CHRISTMAS CONCERT CELEBRITY GUEST CONDUCTORS ANNOUNCED
OSKALOOSA, IA — The Oskaloosa Symphony Orchestra has announced the list of candidates for the 2013 Guest Celebrity Conductor Contest that will take place Sunday, December 8 at 4:00 p.m. at the George Daily Community Auditorium. This year, the popular annual event will feature five prominent Oskaloosa citizens who will campaign to be the 2013 “Celebrity Conductor.” Each candidate asks for “votes,” and people may vote many times with one dollar equaling one vote. The candidate who receives the largest number of votes (dollars) will be selected as the Celebrity Conductor. All proceeds from this event go to the Oskaloosa Symphony Orchestra to help provide orchestra concerts in the future.
Checks made out to the Oskaloosa Symphony Orchestra may be given to the candidates directly or sent to the Orchestra at P.O. Box 301, Oskaloosa, IA 52577. Please name the candidate on the check. “Votes” will also be accepted at the door on the day of the concert.
The list of outstanding candidates includes the following five individuals:
Karen Adams is the Ag in the Classroom Coordinator for Mahaska County Farm Bureau where she is seen many times walking into elementary schools carrying a large corn stalk. She and her husband, Dan, moved to Oskaloosa in 2006. They have two daughters, Megan, a sophomore at Iowa State University, and Rachel, a junior at Oskaloosa High School. Karen grew up in Chariton and has enjoyed music ever since she can remember. She participated in band and choir in high school, though as she reflects back on those memories, it was the social aspect of fine arts that she enjoyed the most, not the practicing. In adulthood, Karen has led children’s choirs at two different churches and has been a member of the Community Choir for three years. Karen has a secret desire to learn to play the trap set and hopes this public appearance will jumpstart her career.
Charlie Comfort, a senior political science and digital communications major at William Penn University, is a columnist for the Oskaloosa Herald and a part-time board operator at KBOE. He is also a member of the Oskaloosa School Board and the Vice Chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission. He hopes to continue a career in politics and broadcasting when he graduates. Charlie played violin and viola while in high school. Charlie adds humorously, that with his experience in music and politics, and now the opportunity to conduct an orchestra, “It is my desire to bring the Senate of the Brass and the Representatives of the Stringed Instruments together into one setting in order to work together to create bipartisan harmony and to end our society’s prolonged battle and rivalry between the Orchestra and the Band.”
Brenda Duree was raised in Adair, Iowa, home of the Happy Face Water Tower on Interstate 80. Her daily therapy involves listening to music at work, in the car and while exercising. Brenda is the Nursing Director at William Penn University’s RN-BSN Completion Program. She practiced nursing in the emergency room for many years and earned degrees from Iowa Lakes Community College, University of Iowa and Iowa State University. Brenda’s music talent involved playing the accordion when she was a child and she remembers playing for family events and standing in front of an audience while her knees were shaking. She has never been asked to sing in a church choir, but in her opinion, she sounds very fine in the car. Brenda is excited to represent William Penn and hopes that many people “vote” to support the Symphony. She also hopes that you won’t hear her knees knocking above the sound level of the orchestra.
Darren “Duff” Dykstra is a lifelong resident of Oskaloosa with adventures in places like, Alaska, Russia, Japan and Europe, and all of these places have helped to shape Darren into the person he is today. He is very proud of his family, wife Karin and two children, Nikolas and Sophia Dykstra and two step-children, Sonja and Marta Iverson. He spends much of his free time with sports teams in southeast Iowa coaching and giving back to the community. He has always had an ear for music, but his music teachers would say differently. Deep down, Darren has always had a soft spot for one instrument, the triangle, and he believes the mighty triangle is one instrument that many people don’t appreciate and others over look altogether. It’s true that Darren cannot read sheet music or play a note of an instrument (well, only one note anyway), but his love for music soars off the chart.
Dennis Shankster is a local masonry contractor. He and his wife, Margaret, have a daughter – Lisa, a son in law-Daren, and two granddaughters – Alahna and Mia.
When he began his freshman year of high school in Centerville, Iowa, where he grew up, he was pretty sure that he might be a famous French horn player someday after the band director sat him at first chair, but then realized by the time he was a senior that he would probably need to come up with another occupation as he was then sitting at last chair. After high school, he attended the community college in Centerville where he joined a rock band, “King Richard and His Court.” After college, he had a dream of being a famous bass guitar player and played in more bands. He has a new dream – to be the best “old bricklayer to have ever conducted a symphony orchestra” – and hopes that you might consider casting your votes for “the old bricklayer.”