Festival of Carols at the Englert

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 15, 2011 7:20 AM

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This weekend, local performers will gather to bring the holiday spirit to families in Iowa City.

The Festival of Carols will take place at 7 p.m. today in the Englert, 221 E. Washington St.

"The goal of the Festival of Carols is to create a really fun, family-friendly night, where everyone can get together, sing, have some cookies and hot chocolate, and enjoy the spirit of the season," said Katie Roche, the Englert development director.

The event involves many performers, each adding something different to the celebration. Actor Saffron Henke will read " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" with accompaniment by pianist Alan Swanson.

Henke said she looks forward to the great variety of performers.

"There's a lot of diversity in the event and all kinds of different performers, and that will be fun for the whole family," she said.

Also appearing will be the local Old Capitol Chorus. Dave Keely, the president of the chorus's board for 2012, said the group will perform some classic favorites, including "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," as well as leading an audience sing-along.

"We really enjoy entertaining," Keely said. "The songs we select are usually quite a variety of things — some are ballads and some are up-tempo songs."

The group's four-part harmony may be a new experience for some people, and Keely said he hopes everyone enjoys it.

Iowa folk/roots musician Dave Moore will also perform at the event. Roche said hearing Moore perform songs for children and families is a different experience from hearing his regular set.

"Dave is a dad, and I know he's spent a lot of time singing and performing for his kids, so it's really kind of a personal experience to hear him perform for families," she said. "You feel like you're getting a glimpse of maybe what his living room looked like when he had small kids."

— by Julia Jessen

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