December’s glorious gifted culture

In Minot in December Minot’s glorious culture, like gifts wrapped and ready to be unwrapped and enjoyed with “oohs” and “ahhs,” will bring to all of you a December to remember.

The most glorious of all gifts, Handel’s “Messiah,” will be opened in Minot State University’s Ann Nicole Nelson Hall Sunday at 4 p.m. Handel, in 1741, composed this oratorical with help from Charles Jennens, who drew on words from the Bible while creating this gift annually unwrapped in Minot for your enjoyment. When Minot conductor Ken Bowles unwraps this gift, you will hear the contents composed of talented songsters and instrumentalists. Soloists for this year’s gift will be: Tim Olson, Lukas Graf and Gabrielle Damschan. Soprano solos will be performed by singers from DeVera Bowles voice studio. Accompanying the vocalists will be an orchestra composed of local instrumentalists. Arnola Leverson will be at the harpsichord. Your free will offering will be your way of saying thanks for this glorious gift.

Ann Nicole Nelson Hall will be the scene Monday at 7:30 p.m. of another musical gift to be unwrapped for your pleasure. The MSU Band Concert, when unwrapped, is sure to bring “oohs” and “ahhs.” You may unwrap another musical gift Friday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m., a concert by the MSU String Ensemble under the direction of gifted Jon Rumney. On Dec. 10 in Nelson Hall at 7:30 p.m., your gift will be the MSU Choirs Concert. All three of these gifts when unwrapped and enjoyed are free for the attending.

Another glorious December gift is large, with its contents including singers, dancers and food. It is the 41st annual Renaissance Christmas Feaste, Dec. 5-7. Its contents have been put together by the Minot Chamber Chorale. Like all annual gifts, this one will have some interesting “newness,” but the settings will be similar. The locale will be different, but the trappings will be elegant and reminiscent of the Renaissance. When you enter the halls at the North Dakota State Fair Center, you will think you are truly in a Renaissance castle. You will mingle with lusciously costumed local “lords” and “ladies.” The music will be glorious, the skits original and funny, and the food fabulous. The gift will be unwrapped by director Bob Demke. Inside the package will be music by a group of instrumentalists. At 6 p.m., there will be time for socializing and bidding on silent auction items which later can become gifts. At evening’s end, when the songsters encircle the room singing Silent Night, it’s guaranteed that the musical gift was worth the unwrapping. You will be able to attend and enjoy this musical gift if you call 838-8709 or 839-4622.

At the First Assembly of God Church in December, another glorious annual gift will be unwrapped that is

unlike any other Christmas tree. This musical tree will be lit and animated. Vocalists from this church will appear among the branches and lights of the tree to sing about the gifts of Christmas. The dates and times for this gift to be unwrapped are 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, 7, 11, 13 and 14, and Dec. 8 and 15 at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are free by calling the church office at 838-1111. As your thanks for this gift, there will be a free will offering and if you bring your children care will be available.

On Dec. 7 from noon until 4 p.m., another annual gift will be opened. It is large and put together for unwrapping by the Taube Museum of Art. The gift is known as the Holiday Tour of Homes. In addition to four residences, the newly created Artspace building on Main Street will also be open for your “oohing” and “ahhing.” Featured homes for this year’s tour include the home of John and Vaneica Erickson, which has a giant Gingerbread House overlooking a large indoor pool and over-the-top holiday decorations. Perhaps you could run into a live gingerbread man. Ray and Connie Westmeyer’s home will have modern decor accented with numerous snowmen and Santas. David and Sharon Lebrun’s home was built in Langdon, and moved to its current location in Minot. Decoration with a mix of antiques and modern gives it an eclectic feel, and it has a magnificent country view and amazing room by room decorations. Tracy and Sandi Larson will present “From Flooded to Fabulous.” This spacious home features a wonderful variety of holiday decor from traditional to the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. I. Keating Furniture, MarketPlace Foods, The Grand Hotel, Flower Central, Just for Me, Fiancee, Home Sweet Home, Mary Kay by Lee Clouse, Visit Minot, Margie’s Art Glass Studio, Cookies for You, Too Dark Motorsports and Janet Dammen will all provide door prizes. In order for you to take home a door prize, you must come in to the Taube with your ticket. You need not be present to receive one of these gifts. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Taube Museum of Art, Artmain, Artistry and Interiors Plus, and at each home during the tour. All tickets are $15. You are invited to join us at the Taube Museum of Art for desserts, hot chocolate, coffee, holiday music and door prizes. You will be able to watch local quick draw artist Donna Watts create a painting that will be one of the door prizes, as well as local and regional artwork as part of our Festival of the Season Sale. The Taube Museum of Art will also feature artists and vendors for your shopping enjoyment! There will be The Traveling Vineyard, Nancy’s Fancies, Margaret Lee, Wendy Kimble, Joan Hansen and more. Proceeds from this tour help to keep the Taube Museum of Art alive and well and continuing to make available the best of art for all ages, according to Nancy Walter, executive director.

On Dec. 12-14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Aleshire Theater on the MSU campus, one of the most heartwarming gifts of all time will be opened when the MSU Campus Players present Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol.” Our own gifted Kevin Neuharth adapted this production; it will be directed by Joshua Snyder. Tickets are $6 for adults. Students, seniors and children tickets are $5, and reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 858-3172. This adaptation of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from an embittered, ungenerous creature into a giving, caring human being at the hands of three spirits, who, one Christmas Eve, show him what life means. It is guaranteed you will never say “bah humbug” again.

Another glorious musical gift presented annually will be opened this year on Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. when the gift is unwrapped it will contain members of the Heritage Singers with their “Festival of Lessons and Carols” at the First Lutheran Church. A free will offering again will be accepted for this glorious gift. On the same date at 7 p.m. in Nelson Hall, you will want to watch Rebecca Petrick unwrap a glorious gift. Members of the Western Plains Children’s Choir, under Petrick’s direction, will present their annual music concert, a free gift for opening and enjoying.

To all of my faithful readers, may you have a glorious gift giving December! May your Christmas be a special gift! See you in January!

(Arlene Saugstad is a freelance writer who lives in Minot.)