WATCH The Lighting
The 2023 National Christmas Tree Lighting took place on November 30. CBS will broadcast the ceremony on December 15th, offering a special opportunity to friends and families across the country to tune in and celebrate this holiday tradition from the comfort of home.Explore This Year's Ceremony
2023 Featured Performers
Since bursting onto the pop culture landscape over a decade ago in FOX’s hit TV show GLEE, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Darren Criss has embodied the kind of kaleidoscopic artistry that’s entirely uninhibited by form or genre.
Before Darren Criss exploded into the internet’s subculture as both an actor and songwriter for the YouTube viral hit A Very Potter Musical in 2009, he had made a small name for himself playing unique interpretations of popular songs he’d perform at cafes and bars in his hometown of San Francisco. Little did he know that the same knack for covering tunes would serve him well in 2010, when he was cast on FOX’s massively successful musical series GLEE, from which many of his performances of popular songs would lead to several Billboard-topping records. In 2015 his songwriting also landed an Emmy nomination for Best Original Music and Lyrics, from penning the song “This Time” for the show’s series finale.
Criss has continued to write and produce music extensively through the years. In 2019 Criss created, executive produced, starred in, and provided all original songs for his short-form musical comedy series Royalties, and earlier this year provided the music & lyrics for the opening number of the 2022 Tony Awards Ceremony, “Act One.” Most recently he delivered a genre-diverse collection of “character-driven” singles as part of his 2021 solo EP “Masquerade” (BMG), and in the same year, released a full-length Christmas album “A Very Darren Crissmas” (Decca).
As an actor, Criss is a veteran of the stage whose Broadway credits include the titular role of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2015), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2012), and the 2022 revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo alongside Laurence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell. In 2018 his work in Ryan Murphy’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story received wide critical acclaim, earning him a Primetime Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics’ Choice Award.
Criss is currently on a worldwide musical tour – he has recently performed in London, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney, Mexico City, and Paris. He kicks off his A Very Darren Crissmas North American holiday tour on Nov. 21 in Atlanta, GA.
Dionne Warwick ranks among the 40 biggest US hitmakers between 1955-1999, based on her chart history in Billboard’s Hot 100 pop singles chart. She is the second most-charted female vocalist during the rock era, and one of the most charted vocalists of all time, with 56 of her singles making the Hot 100 between 1962-1998 (12 Top 10s) and 80 singles in total—either solo or collaboratively—making the Hot 100, R&B and/or adult contemporary charts. Warwick ranks #74 on the Billboard Hot 100’s “Greatest Artists of All Time.”
During her career, she sold more than 100 million records worldwide and she has won many awards, including six GRAMMY Awards. Warwick has been inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the GRAMMY Hall of Fame, the R&B Music Hall of Fame, and the Apollo Theatre Walk of Fame. In 2019 she won the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award. Three of her songs — “Walk On By,” “Alfie,” and “Don’t Make Me Over” — have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. She is a former Goodwill Ambassador for the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization.
She is currently working on a gospel album. The first single, “Peace Like a River,” is a duet with Dolly Parton. Parton wrote the song and her son/manager/producer Damon Elliott produced the single and co-directed the video. Warwick and Elliot are co-executive producers for “Hits! The Musical,” a 50-city national tour that features 29 youngsters, ages 10-22, singing and dancing to a medley of 80 of America’s most iconic songs. The documentary Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over is currently streaming on HBO Max. Dionne has been dubbed the “Queen of Twitter” for her outspoken comments on social media for which Saturday Night Live does a recurring parody skit. Warwick continues to tour nationwide.
Multi-GRAMMY award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer, Kennedy Center Honoree, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Joe Walsh has entertained the masses and captivated his peers for more than five decades. His classic hits like “Funk #49,” “Walk Away,” “Life’s Been Good,” “Rocky Mountain Way,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” “In the City,” “Ordinary Average Guy,” and “Analog Man” embody his American origin story, guitar genius, and lyrical wit. Born in Wichita, Kansas and raised in Ohio and New Jersey, Walsh’s musical journey began with the Cleveland-based James Gang in 1969, continued with his trio Barnstorm and then took off with the launch of his 12-album solo career in 1973. In 1975, Walsh was recruited into the Eagles, who would become the highest selling American band in history and one of the top touring acts in the world, selling out stadiums and arenas into 2023.
Walsh has honorary doctorates in music from Kent State University and the Berklee College of Music, is a member of the President’s Committee on Arts & Humanities, and has been celebrated for his charitable works in the fields of music education, recovery from addiction, and women’s health and safety. In 2017 Walsh founded VetsAid, an annual music festival that brings together musicians and audiences of all backgrounds to raise funds for veterans and their families. A Gold Star son himself, Walsh has disbursed $3 million in grants to veteran’s services groups nationwide.
Ledisi is an award-winning advocate, singer/songwriter, music producer, author, playwright, film producer, and CEO of Listen Back Entertainment/BMG. Over her distinguished two-decade career, she has headlined 4 sold-out national tours, performing alongside many artists, and garnered 14-time GRAMMY Award nominations, winning her first GRAMMY Award in 2021 for her hit song “Anything for You.” Ledisi has also garnered 3 Soul Train Music Awards, 19 NAACP Image Award nominations, an NAACP Theatre Award, 2 LA Alliance Ovation Award nominations, and an NAACP nomination for her performance as Mahalia Jackson in Remember Me.
Heavily influenced by Dr. Nina Simone, Ledisi completed and released the GRAMMY Award-nominated “Ledisi Sings Nina” in 2020. In December 2020, she co-produced her very first PBS special around the album. During the pandemic, she launched her own label, releasing the LP “The Wildcard,” which included her Grammy Award-winning song and first Billboard Number 1 radio hit. On the heels of this success, she released “Ledisi Live at The Troubadour” in April 2021, accompanied by a pay-per-view virtual concert.
No stranger to film and television, Ledisi landed her first feature singing in the George Clooney-directed Leatherheads. She was also featured in 2015’s Oscar Award-nominated Selma, as well as Gabourney Sidibe’s The Tale of Four. She secured her first major television role playing the legendary Patti LaBelle on the hit series American Soul, followed by a standout performance on FX’s hit series POSE, as well as BET Plus’ Twice Bitten. She also recently portrayed the legendary Gladys Knight in the 2023 film Spinning Gold.
Ledisi made her Broadway debut in “Caroline, or Change” in 2000, and helped workshop the Tony Award-winning musical “The Color Purple.” She returned to theater in 2019 in the critically acclaimed off-Broadway musical “Witness Uganda,” for which she received a LA Alliance Nomination. Her one-woman show, “The Legend of Little Girl Blue,” premiered at the Wallis Theatre in 2019. Ledisi was recently featured in New York City Center’s 2022 production of “The Life,” directed by Billy Porter.
A passionate advocate for the arts, Ledisi is the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy. In 2021, she became an Honorary Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ledisi published her first book, Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love and Power, in collaboration with Essence Magazine. Her latest book, Don’t Ever Lose Your Walk: How to Embrace Your Journey, is released through her book publishing company, Chinweya Publishing.
Maddie & Tae
Maddie & Tae
Award-winning duo Maddie & Tae first broke out in 2013 with their brilliant counter to bro-country, the Platinum-selling smash “Girl in a Country Song,” taking country radio by storm and skyrocketing to the top of the charts. Their debut album “The Way It Feels” included the three-time Platinum-certified, No. 1 hit “Die from a Broken Heart,” becoming their first and only female twosome with multiple No. 1s as it topped country airplay charts. Together as longtime friends and music collaborators, Maddie Font and Taylor Kerr co-wrote each track on their latest projects “Through the Madness, Vol. 1” and “Vol. 2.” Their latest single, “Heart They Didn’t Break,” is out now.
Maddie and Tae won a 2022 CMT Music Award for their “Woman You Got” video and were recently nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year at the 57th CMA Awards. They’ve also earned trophies from the Radio Disney Music Awards and CMA Awards, along with multiple ACM, Billboard, and CMT Music Award nominations. The celebrated duo has toured with country music’s hottest stars including Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, and Brad Paisley. Their headlining All Song No Static Tour sold out major markets coast-to-coast in 2022 and 2023. For more information, visit: www.maddieandtae.com
Mickey Guyton is a four-time Grammy Award-nominee and 2022 TIME Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Following her critically acclaimed debut album “Remember Her Name,” Guyton released songs “I Still Pray,” “How You love Someone,” and “Somethin’ Bout You.” Her new single, “Nothing Compares to You,” featuring Kane Brown, is now playing on the radio.
With her debut album, Guyton made history as the first Black artist to earn a Grammy Award-nomination for Best Country Album. The title track, “Remember Her Name,” was also nominated for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo performance. Guyton was also the first-ever Black female solo artist to earn a Grammy Award nomination in the country category (Best Country Solo Performance) for her song “Black Like Me,” which she performed at the 2021 Grammy Awards ceremony. The song was named one of the Top 10 all-genre songs of 2020 by NPR, Billboard, and the Associated Press. Guyton co-hosted the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS, along with Keith Urban, and was named CMT’s 2021 Breakout Artist of the Year. She also performed the national anthem at Super Bowl 56 in Los Angeles. Guyton is also a scout for Apple TV+’s global music competition series “My Kind of Country.”
Guyton and her music have been featured on the cover of Billboard, and profiled in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone. She’s also been featured in a variety of daytime and late-night television shows, as well as many publication outlets.
23-year-old Samara Joy is a GRAMMY Award-winning jazz artist whose chart-topping album “Linger Awhile” earned her Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best New Artist in 2023. The New York Times praised Joy for “helping jazz take a youthful turn” while NPR’s All Things Considered named her a “classic jazz singer from a new generation.” Joy treasures her musical lineage, which stretches back to her grandparents who both performed with Philadelphia gospel group the Savettes. On “Linger Awhile” Joy is accompanied by jazz artists including guitarist Pasquale Grasso, drummer Kenny Washington, bassist David Wong, and pianist Ben Paterson.
This holiday season, Joy is releasing her first collection of holiday music on the EP “A Joyful Holiday.” The 6-song collection of seasonal favorites is an extension of “Linger Awhile,” collaborating with many of the same jazz musicians. The track list includes previously released singles “O Holy Night,” performed with multiple generations of her family, in addition to a new recording of Stevie Wonder’s “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Me,” and a both a live and studio version of “The Christmas Song.”
Annie Clark made her recorded debut as St. Vincent in 2007 with “Marry Me,” quickly becoming regarded one of the most innovative and fascinating presences in modern music. Her subsequent albums include “Actor” (2009), “Strange Mercy” (2011), and her self-titled fourth album, winner of the 2014 GRAMMY Award for Best Alternative Album. In addition to her solo work, St. Vincent joined with David Byrne for the collaborative album “Love This Giant” (2012), and performed with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear of Nirvana at the band’s 2014 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
St. Vincent’s 2017 “MASSEDUCTION” broke St. Vincent into the U.S. and UK top 10s while landing atop the Best of 2017 lists of many publications, not to mention winning her two more GRAMMY Awards. 2021’s “Daddy’s Home” also earned St. Vincent her second GRAMMY Award for Best Alternative Album. Her 2021 – 2022 Down and Out Downtown Band Tour featured debut headline appearances at venues including the Hollywood Bowl and Radio City Music Hall, as well as a run as special guest of the North American leg of Roxy Music’s 50th Anniversary Tour. In addition, she unveiled a new model of her Ernie Ball signature guitar, as well as co-wrote and starred in the IFC feature film The Nowhere Inn.
The United States Coast Guard’s Guardians Big Band
The United States Coast Guard’s Guardians Big Band
The United States Coast Guard’s Guardians Big Band is a sixteen-piece jazz orchestra that brings the infectious joy and spirit of America’s original art form through sounds of swing, jazz, improvised solos, and classics from the Great American Songbook. Stationed at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, the members are drawn from the larger 55-piece Coast Guard Band. The Guardians feature prominently in the Coast Guard Band’s performance calendar, playing for public audiences, official military functions, and Coast Guard morale events, and the ensemble has presented concerts with guest performing artists such as Lou Marini and Doc Severinsen.
2023 marks the 101st National Christmas Tree Lighting. Enjoy some of the performance highlights that helped celebrate the holiday season.
The National Park Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service, is proud to recognize the many contributions of our partners of the 2023 National Christmas Tree Lighting. These organizations have sponsored the event or donated their expertise, products and services to brighten this holiday celebration for the American people.
Partners for the 2023 America Celebrates Display
- Cartner Christmas Tree Farm
- Merlyn Farms
- Mountain Top Fraser Fir