Troy University will be hosting the Troy Arts Council’s biggest event of the year, “The Shelia and Friends Christmas Concert,” in the Claudia Crosby Theater at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1.
“(Shelia Jackson) is a local talent,” said John Jinright, the event coordinator of the council and an associate professor of music. “She attended Troy and has always supported the university in many, many ways.
“She likes to give this concert as kind of a gift to the community.”
Tickets will be free for the first 125 students to show up to the Smith box office and $10 after that. Jinright urged students to arrive at Claudia Crosby early because there is always a large crowd, and they might otherwise be sitting in the balcony.
“Every year we’re nearly sold out if not completely sold out,” said Quinton Cockrell, stage manager for the show and an associate professor of theater. “Tickets are in high demand towards the end.”
The show will be split into halves with an intermission in between. The first half will be mainly contemporary and popular music, and the second half will be Christmas and holiday music.
“It’s a musical extravaganza,” Cockrell said. “People from the university, the community, the neighboring communities will come in and either sing with Shelia or do a song of their own.”
“We seem to make it bigger every year,” said Jinright. “This year, she is involving a whole cast of local musicians.”
Faculty and students from Troy will also be performing. According to Carlton Hedman, a senior theater major and dance minor from Niceville, Florida, and a dancer in the show, about 70-80 percent of the show includes dancing performed by students from Troy’s department of theater and dance.
“We’re doing background material for Shelia Jackson,” said Hedman. “Whatever numbers that she does, whether it be ‘Rock Around the Christmas Tree’ or ‘Mary Did You Know,’ we’re just there to add effects and spice up the holiday cheer and joy.”
The show involves many different people from the community, including churches, children, members of the university and different soloists.
“It’s just a big community event that I think everybody looks forward to every year,” said Cockrell. “It’s good music; it’s good fun.
“I’ve been participating in it for the past three or four years, and every time it’s been a gratifying experience, and the audience has always enjoyed it.”
Around 900 people are expected to be in attendance to help wrap up the semester and bring in the holiday cheer.
“It’s just all about coming together and being happy for the holidays before everyone goes home,” said Hedman.
“It’s a fun show,” said Jinright. “It’s a real joy to be involved.
“This is for many people the favorite thing that the local Arts Council does. It’s become a tradition. We’re keeping it alive.”