Holidays hit home stretch; Christmas at Home highlights last weekend before Christmas

Published 10:25 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

“Christmas at Home” will be among the highlights of the holiday festivities in Austin this week.

Musicians from Austin Public Schools will be featured in three performances: at 7:30 p.m. on Friday; and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, all at the Paramount Theater.

The already-popular event, in its second year, is a fundraiser for the schools’ music departments. Students from elementary to high school will be on stage to entertain.

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The funds from “Christmas at Home” benefit all students in first through 12th grade. Last year $12,000 was raised for the following items, according to Nikky Tolde, music instructor at I.J. Holton:

General Music — Tubano drums for Sumner and Banfield schools;

Band — Instrument repairs for school-owned instruments;

Orchestra — 24 carbon fiber cellos and bass bows; and

Choir — piano accompanist, choir folders, pay for bussing for rehearsals to Knowlton, and music octavos.

“The music programs at Austin Public Schools are growing, which is a wonderful news,” she said. “This means we need more instruments for students and resources to keep our current materials working well. Also, several of our music groups are extra curricular like early bird choirs and jazz band. These funds help support those groups as well.”

Tolde called the event “more than a fundraiser.”

“It is a way to bring the community together and provide a tradition for the town of Austin during the holiday season,” she said. “We hope to continue this for many years to come. It is our gift and a gift we can give our students, to see musicians from elementary to retirement. Music is something that can stay with you through many seasons of life.”

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door (students $5). For more information or to purchase tickets, stop by the Austin ArtWorks Center, call 507-434-0934 or go to

On Friday evening, the following will be in the line-up: Sumner Elementary School choir, Austinaires, Ellis Middle School Chamber Orchestra, Southgate Elementary School choir, faculty jazz, faculty quartet, Peter Jacobs, Phillips, Kate Jordal, Pam Koser, Taylor Bliese, Houseband/Muzik and finale.

On Saturday, performing will be Neveln Elementary School choir, La Fiera, Ellis Middle School small band ensemble, I. J. Holton Glee Club, Northwestern Singers, faculty jazz, Dave Hovland, Ann Flisrand/handbells, Huizinga, Angela Kelly, Alice Holst, Peter Jacobs and finale.

In the third and final performance, the following will be featured: Banfield Elementary School choir, Jazz One, Ellis Middle School Early Bird choir, Northwestern Singers, Austin Harmonics, faculty quartet, Scott Blackenbaker, Brian Koser, Jesse Smith, Kaye Perry, Penny Kinney, Carrie Braaten and finale.

Also on deck:

Thursday through Saturday:

•Members Holiday Show, Austin ArtWorks Center, 300 N. Main St. Enjoy the artwork of Austin Area Commission for the Arts members on display during the holidays. Free and open to the public. For more information, call 507-434-0934.  (Gallery closes at 3 p.m. on Saturdays)


•Christmas at Home, 7:30 p.m., Knowlton Auditorium, Austin High School (See above)


•Santa is coming! American Legion Club Room, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at 809 12th St. SW, Austin. Santa is coming …That’s right, he’ll be at The American Legion with presents, hot chocolate and treats. Anyone and everyone is welcome.  Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!  For more information, call 507-437-1151.

•Nativity House, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at 606 Oakland Place NE. The public is invited to visit this private home displaying almost 900 Nativity sets — all sizes, all shapes, all kinds of materials.  Free will donation which goes to the Salvation Army.  For more information or to arrange for private tours outside of this time can be made by calling 507-433-2643.

•Kids Studio, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Austin ArtWorks Center, 300 N. Main St. Kids are invited to enjoy sculpting with clay with Jesse Smith. For ages 4 and older. For more information, call 507-434-0934.

•Christmas at Home, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Knowlton Auditorium, Austin High School (See above)

•Big Band Holiday Swing Concert, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Hormel Historic Home, 208 4th Ave. NW. The Austin Big Band swings into the Hormel Historic Home for a special Big Band Holiday Swing concert. The band will feature guest vocals from Kaye Perry, Lori Miller, Kate Jordal and Vic Wylde; the band will also have main stays of Bradley Carlton and Morgan Dickman. Enjoy an R&B style version of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” a scintillating arrangement of “Santa Baby,” a soulful “Merry Christmas Baby,” along with many terrific Christmas big band songs. Admission is $12 which includes two hours of music, dance lessons (optional) and some delicious appetizers from 3B Eatery. Dance lessons begin at 4 p.m. Tickets are available through the Hormel Historic Home.


•Austin High School’s Holiday Concert, 7:30 p.m., Knowlton Auditorium, AHS.Enjoy the warm sounds of the season as all the school’s large groups from choir, band and orchestra programs perform their holiday magic.

Activity passes are honored.  Cost at the door is $7 adult and $5 student. There is pre-concert music beginning at 6:20 p.m. in the commons and on stage with the Chamber Orchestra, Choralaires, Jazz Band, Austinaires.