “The holidays are a special time for families and it is a privilege to contribute to the magic of the season. This year, Macy’s is excited to bring a new element to this annual holiday festivity as we celebrate with a reusable tree.  Macy’s made the decision to adopt for our display a locally made tree that can return year-after-year. This is consistent with our company's commitment to sustainable business practices, which also include using less energy and less paper, recycling more, and using more paper products made from recycled and certified pulp.”

For more than nine years, young patients of the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have served as the honorary tree-lighters.  Helping to ‘flip the switch’ and illuminate the Macy’s Great Tree this year are Aflac Cancer Center patients Lailah Stoudenmire and Jake Russell.

There will be a variety of performances to help light the tree including:

Brett Eldredge:  is a country-up-and-comer from Paris, Illinois and is nominated for CMA’s 2013 New Artist of the Year. His debut album Bring You Back, which was released in August on Atlantic Records, includes his  first No. 1 single “Don’t Ya.”  Brett continues the upward momentum with the release his next single, “Beat of the Music” playing on radio station’s now. In October, he launched his first headlining tour -  the Bring You Back Fall 2013 Tour, including a sold-out homecoming show at Joe’s Bar in Chicago. There was no question that his passion for performance would carry Brett to Nashville, but he says his move to Music City after college made one thing clear: He was going to have to pick up that abandoned guitar. So Brett locked himself in a room to practice, and eventually started writing songs of his own. He has since had the honor of writing with some of Nashville’s greats, including the legendary “Whispering” Bill Anderson. Opening for some of the biggest names in country music has taught him plenty, too. After spots in front of Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, and Willie Nelson, this year found Brett facing the biggest crowds of his lifetime, opening 19 dates for Taylor Swift on “The RED Tour.”

Megan Hilty: currently stars alongside Sean Hayes in NBC’s comedy Sean Saves the World. Hilty most recently starred as Ivy Lynn in NBC’s musical drama Smash for two seasons. In 2013, Hilty released her album, “It Happens All The Time,” which includes fresh interpretations of compositions by contemporary songwriters and producers. Additionally, her voice was featured as Rosetta in Disney's Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings. She’s previously recorded vocals in Disney's The Secret Life of Magic Gourd, Phineas & Ferb, Glenn Martin DDS, American Dad, Tinker Bell and the Pixie Hollow Games, Robot & Monster as well as singing as Snow White in the film Shrek the Third. Hilty recently wrapped production on Summertime Entertainment's 3-D computer animated film Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return with Kelsey Grammer, Hugh Dancy and Lea Michele, slated for release in 2014. She can also be heard alongside Placido Domingo on the opera star’s duet album. A native of Seattle, Hilty moved to New York City after graduating from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, and quickly made her Broadway debut as Glinda in Wicked. She went on to perform the role in both the national tour and in Los Angeles. Her television credits include guest-starring roles in Melissa & Joey, Bones, The Closer, Desperate Housewives, CSI, Shark, Ugly Betty, Eli Stone and The Suite Life of Zach & Cody.

Judith Hill: appeared on Season 4 of NBC’s The Voice making it to the top eight finalists before getting eliminated. She has long been on a path towards capturing the depth and breadth of her artistic vision. Her remarkable journey has taken the gifted singer/songwriter/musician to stages all over the planet, both as a solo performer as well as alongside such icons as the late, great Michael Jackson. Musically minded from the start, Judith penned her first song at just four years old. No surprise really, considering that the Los Angeles-native grew up in such an intensely musical household – her father, Robert “Pee Wee” Hill is a pioneering funk bassist known for his work with such artists as Sly Stone, Jimmy Smith, and Bob Dylan, while her mom, Michiko Hill, is an accomplished keyboardist in her own right, with credits including Rufus w/Chaka Khan, Wayne Shorter, and Billy Preston. Judith pursued a degree in music composition at Biola University, where she wrote her first symphony as well as pieces for piano, vocal groups, chamber ensembles and string quartets. Upon graduation, she returned home and began writing and recording songs. A musician friend told her that Michael Jackson was looking for background singers and asked if he could submit her name for the gig. Hill agreed, of course, and to her surprise, found herself rehearsing with Jackson for the planned “This Is It” world tour. In addition to her role as background vocalist, she was chosen to duet with Michael on the classic Bad ballad, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” later to become the undisputed highlight of the posthumously released film, This Is It. Judith’s musical journey has since brought her to film director Morgan Neville in the upcoming film 20 Feet From Stardom, which tells the true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musicians of the 21st century. Judith is now on the next leg of her great adventure. She’ll be recording her debut solo release due out later this year.

Macy’s All-Star Holiday Choir:  For many choir members, the Lighting of the Macy’s Great Tree has become an important part of their family’s Thanksgiving Day tradition.  This event brings together siblings, couples and multi-generations of families singing and sharing their favorite holiday songs.  
Macy’s Great Tree Children’s Choir: This year’s Great Tree Children’s Choir is directed by Neil Thompson, music teacher at Sarah Smith Elementary School in the Atlanta Public School District. Performing will be members of the Sarah Smith 4th and 5th grade chorus – a group of 140 students who meet after school and share their love of music.  

Macy’s Magical Stars: Members of this group include graduates and current students of the Cobb County Center for the Excellence in Performing Arts. This high energy, festive and fun performance will be choreographed by Cindy M. Reiser – a graduate of the CCCEPA program

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend this year’s Lighting of the Macy’s Great Tree at Lenox Square Mall, and more than 500,000 more will watch the broadcast on WSB-TV at 6:00 p.m., which will be hosted by WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News anchor Jovita Moore and Channel 2 Meteorologist David Chandley.  Limited parking will be available, however using MARTA is encouraged.

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