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Fort Dodge Symphony Yule Walk is back again

Tour of homes, concert Dec. 2

November 25, 2012
By JOE SUTTER, , Messenger News

In a house out in the woods, Diana Willerth and her family are busy putting up lights and ornaments.

"There will be a lot of trees," Willerth said.

Diana and Mike Willerth's home is one of four stops on this year's Yule Walk tour of homes, put on by the Fort Dodge Symphony Orchestra.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Diana Willerth begins the work of putting up decorations for the holidays. Family and friends will help her fill her house with whimsical and family-oriented trimmings before the she opens her house to the Yule Walk on Dec. 2.

Willerth said her family would be there over the Thanksgiving weekend, and help set up some of the decorations in their spacious home. In addition to many glistening trees, she said visitors would see nativity sets and figurines from her Santa collection, as well as a Christmas village in the kitchen.

"The ones in the kitchen will be food-related," she said.

None of the decorations are too formal - it's more family focused and whimsical, she said.

Fact Box

If you go:

What: Fort Dodge Symphony Orchestra concert and Yule Walk tour of homes

When: Dec. 2. Concert begins at 3 p.m., preconcert carols begin at 2:30 p.m. Yule Walk immediately following concert, 5 to 7 p.m.

Where: Concert is at Phillips Middle School; walk will tour homes of Jim and Ann Meyer, 2908 S. Soldier Creek Drive; Diana and Mike Willerth, 2917 S. Soldier Creek Drive; Clyde and Dianne Knupp, 1515 Floral Ave.; and Bickford Assisted Living, 1536 20th Ave. N.

Cost: Concert tickets are $10 adult, $6 student, or admission by season membership. Memberships will be available at the door. For more information, call 573-4224 or visit Yule Walk tickets are $15, available from Design Two, 1109 Central Ave., or CS Bank, 130 N. 29th St.Tickets may be purchased the day of the walk at Phillips Middle School or Bickford Assisted Living, but no change will be given.

The symphony has held the Yule Walk in years past, but was unable to last year.

"It's just a lot of work to put together. We're very excited to have it back this year," said symphony board President Hope Brown. "We visited with the homeowners, and it sounds like they're really going to do a wonderful job."

In addition to bringing back the old tradition, the symphony is trying something new this Christmas: a "Messiah" sing-along.

"Usually they just do the Hallelujah Chorus of the Messiah," Brown said.

"The audience will sing some of the choruses with the orchestra," said symphony Treasurer Ardella Hein. "That was conductor's idea. He presented that this summer, that he wanted to do this. I checked on their website, and evidently this is the coming thing. Some people do it every year."

Four soloists were selected in auditions, and will perform some of the more difficult songs. TheUna Vocis Choral Ensemble of Mason City will join in as well, to help the audience sing some of the more challenging parts, Brown said.

Before the concert, David and Judi Klee will perform Christmas carols beginning at 2:30 p.m. The concert will follow at 3 p.m., with the Yule Walk immediately following, until 7 p.m.

One of the homes on the walk has recently undergone some major renovation. At 1515 Floral Ave., Clyde Knupp has been fixing a house built in 1946 by architect Stan Griffith.

"This house has been in disrepair for a long time," Knupp said. "A lot of people who have been in this home before are interested in seeing what we're doing and how it's all going to come out."

The house was small when it was originally built, with several additions made throughout the years. Part of Knupp's project has been knocking down interior brick walls to make more open space inside the house.

"When we came this was a five-bedroom house. It was a lot of little rooms, and that wasn't very acceptable," he said.

Knupp also installed a second garage and driveway on the east side of the house. Evergreens along the lane will be lit for the walk.

The living room will have all new tiling, and the kitchen should be finished by the day of the tour, Knupp said. Becker Florist is helping with the decorations, both inside and outside the house.

"I'm not really into a whole lot of trees and lighting. I tend to not go that direction. Dianne and myself like to keep Christmas simple, with a simple tree," he said.

Bickford Assisted Living is on the walk this year, with decorations in the common area. There will also be hot chocolate, cider and holiday treats.

The Meyer home will feature snowflake lighting and Old World Christmas ornaments.

The Yule Walk is important for the Symphony, Brown said.

"This is our major fundraiser of the year," Brown said. "We are supported by grants and memberships, and the Yule Walk."



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