The 10th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Multicultural Christmas Concert was held on December 4th at Treen Auditorium at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. The event was a benefit concert for the local nonprofit organization Cane River Children’s Services and was sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center, the NSU Center for Inclusion and Diversity and the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.
The concert featured an array of both sacred and secular Christmas performances. Performers included the Anointed to Praise Dance Team and Singer, choreographed and directed by Shereka Johnson; singer Justin Cruse who sang “Away in a Manger” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas:” Brynlee Daigle of the LSMSA Chorale who performed “The 12 Days after Christmas,” and LSMSA Chorale director Lisa Benner who performed “The Infant Jesus;” the LSMSA Dance Ensemble, choreographed by Crystal Lewis; carols on the piano by Sandy Neal of Fort St. Jean Baptiste; NSU students, including Nikita Barnes who sang “Blue Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Rock,” Reagan Guillory, who read the Cajun Night Before Christmas by Trosclair, and Juliana Handy who performed “O Holy Night;” NSU librarians and archivists Patricia Brown, Deborah Huntington, Anna MacDonald, Mary Linn Wernet, and Sharon Wolff, who performed “The Librarian’s Night Before Christmas;” and Eric Klemme, pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Natchitoches, who performed “Christmas Time Blues” and “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.” The evening’s festivities concluded with a group singing of “Silent Night” led by Klemme on guitar.
Many people contributed to making the event a success. The Louisiana Folklife Center staff, comprised of NSU students Macey Boyd, Mary Gaffney, Aubrey Gamble, Heather Jones, Erica McGeisey, and Matthew Phillips, as well as administrative coordinator Shelia Thompson, planned and promoted the event. The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts hosted the event, which was coordinated by Cameron Duhe, event technology support coordinator for LSMSA, and Shirley Dobson, administrative assistant to LSMSA executive director Dr. Steve Horton. Lisa Benner also served as stage manager for the event. Chris Reich served as event photographer.
“This year’s concert was magnificent,” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, associate professor of English and Director of the Louisiana Folklife Center. “The joy of the performers perfectly captured the spirit of the season in all of its cheer and wonder. That these artists volunteer to perform, freely donating their time and talents for the benefit of others, is what the season is all about. And we are so honored to be able to support such a worthy cause as Cane River Children’s Services. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event.” Those wishing to make a donation to Cane River Children’s Services may do so by contacting CEO Jennifer Karle at (318) 352-9349, or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 2453, Natchitoches, LA 71457.
In addition to spreading holiday hope and cheer, the Concert also serves as both a retention and a recruitment event for NSU, with performances by community members of all ages as well as by current NSU students.