Archived Story

Riverland students old and new come together for concert

Published 1:12pm Saturday, April 27, 2013

Riverland Community College is about the celebrate current and former music students.

Th college will present “Spread Your Wings” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The show is an evening of music by current and former students, including the college choir, the vocal ensemble Frequency and the newly formed alumni ensemble, The Riverland Connection.

The show will feature a wide range of music from Renaissance motets to 1940s jazz standards to country. The concert will include songs from the hit musicals “Smokey Joe’s Café” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” folk songs from Rutter’s The Sprig of Thyme, religious songs, Etta James’s hit “At Last,” The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” and other pop hits.

Riverland Music Director Scott Blankenbaker said he was reflecting on the things some Riverland alumni have achieved and how much they have grown at the college and then beyond. Blankenbaker said the college serves as a launching pad for students exploring their talents and interests.

“The first two years of college really are a time for these young adults to ‘spread their wings,’” he said in a press release.

Sandy (May) Bravo-Calixto, a finalist on America’s Got Talent, will be the special guest alum performer.

Bravo-Calixto is a example of a student who took flight, according to Blankenbaker. She attended Riverland after graduating from high school in St. Ansgar, Iowa, and quickly became involved in music ensembles and theater productions.

Nearing graduation, she auditioned for New York City’s Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts, one of the nation’s most prestigious performing arts schools. She was accepted and went on to sing the female quartet The Glamazons.

Several other alumni will perform in the new albumi ensemble, The Riverland Connection, including Pamela Koser, Natalie Bunnell, Amelia Holcomb, Alice Holst, Kaye Perry, Lia Culbert, Kirsten Lindbloom, Travis Kasper, Tyler Irvin, Kyle Keenan and Jerry Girton.

The group formed less than six months ago and rehearses twice each month. The group has performed at college events and local churches.

Tickets for “Spread Your Wings” are $8 and $3 in advance or $10 and $5 at the door. Tickets may be purchased online at Information on Riverland Music events can always be found online at


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