Rhinos lead the charge to get Christmas in Leeds underway
Rugby League heroes The Leeds Rhinos will get the festive season officially underway as guests of honour at this year’s fantastic Leeds Christmas lights switch on.
Fresh off their incredible Super League Grand Final win earlier this month, the Rhinos will take to the stage on Victoria Gardens on November 9.
Members of the playing squad and coaching staff will be joined by club mascot Ronnie the Rhino and the Super League Trophy along with departing club legends Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow who will have the special honour of flicking the switch and turning on the city’s Christmas lights.
Hosted by Heart Breakfast’s Dixie and Emma, the annual seasonal showpiece takes place in front of Leeds Art Gallery on Thursday, November 9 with entertainment starting from 6.45pm.
Joining the Rhinos will be Leeds Contemporary Singers (LCS), who wowed judges and the public on their way to taking the BBC’s inaugural Pitch Battle crown in July.
Made up of some of the most talented and up and coming artists in the UK today, the group initially met whilst singing in the Contemporary Pop Choir at the Leeds College of Music.
Choir leader and arranger Craig Anthony Lees from Leeds College of Music said:
“We are extremely excited to be singing at the Leeds Christmas lights switch on. The city of Leeds is where we discovered our love for singing together and where we developed our craft as a vocal group.
“For this reason, it is both an honour and a privilege to be sharing this wonderful evening with the people of Leeds. We hope that we can deliver a performance that will brighten everyone’s evening.”
Strictly Come Dancing house band leader and soul singer Tommy Blaize will also be performing on the night.
Professional singer Tommy has worked with some of the world’s most renowned artists, including Stevie Wonder, Queen, The Beach Boys, Diana Ross, Amy Winehouse, Phil Collins, Robbie Williams and Joe Cocker.
Back by popular demand, and ahead of the release of the new Star Wars film, Britain’s Got Talent sensations Boogie Storm will once again be taking us to a galaxy far, far away with a new routine featuring a dance-off with some well-known super-heroes.
Cbeebies presenters Alex Winters and Ben Cadjee will entertain the crowds with a festive singalong along with panto favourite Jez Edwards, who will be appearing as Simon Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Carriageworks Theatre.
Also performing at the event is Danny Colligan, a finalist in Gary Barlow’s musical TV show Let it Shine, who is also starring in the Carriageworks panto this year.
And opening the show will be the spectacular Leeds Rock Choir performing a selection of well-known contemporary hits along with a Christmas medley with original vocal arrangements.
Rock Choir is the original and most popular amateur contemporary choir in the UK with more than 20,000 members and rehearsals in more than 300 towns nationwide.
Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jane Dowson will be on hand along with Children’s Mayor Isla Bentley from Gildersome Primary school. Also joining the celebrations will be the 2017 Breeze Has Talent winner, who will be announced at the competition finals on Sunday October 29 at the Carriageworks.
Other attractions on the night will include fun fair rides along Cookridge Street, with entertainment culminating in the big switch-on of one of the UK’s largest displays of city centre festive illuminations and spectacular fireworks.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“We’re absolutely delighted and proud to welcome the Leeds Rhinos to the stage this year in honour of their remarkable achievements. They are fantastic ambassadors for sport and for the city of Leeds and I’m sure they’ll get an incredible welcome from the crowds.
“There’s always an amazing atmosphere at the Christmas lights switch-on and it’s one of the highlights of the year for thousands of families from all across the city.”
Dixie and Emma from Heart Breakfast added: “The light switch on really kicks off the Christmas celebrations in Leeds and this year will not disappoint!
“We just love it and can’t wait to get on the stage in front of the huge crowds, there’s always such an amazing atmosphere. So wrap up warm and bring the family!”
As part of the lights switch-on, the following road closures will also be in place on the night along with other traffic management measures.
- Headrow (Oxford Place to Albion Street): 6pm to 8.45pm
- Cookridge Street (Headrow to St Annes Street): from 1pm
- Calverley Street (Headrow to Gt George Street): 8pm to 8.30pm
The Leeds Light switch-on marks the official start of the city’s Make it Leeds this Christmas campaign which will feature a number of special events and activities including the annual Christkindelmarkt on Millennium Square which starts on Friday, November 10 from 10.30am.