The St. Ambrose University Music Department will take a popular Christmas tradition on the road this year.
For the first time, the annual Christmas showcase concert featuring choir and vocal groups, the symphonic and jazz bands, and a number of student soloists, will be held at the Adler Theater in downtown Davenport. The holiday event will take place at 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8.
Moving to the Adler became necessary due to an unusually late Thanksgiving holiday, which reduced the number of available weekends in the the Galvin Fine Arts Center.
William Campbell, PhD, chair of the music department, said faculty and students are looking at the change as an opportunity.
"I see it as a way to reach out more to the Quad-Cities community," he said. "It's an opportunity to get our students in a bigger hall and for the families to come down and enjoy a bigger space."
For sophomore chorale performer Jordan McGinnis, it is a bit of a holiday homecoming. The Davenport North High School graduate previously performed with his high school show choir in the downtown venue.
"It will bring up a lot of good memories," he said. "I'm sure it will be a lot different than performing with a show choir, but I am very excited to perform there again and I hope that everyone will have a wonderful time at the beautiful Adler Theater."
Campbell said the more spacious venue presents a teachable moment.
"It is nice to have a chance to teach the students that the way we sing and hear, or the way we play and hear, is different in a huge hall," he said. "The key in any group is how well you listen to people. If you are playing in a big hall, then you have to have big ears and you had better be using those ears to make a good sound that fits with everybody else's sound."
Brendan Besetzny, a senior bassist, is eager to perform.
"Playing on a big stage is awesome and really gives the show a different feel," he said. "I am excited and I hope to see a big crowd when I walk out on stage."
Campbell said the traditional show will evolve with the move. The symphonic band and the choral groups will share the stage more often.
"It is going to be less of a showcase and more of a musical event," he said. "There will be narration to help weave it all together. It should come off as one big event rather than a series of individual performances."
The evening will end with audience sing-along with the band and large chorus.
There will be a minimal charge for the show this year - $5 for adults and $2 for non-SAU students and will be available at the box office. St. Ambrose students and children under 5 will be admitted at no charge.