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ISU College of Arts and Letters Gives Students a Chance to Shine at New Year's Eve Gala

Melissa Lee

When sophomore Kylle Strunk performed at the College of Arts and Letters' New Year's Eve Gala, he first noticed how people seemed to be having the time of their lives when the Big Band began performing.

ISU College of Arts and Letters Gives Students a Chance to Shine at New Year's Eve Gala

He said everyone got up and started dancing, and their excitement and energy could be felt around the room.

"The atmosphere of the gala was incredible," said Strunk. "Everything was so elegant, fancy and so well put together. Everyone looked like they were just having the time of their lives and that was fun to be a part of."

In 2013, the Idaho State University College of Arts and Letters held their first New Year's Eve Gala to help raise money for student scholarships, and to help students get real-world experience performing and showcasing their work. These scholarships and experiences are helping students continue to learn and complete their education at ISU.

Senior Jack Johnson had the opportunity to participate in theatrical performances during last year's gala. Johnson was part of a group who performed a scene prepared specifically for the gala. He was also able to showcase an original piece of choreography from a theatre movement class that he was enrolled in.

"The gala has provided many great experiences for me," Johnson said. "Getting to perform is my favorite part of my craft. Thanks to the gala, I'm more than ready to tackle bigger opportunities and performance challenges."

Johnson received a scholarship from the gala as a result of his work in the theatre performances.

"The scholarships are very helpful and it feels satisfying to know that I got it based on the hard work I put into what I love," said Johnson. "The scholarship means a lot to me personally because it is positive proof that there is an appreciation for my art. The scholarship lets me know that my faith is not misplaced and that there is monetary help in the pursuit of a performance theater degree."

Strunk played drums with the Jazz Band, and was awarded a scholarship based on his work at the gala.

"When I found out I had received a scholarship I was overjoyed," Strunk said. "This scholarship really helped me see that my hard work is paying off. This scholarship definitely got me closer to where I am today by giving me the resources and motivation to continue with what I love."

The first New Year's Eve Gala raised more than $30,000 for student scholarships in the arts. The College of Arts and Letters wanted to create an event to help students studying visual and performing arts in as many ways as possible. Scholarships are made possible from donors in the community, as well as ticket sales.

The second annual New Year's Eve Gala will be held on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. at the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center. The theme for this year's gala is "Masquerade Ball." Tickets are available for purchase online at the ISU Box Office, by calling 282-3207 or at isu.edu/cal.

"I truly had a magical time and I can't wait for the next one," Johnson said about the gala.

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