Arts and Living Editor
The annual Christmas Gala performance, held by Northwestern State University’s School of Creative and Performing Arts, will be taking place virtually this December due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Gala program, which kicks off the Natchitoches Christmas Festival every year, will include classic performances from the choir, orchestra, musical theater students, dance students, jazz band and many other CAPA groups. However, now students will be performing for a camera instead of an audience.
Colin Vedros, a junior communications major, will be performing with the Chamber choir. Vedros stated he is not as excited to perform in gala as previous years.
“But I do feel a sense of hope for what’s to come,” Colin Vedros, junior communications major, said. “The excitement I do have comes from being able to have a Gala and to perform for an audience despite the circumstances.”
According to Department Head of Theatre and Dance and director of Gala, Brett Garfinkel, being the director would normally entail creativity as it requires being responsible for the overarching vision of the show. Now, Garfinkel’s role has shifted facilitator in order to ensure the safety of students.
“Of course, with everything that’s going on with COVID and the way in which we’re moving forward with the actual performance,” Garfinkel said. “I’ve sort of had to shift my thoughts and my vision for the show to something that’s more doable in this new format.”
Scott Burrell, assistant director of Creative and Performing Arts and producer of Gala, said that the performances will be recorded in different locations in order to reduce any cross-contamination.
“Instead of it all taking place on the Frederick’s stage, the theater and dance numbers will be done on the Frederick’s stage, “Burrell said. “But the orchestra and music ensembles will be done in Magale, and then the choir will actually be doing their recording down at Immaculate Conception downtown.”
Despite the challenges of working around COVID-19, Garfinkel assures that this year’s Gala
will still be one for the books.
“There’s still going to be a lot of things happening for everybody,” Garfinkel says. “It really allows us to put our best foot forward and, because it’s in a video format, we have the opportunity to really think outside the box.”
Students and patrons will have the opportunity to donate to the Gala fund and receive a link to the performance to watch in the comfort of their own homes. Information on how to access the Gala performance will be released in the weeks to come as the directing and producing team perfect the performance.
Burrell hopes to have the link for Gala posted the Friday before Natchitoches’ Christmas Festival so the community will have an opportunity to watch it during the holiday season.