The Immaculate Heart of Mary church in Windthorst is a musician's building.
The acoustics of the space provide a rewarding experience for both choral and instrumental music.
The music department of Dodge City Community College will once again make the best of the Windthorst church with their winter concert, scheduled for 3 p.m. Dec. 2.
"It's a great place to sing, acoustically," said Jodi Frisbee Reese, assistant professor of vocal music at DC3.
"And when you add the fact that we get to program works that combine the choirs and the symphony, it makes a really special concert," she said.
Sunday marks Reese's first opportunity to work on a concert program with David McKinney, associate professor of bands and orchestra, who is in his first year at DC3.
"David came in to work with Choral Union on the combined pieces Monday and he really worked them good. They could tell they were singing for someone who really cares about the music," Reese said.
Three choral groups — the concert choir, the College Singers and the community choir Choral Union — will be featured at the concert, along with the Dodge City Symphony, also a community group.
"I worked really hard to make sure that we weren't repeating familiar tunes from one number to the next," McKinney said.
"In fact, I might challenge any audience member to tell us what favorite we didn't play," he added.
McKinney joined the DC3 faculty in August of this year and says he's had a very good semester.
"I feel great support and kinship from community members, the administration and my colleagues," he said.
McKinney is also comfortable with the work his students have done.
"We have areas where we can show measurable growth and we'll work on both numbers and quality, but we're off to a great start."
McKinney intends to set a standard for the DC3 instrumental department so area band teachers will know that DC3 will continue their musicians' education.
The music goes on
Following the Sunday concert, McKinney and the DC3 musicians will present another concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in the DC3 Little Theatre.
"It's the last concert of the semester and the last concert of the calendar year," McKinney said. "We're honored to end the term and look forward to the next."
At the second concert, the jazz band and wind ensemble will be featured.
"There will be a variety of seasonal content with contemporary, elegant and creative arrangements," McKinney said.
"We like to take this opportunity to extend our best holiday wishes and thoughts to the community, for their support, and to the administration and staff of the college," he said.
Page 2 of 2 - A special building
The settlement of Windthorst began in 1876, when German Catholic families in Cincinnati, Ohio, began planning to move west.
The group sent three representatives to southwest Kansas in 1877 to purchase land from the Santa Fe Railroad.
The men bought ten sections of land for $10 per acre.
In February1878, seven families and three single men arrived to build homes and start a town.
They brought a freight car full of lumber and the town of Windthorst was born.
In the early days, monthly masses were held in the home of one of the townsmen.
The settlers built a small wooden church and celebrated the first mass on Easter Sunday in 1879.
Eventually a stone and brick church replaced the wooden one and the new church, with its carved stations and elaborate stained glass windows, still stands.
A project to clean and repair the historic windows has been partially completed.
"You can tell the difference immediately between the side they've finished and the side that's not been worked on yet," Reese said.
"It's like night and day."