The Singing Christmas Tree is a series of free concerts that features an orchestra, dancers, actors and a choir at Vancouver’s Broadway Church in December.
At the family-friendly event the choir sings from the boughs of a giant Christmas tree on the middle of the stage. The sight is amazing, as is the quality of entertainment.
Christmas Concert at Broadway Church
Hundreds of Christmas-related shows and concerts take place in the Lower Mainland in December. One of the most impressive, famous, longest-running and unique performances is without a doubt the Singing Christmas Tree at Broadway Church.
In 2018 the event celebrates its 51st anniversary. Since 1967 thousands of people have participated in the Singing Christmas Tree, and hundreds of thousands more have been thoroughly entertained.
The free event takes place about 10 times each year over the course of six days in the lead up to Christmas. It involves a cast, choir and support staff of over 250 volunteers, and the stage features a giant Christmas tree with 10 levels from which 80+ members of the choir perform. The show involves singing by the choir, solo performances, mini skits, acrobatics, dancers and even people floating down from the ceiling.
If you’ve never been to the Singing Christmas Tree, you need to go!
The Singing Christmas Tree takes place at Broadway Church at 2700 East Broadway in Vancouver. It’s a large venue located about midway between Nanaimo Street and Renfrew, or a couple of kilometres from John Hendry Park and Trout Lake in one direction and the Trans-Canada Highway in the other.
The church has a large parking lot, but it’s typically full a couple of hours prior to each show. There is also parking along the street on East Broadway.
2018 Times and Dates
Singing Christmas Tree performances in 2018 take place at the following times and dates:
- Friday, December 7th and 14th, at 7:30 pm
- Saturday, December 8th and 15th, at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm
- Sunday, December 9th and 16th, at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Doors open an hour before show time each year, but it’s recommended you arrive even earlier than that!
Admission to the Singing Christmas Tree shows is free, although tickets are still required.
Tickets can be reserved online and they are available at no charge. A free-will offering is taken during the performance, and while donations are encouraged and appreciated, contributing is 100% optional.
Important Admission Notes
The following are important things to know with respect to tickets and admission to the show.
- Tickets sell out. Reserve your spot weeks in advance!
- Seating is unassigned. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re at the front of the line you’ll have your choice of places to sit.
- Tickets do NOT guarantee admission. Just because you have a ticket doesn’t mean you’ll get in. This is for two reasons:
- The organizers oversell each performance. When things are free, people don’t always show up. Consequently, Broadway Church releases far more tickets than there are seats for each show, knowing that a large percentage of people won’t turn up. The Church makes it very clear that having a ticket doesn’t guarantee admission. If you arrive at least 75 to 90 minutes before a performance, however, it’s unlikely you’ll be turned away.
- Tickets expire 30 minutes before show time. If you arrive less than half an hour in advance, your ticket expires and you’ll have to join the standby line and hope (and pray) that you’ll still get in.
- If you don’t have a ticket you can join the standby line. If online tickets sell out you still have a chance of getting in if you show up more than an hour early and join the “Non-Ticket-Holder Queue.” If the church doesn’t fill up with ticket holders half an hour before show time people in the “Non-Ticket-Holder Line” are allowed in on a first-come, first-severed basis.
- Hundreds of people are turned away each year. This happens because the show is so popular and because tickets for performances are oversold. Often at least some people in the “Non-Ticket-Holder Line” don’t get in, and, not infrequently, a few people with tickets who don’t show up early enough don’t get in either. The worse the weather, the better are your odds of entry.
- You can’t save seats. You’re not supposed to arrive early and save seats for friends that plan to show up later. In practice though you can save seats for a bit, at least at the beginning and well before show time, but not in the final half hour or so prior to the start of the performance.
For more tips and information, see our list of Tips & Advice further below.
What to Expect
The following describes what you can expect before the show formally starts.
In the beginning …
When you go to Broadway Church for a Singing Christmas Tree performance expect to see a long line of people outside in a queue along the sidewalk starting between 30 minutes and an hour before the doors open, so beginning up to 2 hours before the show.
Inside the massive church building there is a main lower level as well as an upper level. Combined, the place probably holds over 1000 people. Inside the sanctuary, at the front, there is a beautiful stage with a humongous Christmas tree.
At around half an hour before show time a pre-show starts, which is nice as it helps pass the time. The show’s director introduces him or herself, encourages people to squish in and make room for others, and reminds audience members that they can’t continue to save seats for people not yet in the building. The pre-show also includes a formal welcome and a bit of singing.
The Singing Christmas Tree Show
The Singing Christmas Tree performance is truly amazing and suitable for all ages. At the centre of the stage is the giant Christmas tree with thousands of twinkling and choreographed flashing lights. In the tree, poking their heads out from behind 10 levels of boughs, are around 85 choir members. It’s quite the spectacle!
During the show there is a mix of choir songs, dance numbers and short skits. Traditional favourites are sung, children come out from time to time to dance, and the skits are funny and involve Christmas scenes from both the past and present. There are also a number of occasions when especially impressive singers also perform, sometimes in small groups, and at other times as duets or solos.
The Singing Christmas Tree is a church event put on by a Vancouver church. The show is open to everyone, and the general public is most welcome and even strongly encouraged to attend. The event is an outreach program, though, and, not unsurprisingly, there is a Christian message. Audience members are told about worship services and ministry opportunities at Broadway Church, and God and Christ are central parts of the production.
That being said, the Singing Christmas Tree is not an overly religious event. Everyone is welcome, and everyone should feel comfortable, regardless of religious background. The event is an outreach program designed to introduce people to Broadway Church and Christianity, but for most audience members, above all else, it’s an incredible show and wonderful way to be entertained and celebrate the holiday season.
Regardless of your faith background, unless you hate both Christmas and holiday music, the Singing Christmas Tree is highly recommended. If you go once, you’ll want to tell your friends and go again!
Tips & Advice
Below are some suggestions and pieces of information to help you make the most out of your experience at the Singing Christmas Tree.
TIP #1: Reserve your tickets well in advance!
TIP #2: On the day of your show, unless it’s pouring with rain and miserable outside, arrive at least 90 minutes prior to the start of the performance. If it is raining and miserable, take an umbrella and still arrive at least an hour early.
TIP #3: If you don’t have a ticket you can show up on the day and join the standby “Non-Ticket-Holder” line. If you do that at least 90 minutes early you’ll have a chance of getting in, but also a good chance of getting turned away. The worse the weather, the better your odds.
TIP #4: Relax and be happy! If you don’t show up early enough and so get turned away because the venue hits capacity, blame yourself, not the organizers.
The show has a ticket system to limit the number of people who show up, wait in line but then don’t get in. They make it very clear, however, that a ticket doesn’t guarantee entry, that you still need to arrive early, and that admission on the day is on a first-come, first-served basis. Waiting in line and taking your chances is the cost to pay for an amazing show for which tickets are free!
TIP #5: Pretty much every seat is a good seat. There are no posts blocking the view, and the floor of the sanctuary is sloped. Pews near the front offer the most spectacular experience, especially if you’re short. If you have a bad neck, however, and find it hard looking up, then seats further back or up in the balcony might be better.
TIP #6: Dress appropriately. It’s warm and dry inside the church, but it can get cold standing out on the sidewalk while waiting for the doors to open.
About Broadway Church
Broadway Church is one of the largest protestant churches in Metro Vancouver, and in Canada in fact, by both physical size and weekly attendance. It can be classified as a megachurch with as many as 1800 people worshipping there each week. Only seven or so Lower Mainland churches are larger.
Broadway Church is a member of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. It’s known for its charismatic preachers, dynamic and sometimes rocking music ministry, large youth and young family programs, and uplifting and powerful services.
For more information about the organization behind the Singing Christmas Tree, click Broadway Church.
For more information about the shows in December, check out the Singing Christmas Tree website.
For a list of other music opportunities this time of year, click Vancouver Christmas Concerts.
For ideas on other things to do in Metro Vancouver, check out any of the following:
- Vancouver’s December Calendar of Events
- Vancouver’s Shows & Entertainment Calendar
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events
- The Lower Mainland’s Best Christmas Activities