As thousands flock to Washington, D.C to see the 96th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, those in attendance will enjoy a performance of Joy to the World among other Christmas favorites by the Dominican Sisters of Mary.

The American tradition started in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge walked from the White House to Ellipse park to light a 50 foot fir tree covered with colored bulbs. A local choir and a quartet from the U.S. Marine Band performed in the first ever Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

95 years later the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist received an invitation to perform and graciously accepted, the first ever Catholic performance at the ceremony. The teaching order, whose Motherhouse is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was founded in 1997 responding to the call of Pope Saint John Paul II for a new evangelization.

The sisters will sing selections from their holiday album entitled Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring: Christmas with The Dominican Sisters of Mary. However, if you aren’t attending in person you’ll have to wait until December 2nd to hear them, when a recording of the National Christmas Tree Lighting will be shown on TV.

You can learn more about National Tree Lighting Ceremony and read the official bio of the Dominican Sisters of Mary along with other performers on their website.

The Sisters just celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have grown to over 130 Sisters and an average age of 28, they teach in preschool through college in missions all over the United States and also serve as librarians at the North America Seminary in Rome. Their Motherhouse is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They have released three Billboard and Amazon #1 Classical chart-topping recordings: including recent cozy holiday hit classic entitled Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring: Christmas with The Dominican Sisters of Mary. The Sisters may also be recognized due to their multiple appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” as well as on NBC’s Today Show, The Associated Press, NBC News Nightly, NPR, Good Morning America, Telegraph UK, Fox & Friends, and CBS This Morning. Their Christmas album, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring: Christmas with The Dominican Sisters of Mary, features this beautiful choir of angels’ a capella arrangements as well as small chamber orchestra accompaniment tracks consisting of the Sisters themselves playing the various instruments. Internationally released with De Montfort Music through Sony Music Entertainment.

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