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Plays, concerts kick off holiday activities in Mitchell

Arles Struvie (played by Noah Arens), at left, and Thurston Wheelis (played by Levi Arens), share a laugh during a rehearsal of "A Tuna Christmas" Wednesday at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre in Mitchell. (Candy DenOuden/The Daily Republic)

Two actors, 22 characters and a tiny Texas town called Tuna.

Those are the main ingredients in this year’s Christmas production at the Area Community Theatre, “A Tuna Christmas.”

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Show times are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Dec. 13 and 14, and at 2 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 15 at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre in Mitchell. Tickets are $10 or $12, all reserved seats, and are available at 996-9137, or at the door.

Devin Carey, director of the play, said “A Tuna Christmas” follows the citizens of Tuna coping with the holidays, from the Christmas yard display contest that everyone wants to win to the “Christmas Phantom” who likes to play pranks that are “probably not very legal.”

“In this town, like any small town, there are the most funny, idiosyncratic characters that you can discover,” Carey said.

Carey said two real-life brothers, Levi and Noah Arens, play those characters — all of them, as the play is intended. Each plays 11 roles, which Carey said means they have multiple costume changes and an abundance of lines to learn.

“The costumes are fun to watch, the characters are fun to watch, the storylines are simple yet very relative to you,” Carey said. “Even if a character is only on stage for 20 seconds, it’s going to make you laugh.”

From the scene changes to the set design to the actors on stage, Carey said he is proud of the crew that has put together “A Tuna Christmas,” and hopes it brings a little bit of holiday cheer to the people who see it.

“In the time of the season, where things might be getting stressful, including the weather and family gatherings and all that, there should be a light-heartedness about it,” he said. “Life is too short to hold grudges, and sometimes you’ve just got to laugh at yourself. Or, at your relatives.”

Veni Emmanuel

Friday and Saturday, Dakota Wesleyan University’s annual Christmas concert, Veni Emmanuel, will combine all of DWU’s musical performing groups, including Wesleyan Community/University Band, LyricWood, the Wesleyan Bells, Faculty/Staff Bell Choir, the Highlanders, The Mitchell Area Children’s Choir, the Women’s Chamber Choir, The Singing Scotchmen and the largest Wesleyan Choir in more than 10 years.

Tickets are $10 and available at Prather Hall on DWU’s campus, or at 995-2177.

“Veni Emmanuel” is the Latin version of the Christmas hymn, “O Come, Emmanuel,” and is the theme of this year’s celebration.

“Most of the music will reflect on humanity’s longing for the coming of the Christ child,” said Clinton Desmond, DWU choral director, in a press release.

The concert will close with the “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah,” by the Wesleyan Choir, orchestra and congregation.

Christmas Shopping for Kids

Get your kids’ Christmas shopping all wrapped up at the 20th annual Christmas Shopping for Kids event.

Mitchell Main Street & Beyond Director Molly Goldsmith said the event is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Mitchell Masonic Temple. Vendors for the event are local businesses that provide gifts for less than $10 each. Children 12 and younger are guided by “elves” to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Free gift wrapping is provided by Davison County 4-H clubs.

Victorian Christmas

Partake of an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas at the Dakota Discovery Museum from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The Beckwith House, built in 1886 by Mr. and Mrs. Louis Beckwith, will be decorated in traditional Victorian Christmas finery, and a gingerbread model of the house, made by Barb Feilmeier, of Mitchell, will be on display.

The day will also feature music at 1 p.m. by the Mitchell Barbershop Chorus and local musician Billy Lurken at 2 p.m. at the 1908 Farwell Church. Christmas craft activities will be available for children in the Discovery Land activity area.

The event is free to the public, and donations are welcome. Refreshments will be available. For more information, call 996-2122 or visit

First Reformed Church concert

First Reformed Church will present its annual Christmas concert at 6 p.m. on Sunday at First Reformed Church in Mitchell. The concert will feature vocal and instrumental solos and ensembles, along with the senior choir, performing a variety of classic and contemporary Christmas songs.

Food and fellowship will follow, and a free-will offering will be taken.

Merry TubaChristmas

The seventh annual Merry TubaChristmas in Mitchell is Sunday.

Rehearsal and registration will be at noon in the Mitchell Middle School band room. Concerts will be at 1:30 p.m. at Coborn’s, 2 p.m. at Countryside Living, 2:30 p.m. at Firesteel Healthcare Center, 3 p.m. at Wesley Acres Retirement Center, 3:30 p.m. at Avera Brady Assisted Living and at 4 p.m. at County Fair.

Christmas at the Carnegie

The annual Christmas at the Carnegie event will start at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Carnegie Resource Center in Mitchell.

Pam Range with the Carnegie said admission is either a cash donation, or a food item for the Mitchell food pantry. Wanema Wieczorek will play Christmas music on the piano until 7 p.m., when the Mitchell Barbershop Chorus will sing. Refreshments and hot cider will be served.

Holiday Jam with the Hegg Brothers

For the fifth year, the Pepsi-Cola Theatre will host the Holiday Jam with the Hegg Brothers.

Carm Roster, Area Community Theatre manager, said the show will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets are $20 for ACT members or $25 for non-members, all reserved seats, and are available at the box office at 996-9137, or at the door.

According to the ACT website, Holiday Jam with the Hegg Brothers is a musical showcase, featuring a nine-piece band led by brothers Jeremy and Jon Hegg. Male and female vocalists, electric guitar, keyboards, harmonica, percussion and horns all make an appearance during the two-hour show. Concert music ranges from traditional Christmas classics like “O Holy Night” to contemporary new arrangements and fresh takes on classics. Show sponsors are BankWest and Patzer Woodworking.

Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers is coming back to the Corn Palace, and this time he’s bringing a friend.

Rogers, a 75-year-old country music legend, will perform at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell with special guest Linda Davis, according to Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling. The show will be part of Rogers’ “Christmas and Hits” tour.

Tickets are $55, all reserved seating, and are available at the Corn Palace box office at 995-8430 or

School concerts

  • Mitchell High School: The MHS band/choir concert is at 7 p.m. at the MHS auditorium.
  • Mitchell Christian School: The K-12 Christmas concert is at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 in the MCS gymnasium. The concert will feature middle school band and choir, high school band and choir and K-4 music.
  • Up With Show: “Believe,” the Up With Show by Friend de Coup, Mitchell High School’s show choir, will continue at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the MHS auditorium. MHS Vocal Director Chris Miller said tickets are $10 each, and are reserved. Tickets are available at the MHS south ticket office from 3 to 7 p.m. this week, at 995-3045, or at the door.