“Spirits Bright” at Los Angeles Public Affairs Christmas Gala

Contributed By Alyssa White, Church News contributor

  • 13 December 2016

The Honorable Mariusz Brymora, consul general of Poland, and Carson and Witney McAllister attend the annual Christmas gala hosted at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center December 1. Witney is a dancer and choreographer from the television series Dancing with the Stars.  Photo by Richard Radstone.

Article Highlights

  • Guests attended the annual Christmas gala at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center.
  • Performers included actor/singer Kevin Odekirk and choreographer Witney McAllister.
  • Notable guests in attendance included diplomats from 14 countries.

With Christmas lights aglow, poinsettias in place, and holiday music filling the air from an octet of a cappella singers, the LDS Southern California Public Affairs Council welcomed guests made up of civic leaders, diplomats, business leaders, academicians, and interfaith leaders to an annual Christmas gala hosted at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center on Thursday, December 1.

Broadway singer and actor Kevin Odekirk captivated guests as he performed several carols, hymns, and even “Bring Him Home” from his first Broadway musical, Les Miserables. His performance followed an endearing Christmas message by Witney Carson McAllister, a professional partner and choreographer from television’s current hit, Dancing with the Stars. She spoke of dancing “when it becomes something I feel instead of think about. Just as dance can convey personal feeling and meaning, so God speaks to our souls and inspires us during the Christmas season.”

“He who has ears to hear, let them hear … and eyes to see, let them see,” she reminded.

Notable guests in attendance included diplomats from 14 countries, local civic leadership from mayors to city councilmen and assemblymen, academicians and interfaith pastors, imams, rabbis, and sheikhs, in addition to Latter-day Saint authorities and Area Seventies. Diane Watson, former congresswoman from California’s 33rd congressional district, attended, as well as Pepperdine University’s dean and professor of education and psychology, Helen Easterling Williams, who offered the evening’s invocation.

Framed by hundreds of thousands of lights surrounding the Los Angeles Temple grounds, this annual Christmas program has become an anticipated tradition where guests truly enjoy coming together in a spirit of unity and cooperation.

Omar Ricci, Judy Galorath, and Daniel Galorath attend the annual Christmas gala hosted at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center on December 1. Photo by Richard Radstone.

Witney Carson McAllister shares a message during the annual Christmas gala hosted at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center on December 1. Photo by Richard Radstone.

Broadway singer and actor Kevin Odekirk captivated guests as he performed several carols and hymns during the annual Christmas gala hosted at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center on December 1. Photo by Richard Radstone.