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Christmas First Night: A Gift for the Soul.

The South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University is proud to kick off the Christmas season this year with an online celebration of Christmas First Night: A Gift for the Soul. 

Christmas First Night features ensemble and solo performances from Music students of The South Carolina School of the Arts. Along with performances of seasonal sacred and secular music, A Gift for the Soul includes the traditional presentation of the scriptural Christmas Story.

The program premieres on the Anderson University website on December 3, 2021 and will be available for a limited time. 

Christmas First Night: A Gift for the Soul includes performances by the Anderson University Jazz band, the Anderson University Choirs, the Anderson University Gospel Ensemble, String Ensemble, Commercial Music Ensemble, and AUthenticity!

This unique online event was produced while carefully following Journey Ahead protocols. The South Carolina School of the Arts thanks the Anderson University Marketing and Communications team and the Anderson University Livestream and Technical teams who worked tirelessly to help carefully craft this Christmas celebration.

Please know we are enormously proud of the spirit of giving that has long been an AU tradition. When you support our dynamic arts program with a gift to The South Carolina School of the Arts, you invest in our students and our growing production programs. Your gift, large or small, will help build our inventory of musical instruments, provide necessary ensemble, scholarship support, send gifted actors to special auditions, and provide for guest artists and expand our Vandiver Gallery Series.

We are excited to share this special Christmas First Night presentation and we look forward to you joining us for Christmas First Night 2022 in Henderson Auditorium!

Christmas First Night

Christmas First Night Offering

As a part of our annual First Night Celebration, Anderson University receives an offering to assist with a University or community need. This year we will be accepting donations to benefit the AU Student Emergency Fund. This fund was created to have resources available to assist students who found themselves in need of financial assistance due to unexpected dire circumstances. Your support of the fund will allow us to continue to help our students through these financial challenges. Thank you for your support.


Christmas First Night Program



Jingle Bells Arr. Sammy Nestico
AU Jazz Ensemble
Steven Wilson, director

Blue Christmas” by Billy Hayes, arr. Joel McCann
Commercial Music Ensemble
Greg Alewine, director

This Christmas” Donny Hathaway arr. Max Milian 
Derick Cordoba, director

Cantique de Noel” Adolphe Adams, arr. Owen Goldsmith
AU String Ensemble
Kathy Perry, director

Christmas Scriptural Reflection (Luke 2:1-20)
Rev. Dr. James Noble
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Joy to the World” by Beverly Crawford, Victor Caldwell, Cedric Caldwell
AU Gospel Ensemble
Brandon Groves, Director

Holiday Giving Opportunities
Wayne Landrith
Senior Vice President for Development & Presidential Affairs

"Night of Silence" Dan Kantor, arr. John Ferguson
Combined University, Women’s, and Concert Choir 
Jessica Andress, organ; Amanda Bateman, harp; Janice Wright, piano

All numbers presented in this program were recorded using approved COVID-19 protocols and PPE. In some cases, audio and video were captured separately using precautions appropriate to each.


Christmas First Night Credits


Dr. David Larson
Rev. Dr. James Noble
Mr. Wayne Landrith
AU Jazz Ensemble
Steve Wilson, director
Gavin Worley - Alto
Jace Grauel - Alto
Micah Trotter - Tenor
Maria Bouton - Tenor
Mabry Smith - Baritone
Chris Imhoff
Luke Robinson
Austyn Cross
Joseph Tanay
Lee Worley
Britt Callahan
Jacob Hammett
Evan Cathcart
Hayden Stellges
Rhythm Section
Thomas Dotson - Piano
Xavionne Washington - Drums
Nick Joy - Bass
Gavin Gillespie - Guitar
Commercial Music Ensemble
Greg Alewine, director
Jacob Lenz - Vocals
Sydney Wells - Vocals
Rachel Thornhill - Vocals
Cheyenne Williams Vocals
Joel McCann – Keys, Arranger, Student Music Director
Tre Lofton – Saxophone
Michael Ford – Guitar 
Stonewall Pent – Bass 
Dalvin Gray – Drums
Derick Cordoba, director 
Kyra Morgan - Vocals
Caitlyn Burger - Vocals
Max Milian – Vocals, Piano, Arrangement, Student Music Director 
Sincere Hatten – Vocals, Saxophone
Michael Ford - Guitar
Otis Todd - Bass
Sadler Jones - Drums
AU String Ensemble
Kathy Perry, director
1st Violin
Adam Jobson
Natalie Rutledge
Sarah Frizzell
2nd Violin
Julia Martin
Carly Wilder
Sally Jolly
Rachael Blacketer
Luis Martinez-Meraz
Sophie Lee
Cade Craig
Stonewall Pent
Morgan McKinnon
Hunter Norman
Amanda Bateman
AU Gospel Ensemble
Brandon Groves, director
Santisha Alexander
Trista Anthony
Tanisha Brawner
Amiya Brown
Carly Burns
Angelina Chisholm
Jasmine Cuffy
Portia Dantzler
Ericka Dash
Destiny Donald
Jakeem Dubose
Karlie Dye
Colin Gambrell
Nelson Gibson
Sincere Hatten
Dorothy Haynes
Danielle Howard
Kacey King
Zalika Lee
Ralyn Ligon
Haven Manigault
Malek McDuffie
Saquana Miles
Cameron Owens Hunter
Ford Pierce
Raven Shelton
Deshante Thurmond
Cailah Tolbert
Lemuel Ayers
Tyjuan Breeze
Tyriece Gingles
Anderson University Choir
Christopher Hansen, director
Janice Wright, pianist

Sarah Ankers
Abbi Askew
Trinity Bagnati
Christina Hope Boothe
Adam Nicholas Boyce
Emily Britton
Calah Burdette
Colin Calvert
Ian Clark
Lydia Clark
Kelsey Crews
SK Cunnup
William Daniel
Camden Davis
Spencer Dulin
Anna Dunn
Jessica Ferguson
Nathan Fowler
Hannah Fox
Samuel Frick
Colin Gambrell
Emma Gambrell
Easton Gowan
Grace Hartsell
Sophia Hassevoort
Lawson Haynes
Michael Hoffmann
Jenith Israel
Lydia Langley
Ryvers Martin
Abby McDonald
Hannah Miller
Ian Morel
Selah Owen
Samuel Perry
Joshua Potenburg
Grady Richardson
Rebecca Rinkliff
Eliese Roberts
Tiffany Russell
Ansley Sanders
Hannah Sappia
Josh Sewak
Susa Smith
Morgan Stalling
Emily Staton
Clancy Stauffer
Noah Thomas
Rachel Thornhill
Caroline Visbisky
Mary Wallwork
Sydney Wells
Madeline Whitmore
Cheyenne Williams
AU Women’s Choir
Deirdre Welborn Francis, conductor
Molly Tripp, piano
Jessica Andress
Kara Joy Bragg
Caitlyn Burger
Cassidy Clark
Zoe Dubiski
Jordan Duncan
Carly Frederiksen
Emily Jones
Beall Looney
Karissa McKnight
Rebecca Menoni
MaCayla Ratcliffe
Brianna Ricks
Tailor Vaughn
Mary Beth Winckler
Ashley Winn
Anderson University Concert Choir
Richard A. Williamson, conductor
Cynthia Forbes, accompanist
Kenna Boyle
Mabry Boyle
Lucy Grace Burnett
Joey Carlisle
Angelina Chisholm
Catie Cofield
Alecz Cushman
Hannah Dillard
Alison Duffy
Alyssa Gaines
Mikah Dunn
Nick Joy
Meghan Kirkland
Jacob Lenz
Joel McCann
Max Milian
Kyra Morgan
Cason Pyrtle
Makaria Sanders
Will Sharpe
Ben Smith
Luke Smith
Maggie Smith
Spencer Snow
Olivia Stepp
Sarah Velkovich
Hanna Ward
Production Staff
Video (Henderson) 
Richard A. Williamson
Associate Producer
Rebekah Miller
Video Director
Ryan Stanley
Camera Operators
Sarah-Beth Arnold
Larisa Crowder
Alex Davis
Benjamin Despres
Zoe Dubiski
Jacob King
Jeremy Thompson
Grace Ann Vargo
Video Editors
Sarah-Beth Arnold
Benjamin Despres
Jeremy Thompson
Grace Ann Vargo
Post-Production Editor
Calvin Bowman
Audio Director
Brandon Bower
Audio Tech
Spencer Dempsey
Broadcast Recording, Audio Mixing and Mastering
Joe Wehunt
Studio Assistants
Joel McCann
Hannah Dillard
Sarah Velkovich
Lighting and Scenery
Lighting Director
Abbigail Askew
Lighting Techs
Jenna Grigsby
Post Production
Andrew Beckner
Calvin Bowman
Technical Staff
Technical Director
Brandon Bower
Tech Crew
Abbigail Askew
Emily Jones
Coulter Maginnis
Kira Gunderson
Josh Potenberg
Jenna Grigsby
Regan Densmore
James Glymph
Ben Smith

Music Permissions
“Cantique de Noel” arranged by Owen Goldsmith
Copyright: © Alfred Music Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
“Jingle Bells” arranged by Sammy Nestico © Kendor Music.
Licensed by Hal Leonard. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
“Joy to the World” arranged by Victor Caldwell and Cedric Caldwell
©BMG Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
“This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway
All rights reserved. Used by permission
“Blue Christmas” by Hilly Hayes and Jay W.Johnson
All rights reserved. Used by permission
“Night of Silence” by Daniel Kantor
Copyright © 1984 GIA Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.



The Journey Ahead is just getting started.

The Journey Ahead, Anderson University’s “stronger together” approach to reopening campus, is being developed by the COVID-19 Task Force and its working groups. Its protocols are based on the recommendation of public health experts and rely heavily on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). 

Additional protocols are currently being developed. Please visit The Journey Ahead for regular updates. Please visit often for the latest information and guidelines, which are subject to change.