It was the winter of 1963, while America was in mourning over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when Chapman University organized its first Holiday Wassail Concert. The goal of the event was to give the local community a chance to come together and to feel hopeful again for the future. Fifty-one years later, Chapman University’s Annual Holiday Wassail Concert still raises spirits at the start of the holiday season, and the evening’s pre-concert Banquet raises important dollars for the College of Performing Arts’
Fund for Excellence


Student carolers perform at the Holiday Wassail Banquet.

The Wassail Banquet sets the tone for a truly magical evening; diners enjoy a sumptuous holiday meal complete with a traditional wassail beverage, surrounded by beautiful lights and decorations, all while strolling carolers and musicians fill the air with seasonal songs. The experience culminates with a grand and spirited concert in the historic Chapman Memorial Hall and features the exceptional voices and talents of Chapman’s renowned choirs and Orchestra. This year’s event was attended by an audience of over 900 and raised more than $30,000 for the Fund for Excellence!

Supporting the Stars of Tomorrow, Today

The ongoing success and popularity of the Annual Holiday Wassail Banquet & Concert is testimony to the strength of the programs in the College of Performing Arts and the commitment of its supporters to the Fund for Excellence (FFE). The Fund supports programs that directly impact the artistic and professional development of students in the College of Performing Arts. For example, the FFE helps cover production costs for top-notch community performances of classic and contemporary theatre, dance and music; it helps facilitate recruitment of world-renowned artists for life-changing master classes that develop and inspire; and it provides scholarships and travel funds for touring Chapman student ensembles, competitions and conferences. And with the coming addition of the
Musco Center for the Arts
, our students will soon have the advantage of being trained in a world-class venue with state-of-the-art technology and unlimited possibilities.

Orchestra playing music, focus on strings.

The Chapman Orchestra performs for the Holiday Wassail Concert.

Over the last half-century, Chapman’s student Wassail performers have entertained and inspired thousands of people from all walks of life. The Holiday Wassail Banquet & Concert event consistently welcomes a very diverse and geographically broad audience, with concert-goers traveling from all over southern California to kick-start their holidays. Some are regular patrons of events at the College of Performing Arts, and some come to the campus once a year just for this event; they are our community neighbors, student families, Chapman colleagues and alumni, and university donors of all levels. One thing they all have in common is their enthusiastic support for and belief in the value of the performing arts.

KCET to Air Event Replay Broadcast

If you missed this year’s Holiday Wassail event, or would simply like to re-experience the excitement, you can watch a replay of this performance as well as last year’s 50th Anniversary event on your local
 public televison station on the following dates:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

  • 5 p.m. 50th Annual Holiday Wassail Concert, 2013
  • 8 p.m. Chapman University Holiday Special, 2014
  • 9 p.m. 50th Annual Holiday Wassail Concert, 2013

Thursday, December 25, 2014

  • 4 p.m. 50th Annual Holiday Wassail Concert, 2013
  • 5 p.m. Chapman University Holiday Special, 2014
  • 9 p.m. Chapman University Holiday Special, 2014
  • 10 p.m. 50th Annual Holiday Wassail Concert, 2013

To locate a KCET station in your area, visit

Join Our Community of Supporters

If you wish to make a donation to the Chapman Fund for Excellence before the 2014 year ends, you will not only express your support for the performing arts, you will also help make certain our stars of tomorrow become successful working alumni. Please visit our secure online donation link today at