Annual Holiday Festival raises spirit and funds
Macky Auditorium has been transformed into winter wonderland this Friday, Saturday and Sunday by decorations, rich voices and beautiful instruments for the College of Music’s annual Holiday Festival.
The four performances were completely sold out. Ticket purchases from the event support students with scholarships, accompanists, outreach programs and equipment.
The program included performances by faculty and students, sing-along songs for the audience, and a guest appearance by Santa Claus himself.
Santa stuck around long enough to sing a song and play the piano for the audience.
“I like to take a weekend off before the big day,” he said.
Concert attendees couldn’t keep themselves from singing along and catching the holiday spirit.
“It was outstanding,” said first-time Holiday Festival attendee Cindy Keim, 60. “I liked everything about it. What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.”
“It was all so wonderful. You can bet that we will be coming back next year,” said Bill Morgan, 45.
Allan McMurray, Holiday Festival director, began putting together the program in January of last year.
“Planning for the event actually began as soon as the event ended last year,” he said. “We analyze what we want to keep from the program and decide what else to add.”
McMurray said his enthusiasm for the season makes directing the festival so special.
“I’m a person that just loves the season. Celebrating wonderful music that is part of the season is really exciting for me,” he said.
McMurray said each year the program is different because new students perform and bring a fresh approach to the music.
“Seeing all the students coming together really inspires me,” he said.
A balance of traditional favorites and new pieces were played.
“The Polar Express” was a new addition to the program. Audience members laughed at the high pitched sounds of the trumpets imitating trains. The piece received numerous rounds of applause.
If you missed the performance, CDs can be purchased for $15 at www.cuconcerts.org. The CDs feature 15 tracks with music recorded at the 2003 and 2004 concerts.