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Holiday Tree Lights Up “The Heart of the Community”

The Holidays have officially begun on the Hill, as the Capitol Hill Holiday tree was lit in the 17th annual ceremony Nov. 18.

Hot chocolate, donuts and candy canes were served up by the Men in Blue as Joyous Voices began the evening with carols, performing for the 17th year in a row.

As she began the ceremony, Capitol Hill BID President Patty Brosmer noted that this year she was able to wish attendees both a Happy Thanksgiving and an early wish for the Holidays.

She welcomed Kojo Nnamdi, host of The Politics Hour on WAMU and former host of The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and Tom Sherwood, resident Political Analyst at WAMU 88.5 FM Politics Hour. The two served as joint Masters of Ceremonies for a second year.

Joyous Voices began the ceremony, their 17th performance at the Hill tree lighting.
Capitol Hill BID President Patty Brosmer introduced speakers before MCs Kojo Nnamdi and Tom Sherwood took the stage.
The CHAW Suzuki Strings get ready to take the stage.
Charles Allen said the event and the large crowd attending it were “the heart of the community”.
Young performers with the CHAW Suzuki Strings Orchestra.
The Washington Youth Choir performs at the 17th Annual Hill Holiday Tree lighting.
Kojo Nnamdi, host of The Politics Hour on WAMU and former host of The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and Tom Sherwood, resident Political Analyst at WAMU 88.5 FM Politics Hour, MC’s the event for a second year.
The Men and Women in Blue served up hot chocolate, coffee, donutes –and new this year, eggnog from Barracks Row Restaurant I Egg You (517 Eighth St. SE) which opened on the same day.

Sherwood and Nnamdi worked their usual flow of mutual jibes and interruptions as they introduced the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) Suzuki Strings orchestra (“They’re so patient to wait so long for us,” Nnamdi said. “They’re so polite!” Sherwood added), as well as the Washington Youth Choir (WYC), which sang classics including “Silent Night.”

Brosmer also introduced Brian Ready, Executive Director of Barracks Row Main Street (BRMS). For the second year the Capitol Hill Community Tree will play a musical light show — featuring a new show this year, Ready said. And Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) extolled the large crowd. “17 years ago, who could expect this would become the tremendous community building event it has?” he asked. “But look at all of you out there today… you represent the beating heart of the community.”

And as always, Brosmer welcomed the hundreds of neighbors who came together on Eastern Market Metro Plaza (EMMP) park near the Southeast Library to celebrate the start of the season.

As is tradition, Kathy Didden pressed the button to illuminate the 40-foot Cedrus Deodara. But she deferred to two of her grandchildren to lead the countdown, itself becoming a new traditon.

Capitol Hill BID President Patti Brosmer told the crowd how it was originally planted in spring of 2007 to honor the late George Didden III for his many contributions to Capitol Hill. It is called “Sonny” in his honor, the name by which he was known to family and friends.

A large crowd attended the event…
Including members of the Didden family. The tree was planted in honor of George Didden III. His wife, Kathy (far L) traditionally presses the button to illuminate the tree.
McKenna Boyland of the Capitol Hill BID hands out lighted “icicles” to kids.
A cozy vibe in the crowd!
This couple came decked out in their Holiday best for the ceremony.
Treasures were to be found under the tree as the event wound down.
A girl gets a lift home after the ceremony, with an assist from her brother –a CHAW violinist.

As the evening wound down, one only had to look under the tree to find the greatest gift of all: famillies, friends and community members celebrating together under the lights and in the spirit of the village we call home.

Join the Capitol Hill BID and Hill Havurah for the 10th Annual Menorah Lighting, which will take place on Thurday, Dec. 7 on the steps of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation (212 East Capitol St. NE)

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