NATCHITOCHES – The 8th annual Natchitoches-Northwestern State University Multicultural Christmas Concert was held Dec. 6 at Treen Auditorium at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. The event was a benefit concert for the local nonprofit organization Cane River Children’s Services and was sponsored by the Department of Student Life, the Louisiana Folklife Center, the Office of Cultural Diversity and the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.
The concert featured an array of both sacred and secular Christmas performances. Performers included Addy Daddy and the Boys, a jazz group made up of NSU students James Armstrong, Fabian Güette, Nestor Mercado-Garcia, Addison Pellegrino and Jack Salyer; the Anointed to Praise Dance Team directed by Shereka Jefferson, Justin Cruse, Hardrick Rivers and Friends, Ed Huey, the members of La Table Française aux Natchitoches, including Natchitoches Central High School French teacher Nathalie Malti, LSMSA faculty Lisa Benner and Pablo Molino, NSU student Beau Voinche and NSU faculty Christine Ferrell and Allison Rittmayer; the LSMSA Chorale directed by Lisa Benner; the LSMSA Dance Ensemble directed by Audra Allen; the Natchitoches Detention Center Choir directed by Faye Smith, Audrey, Gidget and Shane Rasmussen, and a reading of “A Louisiana State Normal Student Christmas” by Mary Linn Wernet of the Cammie G. Henry Research Center.
The evening’s festivities concluded with a group singing of “Silent Night,” led by Addison Pellegrino with Faye Smith on piano. Highlights from the concert can be viewed on the Louisiana Folklife Center Facebook or website at https://louisianafolklife.nsula.edu/.
Many people contributed to making the event a success. The Louisiana Folklife Center staff, comprised of students Cheryl Garrett, Angel Lewis, Kirsten Sanders and Jeffrey Watley, as well as administrative coordinator Shelia Thompson, planned and promoted the event. The Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts hosted the event, which was coordinated by Jonathan Carruth, event technology support coordinator for LSMSA, and Shirley Dobson, administrative assistant to LSMSA executive director Dr. Steve Horton. LSMSA students served as stage managers and crew for the concert.
“We are so grateful to have had so many talented people perform in this year’s concert. That they volunteer to perform, freely donating their time and talents to the benefit of others, is what the season is all about,” said Rasmussen, associate professor of English and director of the Louisiana Folklife Center. “This concert is about the ways in which people from a wide variety of backgrounds come together to form community. This year’s concert was our best yet. The talent and dedication of these performers is simply off the charts, and the spirit of the season was palpable as the concert closed with everyone singing ‘Silent Night.’ The concert is a wonderful way to celebrate the joy and hope of the season. We are honored to be able to support such a worthy cause as Cane River Children’s Services.”
Those who wish to make a donation to Cane River Children’s Services may do so by contacting CEO Jennifer Karle at (318) 352-9349, or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 2453, Natchitoches, LA 71457.
In addition to spreading holiday hope and cheer, the concert also serves as both a retention and a recruitment event for NSU, with performances by community members of all ages as well as by current NSU students.