Museum to feature nativities, music

Monday, November 29, 2021

LE MARS — Several hundred Christmas nativities and villages will once again fill the Study Hall of the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars. This is the 12th year for the exhibit, which will be the backdrop for this Sunday’s Christmas Open House, Dec. 5, in the Study Hall.

Harry Dunstan

A new feature this year will be “La Serenata,” featuring Dr. Harry Dunstan, tenor, and Kay Krekow, soprano. “La Serenata” will perform songs of the season from 1:30 to 2 p.m.

Inez Hoogeveen’s piano students will begin their recital at 2 p.m. in the Study Hall. The piano recital has been a tradition for many years at the open house.

Kay Krekow

Krekow and her husband, Dunstan, have been regular soloists at the National Christmas Tree on the National Mall and ZooLights at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The couple has also been featured at holiday and liturgical events at St. Matthews Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the National Cathedral.

Krekow, a native of Marcus, and Dunstan, have permanently relocated to the family farm in Marcus, and have brought their prolific musical endeavors with them, including the Arcadia Vocal Academy and The American Center for Puccini Studies. They recently inaugurated The Fiddle Creek Arts Group and look forward to bringing a rich and varied program of cultural events to Northwest Iowa. Read more at

Following the student piano recital, all are invited for holiday refreshments.

The Floyd Valley Model Railroad Room also will be open for viewing in the basement of the museum, with John Schneider serving as the conductor.

Included in this year’s Christmas nativities exhibit are approximately 80 nativities donated in 2016 by the Rev. Paul Eisele of Le Mars. Each year, the local priest also presents a piano concert and sing-a-long for Epiphany. This year’s date is tentatively set for Thursday, Jan. 6, the day of Epiphany.

Also featured are many nativities donated to the museum by the late Glada Koerselman, a long-time museum volunteer who saved the museum building, “Old Central” school, from the wrecking ball in 1995.

This year over 100 lighted villages donated by Jim and Kay Peters and family are on display in Room 413 adjacent to the Study Hall.

Through the years, memorials to many people have become an important part of the nativity display.

Admission to the museum’s nativities is free and open during museum hours: 1 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, or by special appointment. Anyone wishing to arrange a special tour may call (712)-539-0223.

The nativity display began in 2010 when Ron and Delores Burkard brought in their collection of nativities for the newly renovated Study Hall. Ron Burkard died the following year, but Delores helped the museum keep the tradition alive until her death in 2019.

Serving as co-chairmen of the nativity display are Jim and Mary Rohlfs, assisted by Julie Leaverton and others.

The museum consists of five floors, all handicapped accessible. No admission is charged at the museum, but a free will donation is always welcome for the continuing operation of the Museum.

Located at 335 First Ave. S.W., in Le Mars, the museum serves all parts of the county with its exhibits and programs. Although it receives donations from Plymouth County, the county’s communities, and grants, it is supported primarily by its members.

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