A community Christmas celebration

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 23, 2002

The Alden Lions Club is inviting everyone to &uot;Come Celebrate Christmas.&uot;

The Lions will host their fourth annual dinner theatre at Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Alden School gymnasium. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. with the program starting at 7 p.m.

According to Bill Wittmer, co-chairman of the event along with Neil Pierce, the dinner theatre idea began because the club was looking for an event to host between September and March. &uot;We thought it would be good to have something Christmas-related, have it catered, and get the school involved.&uot;

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The result has been a sold-out event to about 400 people each year, Wittmer said.

&uot;The first year, we didn’t know what to expect. By the second year, we’d gained some notoriety, and last year, we had to turn people away,&uot; he added.

The first three years, the proceeds went to help the high school choir purchase new robes. This year’s event will also benefit a community project, the chairmen said.

&uot;This is by far the biggest fund-raiser for our club,&uot; Pierce said.

The program includes carolers (the girls’ volleyball team) who will perform between 5:45 and 6 p.m. Also on the program are Harmony Junction Barbershop Chorus; Betsy Schultz, accompanied by Peter Soli, Radley Miller, accompanied by Sheri Bruzelius; the Calvary Connection with an audience sing-along; Jessica Modderman, accompanied by Aava Heutch; the Alden Area Community Choir, directed by Peter Soli; and violinist Lia Ubl.

This year’s program takes a decidedly community focus. In the past, school vocal groups, under the direction of Sharon Astrup-Scott, have performed. Astrup-Scott also arranged for special guest performers, including Andrew Gangestad, Kitty Karn and John Williams.

The community chorus is a recently organized group with members from all over the area. They sang for Morin Lake Days and a Sept. 11 remembrance service.

&uot;I think it’s a program everyone will enjoy,&uot; Pierce said. &uot;It’s a light, cheery program.&uot;

The school gymnasium will be festively decorated with trees, lights and poinsettias. &uot;It’s a dress-up, not a casual affair,&uot; Wittmer said.

Tickets for the event are $10 per person. They are available at all Andersen Hallmark stores in Albert Lea, from Alden Lions Club members or by calling 874-3695.