Meadowlark Holiday Classic to Bring Virtual Joy to the Entire Community

on November 30, 2020

Meadowlark, The Trust Company and New Boston Creative Group have teamed up to produce the 2020 Meadowlark Holiday Classic. This variety show-esque program will be available on YouTube beginning December 5, 2020, and features many area performing groups with surprise appearances from local celebrities. During a holiday season that will be anything but normal, the show’s sponsors hope to spread joy. 

The Holiday Classic is typically an in-person event The Trust Company, an independent investment firm, has held exclusively for residents of Meadowlark, a person-centered retirement community, for more than 20 years. With the current COVID-19 restrictions and the highest regard for safety, however, all parties knew changes were necessary for the show to go on. Through a partnership with New Boston Creative Group, an integrated marketing company, an online format was developed. The program’s new medium boasts many benefits, like opening the door to anyone who would like to (virtually) attend. 

“Because of our current situation, going to live shows or events just isn’t safe,” said Kristin Brighton, New Boston Creative Group principal and co-owner. “The Holiday Classic will be something people can watch from home to help them get their fill of cheer. We want this show to be a gift to residents of Meadowlark and to the community from the three sponsors.”

Students from the Manhattan Arts Center’s Youth Theater Program perform the classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore.
All elements of the show were pre-recorded (with the highest level of safety precautions) and edited together to form a seamless, fun holiday experience. For many of the featured performing groups, their filming date was the first time they’d met in person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and may be the last time their group will perform together for the foreseeable future. 

“The Manhattan High School Chamber Orchestra hadn’t been in the same room with each other all semester, so seeing their one and only performance will be special,” said Brighton. “The Little Apple Chorus isn’t currently performing either, but this event was so important to them that they met for recording, while distancing. We saw so much community generosity and excitement for this event.” 

Jim Gardner, John Thomason, Denver Marlow, Tom Neil, Gary Mott, Chuck Marr, Harry Kindle, Keith Eyestone were among the Little Apple Chorus members who filmed two holiday favorites at Seven Dolors Catholic Church.

Local performers Linda Uthoff, Joe Braun, Jane Boys and Thom Jackson — who have performed at the live event at Meadowlark for many years — provide many of the show’s numbers and lead a sing-a-long for viewers. Other featured groups include Manhattan High School choir students, the Manhattan Arts Center MAC Youth Theater Academy program, the First United Methodist Bells, and the team from Bourbon and Baker, who recorded a food segment with tips for holiday entertaining. 

Kirsten Spear, pastry chef at Bourbon and Baker, demonstrates how to make Baked Brie for the Meadowlark Holiday Classic.

Employees from The Trust Company were eager to serve as the show’s emcees.

"Hosting this event the past 20 years has always been a treat for our friends at Meadowlark, and also our staff at The Trust Company, so we wanted to do everything we could to make it happen again this year,” Mark Knackendoffel, CEO of The Trust Company, said. “In fact, the events of this year have emphasized an even greater need for a little joy and holiday spirit, which this program is sure to bring to the entire community." 

The show will look a little different than it has in the past, but might be more important than ever.

"The Holiday Classic is a favorite for many residents,” Lonnie Baker, CEO of Meadowlark, said. “Since a large number of people have been isolated recently and may not be able to see loved ones over the holidays, this will definitely be a much-needed highlight. The staff is looking forward to watching, too. It'll be an exciting day!" 

Tune in to experience the fun for yourself. Find the Holiday Classic at beginning December 5, 2020.