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Each Christmas, the music department delivers eagerly anticipated Christmas programs. This year, our musicians will be masked up but still merry and bright! In our photo, Emily Brewer ’18, performing in 2018.

Recordings and Livestreams Deliver a St. Norbert Christmas

Missing your on-campus entertainment options this year? SNC Music can help!

Knights on Broadway delivers its holiday show virtually this evening, and its Christmas 2020 album is ready to order. The music department is producing concert recordings, too, and Knight Theatre plans to offer its February show via livestream – offerings sized just right to tuck into a fan’s Christmas stocking.

Knights on Broadway show tonight
Knights on Broadway is making Christmas happen online this year but the appeal is the same as ever: The troupe is offering its traditional blend of Christmas carols with a few new tunes.

“Turning our usual live show into something to be watched at home has been a challenge rife with reward,” says director Kent Paulsen (Music). “We’ve spent a lot of this semester rehearsing remotely using Zoom and sending practice tracks back and forth. When we first started meeting to rehearse – physically distanced and masked, of course – it was clear that all the extra work was worth it.”

The title of this year’s show is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and tonight is the final performance of a four-night run. Tickets are still available from the ticket office.

Music and Theatre Studies join the party
The music department is offering a recording of its autumn concert for only $5. A Christmas album is in the works. Both recordings, along with the Knights on Broadway Christmas album, can be purchased from the ticket office.

Knight Theatre is planning an homage to shows past. “Knight Theatre Through the Years” will feature music from 25 different musicals. Tickets for in-person and livestreamed performances, Feb. 4-6, are already on sale.

Paul Mashl and his theatre facilities team have been key partners in bringing these productions to SNC audiences, just as they were in the recent Theatre Studies’ “COVID Night Live!” This SNC spin on a certain long-running sketch comedy show broadcasting live from New York offered a compilation of short plays broken up by student-written commercials. The show streamed Nov. 6-14.

More from behind the scenes
Will Fischer ’21, one of the four “COVID Night Live!” directors, says: “Having an audience allows the actors to typically feel more energized and confident while acting. Without an audience, the actors had to adjust from stage acting to a more film-acting type of method. A lot of an actor’s emotion is seen through their facial expressions; with face masks, this is much harder. This challenged the actors to use areas of their faces that could be seen, along with their movements and voices in order to make sure the audience knew their emotions.”

Stephen Rupsch (Theatre Studies) explains: “The performing arts are unique in our society since they provide an immediate and visceral experience for an audience that they share with each other – everyone in the same room. The experience creates its own environment for that moment. Film can do that at the movie theatre, but theatre, music and dance offer an immediacy that audiences crave – for some it is a sense of oneness, or even just a strong feeling of community.”

Rupsch is divisional dean of visual and performing arts. He adds: “The real challenge was what to do with the large concerts that music normally offers for choir and band. Our music professors worked like crazy to create a safe environment for all the students and were quite successful.”

Students were masked and maintained 6-feet social distance during the recordings.

Gavi VanBoxtel ’21, a trombone player in the wind ensemble, explains: “We have to wear face masks with holes in the middle, as well as have a sleeve over the bells of our instruments where the noise comes from. The only times we were able to play together as an ensemble were when we were able to request rehearsals on stage.”

This wasn’t something that could often happen.

“I’m not too sure when live performances will come back, but I miss them dearly. ... COVID-19 made a mess out of everything!”

Knight Theatre anticipates the need for similar accommodations with “Knight Theatre Through the Years.” A rotating schedule has been created as sections of the cast practice music from the 25 different musicals featured. A virtual hangout space will give members a chance to bond with one another despite the need to remain apart physically. While the goal is to perform live with physical distance measures in place, a livestream option also will be available for those who cannot attend in person.

Dec. 17, 2020