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Iowa Public Radio Studio One And xBk Announce "The Holiday Special"

Join Iowa Public Radio and xBk for "The Holiday Special" on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at

Join Iowa Public Radio Studio One and xBk for The Holiday Special, an original musical for a pandemic year at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20 at

'Twas the night before the solstice, and all through the house.... there was a lot of stirring. It was Sunday night, and everyone was home.

Listen everyone, it may have been a long, strange trip this year, but we will let nothing, not even a pandemic, steal our holiday cheer.

Join Iowa Public Radio Studio One and xBk for a holiday adventure featuring an evil villain who has stolen live holiday entertainment and a cast of characters who bring back the harmony.

Hear "The Holiday Special" with new music by Ducharme-Jones, Elizabeth Moen, The Finesse, The Surf Zombies, Lily DeTaeye and others on Studio One Tracksat 7 p.m. on December 20 and 25. Stream it at

About the broadcast

We unfortunately cannot gather in person this year for our annual Studio One Underground holiday concert, but we couldn't let the year get away without doing something for Christmas.

"The Holiday Special" is a multi-media collaboration between more than 40 Iowa musicians and creatives written by Madison Ray of The Finesse, Charlie Reese and Megan Helmers.

Several of the new songs in the show have accompanying music videos that you will be able to find on Iowa Public Radio's YouTube channel. The videos were shot at xBk in Des Moines and ReUnion Brewery in Iowa City.

"We all need this," says Ray about the production. "After a year full of tragedy and scandal, we look to our community for hope and healing. Coming together may look different than before, but we still have each other on both sides of the curtain."

Among the tracks included is a new, original song by Ducharme-Jones of Des Moines. "On The Darkest Nights" is off their forthcoming record, which will be released in January of 2021.

The song was written at the beginning of the pandemic and was inspired by hope that something as serious as an international crisis would bring the county and world together. It was co-written by Anne and David Ducharme-Jones, with performances by David and Anne (guitar and vocals), Scot Sutherland (bass guitar), Jim Stevens (drums and percussion) and Al Kabela (pedal steel).

If you're an Elizabeth Moen fan, you should know she's re-written the lyrics to her single "Red" about Santa, and that song is also a part of this radio special, with an accompanying music video with aerial dance by Iowa City's Mimi Ke.


Iowa Public Radio partners with xBk to present our Studio One Underground series, which has been on hiatus since February.

Tobi Parks, a co-owner of the venue, has been working in a myriad of ways to keep her venue, and others, in operation throughout this year as an active organizer for the National Independent Venue Association and the #SaveOurStages movement.

Venues might be closed due to the pandemic, but that doesn't mean stages have to go dark.

"Our team at xBk is excited to be partnering with IPR's Studio One on this program. It's been wonderful being able to creatively collaborate on a production that highlights Iowa's music family and public radio," she said. "So much has been lost to the pandemic this year, but we can continue to create and innovate to bring entertainment to Iowa audiences. Just because our doors are closed does not mean we have to stop being creative!"

A final thought

There's so much thoughtfulness that has gone into this production. Working on it has made me smile a lot, something that I, maybe also like you, have needed this year. It's only because of collaboration and creative community that it's been made possible. I hope you'll tune in.

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer