Beginning more than a decade ago, Eastern University’s music department has hosted its annual music gala to showcase the talents of Eastern’s faculty and students. While the yearly event has typically been held at or near Eastern’s campus, this year’s gala came with an updated venue at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia due to its collaboration with President Duffet’s inauguration ceremony on Friday, April 4.
This year’s gala was held in honor of President Duffet’s inauguration as Eastern University’s ninth president. The theme of celebration was present throughout the gala’s program. “It was concise and fast paced. The music was engaging and celebratory—it had humor, fun and depth,” states Dr. Ron Matthews, Executive Director of the Fine and Performing Arts Division. Both President Duffett and his wife, Connie attended the gala, with President Duffet closing the concert with a benediction. The gala featured the Eastern Piano Quartet, Pro Christo Brass, University Choir, as well as Music Faculty and Students.
The new venue was a big change of scenery for the music department, and required a lot of work to pull off. “It was a logistical nightmare that worked out amazingly well, thanks to the house staff and stage management at the Kimmel Center, as well as the professionalism of our Music Faculty and tech crew,” Matthews says. “A special thanks goes to our Music Office Staff, Sara Herman and Colleen Bradstreet, as well as Meggin Capers in Conferences for all their efforts to make this concert happen.”
Each year, the gala’s proceeds are donated to a local cause; last year’s funds were sent to the university choir. This year’s proceeds went toward the funding of a new fine and performing arts facility on campus. A portion of the funds also went to the university choir tour as well as for a means of “developing an international presence for the Eastern University music department,” Matthews states.
With the venue change somewhat limiting attendance, the gala remained an impressive showcase of Eastern talent. In closing, Matthews says, “we laughed, we cried,” and in the years to come, hopes that the annual music gala will grow into an even more successful evening. Matthews states, “We hope to increase the relationship with admissions and with the development office in using this event as an attractive and premiere event, as well as an offering to the community.”