Jazz/Kwanzaa flutist gets things started on Dec. 4.

    The holiday season is here, which means a month full of events and activities. Many of these community festivities will be held on the campus of U of M, Crookston.

    The first of these gatherings will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in Kiehle Auditorium, where UMC will host "An Evening of Jazz and Kwanzaa" with flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq. The event will include several jazz selections as well as a presentation of the Kwanza ceremony.

    Abdur-Razaaq, a flutist from Montclair, N.J., has performed both domestically and internationally for more than 30 years. A former student of the Berklee College of Music, Boston, Mass., and a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., Galen holds a master's degree in fine arts and education. He is an arranger, composer, director, educator and writer.

    Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration honoring African heritage and is based on seven core principles known as Nguzo Saba, including unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. It was first celebrated in 1966-67 and was created as the first specifically African-American holiday to reconnect African Americans with their African culture and historical heritage.

    Following the Kwanzaa celebration, at a new time and location, on Saturday, Dec. 8 from noon to 4 p.m., UMC will also hold Santa Land in the Sargeant Student Center, hosted by the Crookston Student Association and several other student clubs and organizations. Everyone is welcome to come visit with Santa, enjoy free cider and cookies, crafts, activities and meet some of Santa's helpers. The event is free for all.

    In previous years, this event has usually been held downtown in conjunction with Winter Wonderland, but this year will be the following day, on campus. Lisa Samuelson, director of student activities, said UMC students enjoy hosting Santa Land as a way to thank the community for support. "Santa Land has become one of the students' all time favorite activities as it allows them to revisit their own childhood memories while giving back to the community that supports them throughout the year," Samuelson said.

    Following Santa Land, on Saturday  at 7 p.m., U of M, Crookston choir will perform a holiday concert in Hafslo Chapel, on the grounds of the Polk County Museum, under the direction of Associate Professor George French. This event will also be free of charge.

    The Hafslo chapel, once a Norweigan country church, was built in 1888 and closed in 1978. It was moved in 1983 to the Crookston campus, where it was located for almost 28 before it was moved to the museum on East Robert Street.

    No matter what holiday you will be celebrating during the winter season, U of M, Crookston invites you to enjoy your holiday season with them on campus by taking part in their various celebrations.