Christmas Tree Switch-On Ceremony


The Switch-On Ceremony for Aberdeen's Christmas Tree, which is a gift every year from the city's twin city of Stavanger in Norway, is to take place on Thursday evening.(26 November)

The 35-ft Norway Spruce arrived in the city's harbour last weekend and was today (Monday 23 Nov) being erected by Aberdeen City Council tree staff in pride of place at the Castlegate.

Tomorrow (Tues 24 Nov), decorations are due to be added to the tree's branches and anti-vandal paint is due to be painted onto the safety barriers.

On Thursday afternoon, a stage is to be erected and festively decorated with garlands and lights in time for the Switch-On Ceremony which starts at 7pm.

Hundreds of people including many families are expected to attend the Switch-On Ceremony, which is part of the city's Winter Festival with this year's event being the biggest Aberdeen has ever had, with festive fun for all ages.

The Switch-On Ceremony will be carried out by The Lord Provost of Aberdeen and the Deputy Mayor of Stavanger, as 2015 is the 25th anniversary of the twinning between the two cities.

Aberdeen Lord Provost George Adam said: "Our Christmas Tree is a tremendous gift from Stavanger and we're looking forward to the ceremony on Thursday which will help to further cement ties between the two cities.

"I'm looking forward to the Ceremony and seeing the reaction on children's faces when the lights are switched on. Hundreds of people including many families come to the ceremony every year and we're sure they will have a great time again this year."

On Thursday, the safety barriers are lowered at about 7pm so people can get up close for photographs but they are re-erected after 8pm. Prior to the Christmas tree lights Switch-On, there will be a short carol service led by Aberdeen Churches Together and the Salvation Army band.

The Ceremony will include a performance from Ann-Kristin Sørvåg, a soprano and vocal artist from Stavanger who has a distinctive voice with a clear and brilliant timbre. She has lived and worked as a singer abroad in cities such Berlin, and now lives in Stavanger, Norway. When Stavanger became European Capital of Culture in 2008, she was invited to sing at the opening ceremony, were she was cooperating with the Stavanger rapper Atlars ( Lars Tønnesen). Ann-Kristin Sørvåg has performed numerous lieder recitals, church concerts and has sung solo roles in oratorios and orchestral concerts as well as operaroles. She has had concerts at Troldhaugen in Bergen.

Ann-Kristin will wear a bunad which is traditional Norwegian Costume, and will perform two songs – Norwegian folk song 'Mitt hjerte alltid vanker' and 'O Holy Night'. She will be accompanied by local musician, Morag Simpson, on the piano.

Several successful partnerships between organisations in Aberdeen and Stavanger have been cultivated over the years – from businesses sharing trade to school and youth groups participating on exchange visits.

After the Switch-On Ceremony, marzipan pigs – which are a traditional Norwegian sweet treat for children at this time of year – will be handed out to youngsters in the crowd.

The Ceremony also switches on the Christmas trees at Marischal College, which were introduced last year for the first time, and the city's Leopard, which usually sits in the pocket park in front of His Majesty's Theatre but this year will be in a grassed area in front of Marischal College on the corner of the Gallowgate and Littlejohn Street.

More information is available from www.aberdeenchristmas.co.uk.