The 49th Annual Charles Olson “Harmonies in Holiday Homes Tour” will be held Dec. 10. Tours begin at 2 and 7 p.m. Four local homes will feature holiday decor and instrumental music.
Brent and Michelle Coffman, who live at 712 Wedgewood Dr., will host the 16-member Wichita Chorus, under the direction of Melynne Williams.
Michelle Coffman puts out more than 150 nativity scenes and creches from around the globe in her home for the holidays.
"Usually, it takes me the better part of a week, because I do it meditatively," Michelle Coffman said.
The very first nativity she received was a gift from her Sunday School teacher, and now the collection includes nativities created by artists who make them with materials including clay, glass, beads and cornhusks.
The scenes are displayed both indoors and outdoors — even the master bathroom counter holds a felt finger puppet nativity placed on a vintage ring holder.
"People give them to me and it just grows," Michelle Coffman said. "And then it gives us something to look for when we travel."
Dave and Marilyn Reimer's home at 629 Stone Creek Dr. will host the Newton High School saxophone ensemble. Eli Regier, Joey Gile, A.J. Dugan, Blake Crawford and Brecken Wedel will play music in the classic, timber-frame house.
"It's a little unique in Newton, Kansas," Marilyn Reimer said. "On the outside, it looks like a traditional house."
White pine timbers are exposed to the interior and provide all the structural support for the house. When the frame was completed, no nails, screws or other modern metal fasteners were present above the floor deck. All mortise-and-tenon joints are secured by one-inch oak pegs, and dovetail joints by wooden wedges.
This frame was constructed by a timber frame manufacturer in Alton, New Hampshire, and shipped to Newton, where the bents, or main structural cross-sections, were assembled flat on the floor and raised by a crane. The home's construction was a three-generation affair, with Dave, his father, Elmer, and two sons, Greg and Jeff, doing the majority of the work.
The home features several of Dave Reimer's woodworking projects, including a dining room table, wall decor and bookshelves.
Brent Entz will play the banjo at the home of Cathy Edwards, located at 507 N. Duncan St. Extra parking will be available across the street at St. Luke’s Evangelical Church.
Edwards' bungalow home was built in 1931 and she bought it in 2009, when she relocated from the Seattle area.
"The features that attracted me to the house were the big covered porch, the entryway, the original wood floors and all the natural light from its 31 windows," Edwards said. "It's unique, and I like unique."
Walking into the living room, visitors are greeted by a Christmas tree topped with a vintage tinsel star, chosen by her son when he was 3 years old.
"I put it up in his honor. It's kind of gaudy, but if I didn't put it up, he would be so mad," Edwards laughed.
In the kitchen, seasonal decorations made by artists from Clayworks Gallery in McPherson are hung. A red Christmas tree sits in one corner of the dining room.
"I keep it up for Valentine's Day and it works for Easter and the Fourth of July," Edwards said.
Upstairs, a Christmas tree is decorated with Hallmark ornaments that Edwards' sons picked out each year when they were young. Another vintage Christmas tree is decorated with glass ornaments Edwards found at antique stores and a hand-blown Romanian glass topper she bought at Metcalf Sisters' Antiques and Collectibles.
Other elements from Edwards' life decorate her home. Edwards served in the Navy for 22 years, retiring as a Commander in 1999.
"Most of the artwork on my walls are pieces I have collected from all over the world, which bring back special memories of the places where I have lived and visited," Edwards said.
Eliza Johnson and Ray Bailey will host the Newton High School String Ensemble in their home at 600 W. Ninth St.
"As the holidays approach, I count our blessings that we found this lovely home," Johnson said. "It is always so nice being able to have the whole family under one roof."
Decorated with ceramics made by Johnson's grandmother, the home features a three-sided fireplace and an indoor pool.
"From the moment we moved into this house, if I told someone where we lived, they would say 'you live in the house with the indoor pool?' Yep, that's us — the people who live in the house with the indoor pool," Johnson said.
Johnson and Bailey often entertain guests in their home.
"On many a weekend you can find people playing air hockey, pool or video games on the indoor deck or just splashing around in the pool," Johnson said.
"There's two things you'll always find in the house," Bailey said. "Lots of food, because we both enjoy cooking, and lots of people."
The Charles Olson Memorial Scholarship Foundation for Instrumental Music Lessons was established by Dr. Erwin and Gertrude Olson in memory of their son Charles, a devoted musician who wished more students had access to private instrumental music lessons.
All proceeds from the “Harmonies in Holiday Homes Tour” go toward scholarships for Newton High School instrumental students. Sponsors for the event are founders Dr. Erwin and Gertrude Olson, the Charles Olson Memorial Foundation, Newton Treble Clef Club, Prairie Harvest, Ruzen Flowers, Designs by John and north and south Dillon Floral Shops.
Advance reservations for the “Harmonies in Holiday Homes Tour” are required and available at Prairie Harvest, 601 N. Main St. in Newton, with a suggested donation of $13 per person. For more information, call 620-837-4413.