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Village Arts presents ‘Simple Gifts’ to concertgoers
December 6, 2019

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Two choirs, a string orchestra and symphony orchestra performed in Village Arts, Incorporated's annual Christmas concert held Sunday evening at Rugby High School's Tilman Hovland Auditorium.

This year's concert theme was "Simple Gifts," taken from a song title of the same name, according to Tilman Hovland, the auditorium's namesake and Heartland Symphony Orchestra director.

"I don't remember the whole background on the song, but it was written as a background on some other larger work," Hovland explained to the Tribune.

"It was kind of a dedication song to the simple gift of loving someone else and helping them," he said.

Hovland said the song "was central to the whole program. The reason they thought (to use the title) was the concert was a simple gift to the audience."

"The program went very well, I thought," Hovland said. " The audience was very responsive. It would have been nicer if there had been nicer weather because we would have had a few more people there."

The program featured selections played by the Heartland Civic String Orchestra directed by David Halvorson. Songs from the Heartland Civic Choir and Children's Choir followed, directed by Andee Mattson.

Intermission featured baked Christmas cookies and goodies furnished by FARMtastic Heritage Foods Hub.

The string and symphony orchestra presented a mix of both religious and popular Christmas tunes, and the choir joined both orchestras for "White Christmas," the program's finale.

Village Arts President Bonnie Berginski said volunteers sold 144 tickets for the event.

Berginski said volunteers also provided printed programs for the concert, with letters inserted to share news about Village Arts' new home in the former Bethany Lutheran Church. The letter also advertised classes and opportunities for giving to the nonprofit.

The letter invited area teens and adults to an improvisational comedy workshop on Dec. 15. "We will be seeing if there will be interest in more improv classes after the new year," the letter read. "Jacob Jenkins will be leading this activity and we are so excited to have him back with us!"

Village Arts also announced volunteer opportunities at Heart of America's Long Term Care Center and Haaland Estates in the "Art for Life" program.

The program's purpose is to "combat loneliness, boredom and helplessness, and to foster creativity and self-confidence. We are also looking for someone who can help organize and coordinate activities between artists, volunteers and the care centers. If this interests you, please contact Bonnie Berginski."

Berginski may be contacted at (701) 208-1448 for information on other volunteer opportunities as well.

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