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Iowa Goes Virtual For Holiday Performances

This time of year is usually filled with more events than anyone can attend: concerts, theater, dance, and more. The 2020 pandemic has halted many live performances, but that hasn’t stopped creativity for Iowa artists who plan to share performances through the holiday season.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with a variety of creatives to find out about four different virtual holiday performances.

Today’s show starts with Walter and Wagner Caldas. They are B2wins. Their "Home Together for the Holidays," is coming up on December 18th and 19th. They’re billing it as a one of a kind, interactive live stream holiday concert right from your very own home.

Walter and Wagner Caldas grew up in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Their music caught the ear of an NPR reporter, back in 2006, who produced a story about them. That piece lead, in a roundabout way, to an invitation and scholarships to study at the University of Northern Iowa. They have been Iowans ever since and now live in Des Moines.

The holiday show at Theatre Cedar Rapids is an annual holiday tradition for many eastern Iowa families, but since going to the theater isn’t safe this year, Theatre Cedar Rapids came up with an alternative: "At Home for the Holidays." Katie Hallman, executive director of Theatre Cedar Rapids says Iowans can stream the performance from December 11th through December 18th.

Another Eastern Iowa holiday tradition is "The Nutcracker" at the Englert Theater in Iowa City, put on by Nolte Academy of Dance and Music. Staging "The Nutcracker," also isn’t in the cards this year, but dancers and dance lovers will not be disappointed by the version they can stream this year. Leslie Nolte, founder, artistic director, and affect co-director of Nolte Academy joined the program to explain how listeners can continue this tradition.

Iowa Public Radio Studio One usually hosts a holiday event in Des Moines, but we had to get creative too! Join IPR Studio One and xBk for "The Holiday Special," an original musical for a pandemic year at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20 at iowapublicradio.org. Lindsey Moon, IPR Digital Producer and organizer of “The Holiday Special” explained how to take part in the festivities.

Please check with your favorite groups to find out what they are doing this holiday season.


  • Walter Caldas, B2wins
  • Wagner Caldas, B2wins
  • Katie Hallman, executive director, Theatre Cedar Rapids
  • Leslie Nolte, founder, artistic director, affect co-director, Nolte Academy
  • Lindsey Moon, digital producer, executive producer of "The Holiday Special," Iowa Public Radio
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa