On Friday, Nov. 30 alumni, students, faculty and staff, families and the wider community filled Henderson Auditorium for an artistic celebration of the holidays at Anderson University’s annual Christmas First Night.
First Night showcases vocal and instrumental music, dance and theatre from students of Anderson University's South Carolina School of the Arts. The single-night event focuses on bringing family and friends of AU together to rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas.
Students in orchestra, choir, modern dance class and musical theater participate in the show. In fact, all performers at First Night are Anderson University students studying various art forms.
“Everyone works together,” said Iris Tetsch, a junior dance major. “It is a very collaborative process.”
Tetsch participated in First Night for the first time this year, and she enjoyed playing a part in the tradition.
Tetsch said she and her peers rehearsed for nearly six weeks to prepare for the show. Students use class time to prepare for the performance, then the different classes unite for rehearsals.
“Beautiful art forms are presented on all sides,” Tetsch said.
She said the blend of creative disciplines results in a comprehensive show that allows all performers to express their skills well.
Year after year, nearly every seat in the auditorium is full. This year, all tickets for First Night were already claimed less than 24 hours after being made available. Much of the audience consists of people from the local community and alumni.
The show emphasizes the joy of the Christmas season. Tetsch believes the event’s focus on Jesus’ birth has contributed to its establishment as a popular AU tradition.
After the show, the audience enjoyed the traditional lighting of the Yule Log on the lawn in front of Rainey Fine Arts Center, where students gathered to watch the flames in anticipation of Christmas.