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May 26, 2020

3/12/2020 7:30:00 AM
Free Community Music Festival coming to Nicolet College March 22

When you have to fall back on your own resources, you sometimes find out - happily - just how rich you are. And that's what the Northwoods discovers about itself every year when the Community Music Festival, which features local vocal and instrumental groups, is held at Nicolet College.

The lineup for the 2020 event - on Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m. - includes vocal ensembles the Rhinelander Male Chorus, the Northwoods Choraliers, and Hymns and Hyrs plus the all-instrumental Rhinelander Area Community Band. Admission is free.

The concert continues a long tradition in our region.

"I believe these festivals have been going on for more than two decades and perhaps almost three - most of the time at the college and a couple of times at Rhinelander High School," said Bonnie Dawson, who directs the Choraliers and also sings with Hymns and Hyrs.

The music presented at the festival is appropriate for all ages - but not just because there will be no objectionable lyrics.

"Some of the tunes that will be performed will be more familiar to people 40 or older but we've also selected some that will be more familiar to younger people," said Dawson. "The program will have a universal appeal."

The vocal groups have overlapping memberships, with many vocalists besides Dawson singing with more than one group. But each group also has its own identity and unique repertoire of material. The Rhinelander Male Chorus includes about a dozen members at present and is directed by Collette Zunk, who is the group's accompanist, as well. The Choraliers number about 25 women and have been directed by Dawson for about 30 of the Choralier's roughly 40-year existence. Their current accompanist is Carmen Kreitlow. Jim Priovolos both directs and accompanies Hymns and Hyrs.

Like the Choraliers, the Rhinelander Area Community Band, at present composed of about 40 Northwoods instrumentalists (that number swells when the snowbirds return), has been entertaining the region for almost four decades (37 years to be exact). Expect a songlist drawn from the hits of several eras, including the current one. Besides being fun for the whole audience, that variety represents the interests of the group's members, who range in age from high school students to senior citizens.

The vocal groups will offer some instrumental pleasures, too.

"In recent years, we've tried to add more flavor by adding more accompaniment, especially rhythm instruments," said Dawson. "This adds up to a fuller musical experience for the audience."

"Most of us of had times where musically talented friends or relatives have entertained us in someone's living room," said Nicolet College Theatre Director Jim Nuttall. "The Community Music Festival is sort of like that writ large, because many in the audience will know at least a few people in the various groups. It's special when you get to experience the musical skills of people you know in other ways."

The Community Music Festival is part of the Nicolet Live! 2019-2020 Performing Art Series and will take place in the Nicolet College Theatre. Again, it takes place on Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m. and admission is free.





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