Holiday concert

This year’s holiday concert at Iowa Central Community College invites the audience to “Imagine,” according to Instrumental Director Paul Bloomquist.

“Anything from the innocence of children at this wondrous time to the hope of peace on earth, good will toward all people,” he said.

The concert will be held at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, and 7 p.m. Friday at Decker Auditorium. Admission is free. The Concert Band, Concert Choir, Jazz Band, Encore Show Choir, Brass Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble will perform.

“Even though it’s a holiday concert, we’re doing a variety of music,” said Vocal Director Kathleen Schreier. “For instance the Encore singers, the show choir, are doing a Beatles set, to celebrate the 50th anniversary.”

That set will include the Beatles’ “Imagine,” and is where the concert gets its theme, Schreier said.

“In there, of all the pieces you hear at the holidays, it’s interesting that the Beatles’ tune would ring so poignantly,” she said. “Talking about peace. ‘Imagine a world where everybody took care of everybody.’ To me it rings more true now than 40, 50 years ago when it came out.”

The concert choir will also perform a “beautiful jazz arrangement” of Silent Night, Schreier said.

The concert band will offer both sounds of an old-fashioned Christmas and some more modern New Orleans-style carols. The band will open with a suite of seven English folk songs which blends the familiar and seasonal melody of “Greensleeves” with a bouncier melody in the upper woodwinds.

Then the band will perform a more light-hearted rendition of two holiday classics, dedicated to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina that ravaged the city of New Orleans back in 2005.

The brass ensemble will perform “Christmas Time is Here” by Vince Guaraldi, made popular on the holiday special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Then the group will combine the well-known Pachelbel’s Canon with the melody of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas,” as well as other whimsical songs that match the same chord structure, Bloomquist said. Other songs that work include “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “One Tin Soldier.”

“The juxtaposition of the Pachelbel Canon with so many other songs, including ‘Jolly Old St. Nicholas,’ really demonstrates how universal the harmony of Pachelbel works,” Bloomquist said.

The jazz band will play four selections, closing with a version of Leroy Anderson’s holiday classic, “Sleigh Ride,” performed in the style of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

“This concert will offer a wide variety of music, not just holiday and seasonal music, so that the audience will walk away with a clean plate and a full musical stomach,” Bloomquist said. “The Holiday Concert at Iowa Central is our gift to the community and nice way to get into the spirit of the season.”

The holidays at ICCC won’t end there. The Encore Singers Show Choir will be caroling and performing on Dec. 19, as a fundraiser for the music department.

Students will visit businesses and individuals throughout the community, by appointment, to sing Christmas songs – giving up a day of vacation to do it.

“They came up with the idea of caroling,” Schreier said. “When I sat down at our calendar, I couldn’t see any possible dates except the last day of the semester. There are no finals on that day. Generally speaking, those kids would be free to leave on Wednesday.

“So these students are all giving one more day before Christmas break to stay and carol. I’m just amazed at them, that they all have agreed to stay for an extra day.”

Schreier said the kids could visit shut-ins, or family members in a nursing home. They can also deliver Christmas cards or gifts. Caroling locations can be arranged by calling Jenny Shivers at 574-1252.

That night the singers will entertain at a fundraiser dinner, from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1007 First Ave. S. This will be a soup and cinnamon roll supper, and freewill donations will be accepted.