UW-Whitewater music department showcases student talent in annual gala concert

Each year, UW-Whitewater’s Music Department hosts the Holiday Gala Concert. This is the department’s biggest concert of the year, raising roughly $12,000 for the student scholarship fund.

The Holiday Gala Concert is the Music Department’s biggest event of the year. Each year roughly $12,000 for the student scholarship fund is raised from ticket sales and the silent auction. The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Young Auditorium. Photo submitted.

Nine of the department’s musical groups including choirs, orchestras and ensembles will perform in the 18th annual concert.

Music Department Chair Dr. J. Michael Allsen said he is looking forward to the concert and is excited for this year’s event.

Allsen said this is the one concert each year where almost all music majors are on stage at the same time. This is also the only concert each year where the Gospel Choir performs.

This also is the one time each year the department gets to perform big, combined works due to scheduling and rehearsal times, Allsen said. Before the concert begins, student choirs and ensembles will perform in the lobby of the Young Auditorium. There will also be a silent auction in the Fern Young Terrace.

The first performance of the Gala is always the Gospel Choir. They will perform more well-known musical pieces such as “Away in the Manger.”

Director of Choral Activities Dr. Robert Gehrenbeck will conduct Women’s Chorale and the grand finale piece featuring the Chamber Singers, Concert Choir and the Whitewater Symphony Orchestra.

Gehrenbeck said the Women’s Chorale, consisting of 40 singers, will perform a “fun, spiritual piece” in a capella.

After an intermission, the Chamber Orchestra will perform a piece by Giuseppe Torelli, then Gehrenbeck will conduct the grand finale.

The final piece consists of 10 movements by Johann Sebastian Bach. Gehrenbeck took pieces from Bach’s Christmas Cantatas and created one continuous piece.

“There is a very strong beat in all the music,” Gehrenbeck said. “The music features very colorful instruments like trumpets, kettle drums, flutes, oboes, violins and an organ.”

One movement Gehrenbeck said he was excited about was the “Echo” aria. In this piece, a main soprano sings, then a second soprano, who is standing farther away, “echoes” the first singer. This piece also features two oboe players who follow the echo format too.

“It’s very cute and cheerful music of course because it is for Christmas,” Gehrenbeck said.

Both professors agreed this concert has a great variety of music and there will be something for everyone.

Allsen said many students and faculty look forward to this event every year and this concert is his personal favorite of the year.

The concert provides students with a chance to perform more challenging music. Gehrenbeck said it is a good educational experience for students and even though it’s challenging, “it helps keep their chops in shape.”

The Holiday Gala Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Young Auditorium.

Allsen said students and community members should buy their tickets in advance because it is reserved seating. This is also one of the most popular concerts of the year so tickets sell fast.

Tickets are $15 for community members and $10 for students. If tickets are purchased the day of the event, add $2 to the price. For all tickets there is a $1.75 facility fee.

“The music is very fun, even the classic music,” Gehrenbeck said. “Everyone will enjoy it even if they’re not a die-hard fan of Bach.”

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