The upcoming annual Webster City Community Chorus is the first since Don Anderson returned to directing for the group.
Anderson started the group 27 years ago with the late Linda Toering, his former classmate. From its inception, Anderson directed the group for a decade. It then passed to other directors while Anderson continued to work as the band director at Webster City Middle School.
"This last year, when I retired from teaching, I thought I'd finally have some time to come back and it's great," Anderson said. "It's a great bunch of people willing to work, easy to get along with, and very talented."
Don Anderson, right, directs the Webster City Community Chorus and Asbury Bell Ringers during a rehearsal on Tuesday night. The chorus’ annual holiday concert premieres on Saturday. This is the first holiday concert Anderson has directed after stepping down from directing about 17 years ago.
Rehearsals began for the concert at the end of September. Chorus members spent several hours each week in preparation for two concerts this weekend at Asbury United Methodist Church in Webster City. The first concert will be held on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and the second will be on Sunday at 3 p.m.
"I Wish You Christmas" will feature a variety of music and singing from the Community Chorus and others. The first part of the concert will be about the history and goings-on of Bethlehem. Anderson said the chorus will tell the story about the birth of Jesus with musical styles including African, Caribbean and old English.
Then, Anderson said the story of Jesus' birth will be told from the point of view from the "cast of characters," like the wise men, shepherds and the angels. The second half of the concert will feature secular songs. Anderson said these "snow songs" include "White Christmas," "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and more.
Other musical features include the Asbury Bell Ringers, who will be performing with the Community Chorus. Anderson said the Bell Ringers and the audience will sing some Christmas carols. One song Anderson highlighted was called "Calypso Lullaby," which he said has a relaxing, island feel.
Students of piano instructor Jeannie Vande Zande with play Christmas songs during the intermission. During that time, there will be a freewill donation. Anderson said the Community Chorus does not require an admission fee to attend their concerts, but donations are welcome to support the group.
As the Saturday concert falls on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Anderson said the chorus will take a moment to honor veterans in the audience.