- Orchestra Iowa's "Holiday Spectacular"
- Paramount Theatre
- 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday (12/15) and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (12/16)
- Tickets: $20 to $50 at the Orchestra Iowa Ticket Office, (319) 366-8203 or Orchestraiowa.org
- Information: Orchestraiowa.org
“For the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home.” That’s a familiar refrain these days for the folks at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids — and especially for the venue’s primary tenant, Orchestra Iowa. “I’m still pinching myself,” says Maestro Tim Hankewich of Cedar Rapids, the orchestra’s musical director. “I don’t think it’s really going to sink in for at least another year. Like an instrument, it’s going to take at least a year or two for that facility to really hit its stride. We’re still discovering the full capabilities of that facility and how we can use it to maximum effect, and that’s going to be an ongoing learning process.” That learning curve will take a giant leap this weekend with the return of the orchestra’s “Holiday Spectacular” at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. When the Floods of 2008 forced the orchestra into smaller venues, the already-bulging “Holiday Pops” format of orchestra with singers and guests was divided into a classical holiday concert and a separate pops-oriented variety show with singing, dancing and acting threaded through a storyline. Expansions and renovations to the Paramount stage allow for a return to the previous format, with improvements visible onstage and off. The details: