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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Holiday home tour brings sounds of Christmas to Harvey County

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  • It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas. Holiday music soon will fill a series of local homes for the 44th annual “Harmonies In Holiday Homes” tour. “It’s been a pretty popular event throughout the years,” said Jill Gatz, general manager for the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra. “For a lot of people, it’s been kind of a tradition to go on the tour.” The tours will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 9, and will feature the Newton homes of Ron and Carol Cheyney, 309 E. First St.; Ray and Faith Ediger, 801 N. Plum; Larry and Angela Thompson, 2016 Briarwood Court; and Marcia Friesen and Stacey Noordhoek, 504 Witmarsum West, North Newton. Musicians performing at each home are violinists Nancy Johnson and Rebecca Schloneger; a Newton High School Jazz Ensemble; Larry Thompson and family; and a Newton High School string quartet: Maddie Stonehouse, Rose Sanchez, Emily Gile and Valerie Goerz. Schedules and maps for the tour are available for a $12.50 donation at Ten Thousand Villages, 283-0061. Those who purchase tickets will be given a map and a schedule that will instruct them where to start the tour. Refreshments will be served at the last stop on the tour, and cookies are being provided by the Treble Clef Club of Newton. For more ticket information, call Anita Bohn at 283-6075. All proceeds will benefit the Charles Olson Memorial Scholarships for Newton High School instrumental students.Ron and Carol Cheyney, 309 E. First St.The house is a Colonial Revival and was built in the mid 1920s by W.W. Regier and his wife, Idell. The Cheyneys bought the house in 1995 and are the fourth owners. Decorating for Christmas has become one of their favorite things to do, the family said. There are six big Christmas trees and many smaller ones, but the family especially likes the tree in the living room. Each ornament has a special meaning or memory associated with it. The tree contains ornaments made by Ron growing up in Colorado, an ornament Carol made in the fourth grade, and all of the ornaments their five children made in elementary school. “I love the clay ornaments the kids made in school with their little fingerprints in them,” Carol Cheyney said. “There are many ornaments honoring special events, some honoring grandparents, and some that bring a special memory to life. ... A lot of wonderful memories are on that tree.” The family also collects nativity scenes. Each room has at least one, and many have two or three. The family has a stable made from the last of the Presbyterian Church from Pretty Prairie, where Carol’s father was a pastor for four years.Ray and Faith Ediger, 801 N. PlumDr. Ocran Roff and his wife, Juliette, built their home at 801 N. Plum in 1901 based on the floor plan of another home at 820 E. Seventh St. in Newton. The home originally had a wrap-around porch with railings on the roofs and porches. The home was renovated in 1928 with the porch being separated into two porches and the side porch partially enclosed. In recent years, the home has been modernized, and the music room is now an office. Despite renovations, an attempt has been made to maintain the original character. Handmade stockings, bubble lights, live trees and garlands on the stairs are a few of the family Christmas decorations. Holiday music will be played by the NHS Jazz Ensemble.Larry and Angela Thompson, 2016 Briarwood CourtThis traditional, ranch-style home was built by Harimon Homes in 2008. The home is located in the Stucky Edition. The location was chosen because of the neatly manicured lawns of surrounding neighbors, as well as for being on the quiet northwest side of town, the family said. The spacious backyard provides plenty of room for the family and their two small dogs. The home features traditional Christmas decor throughout, and the owners attempt to capture the true meaning of Christmas in the decor. In the front entryway of the home, a white ceramic hand-painted nativity scene is displayed, which was given as a gift from Angela’s parents. When they were given the set, an extra three wise men were included unintentionally. Ironically, those were the same three pieces that were accidentally broken in a move. A few pieces were slightly damaged, but one would have to look closely to see. The nativity scene is displayed on a table built by Larry’s father and given to the couple as a wedding gift. The home also will feature one of the many beautiful trees auctioned at the Holiday Gala benefiting the Safe House of Harvey County. The tree is adorned with sea shells and blue accents. Special music will be provided by home owner Larry Thompson, and two of his daughters, Lauren and Olivia.Marcia Friesen and Stacey Noordhoek, 504 Witmarsum West, North NewtonThis house was built in 2006 by Harold Warner (Lamar Enterprises). Marcia Friesen and Stacey Noordhoek are the first owners, buying the house in 2007. The high ceilings in the living room, as well as the bedrooms, give the house an open and spacious feeling. The windows across the back of the house provide a view of the hay field and give a sense of living in the country even though they are on the edge of the city. The large lot accommodates an expanded deck, in-ground pool and a screened-in porch. The homeowners’ favorite inside element is the theater room, which provides a spot to watch movies on cold winter nights. The two fireplaces often sport a napping dog or a person enjoying a good book. The open spaces in the house give opportunities for a variety of trees. In the music room, musical instruments adorn the tree and fill the room. The entryway, as well as the basement family room, showcases Santa Claus figures past and present. And in the theater room, Frosty the Snowman has paid a visit. The remaining trees in the home display an eclectic theme from sports, to childhood favorites, to life experiences. The music will be provided by violinists Nancy Johnson and Rebecca Schloneger. 

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