Radio M*A*S*H -2015 Results

RadioMASH2015 Final Group Pic

Thank you for making the 20th annual Radio M*A*S*H (Make A Smile Happen) a tremendous success.  With your help and commitment to the Natchitoches area, many  boys and girls will have a Merry Christmas this year.

The 2015 Radio M*A*S*H raised $23,627.00 in cash and toys collected at the tent between December 10th, 11th and 12th.  Elite Radio Group’s Market Manager, Bill Vance, said “We are overwhelmed at the generosity of the folks here in Natchitoches Parish as they turned out in a very large way to help Make A Smile Happen for our children and grandchildren at Christmas – Thank You Natchitoches Parish”

Radio M*A*S*H was created by The Elite Radio Group in 1996 to promote the annual toy drive with the Natchitoches Area Jaycees.  On the second weekend of December each year, the Elite Radio Group moves each of its radio stations to a tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  We bring 94.9 The River, My92.3 and KNOC-AM to broadcast for 54 hours straight, providing folks an opportunity to donate new toys and cash to help us Make A Smile Happen for Christmas!

Sponsors:

MASH2015 TShirt Sponsors

 

Scenes and Posts from Radio M*A*S*H 2015:

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CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES NEIGHBORHOOD LIGHTING CONTEST

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The Natchitoches Christmas Festival Committee invites residents to get in the holiday spirit and shine brightly in the 2nd Annual Neighborhood Lighting Contest.  Judging will be completed by Miss Merry Christmas and the Christmas Belles on the evening of December 10, 2015.

From November 21 through January 6, downtown Natchitoches is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. “The Neighborhood Lighting Contest is a great way to get everyone involved in the Christmas festivities,” stated Marian Keator, Neighborhood Lighting Committee chair.  “Since Natchitoches is the City of Lights, we hope that everyone will show their Christmas spirit and help light the way for the season!”

Homes will be judged on holiday lights and yard displays. Homes must be within the city limits of Natchitoches.  There is no entry fee for the contest.  Anyone interested in participating should email Samantha Bonnette at sbonnette@natchitochesla.gov with their name, address and phone number.

All entries will be judged on the evening of December 10, 2015. A total of 12 winners will be announced. Winners will receive a lighted-spirit stick, yard sign and bragging rights.

For more information, please contact Samantha Bonnette at (318) 352-2746 or via email at sbonnette@natchitochesla.gov.

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Family Farm Grows Green Through Value Added Production

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Consisting of five females spanning three generations, the Stevenson family lives in Fairview Alpha, Louisiana, on their 50-acre family farm. The farm grows a variety of fruit: citrus, muscadine, grapes, figs, pears, apples, and persimmons.They also grow a variety of ornamental flowers and plants.In addition, there is also cows, goats, and chickens. All the produce is grown organically. Recently, the farm expanded to include beekeeping. The entire family are crafters, with individual interests ranging from soap making, needlework, crocheting, sewing, canning, sculpting, basket weaving, and photography.

In an essay in the 2011 Kauffman Thoughtbook published by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Nicholas M. Donofrio, Retired Executive Vice President of Innovation and Technology at IBM wrote a thought-provoking article titled “Innovation that Matters”. With the benefit of forty-four years at IBM, he points out that, “The innovation that matters now – the innovation that we’re all waiting for, even if we don’t know it – is the one that unlocks the hidden value that exists at the intersection of deep knowledge of a problem and intimate knowledge of a market, combined with your knowledge, your technology, and your capability…whoever you are, whatever you can do, whatever you bring to the table.” He suggests that we start not with the solution and what we want to accomplish, but with the problem and what needs to change, and then start thinking about how to change it.

This is exactly where the Stevensons family found themselves in 2003 when granddaughter Gabriel was diagnosed with leukemia. She was only eight years old and because her immune system was practically zero they had to eliminate germs from the house which led to making all natural cleaning supplies.

Chemotherapy dried out Gabriel’s skin so her mother, Rachael, started to make goat milk soap because it added natural moisture and was free of the harsh chemicals found in commercial products. This eventually developed into a small business called Southern Lane Soaps. These products can be found at the Campti Historic Museum and will soon be available through the Red River Farm Fresh virtual marketplace.

In 2015, Rachel ventured into beekeeping with one hive. It was a natural fit with the orchard. She collected 105 pounds of honey and totally sold out. “I plan to add at least 5 more hives in 2016 because the additional income comes in handy and it is not that much more work,” she said.

If you are looking to go from a hobby to a business, there is technical and financial resources to help you get there. Join us on Monday, November 16, 2015, at The Abundant Life Church, 618 Ben Drive, Natchitoches, LA, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., to learn more about USDA programs focused on traditionally underserved groups: beginning farmers and ranchers, veterans, women, minority groups, and specialty crop producers.  For more information, you can contact Donna Isaacs at Campti Field of Dreams, 318-332-7791 or USDA Natchitoches, 6949 Louisiana Highway 1 Bypass, Natchitoches, LA, 71457, 318-357-8366.

Christopher to perform recital Monday

Paul Christopher

Cellist Paul Christopher will present a recital at Northwestern State University Monday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. Christopher is an Associate Professor of Music Theory and Low Strings at Northwestern State. He will be assisted by fellow faculty member Dr. Francis Yang on piano and Theresa Zale-Bridges on oboe.

The concert will feature music by Aho, Babbitt, J.S. Bach, Milhaud and Xenakis.

Christopher served for 15 years as principal cello of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra and the Shreveport Opera. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from the New England Conservatory of Music and his Master of Music in Cello Performance from the University of Memphis.

Christopher continues to perform with the Rapides, Shreveport and South Arkansas symphony orchestras. In the summer, he serves as assistant principal cello with the Peter Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon. Christopher has appeared as soloist with orchestras and has performed guest artist recitals throughout the United States and in Costa Rica, Honduras and South Korea.

Articles authored by Christopher have been published in the Jacques Offenbach Society Newsletter, Strings, American String Teacher, and Bass World. He has prepared and had published scores for Offenbach’s “Cello Duos, Opus 49, Nos. 1-6” and “Opus 50, Nos. 1-3,” and for Mark Prince Lee’s “Resonance for Solo Amplified Cello.” In 2007, Christopher was recognized as a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Cello by the Music Teachers National Association.

Christopher has appeared on numerous recordings as a member of the Nashville String Machine with artists such as Faith Hill, Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Springsteen and George Strait. He has also recorded works by contemporary composers Dinos Constaninides, Don Freund and Mark Prince Lee as well as five CDs for the Human Metronome label devoted to the cello music of Jacques Offenbach.

Pianist LIna Morita to perform Nov. 12

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Pianist Lina Morita will present a recital at Northwestern State University Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. The concert is part of the Louisiana Piano Series International. Tickets are $15. Students are admitted free. Dr. Francis Yang and Dr. Christine Burczyk Allen are the organizers of the Louisiana Piano Series International.

Morita, an associate professor of music at McNeese State University, made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013.  Her career has taken her throughout the U.S., Latin and South America and Europe for solo recitals. Morita has taught master classes at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Her solo and collaborative performances have been featured on Radio MEC FM in Brazil and WRKF 89.3FM in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Her collaborative performance with soprano Carol Lines was released by Centaur Records.

Morita received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music; the Master of Music from Rice University; and the Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University.

Jazz Orchestra to perform with Opera Creole Wednesday

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The Northwestern State University will perform along with Opera Créole Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. Associate Professor of Music Galindo Rodriguez conducts the NSU Jazz Orchestra.

Opera Créole is a group dedicated to researching and performing lost or rarely performed music and sharing with the community the contributions of Creole people to this musical art form in New Orleans and around the world.

Opera Créole’s singers are professional artists, educators and international soloists with roots in New Orleans, “America’s First City of Opera.” Members of the ensemble have recently been featured in solo roles in New Orleans Opera’s productions of “Madama Butterfly,” “Samson et Dalila,” “Il Trovatore,” “Salome” and “Porgy and Bess.” They were recently artists in residence at Illinois State University. Members of Opera Créole are part of the New Orleans Opera Chorus.

The NSU Jazz Orchestra will perform works by “The Heat’s On” by Sammy Nestico, “It’s A Heavy Town” by Donald Byrd and arranged by Mitch Farber featuring Kazue Seo on flugelhorn, “A Time for Love” by Paul Francis Webster and Johnny Mandel and arranged by Nestico, “All of Me” by Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks and arranged by Lennie Niehaus and featuring Giovanna Joseph on vocals and “Mack the Knife” by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht and arranged by Eric Burger.

Two-sport NSU standout, former major leaguer Jim Willis is Demons’ Great of the Game

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There is a piece of Jim Willis that never will leave Brown-Stroud Field.

When Willis returns to Northwestern State’s campus Saturday, it won’t be to see his retired No. 28 that graces the center field wall at NSU’s baseball field.

Instead, Willis will be honored as the Demon Great of the Game during Northwestern State’s football game against Abilene Christian. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Turpin Stadium, and Willis will be honored during the first quarter.

Willis became the first Northwestern State alumnus to appear in the major leagues, debuting in 1953 with the Chicago Cubs. Willis pitched two seasons with Chicago, going 2-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 27 appearances.

Willis, a Doyline native, was a two-sport standout at Northwestern State and a World War II veteran who served the U.S. Army in occupied Germany in 1945-46.

He was inducted in the N-Club Hall of Fame in 1976.

Much like fellow MLB and NSU alum Lee Smith, Willis’ Demons career was more noted for what he did on the hardwood than on the diamond.

Willis was part of the 1948-49 Northwestern State basketball team that reached the national semifinals under legendary coach H. Lee Prather.

His No. 28 baseball jersey was retired prior to the 2009 season, joining Brian Lawrence (29), Jim Wells (17) and Billie Roy Cook (10) as NSU baseball players with retired jerseys.

Willis began his professional baseball career in 1949 with Alexandria and pitched for the Shreveport Sports from 1951-52 before signing with the Cubs.

Willis is the author and illustrator of “My Baseball Story,” which chronicles his childhood, Army service and baseball career.

A Demon Great of the Game is spotlighted at each NSU home football game. Former NFL players Petey Perot and Keith Thibodeaux and iconic two-sport letterman and beloved coach Johnnie Emmons were NSU greats honored at the first three home games this season.

Natchitoches Community Care Center presented their $2,500 check as a sponsor of the NRMC Foundation Fall Scramble

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The Natchitoches Community Care Center Administrator, David Grotefend, presented their $2,500 check as a sponsor of the NRMC Foundation Fall Scramble held at the Alexandria Golf and Country Club. They will also be the

Presenting Sponsor for the upcoming Denim and Diamonds Gala.  Shown receiving the NCCC’s Tournament check  on behalf of the NRMC Foundation are: (L-R) Kirk Soileau (NRMC CEO), Pat Cunningham (NRMC Foundation Board), David Grotefend (NCCC Administrator), and Sidney Evans (NRMC Foundation Board & Tournament Chairman).

Greg Burke – LIVE on My923 KNOC – Job well done!

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Natchitoches Blessings, Lou Byers, Pastor Harris and My92.3 KNOC wish to thank Greg Burke, NSU Athletic Director, for his time today in the interview on the controversial photo and NSU’s position on the lack of understanding of cultural diversity and sensitivity among the NSU Athletic players and students.

Mr. Burke’s absolute transparency was very refreshing and much appreciated by our listeners and readers!

Mr. Burke – JOB WELL DONE!

McConathy, Whitaker named Miss, Mr. NSU

Mr Miss NSU Fall 2015

Brittany McConathy and Matthew Whitaker have big plans for their time representing Northwestern State University.

McConathy, a senior business administration major from Deville, was named Miss NSU and Whitaker, a senior psychology major from Winnfield, was named Mr. NSU. The honor is one of the highest a Northwestern State student can receive and is selected by the student body based on academic achievement and involvement in campus activities.

McConathy is the daughter of Brent and Julie McConathy. She is in her second year as president of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority. McConathy was the 2015 Freshman Connection coordinator. She is a member of Blue Key and Purple Jackets honor societies, Demon Volunteers in Progress and Presidential Leadership Program alumni. McConathy is a Dean’s List student and was the 2014 Greek Woman of the Year.

Whitaker is a senior psychology major. He is the son of Curtis C. Whitaker II and Brenda Mathews. Whitaker is the 2015 Greek Man of the Year. He is president of the Student Government Association and a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Whitaker is a member of Psi Chi and Blue Key Honor Society. He was a freshman orientation leader and a member of the Student Activities Board.

“It is humbling to receive an honor like this especially when your peers nominate and vote on you,” said Whitaker. “It’s pretty incredible. I have tried to be involved and relate to my fellow students in and out of the classroom.”

McConathy was queen of the 2015 Homecoming Court and Whitaker was King.

“I was very surprised to be named Miss NSU and it was ironic since Matthew and I came to school together as freshmen in 2011,” said McConathy. “I feel like I just got here. You blink and your time in college is over. When I came here, I never imagined I would receive honors like this. I love Northwestern with all my heart. It is such an honor to serve the university.”

McConathy said after being selected she and Whitaker asked what their duties would be.

“They told us we would be recognized at a football game and a basketball game,” she said. “And we both said, ‘That’s it?’ We decided we wanted to do more with our opportunity to represent the university.”

McConathy and Whitaker are working with Professor of Psychology Dr. Patrice Moulton on a project, “Empower Nepali Girls,” to raise $3,500 to adopt a school in Nepal.

“We want to create a safe learning environment and provide needed supplies for the school,” said McConathy. “We are about one-third of the way toward our goal after holding a fundraiser during Homecoming.”

Neither Whitaker nor McConathy planned to be as involved in campus activities when they enrolled four years ago.

“I just wanted to make my grades and graduate,” said Whitaker. “But once I got involved in Greek life, it snowballed and led to opportunities in SAB and SGA.”

McConathy credits the Presidential Leadership Program with helping get her interested in joining student organizations.

“The Presidential Leadership Program helped me get my toes wet, then started making other connections,” said McConathy. “Being involved has added so much to my college experience.”

Whitaker has several objectives to accomplish during his term as SGA president.

“I want to do my best to tackle every student concern and be their voice,” he said. “One of my main goals is to make students more aware of financial resources we have available such as SGA loans and the organizational relief Fund which can help an organization get funds to attend a conference or workshop.”

According to Whitaker, he also wants to start a campus debate series addressing current topics.

Limited-edition LSU-Alabama “Rivalry” portrait featuring Les Miles and Nick Saban up for bidding

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The intensity of the annual LSU-Alabama matchup, perhaps unmatched this century in college football, is personified by Les Miles and Nick Saban, the distinctive and remarkably successful head coaches of the powerhouse programs.

One of the remaining very limited edition, autographed 14” x 18” prints of “Rivalry,” a vivid portrayal of Miles and Saban in game action, are up for bid through Saturday at 10 a.m. on the LaSportsHall.com website.  A letter of authenticity and photographs of each coach with the artwork and the artist, Chris Brown, will be provided to the successful bidder, along with the artwork.

Within 24 hours during the open date week before the 2012 matchup of the Tigers and Crimson Tide, Miles and Saban graciously signed the original and nine prints of “Rivalry,” original artwork commissioned by the Hall of Fame Foundation to capture the special excitement of the LSU-Alabama series. Brown, the Hall’s official artist who annually does striking portraits of the Hall of Fame inductees, lent his talents to this very special project.  The original was featured at the live auction held in conjunction with the opening of the spectacular, $23 million Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum during the 2013 Induction Celebration.

Bids starting at $500 will be accepted at LaSportsHall.com until Saturday at 10 a.m. with the winner being revealed on the website and receiving notification via email.

Proceeds go to the Hall of Fame Foundation for its promotion and support of the 27,000-square foot museum, said Lisa Babin, the president and CEO of the foundation. She can be reached at LisaBabin@LaSportsHall.com or by calling 318-458-0166.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation is the 501 c 3 non-profit organization responsible for funding the annual Induction Celebration weekend as well as raising awareness and funding for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the sports exhibits in the internationally-acclaimed Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum at 800 Front Street in historic downtown Natchitoches.

The rivalry series started in 1895, with a 12–6 win for LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The rivalry has been played in Baton Rouge; New Orleans, Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Mobile. The teams began playing each other on an annual basis in 1964. A recent poll of Southeastern Conference fan bases found that over 60 percent of LSU fans singled out Alabama as their most bitter rival, especially after Saban, who coached LSU to the 2003 BCS national championship, became the Crimson Tide’s head coach in 2007.
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Miles signing Rivalry

Cane River Lake Update and Fireworks Events

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Cane River Lake Status Update / Events
As of November 2, 2015 Cane River Lake is at 98.0 MSL (pool stage)

City of Natchitoches will hold a Fireworks display -downtown river bank on the following days:
November 21, 2015 at 7pm
November 28, 2015 at 7pm
December 05, 2015 at 6pm (Christmas Festival)
December 12, 2015 at 7pm
December 19, 2015 at 7pm
December 26, 2015 at 7pm
December 31, 2015 at 7pm
All boats are required to be behind the yellow safety buoys 1 hour prior to fireworks, and must remain until Fire Marshall gives release.
For more information contact Betty Fuller at 318-617-3235 cell, 318-379-2878 home, 318-357-3007 office.
Thanks,

Billy Cannon visits Hall of Fame museum Nov. 17

58cannon_billy1The legendary Billy Cannon, to date the only LSU football player to win the coveted Heisman Trophy, will be the featured guest Tuesday evening, Nov. 17, at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum for a book signing and question and answer session open free of charge.

LSU Press officials said the Nov. 17 appearance at the Hall of Fame museum is the only public book signing to be attended by Dr. Cannon north of Baton Rouge in 2015.

Dr. Cannon and biographer Charles de Gravelle will autograph copies of the acclaimed, recently-released book “Billy Cannon: A Long, Long Run” produced by the LSU Press. The book will be on sale at the event for $30.

The event runs from 5-7 p.m., with a 30-minute break at 6 p.m. for a question and answer session in the Atmos Energy Gallery of the museum. Admission to the museum, normally $5 for adults, will be free beginning at 4 p.m.

The museum is located at 800 Front Street, at the north traffic circle in historic downtown Natchitoches, recently chosen as the country’s “Best Small Town in the South” by USAToday.com voters. Free parking is available on Front Street, the riverfront or one block to the rear of the museum at the Natchitoches Events Center (750 Second Street).

Dr. Cannon’s appearance is hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum and the LSU Press. Patrons are asked not to bring additional items to be autographed.

Online advance purchases are available at LaSportsHall.com. Those unable to attend the book signing who would like to have Dr. Cannon inscribe a personal message with those copies shipped by mail, should visit the LaSportsHall.com website.  The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation will ensure online book orders are inscribed and promptly mailed.

A year before he won the Heisman Trophy, Cannon led the Tigers to a national championship in 1958, igniting unprecedented passion for LSU and the Tiger football program that has increased through the years.  But like many stories of lionized athletes who rise to the status of legend, there was a fall—and in this instance, also redemption. For the first time, deGravelles reveals in full the thrilling highs and unexpected lows of Cannon’s life, in “Billy Cannon: A Long, Long Run.”

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Through conversations with Cannon, deGravelles follows the athlete-turned-reformer from his boyhood in a working-class Baton Rouge neighborhood to his sudden rush of fame as the leading high school running back in the country. Personal and previously unpublished stories about Cannon’s glory days at LSU and his stellar but controversial career in the pros, as well as details of his indictment for counterfeiting and his post-release work as staff dentist at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, unfold in a riveting biography characterized by uncanny success, deep internal struggles, and a champion’s spirit that pushed through it all.

The author, deGravelles, spent over 25 years ministering to the inmates at Angola, including the men on death row. A deacon and teacher living in Baton Rouge, deGravelles has published in literary journals and anthologies nationwide.

For more information about the event and the book, contact:
Lisa Babin
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation
LisaBabin@LaSportsHall.com
318-458-0166

Jennae Biddiscombe
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum
jbiddiscombe@crt.la.gov
318-357-2493

Erin Rolfs
LSU Press
erolfs@lsu.edu
225-578-8282

Witch Way to Main Street – October 31, 2015

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Photo: Kevin Shannahan

Witch Way to Main Street took place at the Natchitoches Events Center Saturday night October, 31, 2015.  Children and adults enjoyed a great evening of trick-or-treating at sponsored booths. Witch Way to Main Street also feature face painting, Sparky the Fire Dog, games, inflatables, laser tag and more.  Thank you to the City of Natchitoches.

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Photos: Kevin Shannahan

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Photos: Kevin Shannahan

Witch Way to Main Street Moved to Natchitoches Events Center

Witch Way to MainStreetNATCHITOCHES – Due to the strong possibility of rain for Saturday, Witch Way to Main Street has been moved to the Natchitoches Events Center located at 750 Second Street. The free trick-or-treating event will take place from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

Witch Way to Main Street will take place at the Natchitoches Events Center and will allow children age 12 and younger to trick-or-treat at sponsored booths. Witch Way will also feature face painting, Sparky the Fire Dog, games, inflatables, laser tag and more!

Children must be in costume and accompanied by an adult to participate. Candy and prizes will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Natchitoches police officers will be on duty to ensure children’s safety.

For more information on Witch Way to Main Street, please call the Natchitoches Main Street office at (318) 352-2746.

NSU will present Christmas Gala at the historic Strand Theatre

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Northwestern State University’s School of Creative and Performing Arts will stage its most popular holiday production in a new venue this December.  The annual Christmas Gala, a perennial holiday favorite in Natchitoches, will be presented on the stage of Shreveport’s historic Strand Theatre with two show times on Saturday, Dec. 12. The Gala at The Strand performances will be in addition to the traditional Natchitoches performances on Dec. 2-4.

“This will be the entire show taken on the road,” said Dr. Greg Handel, director of the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts.  “Gala is a collaborative effort from all areas of CAPA, music, art, theatre and dance.  Over 300 students, faculty and staff participate in the production of the show, from costumes, to decorating, to program design, to performing and directing.”

Show times at The Strand will be a 4 p.m. matinee and a 7:30 p.m. evening performance. Tickets are $10. for general admission.  NSU and BPCC students with IDs can attend at no charge.

For many, the Christmas Gala is a holiday tradition and the CAPA faculty and students are excited about presenting the show at The Strand.

“When I came to NSU in 1983, there was already a Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra concert held early in the evening the night before the Christmas Festival and afterwards our elected officials would host their Festival parties,” recalled Bill Brent, CAPA’s long-time director.  When Brent became department head in 1986, he realized there weren’t many people attending the concert and wanted to do something to change it up.  Later, when Dr. Jack Wann was hired as coordinator of theatre and dance, he and Brent discussed ways to attract more people to the Christmas concert. Their idea was inspired by the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.

“We wanted to showcase not just music, but everything else we had to offer,” Brent said.  “We were also doing children’s concerts at the time and we wanted to strike a balance between fun things for kids as well as a performance adults would enjoy. As our theatre and music programs grew, we added dance and included different types of acts and more and more people wanted to get involved.  We wanted to offer something that people would find entertaining that would include singing, dancing, theatre and artwork.”

As the Gala’s popularity grew, many elements have become expected favorites.

“The crowds always want to see tin soldiers and they love the percussion line,” Brent said.

Logistically, the timing of Gala presents several challenges, falling the week after Thanksgiving and the week before finals, but the audience appreciation and exposure for the university make it worth everyone’s extra effort, Handel said. Planning and preparation begin in the spring and continue, along with rehearsals, throughout the fall semester. Intense rehearsals begin three weeks prior to show’s opening, annually held the Wednesday before the Natchitoches Christmas Festival in A.A. Fredericks Fine Arts Auditorium.

Over the years, the Gala grew from one evening performance to five daytime shows and four evening shows and organizers are enthusiastic about adding two more performances for the Shreveport audience.

“More than 12,000 see the gala in Natchitoches each year, and it is met with enthusiasm from all audiences. The school-age students particularly love the show, and we are hoping to bring together all of the audience favorites for this year’s production,” Handel said.

“One wonderful thing about Gala is it creates an atmosphere for the students as to what will be expected of them, whether they are a pit orchestra musician, a costumer, a dancer or a sound technician.  This is what happens in a Broadway show atmosphere when you have multiple performances in a short amount of time. It’s a great laboratory experience for the students,” Brent said. “Another thing is it showcases all of Creative and Performing Arts, so if you don’t like dancing, just wait a minute and the jazz orchestra is going to play. There’s something in there for everyone. It’s a top notch production that leaves a positive impression in people’s minds.”

Handel said presenting the show in Shreveport opens it up to a wider audience and viewers may see familiar faces as several performers hail from the Shreveport/Bossier and east Texas area.

“The 4 p.m. showing is ideal for school groups and we can’t wait to share the experience with Shreveport/Bossier,” Handel said.

For tickets to the Gala at The Strand, visit thestrandtheatre.com/schedule and click on the link to Gala at The Strand.  To view a sneak peak of the show visit nsula.edu/gala.

Witch Way to Main Street – Weather Outlook

Witch Way to MainStreet

The City of Natchitoches has been getting lots of calls about Witch Way to Main Street and the dreadful weather forecasts. At this time, Witch Way to Main Street is still scheduled to take place on the downtown riverbank from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. However, in the event of bad weather, the event will be moved to the Natchitoches Events Center on Saturday from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Cross your fingers and toes that the forecasts will miraculously change!

318-352-2746

Demons Unlimited Foundation membership push is resounding success

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The Demons Unlimited Foundation, the fundraising organization supporting Northwestern State Athletics, has successfully completed its “99 Members in 99 Days” campaign by adding over 100 new members and nearly $200,000 in new revenue.

Director of athletics Greg Burke, associate AD for external affairs Adam Jonson and assistant AD for development and marketing Haley Blount made the announcement Wednesday.

The campaign launched as the 2015 summer Victory Tour began on July 20. DUF Board members were tasked with helping recruit new DUF members, and Blount said their efforts were significant in growing the DUF roll. There were nearly 30 new members who joined the DUF during the two-week-long Victory Tour.

The nearly $200,000 in new revenue will help offset additional expenses incurred by the fiscal year 2015-16 athletic budget, she said. A total of 101 new members have signed up since July 20.

“The best part about this campaign is that we’ve been able to successfully communicate the message that all donors at all levels are both needed and appreciated,” said Blount. “Most of the new donors we’ve gained during this campaign have signed up to contribute just $10-20 per month, but look at the end result and significantly positive impact on our athletics program.  Imagine if many more NSU alumni and supporters would make that same commitment.”

The DUF has a 2015-16 goal to raise nearly $1 million in cash from annual gifts, sponsorships and special events to underwrite the cost of items critical of being competitive in NCAA Division I. The money supports awarding the full complement of scholarships in 14 sports, team travel, equipment, coaching salaries and performance incentives, recruiting, marketing and promotions, and other vital elements of the overall operating budget of NSU Athletics.

That target, said Blount, includes a goal of over $350,000 in contributions for its annual fund. Jonson said NSU Athletics has almost reached the $500,000 goal for corporate sponsorships in 2015-16.

Although “99 Members in 99 Days” has concluded, Blount emphasized that the push for new DUF memberships continues.

Additional focus on reconnecting with former student-athletes has been initiated this summer with the reorganization of the N-Club, the association of former and current athletic letterwinners at NSU.

Another recent launch with significant momentum is the Perpetually Purple Program which presents opportunities to establish endowments and planned giving benefiting NSU Athletics.

Supporters can visit the Demons Unlimited Foundation link on NSUDemons.com for additional information or contact Blount via email at blounth@nsula.edu or by telephone at 318-357-4278. All donations are tax deductible.