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The show is one that everyone might recognize, but few may have seen presented in this way.

“This is one of my all-time favorite stories,” says Darrel Fickbohm, the actor from the group. “We’re very eager to bring it to Vermillion. The story is so hopeful, and the explosion of holiday spirit at the end is not fake in any way—the tale earns every laugh and tear. In A Christmas Carol, we see what we all want to believe can happen: that someone can change—really change for the better. This idea seems so impossible, these days. We’re so cynical. We seem convinced that once we’re older and ‘set in our ways,’ that we’re done listening to good advice.”

Flower and Flame was conceived by Magdalena (Maggie) Modzelewska, the violinist for the group. This South Dakota based ensemble has been performing in America and Europe since 2002. But what has it become, exactly?

The concept is an antique one. It was originally called the “melody-drama” (or melodrama) in which music and words take an equal part in the show. In the old days, audiences thought nothing of the actors leaving the stage or becoming silent while the musicians continued the story with only their music. Both Modzelewska and Fickbohm wondered if that would work—would people nowadays be wanting more music and less acting. Or the opposite?

“The stage time is shared equally between the story and the music—absolutely 50/50,” says Fickbohm. “Our Christmas Carol runs along and even the kids sit spellbound the whole time. We like to say that this production is the result of many years of trial and success. It’s funny and ghostly, but mostly it always seems brand new.”

Modzelewska talks about how the new idea began to develop from the musician's point of view: "When you read great stories and then search for music to go with them, you find a world of sound to work with. All of a sudden, things have new meaning, and we add it all into the mix. For the stage show, we even use stand up floor lamps and an old-time parlor carpet. Some people have told us that they felt like they were transported to their grandmother’s living rooms for a story.”

The players are:

Violin: Magdalena Modzelewska

Actor: Script & Narration, Darrel Fickbohm

Viola: Yi-Chun Lin

Oboe: Jeff Paul

Bassoon: John Tomkins

The NMM Live! Series is made possible by the USD Student Government Association and the South Dakota Arts Council through the Department of Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This program is free of cost for NMM Members!


If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate, please contact Disability Services at least 48 hours before an event. Students and the public can contact Disability Services at 605-658-3745 or Faculty and staff should contact Human Resources at 605-658-3660.

Friday, December 1, 2023 at 6:00:00 PM UTC

NMM Live! | Flower & Flame's "A Christmas Carol"

A live stream of this concert will be available to watch for free on our website. Please visit the NMM Live Video page to tune in if you cannot join us in person!




Our brand new first-floor galleries are officially OPEN! The wait is finally over - come see the NEW NMM. Information on the galleries, hours, and more can be found on the VISIT & LEARN and EXHIBITIONS & EVENTS pages!

Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am to 4pm, stop in to see our seven new galleries, concerts, events, and more! 

The Jason & Betsy Groves Special Exhibitions Gallery is OPEN! Come explore our current special exhibition HIGH STRUNG: FIVE CENTURIES OF STRINGED KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS.



the NMM will be CLOSED until TUESDAY, 1/16

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