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Christmas cheer

By Staff | Dec 13, 2013

Tim Chapman/PCT Andee Mattson, music teacher at Ely Elementary, conducts the fifth- and sixth-grade choir on Monday at Rugby High School’s Tilman Hovland Auditorium. Mattson is directing Village Arts’ “A Continental Christmas” on Sunday.

Village Arts wanted to mix it up for this year’s Christmas concert, so the group took a new approach with the music and personnel.

Andee Mattson, a music teacher at Rugby’s Ely Elementary, will lead the annual show for the first time and with a global touch.

This year’s concert is titled “A Continental Christmas” and will be played by the Heartland Civic Orchestra and The Heart Strings beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday at Rugby High School’s Tilman Hovland Auditorium. Mattson, 27, describes herself as much more of a singer than a director, but is relishing the opportunity.

“The process has been great,” Mattson said. “They just have such great experience and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Mattson is not entirely new to Village Arts productions. She has sung with Village Arts for three years and also conducts the First Lutheran Church choir. This year’s theme played right into her interests.

“I love doing world music because it’s a good chance to get away from the traditional,” she said. “I’ve never been real confident in conducting, but everyone involved has been very accepting.”

Program director Deb Jenkins said this year’s concert marks the 15th straight year for Village Arts. Glory Monson, founder of Village Arts, decided on the theme and collaborated with others to figure out the music for the show.

“We’re doing some new things, so we have to work through those,” Jenkins said. “We’re working in a little bit of a different way and organization on stage in a different way. There will be some changes that people will notice right away. In addition to that theme, we’re presenting music differently and have different ansembles, including children’s bell choir.”

Jenkins said Mattson was an easy choice to lead because of her enthusiasm and experience.

“Andee had worked with children’s theater and did such a nice job, and she agreed to this, which was terrific,” Jenkins said.

Between 80 and 90 participants will be involved in the production with some traveling as far as 60 miles to take part.

“It’s a really great program because people have an opportunity to sing and play that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Jenkins said. “That’s the big thing we’re able to provide.”

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