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Village Arts to present holiday concerts

By Staff | Dec 5, 2008

Many members of the Rugby community celebrate the holidays in December by attending the annual community Christmas concert. According to Glory Monson of Village Arts, “Every year people stop me and thank Village Arts for the concert, saying that it marks the beginning of their official Christmas season.”

For the past decade, 75-100 local musicians have filled the stage of the Tilman Hovland auditorium each December with orchestra and choir performances of favorite holiday music. Village Arts’ annual 2008 Christmas concert, “Somewhere in My Memory” will be given on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Tilman Hovland Auditorium at Rugby High School.

Began 10 years ago

Ten years ago, Village Arts announced a new community music program. Their School of Music offered lessons to children and adults on stringed instruments. The first Heartland civic string and full orchestras began rehearsals and planned a Christmas memorial concert in honor of Dennis Veikley, former Rugby High School music instructor. The year before his death, Veikley formed a strings ensemble, asking violinists Kay Hovland, Leila Lehmann and cellist Deb Jenkins to join a few string students who wanted to play after a high school concert for any audience member who wanted to stay and listen.

Current program director Deb Jenkins said, “I remember Dennis had to get things from backstage. We had about 30 kids with their chins on the front of the stage, waiting for the music to start. I knew then that we had the kind of interest in strings that could launch a program.” Jenkins added that she has taught well over 100 different students violin, cello and harp since she began teaching strings in 1999. Orchestra conductor Tilman Hovland offers lessons on the string bass and band instruments, and choir director Daryl Wissink gives guitar lessons through the Village Arts School of Music.

The Heartland Civic orchestras and choir rehearse on Monday nights from October to December in preparation for the annual concert. The Heart Strings youth orchestra, made up of elementary strings students, practices every Sunday afternoon.

Christmas, chamber music and pops concerts were offered to the community this year through the Village Arts program. Two student recitals are also given in the spring. Jenkins added, “Since we are celebrating our 10th anniversary, we are also looking at bringing in some guest musicians for concerts during the coming year. The December concert will present music filled with memories of the holidays.”

Tickets for the December 14 Christmas concert are available at the door. The Rugby High School Music Boosters will serve holiday treats.

Heart Strings concert is Dec. 7

The Heart Strings Youth Orchestra will also perform a short concert at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, December 7 for the public, free of charge, at the Restoration Ministries Church.

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