West Harlem Development Corporation’s Community Holiday Celebration featured some of West Harlem’s finest talent in dancing, singing and spoken word at Our Lady of Lourdes School Auditorium. About 400 people, including more than 200 children, from West Harlem attended the variety show.
“What a wonderful event sponsored by the West Harlem Development Corporation,” said Yuien Chin, the director of Harlem One Stop who attended the event. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a holiday Christmas party and toy giveaway that have pulled as many people as were in the room. The auditorium was jam packed. The crowd represented all the diversity of this neighborhood. The programming was fabulous, representing all the ethnic groups in the neighborhood.”
Mama Foundation for the Arts Gospel for Teens Choir opened the variety show with their powerful and joyful voices. A pair of ballet dancers from Harlem Dance Theatre performed the Arabian Dance from the Nutcracker.
The show featured acts that reflected the rich cultural diversity of the area, including Centro Civico Cultural Dominicano’s folkloric dancers and New York African Chorus Ensemble’s vocalists.
Children’s performances enriched the show with third graders from P.S. 368 in Hamilton Heights singing in Mandarin, 25 children from National Dance Institute and young Wendy Hilliard Foundation gymnasts performing “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” from The Great Gatsby.
The performers were from organizations that received grants during WHDC’s first and second grant cycles this year. Most of the groups offer arts and culture educational programs for West Harlem children. Some foster the arts through performances in the Community Board 9 area.
Los Corintios, a band that calls Our Lady of Lourdes home, closed the show playing Christmas carols in Spanish with merengue and Salsa beats.
At the end of the show, Santa gave out toys to the children. McGruff the Crime Dog even made an appearance.