Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

December 7, 2012

Christmas at The Continental


Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Join Michael Philipsen, Gayle Hartwig, and friends, for an evening of Christmas at The Continental on Friday, Dec. 21.  Our talented friends will provide classical and traditional Christmas music, including original pieces and arrangements by Michael Philipsen, followed by a sing-along. Complimentary  appetizers, courtesy of The Continental will be served during a social time at 5:30 p.m. followed by the concert beginning at 6:30 p.m.  

Philipsen was born and grew up in Des Moines, attended Simpson College where he earned his Bachelor of Music in piano performance, and then received his Master of Music in piano performance at the University of Missouri where he studied under the concert pianist Santiago Rodriguez.

From 1980 to 1986, Michael and wife Marva lived in Centerville where he taught voice and piano privately and Marva taught special education at Howar Junior High.  Their children, Melinda and Dane, were born at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital.  

After leaving Centerville, Philipsen has been the choral director (and also professor of music theory, piano, and voice) at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa for the past 27 years, recently retiring.  He took a choral group with an enrollment of 13 and built it into a very fine college choir of 50 members, and added the Camerata Singers who have specialized in Renaissance music and have represented the college in many venues — including two Christmas performances at the Continental in Centerville. Philipsen has also performed as a vocalist and a pianist throughout the years, and most recently performed as piano soloist on Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed the Gershwin Piano Concerto in F with both the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra and the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra.

Philipsen has also composed music for piano, voice and chorus. Several of his choral works have been performed by college, high school and church choirs, and one of his works, “April Is in My Mistress’ Face” was one of six national finalists selected for Ithaca College’s annual Choral Composition Contest.

Gayle Hartwig is married to the Rev. Dennis Gilbert, newly appointed pastor of Centerville First United Methodist Church. Hartwig received a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa.  Wartburg College, Waverly, Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Black Hawk Community College and Walnut Ridge Baptist Academy, Waterloo, are among the colleges where she taught vocal music and directed choral groups.

Hartwig has performed in colleges, universities and opera halls across the United States and Europe. She served as a touring artist on the Iowa Arts Council where her programs included: “Songs from and Iowa Front Porch;” “Musical Perspectives of the Civil War” featuring a vocal song cycle written specifically for her based on “Mary Chestnut’s Diary;” “Steam Heat, Gas Lamps, Hot Wieners and Opera” featuring art song and arias sung by 10 renowned female singers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who sang in the opera houses of Iowa and “Images of Women in Song.”

Talented Centerville natives, Roman Royer and Morgan Burch, will join the duo for a few selections.

If you plan to attend call (641) 437-1025 for more information.