“Peace on Earth” brings together city’s arts community for holiday celebration

Peace on Earth

This holiday season, get ready for a musical extravaganza the likes of which have never graced the city of Huntsville!

For one night only, the Music Department and Theatre Program at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are joining forces with community partners like the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra (HSO), the Redstone Arsenal's Four Star Jazz Orchestra, and the Huntsville Ballet Company for Peace on Earth: A Gala Celebration of the Arts and Humanities.

"We like to think of it as the College of Liberal Arts' gift to the community and a celebration of the strong partnerships that UAH has with the city's arts organizations," says Dr. David Ragsdale, Chair of UAH's Music Department, who adds that the event will involve "several hundred" instrumentalists, dancers, and singers.

Peace on Earth will be hosted by Broadway star Ivan Rutherford, whose acting and singing career includes over 2,000 performances playing the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. And indeed, Rutherford will be performing several songs from that world-famous production, in addition to standards of the season.

Other highlights will include the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy as performed by the Huntsville Ballet Company, a selection of holiday classics by the Four Star Jazz Orchestra, and a narration of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by a top-secret local celebrity - all to a digitally projected backdrop of lifelike scenery.

"It is always a pleasure for us to share with the community the many talents of our faculty and students and to spread the word about the fine academic programs available here," says Glenn Dasher, Dean of UAH's College of Liberal Arts. "The arts, humanities, social sciences, and education are the foundation upon which a peaceful and prosperous world can be imagined and will be built. It is in the spirit of hope that we share that dream with this community."

As for the city's arts community, Peace on Earth offers a unique opportunity for collaboration on a grand scale, given that the event is likely to attract close to 2,000 attendees. The HSO, for its part, will be providing five principal instrumentalists along with ten additional musicians associated with the orchestra for what it calls a "beautiful gift" to the community.

"We are very pleased to collaborate with the talented faculty and musicians of the Peace on Earth gala, and we thank UAH for this unique opportunity to be a part of this special celebration of the holiday season," says Dan Halcomb, CEO of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Association, who adds that he looks forward to "forging many more connections with UAH to bring the joy of music to as many people as possible."

And that's exactly what was intended when the event was initially conceived, adds Dr. Ragsdale. "Staging a tour-de-force holiday program is challenging on many levels, especially the coordination of so many talented performing forces. But the magic of the holidays will be elevated for each of us in this high-octane holiday extravaganza," he says. "We can't wait!"

Peace on Earth will take place in the Von Braun Center's Concert Hall on Friday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. The event is free, but ticketed. More information and ticket reservations are available at uah.edu/peace.


Dr. David Ragsdale


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