North Iowa Choral Society presents its Annual Christmas Holiday Concert, “Christmas Dreams,” on Sunday, December 10, at 7:00 p.m. in the North Iowa Community Auditorium. The audition-only SATB choral ensemble is under the direction of Linda Ferjak and accompanied by Emily Overy. The ensemble, which is sponsored by North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC), has been vocalizing and sharing beautiful music with North Iowa audiences since 1994 when the ensemble was formed under the direction of Robert Davis. The ensemble performs sacred and secular music from various genres (classics, spirituals, musical theater, jazz, swing, blues, etc.) and has performed at Iowa Choral Directors Conventions, the Choral Symposium, KCMR Live Christmas, Waldorf Performing Arts Series, NIACC’s Candlelight Christmas and Holiday Pops, and in NIACC’s Performing Arts Series with Shirley Jones in 2002.
Linda Ferjak is a graduate of Wartburg College (BME) and the University of Northern Iowa (MM). She is a lifetime resident of Iowa and recently completed her 45th year of teaching music in Iowa Schools. Ferjak recently retired as the Director of Vocal Music for grades 7-12 at Bishop-Garrigan in Algona, Iowa. High school choirs under Ferjak’s direction have earned multiple Division I ratings in both large and small group contests, performed for numerous church and community events, and have represented their schools in the Iowa All State Chorus. Her choirs have sung in St. Matthews Cathedral in Washington D.C., Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, and Our Lady of Guadalupe in New York City. In 2005 she was co-director of the North Iowa Youth Chorale participating in a Carnegie Hall residency performance and was the guest conductor for the North Central District Honor Choir and the Iowa OPUS Honor Choir in Fall 2012. Ferjak is an Adjudicator for the High School Music Association and has served as a mentor for first year teachers through the North Central District of the Iowa Choral Directors Association. She has also directed church choirs and community choirs in several communities over her lifetime of teaching.
Some of the featured musical selections include “The Nutcracker Suite” (Tchaikovsky), “See Amid the Winter’s Snow” (Forrest), “O Salutaris Hostia” (Esenvalds), “The World for Christmas” (Edenroth), “This Christmastide” (Fraser), “Brightest and Best” (Kirchner), “The First Noel” (Huish), “Believe” (Silvestri & Ballard), “Peace, Peace” (Powell), and “Let There Be Peace on Earth” (Miller & Miller). In the words of Linda Ferjak, “We are excited to share the gift of music with our North Iowa communities. Our theme, “Christmas Dreams,” reflects the feeling that believing can bring joy to everyone, both young and old.” The ensemble will also feature several soloists from within the group and some local instrumentalists on several of the musical selections.
The children’s ensemble will perform “This World is Full of Beauty” (Shelton) and “If Wishes Had Wings” (Caldwell & Ivory). The children’s ensemble will also join the adult choir on “Believe,” “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and “Peace, Peace”. Children’s ensemble members include Paryn Boehman, Kiara Cunningham, Grace Davis, Kallie Gibbons, Ishnoor Harpeet, Grace Healey, Katie Hilton, Riley Navarette, Avery Patterson, Keira Udelhofen, Ashton Young, and Brooklyn Young. The children represent Hampton-Dumont Middle School, Jefferson Elementary, John Adams Middle School, Lincoln Intermediate, Newman Schools, and home schools. Several children will also be featured soloists.
The adult ensemble consists of the following vocalists: Soprano I-Kayla Halfpap*, Becky Hosmer, Victoria Schmidt; Soprano II-Marta Eenhuis, Lori Quinlan*, Christine Schmitt, Darlene Schroeder; Alto I-Lea Calvert, Mary Groh, Julie Taylor*+; Alto II-Sue Roenfanz, Leslie Sloan; Tenor I-Lowell Gangstad, John Hosmer; Tenor II-Daniel Calvert, E. Howard Sonkson*+; Bass I-Carlton Shaw, Roger Tietjens; Bass II-Chuck Grove*, Dave Richardson (*charter member, +Advisory Board member).
North Iowa Choral Society rehearses on Sunday evenings from 5:30-7:30 p.m. from September through April in the NIACC Vocal Music Room. NIACC offers credit hours for membership in the Choral Society for college students and continuing education credit for area vocal teachers who require continuing education accredited hours. If interested in membership, please reach out to Choral Society President, Julie Taylor, at 641-529-6039. You may also visit the ensemble on NIACC’s website at https://www.niacc.edu/academics/departments/vocal-music/nics/. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased from any Choral Society member or at the door the evening of the performance.
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