Clay Aiken – 16,000 Baccarat Crystal Prisms

On Monday, November 17th,  New York City hosted the 13th Annual Lighting of the UNICEF Snowflake. Held in front of Bergdorf Goodman at the intersection of 57th Street and 5th Avenue, the event started at 6:00PM.

This year, the UNICEF lighting ceremony featured  Tony Award winner Nikki M. James and TV star, Tea Leoni. The Broadway Kids Care UNICEF Ambassadors for this year’s annual Snowflake Lighting Ceremony, performed holiday songs at the lighting ceremony.  Among the performers were Kaci Walfall of The Lion King on Broadway, and Graham Montgomery, who is currently performing in Kinky Boots on Broadway.

The giant Snowflake hangs above the intersection of 57th and 5th Avenue and illuminates the area as a reminder of UNICEF’s commitment to reach a day when zero children die from the preventable causes.

According to UNICEF:

The UNICEF Snowflake is a dazzling, illuminated crystal ornament that graces the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York City and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills each holiday season as a beacon of hope, peace and compassion for vulnerable children around the world.

This magnificent creation was designed, engineered and entirely handcrafted by Ingo Maurer and his team in Germany, using 16,000 Baccarat crystal prisms. The three-dimensional structure consists of 12 double-sided branded and is 23 feet in diameter, over 28 feet in height, and more than 3,300 pounds. The largest outdoor crystal chandelier of its kind, it was dedicated to UNICEF by the Stonbely Family Foundation in 2002.

More than a symbol, the UNICEF Snowflake is the centerpiece of an ambitious campaign to raise millions of dollars in support of health, immunization, nutrition, clean water and sanitation, education and protection for children in developing nations.

On November 18, 2006, UNICEF Ambassador, Clay Aiken helped light the UNICEF Snowflake in New York. Clay was joined by basketball great, Darryl Dawkins. Together, they lit up the snowflake. On that night, The Brooklyn Youth Chorus entertained the crowd as they sang a few holiday songs.

Clay seemed excited to be a part of the ceremony. He was having some mike problems and joked that UNICEF could feed the world, but had trouble with the mikes. It got lots of laughs.

The highlight for many of the crowd was Clays impassioned speech about his experiences with UNICEF. He also talked about the goals that UNICEF has for the future. Although there was a teleprompter there, it seemed that Clay had his speech memorized. The crowd was supportive and seemed to enjoy the event.

The videos below show Clay’s speech from that evening. He was articulate and seemed so at ease.

Have you ever seen the UNICEF Snowflake in New York?

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