Helping to continue a 54-year Disneyland tradition, the San Marcos High School Madrigals and A Capella groups will be performing in the Disneyland Candlelight and Processional Ceremony this Friday.

The Royals will be joining a choir consisting of more than 600 voices, the Disneyland Orchestra, and guest celebrity narrator Edward James Olmos in an evening performance of holiday music and the telling of the first Christmas.

This is the 11th time the San Marcos High School Vocal Department has been selected and granted the honor of participating in this traditional event.

“We are so honored to be selected to perform in the amazing event,” Madrigal member Emily Libera said. “I love the San Marcos Madrigals, I love singing, I love Disneyland — it is perfect!”

According to the Disneyland website, “This annual tradition has been around in one form or another since Disneyland opened back in the ‘50s (Dec. 20, 1958, to be exact). In the early ‘60s, the show adopted its current format with the live choir and narrator. When Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 a second version of the show started there then was moved to EPCOT in the ‘80s.

“The show is similar at both parks, but each has its own unique elements. The ceremony consists of a large choir, an orchestra, and a guest narrator. The guest narrator reads the story of Christmas and it is intertwined with song. Past guest narrators have included James Earl Jones, Robert Urich, Marie Osmand, Roy Disney, and the list goes on.

“The main part of the ceremony takes place on Main Street USA in Town Square. Large bleachers are brought in and the choir assembles in front of the Train Station. There are folding chairs for the audience throughout Town Square, then the rest of the guests stand around the square and down Main Street. (For a few years in the late ‘90s the ceremony was held at the Fantasyland theater, but it has returned to Main Street in 2004.) The choirs process in along the entire parade route from Small World all the way to Main Street where they assemble for the reading of the Christmas story by the guest narrator.”

The San Marcos Vocal Department has a busy holiday season of performances. The various choirs will have performed at 19 community events from Dec. 2-21. The San Marcos Vocal Department’s Winter Concert will be held at San Roque Church on Dec. 18-19. The A Cappella Choir, Royal Knights and Madrigal Singers will perform a few selections from the Gloria in D by Antonio Vivaldi and other holiday selections. The concert each night will begin at 7 p.m. The cost is a $12 donation at the door.

— Aaron Solis is activities director for San Marcos High School.