The children’s kaleidoscope series signals the start of the school year at Gallagher Bluedorn PAC – WCF Courier | Dauktion

CEDAR FALLS – Let the field trips begin.

School has started again and the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center is kicking off its new season of the popular ‘A Buck A Kid’ kaleidoscope series.

Jennifer Onuigbo is excited like a first grader on the first day of school.

“There are two moments I look forward to every season. The first is when students first walk into the Gallagher Bluedorn lobby and their jaws drop because they’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Onuigbo, GBPAC Community Relations Manager.

“The second is when the lights go out in the Great Hall and the performance begins and their jaws drop again. There’s that sense of awe and wonder as a colorful show unfolds before your eyes. That’s the best thing about my job,” she explained, smiling.

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School children will be entertained this year by shows such as Diary of a Womat, The Gruffalo, Click Clack Moo and Disney’s Winnie the Pooh.

This season is a mix of live and virtual performances, Onuigbo said, with a few road trips. “Voices From Ellis Island” will be screened in Algona on September 16th, followed by the virtual screening of “Mistatim” on September 19th-30th. In person performances in the GBPAC Great Hall begin October 13 with Grace for President.

Some shows are already sold out or about to sell out, but tickets are still available for many shows. “Our sales are healthy,” Onuigbo said.

Before COVID, more than 40,000 children from more than half of Iowa counties attended a kaleidoscope performance at the Gallagher Bluedorn. Attendance has almost recovered to pre-pandemic numbers, she said.

Since Kaleidoscope’s launch in 2000, more than 700,000 children have had the opportunity to learn about history and STEM topics, be introduced to new literature or popular fun stories, explore a range of topics, and be entertained through the range of educational programs.

“Kids love field trips, but these shows also stimulate their creativity, help them build empathy and model possibilities. The shows enhance teaching and support the school curriculum,” Onuigbo explained.

The kaleidoscope season lasts until April.

Personal performances include a musical stage adaptation of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh on October 19; “Call of the Wild,” Nov. 1; “Click Clack Moo,” Nov. 14; “Pete the Cat’s Big Hollywood Adventure,” January 20; “Freedom Bound,” February 3; “It’s okay to be different”, 20.-21. February; “The Late Homecomer,” February 23; “Danny Carmo’s Mathematical Mysteries,” March 6; “The Gruffalo,” March 31; and “The Stinky Cheese Man,” April 13.

Each live performance requires up to 30 ushers to usher school children off their buses into the performing arts center and guide them to their seats. “They sit with their classmates and are taken back to their buses after the show. It’s all very well organized and all part of the experience. Our goal is the safety of every student,” Onuigbo said.

Teachers have access to study guides, and Onuigbo discusses theater etiquette before each performance on the Great Hall stage. “

Five virtual performances provide educational and inspiring opportunities for students who may live in remote rural areas and smaller schools who may have logistical and transportation issues, are home-schooled, or have other circumstances that prevent their participation in live shows. In addition to Mistatim, the virtual shows The In-Between are October 17-28; “Tales from Oceania”, 5th-16th centuries December; “Dreamer”, 20.-31. March; and “Diary of a Wombat”, 10-21. April.

Additional road trips are planned for April 17th and 18th when The Ugly Duckling is presented in Oelwein and New Hampton.

Kaleidoscope sponsors are McElroy Trust, Guernsey Foundation, John Deere and Friends of the Gallagher Bluedorn.

To request tickets and see a full listing of performance times and dates, visit

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