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Welcome to IPR's Choral Iowa! This page will make it easy for you to keep up with our state’s flourishing choral scene. You'll find event calendars, music videos, and ideas from the many Iowans who make our choral scene happen. Please let us know of events or ideas you’d like to share! After all, choral music is the most inclusive of genres. America has about 1,200 orchestras but 270,000 choirs. One household out of five includes a choral member, ranging from children to retirees. Their conductors are just as likely to be maestras as maestros, and their audiences love new works as much as classics. Our state is a national presence in choral music, and Choral Iowa will help you find out why.

Online COVID-19 Cautious Choral Events In Iowa This December

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Credit Wartburg College, Wartburg Choir
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December is the biggest month for Iowa choirs. In the year of COVID, a few are giving concerts, mostly online.

December is usually the biggest month for Iowa choirs. In the year of COVID, a few are giving concerts, mostly online.

Last December, we counted 60 choral events across Iowa. Then a March choral rehearsal in Washington state became a “super spreader event," as one singer infected more than 50 others with COVID-19.

Iowa’s choirs have since been abundantly cautious. Some are skipping this year’s concerts, while others have been exploring ways to sing with less risk. Their innovations range from “virtual choirs” that don't share a space to having singers wear masks and stand at a distance in a ventilated area. (The latest research draft from the National Federation of State High School Teachers recommends limiting rehearsal to 30 minutes, having all singers wear a "well-fit 3-layer surgical-style mask," and rehearsing outdoors or with maximum air exchange with the outdoors.)

Here are a few virtual or distanced concerts taking place around our state this month. You can "attend" most of them online.

PERPETUAL STREAMING

“Christmas Variety Show” - The fee is $10, and all proceeds will be donated to the Food Bank of Iowa. The University of Northern Iowa Glee Clubs, conducted by John Len Wiles, turned its annual show into a downloadable album at this link: http://www.unigleeclub.com/gleeclubmerch/digital-download-mp3-christmas-variety-show.

Christmas With Wartburg 2019, "Behold the Mystery" - http://www.wartburg.edu/christmas

Christmas With Luther 2020, For Everyone Born" - https://www.luther.edu/christmas-at-luther/performance/

December 12 through January 6, 2021, from Des Moines: “The Lessons, Reflections, and Carols of Christmas” - Umeri (the Drake alumni choir) conducted by founder Dr. Aimee Beckmann-Collier. Modeled on the Lessons and Carols tradition of King’s College, Cambridge, made relevant to 2020 by the reflections Umeri commissioned for this event, this concert will include a range of music and texts new and old. Dr. Beckmann-Collier hopes “the concert will offer viewers joy in a holiday season shadowed by disease, division, and discouragement.” To stream the concert free anytime between December 12 and January 6, use the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd1rPwPhXYlWOod6Ln6npWg

Drake University Choirs, conducted by Dr. Eric Barnum posted their last rehearsal before Drake closed down because of the pandemic.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4

7:30 p.m. from Decorah - "Christmas At Luther 2020: For Everyone Born" - You can continue to view this free concert at: https://www.luther.edu/christmas-at-luther/performance/

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5

9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Des Moines - "Fundraising Sing-A-Thon" - Des Moines Choral Society. Livestreamed on YouTube at https://event.auctria.com/aaa6ba52-3653-4ed5-8c4f-8c12ad1dfdca/aa6cd270-8751-11e9-a741-3fcfcb35cbb0

7 p.m. from Dubuque - "For A Blessed Christmas Virtual Concert" - Clarke University Chamber Orchestra, Collegiate Singers, and Wind Ensemble, with featured soloist Marcus deJesus '14, instructor of guitar. To stream and see details, go to clarke.edu/forablessedchristmas Video will remain accessible after the release date.

7:30 p.m. from Iowa City: University of Iowa Choirs Broadcast - Performers included the Kantorei conducted by Wen Chin Liu; Camerata Singers conducted by Kreg Godfrey; Women’s Chorale conducted by Andrew Kendall; and the University Choir conducted by Michael Pekel. Livestreamed by the University of Iowa: https://arts.uiowa.edu/events/ui-choirs-broadcast/2020-12-05

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6

3 p.m. in Orange City: "Christmas Vespers: Nine Lessons and Carols." Northwestern College A Cappella Choir, Women’s Choir, Orchestra, Brass Ensemble and more. Christ Chapel, Northwestern College, Orange City. Free seating tickets are required to attend - please email Nora Verburg to reserve those tickets. (nverburg@nwciowa.edu). Masks are required and seating is limited.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10

12 noon from Grinnell: “2020: A Choral Journey” - Grinnell Singers conducted by John Rommereim. The virtual concert includes Barber's "Agnus Dei," "Hands," by Josclyn Hagen (virtual version), "Mother to Son," by Undine Smith Moore, "Sainte Chapelle," by Eric Whitacre, "Her Beacon Hand" by Caroline Shaw, "Deep River," by Anders Paulsson, and "Beati quorum via," by Charles Stanford.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12

7:30 p.m. from Galesburg: “Peace! Love! Joy!” - The Nova Singers conducted by Laura Lane. The concert will feature pre-recorded solo, small group and whole ensemble pieces that will be introduced live by artistic director, Laura Lane. It can be viewed on Facebook and at their website www.novasingers.com.

December 12 through January 6, 2021, from Des Moines: “The Lessons, Reflections, and Carols of Christmas” - Umeri (the Drake alumni choir) conducted by founder Dr. Aimee Beckmann-Collier. Modeled on the Lessons and Carols tradition of King’s College, Cambridge, made relevant to 2020 by the reflections Umeri commissioned for this event, this concert will include a range of music and texts new and old. Dr. Beckmann-Collier hopes “the concert will offer viewers joy in a holiday season shadowed by disease, division, and discouragement.” To stream the concert free anytime between December 12 and January 6, use the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd1rPwPhXYlWOod6Ln6npWg

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13

4:30 p.m. from Des Moines - "WinterSongs" with the Heartland Youth Choir. Details to be announced.

7 p.m. from Mount Pleasant - "O Come, Emmanuel: Christmas With Iowa Wesleyan, A Service Of Lessons And Carols." Presented virtually at https://www.youtube.com/c/IowaWesleyanUniversity

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18

7 p.m. from Waverly - "Hope Awakens; Love's New Dawn" - The 74th Annual Christmas with Wartburg Concert. The premiere will be streamed free online and will be archived for future viewing. The link is https://www.wartburg.edu/christmas