At LAX, TSA Workers Sing Cheer Into Holiday Travel

Play associated audio

Turns out some of those dour security officers who make you take your shoes off at the airport have plenty of Christmas spirit. Travel isn't usually a highlight of the holidays, but at Los Angeles International Airport some of the Transportation Security Administration workers enjoy the season so much they sing.

True to its duties, the LAX TSA Chorus isn't joking. Its singers are actually TSA employees who don Santa hats during the holiday season and perform in the middle of the airport.

Ray Matute, the director of the chorus, tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish that the quizzical looks the singers get from hassled travelers soon turn to smiles.

"It really puts the good face — and the human face — of TSA on the map," he says. Matute's passion for music led him to found the chorus a few years back. "It gives all of us creative people here within the organization an outlet."

During its 45-minute show, the chorus sings the usual Christmas carols — Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Silver Bells — but also slips in some of the singers' own favorites, like What a Wonderful World and You Are So Beautiful.

"Its signature song? America the Beautiful," of course.

Some might worry about who's patting down passengers, but Matute reassures. "There's 2,000 officers here at LAX, so having 16 of us out for one hour to do some performances does not impact the operation."

There's video of the chorus performing during last year's holiday season here, with a report from USA Today.

As the Los Angeles Times wrote earlier this week, the LAX singers also perform "motivational and patriotic fare on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, July 4 and Sept. 11." They've been singing together since 2003, the Times says.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Costume Designer Colleen Atwood Took Unlikely Path To Hollywood Royalty

Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood knows tough times. A single mom at 17 who once worked at a French fry factory to make ends meet is Hollywood royalty today. A favorite of director Tim Burton, Atwood is now costume designer for his adaptation of the darkly comic, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children and the upcoming Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
NPR

Carnegie Deli Says It Is Closing Down Its Landmark NYC Restaurant

As news of the closing rippled far beyond the deli's home turf in Manhattan Friday, hundreds of people responded with sadness and disbelief.
NPR

The VA Will Now Pay For Fertility Treatment For Wounded Vets

Congress has reversed a law passed in 1992 that prohibited the Department of Veterans Affairs from paying for IVF for veterans and their families, after mounting political pressure.
NPR

The United Nations Is Launching A Space Mission

The U.N. is planning to send its first spacecraft into orbit, packed with scientific experiments from countries that can't afford their own space programs.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.