CEDAR FALLS | Old-fashioned Christmas carols are on the program for Monday’s Cedar Valley Christmas Event. A who’s who of choirs from throughout the area will be performing.

The second annual concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls.

Sponsored by Courier Communications, the event will benefit the Boys & Girls Club. Tickets sponsors are KOKZ 105.7 and Hy-Vee food stores.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with pre-concert festivities including music by pianist Heidi Rush and the First Methodist Bell Choir. There will be hot chocolate and cookies.

Tickets are $7; children 3 and younger are free.

“We want this to be a family-friendly event,” said Chuck Rowe, Boys & Girls Club chief executive officer. “We know people are crazy-busy on Thanksgiving, then all the Black Friday shopping. After all of this, this event is a time when families can just take a moment to slow down, relax and remember what Christmas is all about.”

The idea is to create the ambiance of an old-time 1900’s Christmas carol sing-along, he says. The program will feature familiar songs the audience can join in and sing.

Featured performers include choirs from Wartburg College, West High School, Prairie Lakes Church, Dunkerton High School, Nazareth Lutheran Church, Bel Canto, Cedar Harmony and Proud Image. The evening will conclude with all choirs joining to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Aaron Buzza, executive director of the Waterloo Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Craig Laue from KOKZ will emcee the concert.

“This event is truly a great way to welcome in the Christmas season. To hear over 1,500 people sing Christmas carols together is really special. Plus it is great to have this event at Gallagher Bluedorn. That helps to make for an extra special night for families. It’s not too often you get the chance to dress up a little and enjoy the town," said Zach Shimp, Boys and Girls Club board president.

Money raised through the concert will support the Boys and Girls Club, which serves more than 600 at-risk youth each year at four locations in Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Dunkerton and Evansdale. The club provides programs such as homework assistance, computer programming, music and art lessons, athletics, character-building programs and more.

The club also is focusing on new programs including STEM and dance lessons, as well as a new partnership with Holmes Junior High School in Cedar Falls to provide after-school programs.

“The kids we serve have an abundance of daily stresses that are uncommon to most kids their age. That’s why we want to provide a resource to help our youth succeed. Our tagline is ‘Great Futures Start Here,’ and everything we do at the Club is to inspire college and careers for our members,” said Rowe.

Tickets are available at Hy-Vee stores and at cedarvalleyclubs.org.

Special Sections Editor for the Courier

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