15 December 2014
Gaudete Gala 2014
I was fortunate last night to have attended the Fourth Annual Gaudete Benefit Gala for the sacred music program at St. Francis de Sales Oratory. This year marked a different approach to the event, and I was curious to see if it was as enjoyable as years past. The evening exceeded my expectations, and I can only encourage any reader who missed out on the event to take steps to attend next year.
This year's Gala was held at the Sheldon Concert Hall, in the midtown theatre district (near the Fox and Powell Symphony Hall), showcasing the music of these wonderful vocalists and musicians, under the direction of Mr. Nick Botkins. Previous Gaudete Galas were arranged around dinner, with music taking place in stages during dinner and dessert. This made for a lovely evening, but the acoustics for this type of program were not optimal.
This year, the orchestra and choir made use of the fantastic acoustics of the Sheldon to let the beauty of the music shine. I was reminded again of just how blessed we are at St. Francis de Sales Oratory to benefit from such wonderful sacred music. Though there was of course Christmas music, the program included much more: chant and polyphony, ancient and new--music requiring skill and subtlety.
There was a pre-concert reception for an increased donation, but the concert itself was followed by a lovely champagne and dessert reception that was included in the cost of the standard ticket. Both receptions were quite nice, and provided opportunity for fun and conversation on either side of the performance. At the risk of oversimplifying things, previous Galas seemed to be a nice dinner, with beautiful music in the background, whereas this year it was a highly enjoyable concert, with time to eat, drink and be merry. The star was the music itself-- the musicians and vocalists themselves were the center.
And I think that is very fitting. The proceeds of the event go to ensure that the sacred music program continues, and continues to grow in quality.
A worthy cause. A beautiful evening.
Can't wait until next year.