In the Spotlight: Review of the 84Th Annual Purdue Christmas Show

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As a freshman from out of state, I had never heard of Purdue’s annual Christmas show until I stepped foot on campus.  Since then, it feels like everyone I know has a long-standing family tradition of going to this show every year.  To see what all of the hype was about, I made sure to get a ticket a week before the show. Though I was sitting in the very back row of the balcony, my anticipation to see the show was not dampened in the slightest.

I was immediately struck by the amount of work that was put into the design of the stage and the lighting.  The curtain of the infamous Elliot Hall stage had been transformed into snowy mountains and a large set piece had been painted to look like a welcoming cabin. This was the first hint I got of how truly massive this show would be.  The opening singers from the Heart and Soul group actually entered from below the stage on a moving platform which was a great start to the show.  

As the opening singers began their set, I realized a problem with the show’s venue; the sound of the singers’ voices didn’t carry all the way up to the back row on the balcony where I was sitting, and I was left to hear the band without the singing.  While a couple of soloists and singers did seem to have microphones, it was hard to hear any of the other vocalists so I could not hear any of the complex harmonies that I am certain they were creating.  This problem was not universal between all of the groups performing however; when there was a quartet or a smaller group on stage, everyone had microphones and I could hear them perfectly. It was the larger groups where not everyone could have a microphone that I unfortunately heard nothing from.

One of my favorite parts, much to my surprise, was the Purdue Bells’ set.  I had never seen a group playing the bells before. I thought it was so interesting how they made something that should be chaos, ringing bells at completely different times, something so beautiful and cohesive.  I also really enjoyed all of the beautiful costumes.  Everyone wore some sort of sparkly attire that really added to the Christmas spirit and made the show even more fun to watch. The anticipation built as the audience grew more excited to see what the next group on stage would be wearing.  While the costumes were amazing, the most spectacular part of the show was, of course, the performances by the talented ensembles of Purdue Musical Organizations.  All of the choirs had their own unique sound, but they were all perfectly blended and harmonious.  Heart and Soul had some underlying jazz chords, the University Choir sang more traditional songs, and the Purduettes and Varsity Glee Club had classic show choir sets with a lot of movement.

The uniform dancing, spectacular costumes, colorful lighting, and, of course, beautiful singing in this show truly made the Purdue Christmas Show a spectacle to behold. I have learned that next year I should buy my tickets earlier to get a seat that is closer to the stage so that I can actually hear some of the larger groups. I now see why people have made attending this show a family tradition.  After experiencing the show first hand, I have decided to make my own tradition and to go the show with some of my friends every year for the rest of my time at Purdue.