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Popular Christmas Gala to be presented Wednesday through Friday
Nov 27, 2011 | 692 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The annual Christmas Gala at Northwestern State University will be presented Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Performances are at 7 p.m. each evening with a 9 p.m. performance on Dec. 2. The Gala is produced by the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts. Dr. Chris Gilliam is the director. The theme of the Gala is “We Celebrate Christmas.”

Advance ticket sales are available through at $15 each, which ensures a seat at the specified show provided ticketholders arrive at least an hour before performance time.

Regular tickets are available for $10 at the door for evening performances. Northwestern State and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D. Seating for the Gala is on a first-come, first-served basis. For information on advance tickets, contact Gilliam at (318) 357-5753.

In addition to the evening events, there are performances for school groups on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at 9:30 a.m. and noon. Admission to these shows is $3 and are available for school groups only. Tickets to these shows are not available through the Website, but must be reserved in advance by calling Jane Norman in the Department of Theatre and Dance at 357-4483.

The Gala will feature performances by the NSU Choirs, the NSU Department of Theatre and Dance and the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra. The Out on a Limb Improv Troupe, Northwestern State Jazz Orchestra, NSU Rockettes, NSU Percussion Ensemble, NSU Blast and students from the Department of Fine and Graphic Arts will also perform.

“The Gala is based on the Radio City Music Hall production with the Rockettes,” said Gilliam. “It’s a show that will be friendly for families and shows off the talent we have in the School of Creative and Performing Arts.”

According to Gilliam, this year's Gala provides nine new numbers and five audience favorites from past shows. A cast of more than 300 students are in the Christmas Gala.

“It takes several hundred combined work hours to put together our one hour Gala at the time of the semester that is busy for our students and faculty as finals approach,” said Gilliam. “The students and faculty truly give of themselves in an unselfish way to make this wonderful Christmas production possible. They consider this a gift to our community, and it is our hope that the Christmas Gala becomes ‘Their Natchitoches Christmas Tradition,’ and that it serves as an excellent beginning to the Christmas season.”

Gilliam composed and wrote the text for the finale, We Celebrate Christmas.

“Last spring I began to think about a text that might unify the whole of the Christmas Gala,” said Gilliam. “I wanted to pen a text that communicated as many facets of the global holiday spirit that I could. The phrase ‘We Celebrate Christmas,’ popped into my head and it stuck. From there I continued to expand upon that theme, and the text for the piece was born.”

Gilliam said he composed the text and melody quickly.

“The fleshing out of the piece such as writing the choral parts, establishing the right moments for key changes and so on took several months,” he said. “By the end of the summer I had the piece basically complete. The piece will be enhanced by dancers, eight solo singers, the combined choirs and the orchestra.”

Another new part of the show is the use of an electronic organ played by Northwestern State student Jordan DeRouen on Bring Your Torch, Jeanette Isabella. A donation from several area churches and the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission made the rental of this organ possible.

“We are fortunate to have a very gifted student organist in our student body, and he will play an exciting solo based upon an old Christmas hymn,” said Gilliam. “It is our hope that the children of the community will be inspired by his playing as they see an excellent organist at work, and that they will perhaps become interested in playing the keyboard or organ themselves.”

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