Ready for December's cultural column? Do you have your Christmas tree in place? Is it real? Is it artificial? Is it flocked? Is it decorated? Does it smell like a Christmas tree? Does it sing? More than likely, your answers will be yes except for the vocal one.
Next question - would you enjoy a real, live singing tree? In Minot for many years, and again this year, talented songsters who are members of Minot's First Assembly of God have arranged for you their "Singing Christmas Tree." Strategically placed among the branches will be perched singing lighted up carolers. These carolers have a singing schedule to suit your busy, bustling days and nights. The tree will begin singing Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Performances Dec. 5 and 7 will also be at 7:30. On Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9, the tree will sing at 4:30 p.m. Each time the tree sings you will have the opportunity to thank the songsters with your free will offering. The tree sings at 1805-2nd St. SE. Have questions? Simply call 838-1111.
For the 40th year here in Minot, talented members of Minot's Chamber Chorale will bring to you their version of a "Renaissance Feast." Minot's Holiday Inn will have taken on the full, lush trappings of a period castle and all of the songsters will have on the satin and velvet and glitter of the Renaissance period. Eric Furuseth, appropriately garbed and in usual fine voice will serve as Lord as well has his Lady Pamela in courtly fashion. In lush attire you will see and hear members of the Renaissance Court. Important members furnishing fun during the evening will be two ever-popular jumping and jiving jesters. At the piano, as always, you will see and hear petite, gifted Audrey Hugulen. An assortment of orchestra members will be on hand with an assortment of Holiday music.
Of course you will be in attendance to also eat, and of course, what will be served will be sure to please you, especially the sauced plum pudding. You will, once again, be in the true meaning of the Christmas season when members of the court and its lord and lady circle the room to sing "Silent Night." You will have three opportunities to join in this annual event, tonight through Saturday. You may socialize as you wish, beginning at 6 p.m. with the dinner at 7 p.m. To get in on this traditional feast, just dial 838-8709 or 839-4622.
For many years in Minot, members of the Taube Museum have helped out your natural human curiosity concerning what it is that other families do in their homes to decorate for the Christmas season. Their annual fundraising Holiday Tour of Homes serves this curiosity in a special way. On Saturday, Dec. 1 from noon to 4 p.m., six homes complete with their individual manner of decorating will be ready for you. This year you may visit the homes of Joe and Joyce Alme, Larry and Tami Schafer, Andy and Dani Solsvig, Brent and Stacy Askvig, and Ken and Janet Dammen.
The home of The Arlene Theater - the old venerable
Labor Temple in downtown Minot - has been turned by members of the Mouse River Players into a theater. By using the talents of members of the organization who are plumbers, electricians and carpenters, as well as other members with assorted talents, a modern theater has been created for all of you to enjoy, the final result they call a "labor of love." The Arlene will welcome you, decorated for the season with the help of Julie Filler, expert at designing who owns Inspired Interiors. Gingerbread men and women will parade and will also be eaten with the punch. You will probably see a real Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and a real live gingerbread man cavorting about, and have a dapper gentleman to show you around.
The home of art in downtown Minot, sponsor of this annual event, The Taube Museum of Art, is the home to which you must go if you are serious concerning door prizes. When you are in the museum you may watch one of Minot's finest artists, Kelly Hendershot, as she paints. At drawing's end, one of you will take away with you what she has painted as a door prize. In addition to Kelly's work of art, there will be other door prizes. Generous year after year, I. Keating will be giving several pieces from their store and, in addition, Fiance will give several gift certificates, as will Just for Me and Flower Central. Unique jewelry by two female artisans from Velva will be available, as well as a huge assortment of artwork that the museum has for sale which might strike your fancy to be purchased.
In the Taube, as well as some of the homes, refreshments will be served. It will cost your curiosity $15 and you can purchase tickets at the Taube, The Computer Store, Art Main, Interiors Plus and Artistry, and you may also purchase tickets at any of the homes on the tour. You may visit the homes in any order that fits your fancy but, if you are really serious about the door prizes, remember that from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, you MUST step into the Taube at 2 N. Main St., downtown Minot.
When on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. you are in Minot State University's Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, you will find the stage full of gifted Minot and area vocalists and, to accompany them, talented orchestra members. Just off stage and awaiting his turn with his trusty baton will be Kenneth Bowles. All of the above are ready to bring you the vocal and instrumental crown jewel of the Christmas season, Handel's "Messiah." Vocalists from the Heritage Singers, Voices of Note, as well as MSU and high schools will combine their voices for this annual event. There will be soloists and the combined chorus voices to bring your hearts to beating faster; especially will this be true when you hear the hallelujah chorus. What a true Christmas jewel set in our own Ann Nicole Nelson Hall.
On Dec. 6, 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 9 at 2 p.m., at MSU's Aleshire Theater, there just might be a bit of nostalgia involved for you. It will cost you $6 if you are an adult and $5 if you qualify as a senior citizen or a student to take in the talents of the MSU Campus Players performance called "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." It could be just the right time to take time away from the frantic last-minute you-know-what.
At Minot's Central Campus Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 2 p.m., lovers and supporters of Rinat Mouzafarov, Russia's gift to Minot, will proudly present his dance pupils in a Christmas production he's calling "Winter Wonderland." Rinat, the ultimate choreographer, as well as a master of the ballet, says that his students, from tots to moms and pops will fill your evening or afternoon with a really, truly wonderland set in winter surroundings. For more details, such as what it will cost you, call 837-0239.
Genial, well-liked, talented Gordon Troxel promises you that, when you are in MSU's Ann Nicole Nelson Hall on Dec. 9 at 4 p.m., you will be happy that you saved a spot in your busy season to listen to the Brass Band of Minot. This band is the only one of its ilk in North Dakota. Those of you who have heard it have decided that it is not only the one brass band, but without question, also the best. The bell choir from Our Redeemer's Christian Church will be a feature of the afternoon concert, brass or not. From the beginning to the end, director Troxel says that everything in this concert will sound like Christmas and could nudge you to sing along when you hear familiar songs. To young Brass Band members, Kathy Nesset and Chris Badger will get together and on their euphoniums thrill you in a duet selection of "Silent Night." To show your generosity and appreciation for Gordon and his one-of-a-kind band, there will be a free will offering.
The final gift on our December calendar will take place in Minot's First Lutheran Church on Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. This annual Christmas event always brings out the real spirit of the season, and it is called "Festival of Lessons and Carols," which speaks for itself as members of our community sing and share seasonal messages. You are sure to enjoy seeing and listening to members of Minot's prestigious Heritage Singers. Dave Jensen and Richard Anderson will pass the baton to each other during the afternoon, and Lyn Jensen, another gifted Jensen, will accompany the male Heritage Singers.
Among your gifts this beautiful, meaningful Christmas season, may you enjoy and remember the real meaning of the season, and savor it every day of your lives. And from me to all you special readers - Merry Christmas!
(Arlene Saugstad is a freelance writer.)