Noon Holiday Concerts at Plains Art Museum celebrate 21 years

Museum offers brief break from holiday stress, opportunity to view galleries

Concordia saxophone quartets performed at the Dec. 2 Noon Holiday concert.

As the first notes of Mozart filled the air, the Plains Art Museum’s Holiday Noon Concerts entered its 21st year on Dec. 2. For one brief hour, Concordia saxophone quartets entertained those in attendance with a blend of holiday classics and transcribed classical string arrangements, offering a relaxing respite from the fast pace of the holiday season.

Originally hosted for two weeks, the event has since expanded to three due to high demand. The concert and general admission to the museum itself are free, however, the catered lunch is available for a fee.

This year, Urban Foods Catering will offer lunch from Dec. 2-5 and Dec. 16-19, while Chef’s Table Catering will be serving lunch Dec. 9-12.

When asked about the decision to offer a midday concert series instead of evening performances, the event’s organizer, Tonya Scott, explained they wanted it to be convenient for people who work downtown to come on their lunch breaks. “The holidays can be so busy we wanted to offer a quick break.”

Another reason for the timing is its lack of competition. “We used to offer a ‘Rush Hour music series’ that would have been around the ‘happy hour’ time, but evening now has a lot of competition downtown, which is great to see,” Scott added.

Scott explained while she was not part of the program at the beginning, she believes the holiday concerts also serve as a way for the museum to engage with the public.” It gets them into the museum. They might wander around the galleries, shop in the store and hopefully become members,” she said.

Development Director Sandy Thompson agrees. “The museum has had the orientation of being the community’s ‘front porch’ and it was an opportunity for us to engage the community during the holiday season,” he said.

Thompson added that the museum has also begun more outreach to organizations where senior citizens are, as the timing works well for them to visit and take in the galleries.

Many of the musicians have performed at the noon concerts before, however, as the event has expanded, new acts have been added. Thompson spoke about some of the “regulars.”

“There is Darin Henze and Friends. She is an incredible pianist and she will have other instrumentalists join her. They’ve been here for years. The Pelican Quartet is a group of string instruments that are with the symphony lead by an amazing woman, Marjorie Schlossman, who plays in the symphony both viola and violin,” said Thompson.

He also spoke fondly of Michelle Gelinske & HeartSprings Tremble Clef Choir, who he has introduced the past two years.

When reflecting on the longevity of the Noon Holiday Concerts, Scott believes the patrons and musicians themselves have played an important role.

“I believe it is for a couple of reasons. We have the people who we see every year. We also offer a variety of local music. We have professors, faculty, students and members of the community participating who bring their families, but we also see different faces each year who haven’t been here before,” she said.

Noon Holiday Concerts at the Plains Art Museum take place Monday through Thursday during Dec. 2-19 from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Thursday, December 5
Pelican Quartet

Monday, December 9
Silver Winds Flute Quartet

Tuesday, December 10
NDSU Faculty Chamber Ensemble

Wednesday, December 11
Bison Brass-NDSU faculty Brass Quintet

Thursday, December 12
Michelle Gelinske & HeartSprings Tremble Clef Choir

Monday, December 16
Clarion Quartet

Tuesday, December 17
Dakota Rose String Quartet

Wednesday, December 18
Fargo-Moorhead Opera

Thursday, December 19
Sarah Morrau & Bekka Devries

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