It Takes A Village

The USC Village Gala. (All photos by Gus Ruelas and David Sprague)
The USC Village Gala. (All photos by Gus Ruelas and David Sprague)

The USC Village Gala. (All photos by Gus Ruelas and David Sprague)

The Trojan Marcing Band prepares to open the evening's festivities.
The Trojan Marcing Band prepares to open the evening's festivities.

The Trojan Marcing Band prepares to open the evening's festivities.

Students from the USC School of Dramatic Arts and the USC Kaufman School of Dance opened the show.
Students from the USC School of Dramatic Arts and the USC Kaufman School of Dance opened the show.

Students from the USC School of Dramatic Arts and the USC Kaufman School of Dance opened the show.

Students from the USC School of Dramatic Arts and the USC Kaufman School of Dance opened the show.
Students from the USC School of Dramatic Arts and the USC Kaufman School of Dance opened the show.

Students from the USC School of Dramatic Arts and the USC Kaufman School of Dance opened the show.

The USC Village was lit in a dazzling projection display by USC School of Cinematic Arts faculty members Mike Patterson and Candice Reckinger.
The USC Village was lit in a dazzling projection display by USC School of Cinematic Arts faculty members Mike Patterson and Candice Reckinger.

The USC Village was lit in a dazzling projection display by USC School of Cinematic Arts faculty members Mike Patterson and Candice Reckinger.

Next up, a performance by the SoCal Vocals.
Next up, a performance by the SoCal Vocals.

Next up, a performance by the SoCal Vocals.

The USC Village Gala.
The USC Village Gala.

The USC Village Gala.

The USC Village was lit in a dazzling projection display by USC School of Cinematic Arts faculty members Mike Patterson and Candice Reckinger.
The USC Village was lit in a dazzling projection display by USC School of Cinematic Arts faculty members Mike Patterson and Candice Reckinger.

The USC Village was lit in a dazzling projection display by USC School of Cinematic Arts faculty members Mike Patterson and Candice Reckinger.

USC President C. L. Max Nikias. speaks before the USC Thornton Symphony.
USC President C. L. Max Nikias. speaks before the USC Thornton Symphony.

USC President C. L. Max Nikias. speaks before the USC Thornton Symphony.

USC President C. L. Max Nikias.
USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

For the dedication of the Hecuba statue, Brent McMunn led Vocal Arts soloist Landon Shaw II, the USC Thornton Symphony, Thornton Choral Artists, and Classical Guitar students in excerpts from "Mitera Megalopsichi" by Greek composer Yannis Markopoulos.
For the dedication of the Hecuba statue, Brent McMunn led Vocal Arts soloist Landon Shaw II, the USC Thornton Symphony, Thornton Choral Artists, and Classical Guitar students in excerpts from "Mitera Megalopsichi" by Greek composer Yannis Markopoulos.

For the dedication of the Hecuba statue, Brent McMunn led Vocal Arts soloist Landon Shaw II, the USC Thornton Symphony, Thornton Choral Artists, and Classical Guitar students in excerpts from "Mitera Megalopsichi" by Greek composer Yannis Markopoulos.

The USC Thornton Symphony with vocal soloist Landon Shaw II.
The USC Thornton Symphony with vocal soloist Landon Shaw II.

The USC Thornton Symphony with vocal soloist Landon Shaw II.

To close the Gala, USC Thornton Choral Artists performed “Make Our Garden Grow” from Bernstein's CANDIDE under the direction of Brent McMunn.
To close the Gala, USC Thornton Choral Artists performed “Make Our Garden Grow” from Bernstein's CANDIDE under the direction of Brent McMunn.

To close the Gala, USC Thornton Choral Artists performed “Make Our Garden Grow” from Bernstein's CANDIDE under the direction of Brent McMunn.

The spectacular conclusion of the USC Village Gala. (All photos by Gus Ruelas and David Sprague)
The spectacular conclusion of the USC Village Gala. (All photos by Gus Ruelas and David Sprague)

The spectacular conclusion of the USC Village Gala. (All photos by Gus Ruelas and David Sprague)

A celebration of the USC Village was never going to be a small-time affair. The $700 million development is the largest in the history of South Los Angeles, creating thousands of jobs in the process, new retail options for the neighborhood, and eight new residential colleges.

Tuesday’s festive gala celebrating the opening featured close to 1,000 prominent trustees, donors, business leaders, philanthropists and elected officials from across Los Angeles, including Mayor Eric Garcetti.

So when it came time for a performance, USC went big. Students from the USC School of Dramatic Arts, USC Kaufman School of Dance, SoCal Vocals, USC Trojan Marching Band and more offered fantastic performances while alumni from USC Thornton’s jazz programs played throughout the evening.

The night ended with two monumental pieces performed by USC Thornton musicians. To celebrate Hecuba, the iconic statue that is the centerpiece of USC Village’s Central Piazza, conductor Brent McMunn, music director of the USC Thornton Opera program, led students in excerpts of Greek composer Yannis Markopoulos’ Mitera Megalopsichi. The performers included the USC Thornton Symphony, Choral Artists, students from the Classical Guitar program and soloist Landon Shaw II, a Vocal Arts student.

For a grand finale, McMunn returned to the podium for a rendition of Leonard Bernstein’s “Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide with the USC Thornton Symphony, Choral Artists, and soloists from the Vocal Arts program that included Zhengyi Bai, Joanna Ceja, Matthew Hough, Lamarcus Miller, Gloria Palermo, Kaileigh Riess and Edmond Rodriguez.

The performance included another remarkable collaboration with USC School of Cinematic Arts faculty members Candace Reckinger and Michael Patterson who created larger-than-life animated video projections that covered every building surrounding the gala. The celebrated artists previously collaborated with the USC Thornton Symphony in a performance at Santa Barbara’s historic Granada Theater in September 2016, and Tuesday night’s finale was another dazzling collaboration between the two arts schools.

What a night, and what a way to celebrate the USC Village.