Sounds of the season

Gala Holiday Concert


Ivy Steege

A collection of Whitewater’s Chambers Singers, Choir Concert, and Symphony Orchestra perform “A World of Joy” arranged by Cary Fry.

Ivy Steege, Arts & Rec Editor

“New” was the theme of the 2022 UW-Whitewater Gala Holiday Concert. With a fresh-faced interim Department Chair, an original fundraiser and the nixing of COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s performance stands out when looking at years past.

Annually the Whitewater Music Department hosts its Gala Holiday Concert where the majority of the university’s music ensembles come together to conclude the fall semester. Hosted on Saturday, Dec. 3, this year was the first to allow performers to stand next to each other without masks since the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Members of the Student Brass Quintet entertain audience members during intermission of the 2022 Gala Holiday Concert. (Ivy Steege)

“We were together in person last year, but people were separated and it was different,” said Interim Chair of the Music Department Jeff Herriott. “It’s weird for people to come out to concerts again. I was talking to the performers before the event about how I’m not in the habit of going to concerts anymore. We’re starting to get to a point again where people are like, ‘I’ll go’ and ‘I can be confident that it’s actually going to happen’. That’s exciting, and it’s exciting to have people come out and hear live music.”

In the return to normalcy, the Gala Holiday Concert included seven groups performing on stage, while 11 smaller ensembles serenaded the audience during pre/post-show as well as intermission. Music selection for the annual event traveling from Latin America with the performance of “Los Peces en el Río” to the indigenous Nahua culture of Mesoamerica with “Xicochi, xicochi”. Classic Christmas music was also presented with examples such as “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. Something that set the night apart from previous holiday concerts, was the modern feel of many pieces. Several of the arrangements of each piece were created in the last half-century. 

Whitewater Symphony Orchestra performs “Roika” from the movie Lt. Kije. (Ivy Steege)

“I think the music choice was a lot more modern this time. The last piece that was played with the large group stood out. It seemed like a better musical choice,” said the Set-player of Whitewater’s Jazz Ensemble, Ali Dlugi.“It went well. Everyone played well, and conveyed the message they tried to convey.”

The show continues to be the largest musical performance put on by the Whitewater Music Department. Yearly, the Gala Holiday Concert is the largest fundraiser for the UW-Whitewater Music Department. Sponsors of the show as well as audience ticket prices are put towards the funds of Music Scholarships for students. Last year, the department was able to award over 50 students scholarships totaling more than $80,000. Along with initial donations, the department held a fundraiser of ornaments to assist with scholarship funds.