MUSCATINE, Iowa–Though January has a reputation as a dreary month, the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra hopes to light up the night Jan. 7, 2022, with a performance of “First You Dream” by Allison Blackwell of Broadway fame, interludes by members of the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra, and delightful food and drink, all in the opulence of the Merrill Hotel’s Grand Ballroom.
The evening of the dinner concert, guests will start out with an hors d’oeuvres and cocktail hour featuring music from the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra String Quartet. Dinner prepared by the Merrill’s top chef will follow, accompanied by music from the Symphony’s Principal Harpist, Aleese Kenitzer. As diners enjoy dessert and coffee, Blackwell will perform her original show “First You Dream,” which tells the story of how she started and grew her Broadway career, featuring songs in many different genres, accompanied by Cheryll Drake Ryder, a pianist for the Symphony. An evening full of delightful experiences, Muscatine Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Brian Dollinger believes it will offer a, “truly a delicious evening for the taste buds and ears.”
After collaborating with Blackwell for a pair of performances with the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra, Dollinger knew Muscatine would enjoy her performance, along with an evening of exquisite dining. “The Grand Ballroom of the Merrill Hotel; fantastic food and drink; and an intimate solo performance by an amazing Broadway star are all the makings of a memorable event that really shouldn’t be missed,” he enthused. “I know my wife and I are eagerly looking forward to the evening at the Merrill to ring in the New Year with this event.”
More than just an excellent evening of entertainment, the Symphony’s upcoming event will raise the funds necessary for them to continue putting on concerts, including several free community shows, throughout 2022. “Monies raised at this event will go directly towards continuing to bring live symphonic music to Muscatine this concert season and through this coming year,” explained Dollinger. “We continue to offer free concerts during the year, and the expenses for those performances need help being offset.”
Tickets to “First You Dream” cost $100 apiece, and those interested in attending may purchase them on the Symphony’s website or by calling 563-264-2071. In order to ensure space and food for all, guests must purchase their tickets by the end of the day Dec. 31. Anyone wishing to stay at the Merrill Hotel that night may also inquire about a special room rate if they book before the end of the day Jan. 2, 2022.
As musical groups around the world continue to reintroduce live performances, Dollinger welcomes the community to join him and the Symphony for this unforgettable night. “The pandemic has put a hold on many, many events throughout the world, and it has truly been hard on so many,” Dollinger observed: “Having this Twentieth Anniversary Celebration event in a safe way with our friends and neighbors will go a long way for us all. And hearing Ms. Blackwell perform will be pretty amazing too!”