Holiday concert features crooner

Songs of the seasons will be featured next week at the Fort Dodge Area Symphony’s Holiday Festival.

The musicians will be joined by Des Moines area crooner Max Wellman, said symphony treasurer Ardella Hein.

“He does a lot of singing in Des Moines, for festivals and events,” Hein said. “The audience will really like him, he’s a very cool guy.”

Wellman has headlined for Des Moines Jazz in July series, the Des Moines Art Festival and other big events. His music blends the stylings of classic singers like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald with the modern twists of Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble.

He will serenade the audience with holiday classics such as “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow,” and “White Christmas.”

The program will feature music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and classics such as “Greensleeves,” “Sleigh Ride,” and excerpts from “The Nutcracker.”

Children will get in free when accompanied by an adult, Hein said.

“This is a good concert for families to be introduced to the symphony,” she said. “This is a really light concert. The music’s colorful, and they’re going to know the tunes. It’s fast moving. There’s not a very long piece where you have to sit for a long time.”

Scott Johnston will narrate “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

And as usual, the audience will be invited to sing along with the “Hallelujah Chorus,” with the help of the St. Olaf Lutheran Church Choir.

This will be the symphony’s second concert with its new director Joshua Barlage, managing director of the Des Moines Symphony Academy.

“He’s a tremendous person, and works very well with the orchestra,” Hein said. “The audience will really like his comments.”

The symphony will perform in the recently opened Fort Dodge Middle School auditorium.

“This is our first time, and the rest of the concerts will be there,” Hein said. “We go on the stage that weekend, so we’re anxious to hear how it sounds. I’ve heard the acoustics are very good.”

Parking for the concert is in the south lot, along Dodger Drive, she said.