Medora Christmas show to bring classic holiday songs, familiar faces to 22 communities in tri-state tour

In its sixth year, the Medora Christmas show is scheduled to have 24 shows in 22 communities this December. On Friday, Dec. 2, the show comes to Grand Forks with two shows at the Empire Arts Center at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Cast group shot adj.jpg
The cast of last year’s Medora Christmas show takes a curtain call following one of its performances.
Contributed / Bill Sorensen
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GRAND FORKS – As “Medora Christmas Memories” takes the stage in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota this holiday season, audience members can expect the Medora-themed concert show to put them in a Christmas spirit, said Producer Bill Sorensen.

“They can expect to leave a lot more ready for Christmas and full of Christmas joy,” he said.

In its sixth year, the Medora Christmas show is scheduled to have 24 shows in 22 communities this December. On Friday, Dec. 2, the show comes to Grand Forks with two shows at the Empire Arts Center at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The Minneapolis space speaks well for Minnesota. "We’re much more open and experimental than I think the country sometimes gives us credit for," artist Venus DeMars said.

Sorensen, who also hosts “Medora Christmas Memories,” said the show is held together by its overarching theme of Christmas memories. It features past and current stars of the Medora Musical, a summertime show staged in Medora.

Travis Smith, the show’s music director, said this year’s show is a combination of Christmas classics and holiday deep cuts. He also returns to the show as a musical act for his fourth year.


“There’s going to be a lot of traditional music, as well as some songs people aren’t as familiar with, but are songs that the members of the cast like or have a specific memory of,” he said.

With Smith, the show will star other returning musical acts Emily Walter, Amberly Rosen and Misty Koop. Musical artists will sing solo and ensemble numbers and play instruments. New to the show this year are magician Colin Zasadny, who had shows in Medora over the summer, and featured musical act the Waddington Brothers.

The Waddington Brothers are four brothers from southwestern North Dakota who play acoustic music with vocal harmony. Unlike the other acts in the show, the Waddington Brothers have not been part of the Medora Musical in the past.

“They are four brothers from a small town in western North Dakota, but they are big-time good,” said Sorenson.

Sorensen started the Medora Christmas show. In previous years, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation produced it. This year, the foundation was busy with other shows, so Sorensen’s company, Bill Sorensen Productions, is putting it on.

Last year, a number of Medora Christmas show dates had to be canceled or rescheduled due to COVID-19 cases in the cast and crew. This year, contingency plans are built in to avoid cancellations.

“If we lost a person or two, we have backup numbers and those kinds of things prepared,” said Sorensen.

As the Christmas show has returned to communities year after year, Smith says he has noticed it is starting to become a holiday tradition.


“Like going to ‘The Nutcracker’ or going to see ‘A Christmas Carol.’ For people, going to the Medora Christmas show is a part of their tradition,” he said.

A full list of dates, locations and times, as well as tickets, can be found at .

Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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