Christmas music. It generally begins after Thanksgiving and is meant to get people in the holiday spirit. However, the Manhattan Town Center is offering its own take to holiday music that involves a month-long festival and a variety musical groups from all across the community. The performances take place in the food court, or Picnic Place, in Manhattan Town Center.
Jocelyn Guilfoyle, marketing manager at Manhattan Town Center, said this event is open to the community and allows for a diverse set of performances. Guilfoyle said that all that is needed for a group performance to be scheduled, is for them to fill out a registration form that can be found at the Customer Service Center.
“We always send out invites to local schools and area churches and different people who have performed with us before, like soloists or other groups,” Guilfoyle said. “A lot of our returning performers will be back. They are ones that have come back every single year.”
One of those returning groups is Manhattan Bates Dance Studio. Heidi Hilton, the director of the Bates Dance Studio in Manhattan, said that not only is the festival good for the dancers, but it also helps celebrate the season.
“It’s a great opportunity for our dancers to showcase what they have been working on for these past months,” Hilton said. “It’s just a great, joyful season and a great time to celebrate.”
According to Guilfoyle, the event has become a tradition and Manhattan Town Center exercises the ability to involve the community with it.
“I think it’s just one of our many great traditions of being a community center and opening up our space for things like this to take place,” Guilfoyle said. “We are a good venue for large scale events like this. People really enjoy coming in and you know this time of year, it’s great to be inside because its so cold outside.”
One of the Holiday Festival’s other returning performers is the Tuba Christmas group. The group has about 60 to 70 participators and has been returning to the festival for years. Steve Maxwell, coordinator of Tuba Christmas and associate professor of music at K-State, said agreed that the venue is a large space, making it an ideal venue for a group of tuba players.
“It’s just a great venue because it’s just such a big space for my group to perform,” Maxwell said. “It’s hard fit 70 tubas in most places.”
Maxwell also talked about how the venue allows for the music to spread joy to so many people because of the high attendance at the mall.
“We have really enjoyed coming back year after year,” Maxwell said. “It’s such a busy time in the mall in December and it’s just so fun to perform. Everyone seems so cheerful this time of the year.”
The cheerful music began on the last day of November and will continue throughout the month of December. A schedule of performers that is updated weekly can be found at the Holiday Festival stage or in the Customer Service Center.