Finale of 150 year celebration recognized with gala
A social hour, a four-course meal, dancing and performances by the Emporia Symphony Orchestra, Emporia State Jazz Ensemble and Ten2One were all included at the gala to conclude Emporia State’s 150th Anniversary Celebration. This was one of the most formal events of the year-long anniversary celebration – tickets to attend were $100 alone.
People from various groups with ties to ESU were at the event, including former ASG members, current faculty members, alumni, donors and community members.
A number of student volunteers from sororities, fraternities and Recognized Student Organizations helped with set up and rearranging Webb Hall between different portions of the gala.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of Emporia State University during a social time to be able to visit with others and also to check out the university after hours, and have the opportunity to celebrate our history and how far we’ve come and where we are today,” said Carrie Boettche, emergency manager at ESU.
Many of the people at the Gala had attended other events for ESU’s 150 celebration and continue to be involved with the university, such as Leslie Nigro-Freeman, alum from the class of 2002.
“Most of my really good friends went here and were my roommates freshman year and that is still a part of my life,” Nigro-Freeman said. “I also still do a lot for the accounting and business department. I speak sometimes and will have lunch with recent (ESU) graduates for networking and things like that.”
Starting in October 2013, a committee of about 20 people came together to plan the vision for the Gala and figure out what they wanted to accomplish. They had confidence in ESU’s music program, so they chose to highlight the symphony orchestra, jazz ensemble and Ten2One.
“The night was about recognizing the university and how far it has come in the past 150 years and also for the people that have helped it get to where it is now,” said Susan Eimer, director of donor relations.
After an hour of socializing, the main event began at seven with a welcome speech by President Michael Shonrock and a special piece called “Commemorative Overture,” composed by Gary Ziek, professor of music, last year for the 150th anniversary.
“Dr. Ziek’s piece was a correlation of our excitement about ESU and the direction it’s taking,” said Jeremy Starr, assistant professor of music and director of the Emporia Symphony Orchestra.
Gabe Andrews, senior business major, and Benny Bowden, senior digital audio recording major, who form the duo Ten2One, also performed their song “Right Now” live with the orchestra. A music video for the song was filmed last fall and will be premiere at 8 p.m. tonight at the Granada Theatre, 807 Commercial Street.