The sounds of the Yuletide season are returning to eight Iowa venues starting this weekend as an eastern Iowa pianist presents his annual Holiday Grande performances.
Jim McDonough, of Monticello, says he’s opening his Christmas concert series over the Thanksgiving holiday. “I’m celebrating my 15th year of touring and we have pulled out all the stops to ensure this is the grandest event of the season,” McDonough says. “I’ve never been more excited about a holiday tour than I am this year’s.”
Proceeds from the series benefit Monticello-based Camp Courageous, which every year serves more than 7,000 campers with disabilities from Iowa and surrounding states. This weekend, he’ll be taking the show to DeWitt, Ottumwa and Des Moines.
“These are terrific venues and some of them have been regulars on this tour and we go back annually and a couple of others are new this year,” McDonough says. “We’re excited to be not only spreading the message of Christmas but also the message of Camp Courageous in all of these cities.” He says some in the audience have made the concerts an annual family tradition so he changes up the program every year.
“We have some spectacular moments that involve the orchestra, my singers, dancers, me at the piano and we contrast those highly-produced, big, splashy, glitzy moments with moments where it’s me at the piano playing just for the audience some of their favorite Christmas songs in a much more intimate setting,” McDonough says.
Opening night is this Friday in DeWitt, with a stop in Ottumwa on Saturday and Des Moines on Sunday. Other dates include: Anamosa on December 2nd, Monticello on December 3rd, Dubuque on December 9th, Cedar Rapids on December 10th and Cedar Falls on December 16th.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)