Operatic sensation Simon Estes will bring his powerful voice to Christmas favorites at the Civic Center Dec. 19.


The Simon Estes Foundation is sponsoring a first-of-its-kind concert Dec. 19 featuring Christmas favorites sung by Simon Estes. All of the proceeds from "A Christmas Concert With Simon Estes & Friends" will support the Des Moines Area Community College Foundation's new music scholarship fund. The event at the Des Moines Civic Center will also feature the DMACC Chamber Ensemble and choirs from Ankeny High School and Ankeny Centennial High School. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students of all ages and children under 12. For tickets and more information, click here. Read Simon Estes' own riveting story of his life from the archives of dsm magazine here.

Being Thankful for the Bittersweet Taste of Change
As we look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, we honor the significance of our Silent Rivers family. Founder Chaden Halfhill gives his heartfelt thanks for our staff – past and present – shares photos of team camaraderie and talks about how change fosters growth. ...
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Singer Tina Maase Findlay stars in "Diva & the Deacons Christmas Extravaganza" this Saturday at Noce.


Noce is giving you every reason for your holiday season to be merry, bright and jazzy as all get-out. The downtown club has packed its schedule with holiday-themed concerts by an impressive array of local and national musicians.

One of our favorite singers, Tina Haase Findlay, gets everything started with “Diva & the Deacons Christmas Extravaganza” in two shows Nov. 25. Whether she’s belting out the blues or crooning a jazz standard, the multitalented Findlay never fails to move us with her powerful and evocative vocals. 

Next up is the always-popular annual concert “Home for the Holidays” Dec. 2-3 starring Max Wellman, Noce’s entertainment director, well-known jazz vocalist and all around good guy. The show, which typically sells out, also includes additional jazz musicians, all backed by a six-piece band directed by acclaimed trumpeter Dave Rezek. You’ll be tempted to sing along, as the concert focuses on classic favorites (“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Sleigh Ride”). Just how popular is this show? It will also be performed Dec. 10, 15, 17 and 22.

Believe it or don’t, all that is just a start. Additional Greater Des Moines musicians who will perform holiday shows include the Des Moines Big Band Dec. 6, 13, 20 and 27; singer and guitarist Rob Lumbard, a fixture on the Des Moines scene for more than 30 years, Dec. 7; vocalist Gina Gedler Dec. 9; and pianist Peter Roberts, who will play the famous compositions from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in an all-ages concert Dec. 21.

We’re also looking forward to the stops by New York-based drummer and Grammy nominee Matt Wilson Dec. 14; and by the Annie Booth Trio, a Denver-based jazz piano trio that will reimagine favorite tunes with a swinging twist Dec. 16.

So, you now have no excuse not to embrace the sounds of the season at Noce. We'll see you there. For times, ticket prices and more details, visit Noce’s website here.

By Design Furniture & Interior Design presents dsmDining —
The secrets of the mudslide pie that has dazzled judges and delighted diners will be revealed in classes conducted by its creator.


By Wini Moranville

“The older I get, the less secrets I have,” says Deb Cazavilan, owner and culinary instructor at Wooden Spoons Workshops. That’s why, not long ago, she decided to divulge one of her best-kept cooking secrets: The recipe for her Ankeny Mudslide Pie.

The recipe first gained fame when, as a newcomer to Iowa’s food scene, Cazavilan won Best of Show for the pie in Ankeny’s first annual “Art in the Park” culinary competition. That was in 1993. “The pie was named for the great flood of ’93, from which we were all reeling,” she explains.

Quickly winning devoted fans, the pie was a hit at Cazavilan's subsequent businesses and restaurants, including Cappuccinos, Just Desserts and the Little Blue House. The recipe itself, however, remained a closely guarded secret for nearly 25 years. In fact, sometime in the '90s, when Bon Appetit magazine solicited the recipe for their RSVP column, Cazavilan declined (despite the windfall of national publicity it would offer). At some point, the famous pie even required Cazavilan to “lawyer up” to retain her right to sell the dessert.

That’s some recipe. Indeed, also known as “The Moaner,” this confection brings chocolate truffle-fudge filling in a buttery pastry, topped with caramel and glazed with dark chocolate ganache.

Classes will be offered Dec. 10-12, also Dec. 14-15. Times vary, so check the schedule. Each class will take
2 1/2 hours as Cazavilan demonstrates the pie-making process step-by-step from beginning to end. Each participant will take home a pie and detailed instructions. “All secrets will be revealed,” she says.

Wooden Spoons Workshops is at 1855 N.W. 84th Ave., Ankeny. 515-577-9937;

Wini Moranville, who writes about cooking, wine and dining for dsm, is on Facebook at All Things Food DSM.

How to decorate tricky spaces
Do you have any spaces in your home that you’re just not sure what to do with? Sometimes, entryways, foyers, and hallways can be really tricky to decorate…but I’ve found some great solutions for my own home that I’d like to share with you! ...
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The Lauridsen Opera Center, as envisioned by designers, will enhance the headquarters of Des Moines Metro Opera.


Des Moines Metro Opera’s campaign for a building fund has raised over $4 million, exceeding its original $3.5 million goal.

More than 175 donors participated in the campaign, including a $1 million gift from Nix and Virginia Lauridsen, a Des Moines-based couple with a distinguished history of philanthropy. Upon completion of the project, the building will be named the Lauridsen Opera Center.

Des Moines Metro Opera’s capital campaign began in June of 2016 with the goal of raising $3.5 million to renovate and expand the iconic 1904 Indianola Carnegie Library—DMMO’s administrative headquarters since 1985—and transform it into a functional, accessible opera center. Read more about the campaign in this story from the dsm archives.

McKenna Haase checks messages while her crew, led by her dad, Kevin (far right), deals with a crumpled wheel.
Photographer: Bob Blanchard.


We were so impressed by the character of Drake honor student and auto racer McKenna Haase, featured in our current issue of dsm magazine, that we wanted to be sure everyone has a chance to read her story. If you worry about the focus, passion and generous character of "these young people today," McKenna is a breath of fresh air, as you'll see in this story, "Driven."

Iowa native Peggy Whitson has been known to wear unusual travel outfits. She has logged a record 665 days in space.


NASA astronaut and Iowa native Peggy Whitson will be the guest of honor at the sixth annual Celebrate Iowa Gala Dec. 8, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the State Historical Building. Over the course of three missions aboard the International Space Station, Whitson made U.S. history by logging a record 665 days in space. The gala also will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Iowa Arts Council and the 160th anniversary of the State Historical Society of Iowa during an evening filled with art, music, history, cuisine, cocktails and desserts from around the state. Tickets are $100 ($500 to include a VIP reception at 6 p.m.). For tickets and more info, click here.


We love to hear from dsm magazine readers. Feedback at our events and in casual conversations helps us know what stories you appreciate and which ones get a “meh.” So here’s a very brief, simple survey that will help us hear you. And, it comes with an amazing prize package: a room at the AC/Hotel by Marriott, tickets to the Des Moines ballet and a $100 gift card for Splash Seafood Bar & Grill. To participate, click here.

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