Start the holiday season at the University Center for the Arts

—By Herman Chavez, UCA Publicity Intern

Kick off the holiday season this week at the University Center for the Arts with the annual Holiday Spectacular and Parade of Lights Preview.

The Holiday Spectacular returns on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. in Griffin Concert Hall. The cost of tickets ($10/youth under 18, and $22/adults) is well worth the price, as net proceeds benefit the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance in the form of student and other programmatic support. The Dec. 2 performance is nearly sold out.

CSU students may see the Spectacular for free during a working dress rehearsal on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m.

Just before the Thursday night concert, enjoy a performance by the CSU Marching Band as it previews its Denver 9News Parade of Lights performance; the free parade preview starts at 6 p.m. at the corner of Mathews and Lake Streets and concludes at the UCA’s front entrance on Remington Street.

As a special perk, Alumni Association members will receive a free cup of hot coffee or hot chocolate from the Human Bean Truck to enjoy during the show. Drinks are also available for purchase. The truck will be located at the front entrance.

Following the parade, warm up in Griffin Concert Hall as the annual Holiday Spectacular features Maestro Wes Kenney and the University Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, University Chorus, and several special guests along the way. The program includes an array of secular, sacred, and traditional holiday music with holiday characters in charming performances.

Adam Torres, special assistant professor and producer of the Holiday Spectacular, said that audience members will see new and familiar faces alike during this show designed to get people of all ages into a festive holiday spirit. “Audiences should be ready to laugh, sing, and cheer,” he exclaimed.

Through the performing force of nearly 200 students, faculty, and guests, the Spectacular highlights holiday traditions, showcasing the voice of Professor Thomas Erik Angerhofer, music from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, the annual audience sing-a-long, and more.

There are always a couple of surprises during each Holiday Spectacular, and this year’s new script, celebrating the diversity of holiday traditions that are held in the U.S. and beyond, is no exception.

“What is most profound about this time of year is that we take the time to collectively celebrate with family and friends, show generosity to others, and in many ways exhibit the best traits of humanity,” said Torres. “It’s this collective spirit of goodwill that binds us together, even if what we celebrate, or how we celebrate, looks different on the surface.”

According to Torres, CSU’s holiday concerts were originally “something of a potpourri presentation, featuring a myriad of ensembles performing a [variety] of music.” Over the years, the concert developed into a scripted feature, complete with special projection and lighting effects, some bad “punnery,” and everyone’s favorite seasonal selections. But what remains the same through the decades is Colorado State’s celebration of community through the performing arts.

Tickets are available online at

Come see the CSU Marching Band in the annual 9NEWS Parade of Lights on Friday, Nov. 30. The two-mile parade route in Downtown Denver is the stage for Colorado’s brightest holiday tradition. The FREE event features marching bands, ornate floats, and, of course, a special appearance by Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa! The 9New Parade of Lights is a two-night event, however, the CSU Marching Band will only be in the parade on Friday night.