College to suspend Celebration Iowa program for 2011

Sept. 8, 2010

Luther College has announced that it will suspend operation of the Celebration Iowa summer music program for 2011 to provide time to assess and evaluate the program's future direction.

Celebration Iowa, a project of Luther College for high school students, completed its 28th year of music training and performances this summer. Increased operating costs, the state of the economy, and declining philanthropic support are among the reasons for the college's decision to assess the program for the coming year, said Rob Larson, Luther executive director of marketing and communications who oversees the program's operations.

About 37 high school students are selected through statewide auditions each year to participate in Celebration Iowa. Since 1983, more than 700 students from about 250 Iowa communities have participated.

Celebration Iowa features the talent, potential, energy and spirit of the people of Iowa and serves as a showcase for the state's musically talented high school students. Luther has been the program's home, training facility and central funding agency since its creation in the 1980s.

The program is also funded by the R.J. McElroy Trust, the Fred Maytag Family Foundation, and the Celebration Iowa Alumni and Parent Funds. Each cast member also secures local sponsorships to defray personal costs.

Celebration Iowa provides an educational setting for high school students to learn and perform, led by a staff of top instructors.  Its study, practice and performance regimen helps young musicians improve performance skills while learning music theory and literature, dance, theater and improvisation. The program's eight-week performing tour provides entertainment at community festivals, fairs and concerts statewide. 

Over its 28 years Celebration Iowa has operated under several different names. Originally called the Iowa State Fair Singers from 1983-88, the program became the State Fair Singers and Jazz Band with 1989's addition of the band. The program's current name, Celebration Iowa, was established in 2000.