White House issues open casting call for Christmas entertainers
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The White House is putting out a casting call for some Christmastime entertainment, giving musicians, singers and others the chance to perform at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

With less than five months to go until Dec. 25, the White House said Friday that “initial planning for the 2018 season is underway.”

In addition to its annual call for volunteers to decorate the executive mansion for the holidays, this year the White House is also asking for entertainers to join the Yuletide festivities.

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The White House “invites local musicians including high school bands, choirs, and Christmas-themed entertainers to apply for the opportunity to perform during the Holiday Open Houses throughout the month of December,” a statement from first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? In Arizona, Trump's new press secretary battled reporters Who is new White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham? MORE’s White House press office said.

“This is the first time to my knowledge that the application process has been made open to the public in this manner," Jennifer Pickens, a White House social expert and author of "Christmas at the White House," tells ITK.

In previous years, Pickens said, the process was more "insider" and that "those who know could apply." The first lady, by contrast, "wants to make it more open."

During the George W. Bush administration, music groups that were interested in performing at the December shindigs were directed to the White House Visitors Office for applications.

"This is another first for [Trump] doing more creative and open things for the people during the Christmas season,“ Pickens said.

Performers will be “responsible for any travel expenses incurred,” according to a sign-up sheet, and will have to complete an information form detailing their experience and explaining why they want to serve as a holiday entertainer.

The White House hasn't indicated whether potential entertainers will have to go through an "American Idol"–style audition process or how they'll be chosen. 

The volunteer performers who are selected will be notified by Oct. 1, according to the White House.

No official word on whether this is the first time the White House is calling on volunteers. A spokeswoman didn’t get back to ITK about the holiday plans.

Last year, more than 100 White House open houses and receptions were held in December.