By Dr. Shayne Rasmussen
NATCHITOCHES – The 12th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Multicultural Christmas Concert was held virtually on Dec. 3. Sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center and the NSU Center for Inclusion and Diversity, the served as a benefit concert for the local nonprofit organization Cane River Children’s Services.
The concert featured an array of both sacred and secular Christmas performances. The Anointed to Praise Dancers danced to “Holy Night,” choreographed by Shereka Jefferson; Juston Broussard sang “Ingras’ashuhki Lapu (We Wish You A Merry Christmas)” in Tunica; Bryce Coon performed “Once in Royal David’s City” vocally and on the piano; Justin Cruse sang “Away In a Manger” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain”; Donna M. Pierite and Elisabeth Pierite-Mora read “A Cajun Night Before Christmas” in Tunica and English; Teyanna Pierite Simon sang “Ka’ashtohkutahki (Auld Lang Syne)” in Tunica; NSU student Leah Thompson sang “What Child is This?”; NSU graduate student Dylan Blade Trahan sang “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and Mary Linn Wernet and Sharon Wolff of the Cammie G. Henry Research Center performed a selection of readings from Nelle Irwin Horkan’s “The Awakening and Other Poems.”
Many people contributed to making the event a success, according to Dr. Shayne Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center. The Louisiana Folklife Center staff, comprised of NSU students Armani Heckard, Aaron Malone, Matthew Phillips, Nathaniel Rachal, Olivia Sipes and Dylan Blade Trahan, as well as administrative coordinator Ashley Smith, planned and promoted the event.
“This year’s concert had a special spirit,” Rasmussen said. “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. While we were not able to congregate in person, the voices of everyone that attended beautifully joined in shared wonder as the concert culminated with the group singing of ‘Silent Night.’ And, as ever, 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 who wish to donate 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.