MT. PLEASANT — Mt. Pleasant community members and Iowa Wesleyan University students will not want to throw away their shot at seeing the IW music department’s Variety Show, “The Story of Tonight,” this Friday.
This year, the university’s choir will be opening with “Found/Tonight,” a mash-up song from popular Broadway musicals, “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Hamilton.” The show also borrows its theme from the historical musical.
Delaney Van Ness, IW graduate student and show coordinator, said the show will feature 19 acts, which will include skits, solos, duets and selections performed by the IW Choir, jazz band, Primae Voces and the Mt. Pleasant Chorale. The music department’s professors also provide assistance with the show by serving as the live band and music accompaniments.
“This year we have the most variety that we’ve ever had,” Van Ness, who has been involved with the Variety Show since it began four years ago, explained. As the coordinator, Van Ness helps come up with the theme and decide selections for the choral groups. She also helps to run auditions for the show and book the Chapel.
The graduate student said the theme is usually announced to the IW choir right before winter break and auditions are held mid-to-late January.
“This year we had a crazy amount of auditions. We had 30 acts audition. A lot of it was we had people in multiple things,” she said.
The Variety Show is the music department’s largest fundraiser for their choir tour. In the past, the show has included an auction of donated items.
“The community has been so supportive that they gave us so many things to auction off that the auction kind of took over the show. This year what we did is we sold sponsorships,” Van Ness explained.
Along with those sponsorships, businesses who purchased advertising space on the show’s program received complimentary tickets. The show coordinator estimates about 400 to 450 tickets have already been distributed. She added that a crowd of nearly 600 attended the show last year and ticket numbers for this year look to be of a similar volume.
“It’s a lot of fun, the crowd is always great,” she said.
While the show often ends up being a tremendous amount of work, Van Ness said it’s unlike others put on by the university because it is completely student led.
“Students come up with their own acts. For the most part they put it together all themselves,” she said, “Everybody finds their own music, they do their own rehearsal — all of it. So this is entirely from the students. It just showcases the students.”
“The Story of Tonight” will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 at the University Chapel. Tickets can be purchased at Brown’s Shoe Fit, the IW Tiger Spirit Store or at the door.