With Thanksgiving breaking getting closer with each passing class, it’s hard to believe that Winter Commencement and then the Holiday and semester break is just about a month away. Then again, the first level of Kresge Hall has been looking a lot like Christmas for weeks now.
The holidays took over our humble abode. It came in a wave as silent auction items from LMU’s Women of Service flowed in. One day the University Advancement division was holding its weekly staff meeting and the next the conference room was overtaken with gift baskets, jewelry and holiday décor. Then the trees started to trickle in and Christmas claimed not only the Kresge conference room but more than half of the creative suite, home to our web team. And just this week the LMU grounds team has been hard at work hanging wreaths and putting up all the holiday lights.
For many years the University has kicked off the season by hosting a Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra (KSCO) concert and an Annual Tree Lighting. The Tree Lighting has grown changed and moved around as the landscape of the campus has evolved, but the KSCO has always been a highlight not only for the University but the community at large. The concert is always free and open to the public thanks to the University and its generous donors.
The holiday silent auction is a new event for what is being billed as LMU’s Christmas Festival. It is a fundraiser for the Women of Service, which supports students and provides cultural opportunities for students. The auction will include a myriad of holiday goods available for bids under a heated tent on the quad. Items include wreaths, centerpieces, jewelry, decorated trees and much more.
For my part, I will be donating baskets of home baked goods. Generally, I am a fairly modest person, but I do brag about my cookies. I’ve actually been told on more than one occasion that if this PR gig doesn’t work out, I could fall back on baking. Chocolate chip cookies are my specialty, but I plan to include all my favorite holiday treats, with the recipes (including my grandmother’s classic sugar cookie cutout recipe).
Following a couple years of standing room only crowds at the KSCO concert, the University found additional underwriters to fund two performances by Knoxville’s premiere music group this year. The performances will take place before and after the tree lighting which will also feature music by LMU student groups and festive story telling.
The tent and bidding will open at 3 p.m. The first KSCO concert is set for 4 p.m. in the Sam and Sue Mars Performing Arts Center in the Duke Hall of Citizenship. The Annual Tree Lighting will take place on the quad near the Harold S. Finley Learning Resources Center in the Carnegie Vincent Library at 6:30 p.m. The final KSCO performance will follow at 7:30 p.m. The bidding at the silent auction will close at 10 p.m.
So mark your calendars, December 1 will be here before the turkey leftovers run out.