Spreading Holiday Cheer, One Show at a Time: Two Students Selected to Perform With Jim McDonough
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It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas. During the holiday season, two students will sing and dance in Jim McDonough’s Holiday Grande 2016, which tours in nine different cities throughout Iowa. McDonough, “Iowa’s Own Pianist,” organizes these productions to help benefit Camp Courageous of Iowa.
Bergan Blommers (12) and Mariah Seeley (11) auditioned in late September in Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids, respectively. Blommers and Seeley prepared solos and performed a memorized dance routine.
“I had a little bit of nerves before going into the audition, but I’ve learned to suppress the nerves and just enjoy the opportunity to audition for something I love to do,” Seeley said. “I’ve never auditioned for this type of show before, so it’s a whole new experience.”
Along with school work and other extracurricular activities, the two memorized the music for the show by the first practice, which at the time was only four days away.
“We were in the middle of musical at the time, so not only did I have to be ready for all the performances, I had to memorize music for a whole show at the same time,” Blommers said. “It was very challenging and stressful trying to find time to memorize.”
Another challenge is the time commitment.
“The hardest thing (about being in the show) is going to be missing out on some family events,” Seeley said. “We usually have our family Christmas a weekend or so before Christmas and now I have a show that day.”
Blommers and Seeley will perform alongside six other performers as the ensemble, which will sing and dance backup for McDonough.
“I am looking forward to working with a very professional cast and getting to learn from people who have been doing shows like this for a living,” Blommers said. “It will open my mind to the performance world, and I will create bonds with some amazing performers.”
Both girls are thankful for the opportunity to perform in their first professional show.
“I get to do my dream job for the entire month of December. Performing is my passion, and having the opportunity to be a part of this show is such a pleasure,” Seeley said. “I am also looking forward to performing with my little sister. She made it as well, and this will be our first show together. I can’t wait to teach her about the stage life and get her out there performing.”
The show will be in Manchester on Nov. 25, Ottumwa on Nov. 26, Des Moines on Nov. 27, Anamosa on Dec. 3, Monticello on Dec. 4, Dubuque on Dec. 10, Cedar Rapids on Dec. 11, Davenport on Dec. 17, and Cedar Falls on Dec. 18.