Sikeston's Neal Boyd to sing in NBC's annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" telecast

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

By FRAZIER MOORE

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Lots of talent will be present for NBC's annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" telecast.

Hosted by Al Roker, this 76th formal tree lighting ceremony will feature Beyonce, Tony Bennett, the Jonas Brothers, Harry Connick Jr., David Cook and Rosie O'Donnell, the network said Wednesday.

Other scheduled performers include Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, "America's Got Talent" winner Neal E. Boyd and singer-songwriter Solange Knowles, as well as the Broadway Kids, students in a performing arts program founded by O'Donnell.

They will perform from Rockefeller Center's Art Deco plaza in the heart of Manhattan.

The live, hourlong special airs 8 p.m. EST Dec. 3.

The network's 11th telecast of the event, it builds on the tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dating back to the Great Depression.

A tree was first erected on a muddy construction site in 1931 by workers building the Rockefeller Center complex. Then, in 1933, the tree was decked with 700 lights and placed in front of the then 8-month-old RCA Building (now the GE Building).

NBC televised its first tree lighting in 1951 on "The Kate Smith Show," and as part of the nationwide "Howdy Doody" kids' show from 1953 to '55.

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