Sept. 14, 2009
Luther College President Richard Torgerson has named Benjamin “Benji” Nichols to the position of program director of the Celebration Iowa Singers and Jazz Band summer music education and performance program.
Nichols, who has assisted the Celebration Iowa program two summers as sound engineer and music production advisor, will begin his duties as program director in September.
Celebration Iowa is an annual three-month program that offers professional level performing and educational experiences to talented Iowa youth. Directed by a staff of music and dance teachers and music performance professionals, the students of Celebration Iowa annually train for and present an action-packed two-hour touring show that includes song, dance, and jazz band favorites for audience members of all ages.
As head of Celebration Iowa, Nichols will organize and manage all operations of the program, including fundraising, marketing, recruiting, hiring and supervising summer staff and cast members, leading a volunteer parent committee, setting the strategic plan of the organization, and training and directing student performers to produce the summer show in collaboration with the artistic director.
Nichols is currently co-founder and owner of Inspire(d) Media, a Decorah-based company that produces and publishes Inspire(d) magazine and does freelance creative services and event production. He also operates Benji Nichols Audio, an independent music management and event production service.
He was previously an associate producer for Pacific Vista Productions/Riverwalk Jazz in Petaluma, Calif., producing a long-running public radio series that included archival music pieces and on-site live recording and production. From 2001-06 he was a live production specialist and sound engineer for Luther Burbank Center and Mystic Theatre in California.
A native of Decorah, Nichols holds the bachelor of music degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he received a production creativity award scholarship.
The Celebration Iowa troupe tours the state each summer, performing at 30-plus community festivals and shows. The program strives to reflect the quality of Iowa high school music programs in an educational, performance and service-oriented summer music experience.
A project of Luther College, Celebration Iowa is also funded by the R.J. McElroy Trust, the Fred Maytag Family Foundation, Iowa West Foundation, and the Celebration Iowa Alumni and Parent Funds.
More information is available at the Celebration Iowa Singers and Jazz Band web site, http://celebrationiowa.luther.edu