It’s the holidays in Detroit, and our downtown is sparkling for the season. Great cities around the world light up for the holidays, and Detroit has a special way to shine as an emerging destination for winter fun. The lights that line Woodward and Michigan Avenues, Capitol Park, Cadillac Square and twinkle on the Campus Martius Christmas tree help create magical public spaces for Metro Detroiters and tourists to experience.
WDIV-Local 4 wanted to capture some of the beauty of our downtown by creating a musical holiday card. The station asked three local musicians to help put together a rendition of “Jingle Bells” with their own twist. Vocalist Angela Davis, beatboxer Stevie Soul and guitarist Omar Aragones answered the call with a simple, soulful version that is the perfect soundtrack for city celebrations.
One of my favorite parts of my job is being able to work with local musicians on our big events. Angela Davis’s powerful voice won our Super Singer contest during “The Ford Fireworks” years ago, and we haven’t stopped calling her since. Stevie Soul is a beatboxer who perfected his skill as a child trying to overcome stuttering. Now he’s a local musician who brings the rhythm through beatboxing collaborations with other local artists. And Stevie introduced us to Omar Aragones who is a talented self-taught guitarist and singer with the band ONEFREQ.
When I was scouting locations for where to shoot the spot, the Cadillac Lodge hit me as the perfect place. There’s not a bad angle in the whole space. I called our friends at the Downtown Detroit Partnership, which is responsible for making the downtown beautiful throughout the holidays -- and all year long. They program nearly 2,000 events annually in Downtown parks and public spaces. When I called, they said yes and set it up for us to have the whole place to ourselves for an afternoon. My mom even came to be one of our extras.
In my lifetime, downtown Detroit has never looked more beautiful than it does now for the holidays. We here at WDIV-Local 4 turned our lights on in downtown Detroit in 1946 and we’ve never left. Being here every day means a lot to us. We know that Detroit is not just about downtown. No big, complicated city is only about the lights, the visitors and the parts that are shiny and new. But it is important to have welcoming, festive spaces for everyone to share. All Detroiters deserve a dazzling downtown, and we hope our musical holiday card also serves as an invitation to experience it yourself.