VCU Department of Music hosts 2014 Holiday Gala

Ariane Caday
Contributing Writer

For its 28th consecutive year, the VCU Department of Music will ring in the holiday spirit at their annual Holiday Gala on Friday, Dec. 5.

Hosted in the Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall in VCU’s W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, the Holiday Gala will feature numerous VCU ensembles, faculty and students for a fun and festive event. Open to the general public, the event encourages all families to attend. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and under. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Richmond Hospital Hospitality House, which provides lodging and non-medical services to families and individuals in medical crises.

Led by professor John Patykula, the VCU Guitar and Community Guitar ensembles will join to perform a Beatles tribute. photos by Tim Chumley

John Patykula, assistant chair in the VCUarts Department of Music, will be the coordinator of the annual Holiday Gala for his 15th year. Started by Richard Koehler, a former chair, the event has experienced much success. Past years have seen a large crowd of more than 400 people, with a few years of sold out performances. With over $4,000 raised last year, many of the festive decorations, such as beautiful poinsettias, are given to the Hospitality House as well.

“The Holiday Gala features the entire department of music,” Patykula said. “It is rare to have every ensemble present at the same time, so it is a great opportunity for everyone to come together.”

The ensembles performing include Jazz Orchestra II, Guitar and Community Guitar Ensemble, 804Five Brass Ensemble, Vocal Chamber Ensemble, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Flute Choir, Commonwealth Singers and several special guests who will be performing as well.

Brianna Sklute, french horn player at VCU, will perform in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble for the annual music Holiday Gala.

There are 24 students in the combined VCU Guitar Ensemble with 20 members in the VCU Community Guitar Ensemble; Patykula heartily expressed his excitement for the total of 44 guitarists who will be playing collectively. The program will open with “Winter Wonderland” by special guest singer Lisa Edwards-Burrs, and “Christmas on Abbey Road” by the two guitar ensembles. Patykula described the latter as being a tribute to the Beatles in which the ensembles will play in the manner the band would play. On the program the piece is also titled “Caroling with the Beatles.” The audience will continue to enjoy arrangements performed by the other ensembles listed.

With a reception following the event run with the help of VCU’s honorary service fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi, the annual Holiday Gala will help bring in the holiday spirit for a local cause.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the VCU Music box office at 804-828-6776 or going online to

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