Behind The Music: National Tree Lighting Ceremony!
An Amethyst first — we were so blessed to have the opportunity to design a stage for Lynda Randle & Michael Tait for the National Tree Lighting Ceremony!
Watch the performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCBt2f86oa4&feature=youtu.be&t=627
Lighting the National Christmas Tree is one of America’s oldest holiday traditions, with the first lighting taking place in 1923 by President Calvin Coolidge. Since 1973, the National Christmas Tree has been a living tree which can be viewed year-round in Washington’s President’s Park.
We met Lynda and her wonderful family this fall (bonding over our love of Australian candles -- Rosa by Babe Australia) and when she asked if we could help her out when her Washington DC performance was rerouted to Kansas City due to COVID...we said yes!
With seven days to design and set up a stage fit for filming a performance, we called all of our friends and family and started borrowing their trees! (Thank you to everyone who loaned us their holiday tree to make this happen!)
Lynda and Michael performed “O Little Town of Bethlehem” off of Lynda's newly released Christmas album, "White Christmas" accompanied by Christopher M. Smith (arranger/piano), Tina K’Tina Bilberry (violin), Josh Hankey (alto sax), Johnny Hamil (bass), and Andy Cook (drums).
Drawing from the song, I was immediately inspired by the idea of humble beginnings in a natural, unfussy setting.
Instead of going traditional with Christmas trees, we set up 7 faux trees and stuffed them with 11 types of fresh greenery from eucalyptus to rosemary, olive branches to asparagus fern. The trees smelled amazing!!!
I love the story in the Bible about Palm Sunday and the laying down of fresh greenery to prepare the way of Jesus.
I wanted this welcome to Advent season to have the same feeling. The trees are simple but full of meaning.
At Amethyst our design aesthetic is centered on “beauty from nature” and celebrating materials that come from the earth like linen, stone, wool, and raw wood.
I’m not sure if Jesus was born on a vintage rug but we loved the idea of warming up a stark stage with hand-crafted, beautiful textiles.
We had the pleasure of working with Steve Waters, owner of All Keyed Up Piano Shop in downtown Kansas City, who hooked us up with a gorgeous baby grand piano for the day!
He tuned it to perfection and I cannot say enough wonderful things about him and his shop. All Keyed Up Piano Shop offers piano rentals, refurbishing services, and is basically the piano expert of the Midwest! He ships pianos across the country and has a huge inventory.
Let’s just say it was basically a dream come true to hang out during filming and watch Lynda and her brother Michael, of DC Talk & Newsboys, sing all afternoon. The saxophonist, violinist, bassist, drummer, pianist, and vocals were just so magical live!
If you have a chance to watch the performance — I ran Camera #2 (close-ups of Lynda and Michael)!
An inside story at Amethyst that I haven’t shared is that Rachel, our Project Manager, and I actually went to high school together and both LOVE to sing.
We were in musicals together, show choir…I ended up studying vocal performance for two years in college and Rachel went on to sing in churches across the country.
Both Rachel and I were in awe of how funny life can be that we both ended up back together designing a musical performance 10+ years later.
It was an amazing experience that we will never forget!