At 20 years, it’s safe to call the University of Kentucky School of Music’s annual holiday “Collage” something of an institution.
The event was conceived in the 1990s to spotlight the University of Kentucky’s burgeoning music school, particularly the choral groups, and it has grown ever since, putting the spotlight on high-achieving UK artists and even creating a few stars of its own, including a small bluegrass ensemble.
“The growth of the Collage mirrors the growth in the School of Music,” UK choirs director Jefferson Johnson said before the 10th edition of “Collage” in 2007. Then, it had grown from one performance with a decent crowd to two usually sold-out shows, with talk of a third performance.
Now, three shows — Saturday and Sunday matinees and a Saturday night performance — are standard. Here are some other prominent numbers and facts about “Collage” as the 20th edition approaches.
45“Collage” performances since 1998.
12,232performers in “Collage” since 1998.
475performers on stage for this year’s edition
12“Collage” performers have also appeared in a network singing competition: The AcoUstiKats a capella ensemble was on “The Sing Off” in 2013.
2Number of “Collage” performers, at least, who have gone on to perform on Broadway.Number “Collage” performers, at least, who have performed at the Metropolitan Opera.
▪ “Silent Night” is the most-performed song at “Collage.”
▪ A brake drum — literally, a car brake drum — is the most unusual instrument played at “Collage,” Johnson says: “The percussionist beat on it with drum sticks for a really cool metallic sound in a men’s chorus piece that fused Gregorian chant with industrial funk: called “Gaudete! (Joy).”
▪ The small UK steel drum band, Blue Steel (not sure whether the “Zoolander” name is a coincidence), has regularly brought its island sounds to “Collage.”
▪ Johnson is celebrating his 25th year as director of UK choirs.
▪ The Grasscats, a Johnson-led bluegrass group, was formed in the first decade of “Collage” and has played the event ever since.
Rich Copley: @copiousnotes
If you go
What: Annual holiday concert featuring University of Kentucky choirs and other artists
When: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2, 3 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: Singletary Center for the Arts, 405 Rose St.
Tickets: $29 general public, $14 students and children, $24 each groups of 15 or more.