Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Celebrating the season

Music Department Gala Holiday Concert
Katie McIlheran
UW-Whitewater Flute Ensemble performs holiday songs during intermission at the Gala Holiday Concert put on by the UW-Whitewater Music Department at Young Auditorium Dec 2 2023.

Red bows, festive ties, Santa hats and concert black adorned UW-Whitewater music students as they performed at the 2023 Gala Holiday Concert at Young Auditorium Dec. 2. The lobby was decorated with poinsettias, wreaths and a tall christmas tree stood proudly in the center. Chatter between musicians and their families along with the sounds of various instruments tuning before the concert filled the air before three hours of non-stop music. 

“I love the energy when it comes to the gala,” said Claudia Acosta, a fourth-year music education major. “There’s a lot of good energy the night of the gala, and playing music for the holidays and the community is what keeps me going. We have been working on this for about a month and a half, and it’s a good opportunity for everyone in the ensembles.”

The pre-concert began at 6:45 p.m., and included performances by harmonia, jazz combo, chamber orchestra and the marimba ensemble in various areas of the Greenhill Center of the Arts, such as the Greenhill Center of the Arts Atrium, Young Auditorium Lobby, Fern Young Terrace and the Kachel Center. Audience members began taking their seats at 7:25 p.m.

UW-Whitewater Chambers Singers directed by Sharri Van Alstad sing holiday songs at the Gala Holiday Concert put on by the UW-Whitewater Music Department at Young Auditorium Dec 2 2023. (Katie McIlheran)

The first half of the concert began at 7:30 p.m. and included performances by vocal jazz, the jazz ensemble, the brass ensemble, and symphonic Wind Ensemble. During intermission, the brass quintet, flute ensemble and cello ensemble performed in small groups around the Greenhill Center of the Arts. The second half of the concert featured the chamber singers, percussion ensemble, whitewater symphony orchestra and concert choir. 

Despite the holidays being a few weeks away, musicians and audience members felt holiday cheer in the air. 

“Music plays an important part of who we are as a community, especially for our students,” said Chancellor Corey King. “Their ability to display their talents, and our faculty who do an amazing job teaching our students is an opportunity of expression for who we are and the journeys that we have taken. The ability to share that with the community is amazing.”

Immediately following the concert, the clarinet ensemble, tuba ensemble, chancellor’s quartet, saxophone ensemble and hawk choir performed in the various areas of the Greenhill Center of the Arts, continuing the holiday cheer for musicians and audience members.

UW-Whitewater Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, and Symphony Orchestra directed by Christopher Ramaekers perform holiday songs at the UW-Whitewater Gala Holiday Concert in Young Auditorium Dec 2 2023. (Katie McIlheran)

The gala concert is an annual tradition for nearly every ensemble at UW-W. All proceeds from the concert benefit the Department of Music student scholarship fund. Donation baskets were proudly displayed on tables near the pre, mid and post-concert performers. Handmade gala ornaments were available to purchase in the Young Auditorium lobby for $10. In addition to ticket sales, the department welcomes gifts through its Angel donation program. All gala angels were named in the event program.

“This concert is a fundraiser for music department scholarships,” said Michael Hackett, jazz ensemble director. “If we don’t have certain instruments or certain voice types, we cannot function correctly. It’s vital that we raise money so that we can encourage musicians to join and be a part of our ensembles.”

Save the date for next year’s Gala Holiday Concert Dec. 7, 2024. Tickets for the public are $25. For those under 18 and over 65 years old, the price is $20. UW-Whitewater students will be charged $16.50. Tickets purchased at the box office will include an additional $2 upcharge.

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About the Contributors
Jayden Kimpel, Assistant Campus Editor
Katie McIlheran
Katie McIlheran, Lead Photographer

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