As you already know, Siouxland is a great place to take in some fantastic art. Although we don’t know yet is what’s in store for the 2020-2021 seasons, here are six events you can look forward to as the 2019-2020 season wraps up in the next few months.
It may not be a surprise to hear that I’m a sucker for our symphony. Scheherazade and Rite of Spring were standouts in the 2019 half of the 19/20 season, but I’m really looking forward to the March 14 concert: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.
The Sioux City Symphony Orchestra has done a lot to expand its base and appeal. This includes events like their film nights, the upcoming Music of Queen concert, and last year’s Second City performance. But the Beethoven concert excites me because it features a stand-out lineup without any of the flashy apologetics. You may not recognize Beethoven’s Seventh like you might his ubiquitous Fifth (duh-duh-duh-duuuuuuuh), but once you hear it in the capable hands of the SCSO, you may very well appreciate it even more.
Beyond the Beethoven, I’ve got my sights set on Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. I can’t wait to see and hear how the SCSO collaborates—one of the things it does best—with its soloist. Their guest artist, I hear, may be shuffled around, but even if the duties were to fall to concertmaster Bacco Liu—more on him later—the evening should be a treat.
One of my most exciting discoveries in 2019 was the existence of the Orange City Tulip Festival Night Show. Our family had gone to the Tulip Festival several years for the parade and rides and to buy a lot of tulips. But last year a friend of a friend (who knew our kids were nuts for Beauty and the Beast) told us Orange City was performing it during the Tulip Festival. We went. We loved it. We’ll be going back.
This year the Night Show features Cinderella. Orange City obviously devoted a lot of time and money to its production last year. It probably featured the best and most elaborate set and costumes I’ve seen in Siouxland. The singing was top-notch and almost—almost—made me overlook the fact that there was a small orchestra performing live in the pit. If you’re in Sioux City and do most of your art-ing close to home, the May Night Show in Orange City will be worth the trip.
THE LITTLE MERMAID
While we’re talking fairy tales, musicals, and local theatre, let’s talk The Little Mermaid. Sioux City Community Theatre rounds out its 19/20 season with a production in July. (By the way, this makes for a nice summer treat since a lot of the local performance seasons wrap up in April or May.)
The family and I have seen a few musicals at Community Theatre (Beauty and the Beast, Honk,and Into the Woods) and were really impressed by both the youth and adult talent. The boys have seen the movie, we’ve been to Disney, so you better believe we’ll be in the audience for (at least) one performance of The Little Mermaid. If you want to escape the July heat and support some local artists, check it out.
Did you know Sioux City has a chamber music organization? It’s called the Sioux City Chamber Music Series, and it’s pretty great. In March it features violinist Te-Chiang Liu.
Not familiar with that name? You might know him as Bacco Liu, the Concertmaster for the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra. If you were at the Symphony’s season-opener and heard Scheherazade, that was Bacco performing those lyric violin solos. I can’t wait to hear what he’s putting together for this solo performance.
LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST
Northwestern College in Orange City puts on Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost in April. Not familiar with Shakespeare? Never fear. In my experience, the best way to get to know the plays is to spend an evening watching one of them. They’re never as intimidating onstage as they are on-page, and I expect Northwestern Theatre Department to put on a quality show. I was up in 2018 for a production of The Crucible, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Encourage this young cast and its creative team and demonstrate Siouxland’s support for the classics.
From Sioux Falls south to Omaha, the only regular opera production with a live orchestra can be found at the University of South Dakota. Who knew?! The opera department stages a performance with recorded music in the fall, but the spring show features all of the singing accompanied by a live orchestra. This, by the way, is the USD Symphony Orchestra, which I’ve seen twice now and which has some serious game.
If the word “opera” (like “Shakespeare”) makes you nervous, you should know that The Gondoliers is an English-language opera written by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. If that doesn’t comfort you, think of it like this: Gilbert and Sullivan are essentially the originators of the English-language musicals we know and love today. Take a chance on this production; I doubt it will disappoint.