The Kentucky Christmas Chorus, which once drew thousands of holiday revelers to Rupp Arena, is on hiatus for 2012. Organizers cited declining attendance as the reason for the decision.
"We just decided to take a break," said Renee Jackson, president of the Downtown Lexington Corporation. "We never said it was not ever coming back."
Under Mayor Jim Gray, the Downtown Lexington Corporation has taken over many of the city's community events, including the Christmas Chorus and Fourth of July celebrations. Jackson said the DLC decided to replace the chorus with several smaller events scheduled for a single day. On Nov. 24, visitors came downtown for a holiday artist's market, a holiday concert and the city's official tree-lighting ceremony.
The chorus had been held for 24 years and usually featured the Lexington Singers and the Lexington Philharmonic. According to the Herald-Leader archives, the first concert drew 3,500 singers from 100 church choirs and school groups from 38 Kentucky counties.
Attendance had been in a steady decline in recent years. In 2010, the concert was moved from 24,000-seat Rupp Arena to the 1,500-seat Singletary Center for the Arts, and the full philharmonic did not perform. That year, the Herald-Leader reported, the venue was about two-thirds full.
Mike Kanarek, WKYT vice president of operations, said the station was interested in broadcasting the chorus in 2012 but learned earlier this fall that the event wouldn't be held this year.
Although the broadcast fell outside of the times when TV ratings are calculated, he said viewers seemed to look forward to it each year, especially the Christmas Day rebroadcast of the concert.
Kanarek said WKYT would be interested in being involved if the tradition is revived.