NATCHITOCHES – The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University will present the 29th annual Christmas Gala Nov. 29 – Dec. 1 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium and Dec. 10 at the Strand Theatre in Shreveport. Performance times on Nov. 29- Dec. 1 are 7 p.m. each evening, with a 9 p.m. performance on Dec. 1. The Gala at the Strand begins at 4 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for the performances in Natchitoches and $12 for the show in Shreveport. NSU, BPCC@NSU and LSMSA students are admitted free with a current student I.D. For reservations or tickets, call (318) 357-4522 or go to nsula.edu/gala. Additional fees will apply to online tickets purchased for the performance at the Strand.
More than 300 Northwestern State students, faculty and staff in the School of Creative and Performing Arts combine their talents to present the Gala as a kickoff to the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. More than 10,000 people attend the Gala each year, which is based on the long-running Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.
“The Gala has become a Natchitoches holiday tradition along with the Christmas Festival and the lights,” said Gala Artistic Director Corey Trahan. “The Gala is something both the performers and audiences remember long after the show is over.”
The theme for gala this year is “Home for the Holidays.” The set and repertoire will reflect imagery and music that celebrates family and holiday traditions. The residents of Varnado Hall, CAPA’s new residential community, will contribute hand made decor for the lobby.
Trahan said the opening number will be a musical mashup of popular Christmas tunes performed by representatives of each CAPA ensemble.
“Audiences will get a quick glimpse within the opening eight minutes of what’s to come for the remainder of the show,” he said.
The finale welcomes Frosty the Snowman, the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will debut a new overture, the musical theatre ensemble will present a Motown holiday arrangement and we welcome back Demon Heat. Guest appearances by Miss Northwestern-Lady of the Bracelet Erika Jarlock, NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio and Santa and Mrs. Claus are included.
Trahan says the Gala gives students in the School of Creative and Performing Arts a chance to shine in front of packed houses.
“We are fortunate to have such talented faculty and students,” said Trahan. “Work on the Gala goes on year round which is shown in the quality of the performances.”
Each year’s Gala feature audience favorites like the Rockettes and Toy Soldiers along with new ensembles and familiar showstoppers from popular shows and some new set pieces and costumes.
Performing ensembles include the NSU Chamber Choir, Gala Choir, the NSU Jazz Orchestra, Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, Demon Dazzlers, Rockettes, Toy Soldiers and more. Popular guest artists will round out the list of performers.
This is the second time the Gala has gone on the road to the Strand. Two years ago, the cast and crew of the Christmas Gala wowed audiences in two sold out performances at the historic theatre that drew viewers from throughout north Louisiana and east Texas.