By Derrick Jean-Baptiste

Every family has its Christmas traditions and at Florida Southern College, one of the largest is the annual Christmas Gala.

While the Christmas Gala has been an ongoing event for over 50 years, according to both performers and students, it is still to this day highly anticipated each year. The Florida Southern College music department’s Christmas Gala has become an essential holiday music tradition for the college and the greater community.

This year’s edition, “A Gift for the Holidays,” offers a wonder-filled array of musical favorites performed by music department students and faculty joined by special invited guests from the Florida Southern College musical theater program and the Florida Dance Theatre. The program promises to celebrate the season with as much pomp and circumstance as previous years.

While the majority of the audience simply gets to enjoy the concert without any background information, most never become privy to the amount of time and work that the performers, directors and behind the scene technicians take part in to make sure this great event goes on without an issue each grueling year.

With a packed Fall Festival of the Arts schedule, the music and theater students miraculously manage to put on the show  each year despite the time crunch.

“A lot of hard work is put into this event. Even into dead week, there are late night rehearsals to make sure we produce the best sound possible,” Alexis Dean, a member of the Florida Southern College Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Orchestra said. “But, in the end, it kind of becomes all worth it to perform in front of such a big crowd. ”

According to other student’s the Gala represents one of the most anticipated performances for FSC music students.

“The Gala is a great hallmark to end the semester with,” Assia Angelini said. “So much goes into it, it’s impossible not to get excited for. It almost feels like a pageant. It always gets especially emotional for any seniors performing their last Gala. Sharing this performance with them makes it even more special.”

For many who take part in this Christmas Gala, whether by performing on stage or enjoying the show from the audience, this event officially starts their Christmas season. It becomes something they can share with their family, friends and community, and there’s always the added excitement of local students appearing on television.

The Christmas Gala will be featuring beloved traditional songs such as Adolphe Adam’s “O Holy Night,” as well as showcasing an audience-interactive piece with the Christmas Carol Sing-Along.

“A Gift for the Holidays” will showcase a multitude of snapshots of sacred and secular holiday traditions.

Florida Southern College’s annual Christmas Gala will be presented live in the Branscomb Auditorium Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The Gala is free for Florida Southern students, faculty and staff, but for others, the tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for non-Florida Southern students and can be purchased by calling the box office at 863-680-4296.

The Gala, presented by FSC’s Department of Music, will be filmed and aired on PBS at a later date.


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