BEMIDJI -- It’s going to be a homecoming of sorts when Brandon Box-Higdem joins the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra for its holiday concert next week.
The BSO will present “Rhythms of the Season” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Bemidji High School Auditorium.
Box-Higdem, 47, spent many holidays in the area as a child. He was born in Bagley, where his parents had been high school sweethearts. With grandparents living in Bagley and Shevlin, there were many family gatherings in the northwoods.
“The holiday season memories come flooding back of little Brandon trudging through the snowy woods on the Higdem acreage, cutting down a tree to bring back to my grandparent’s house to decorate in the attic bedroom,” Box-Higdem said.
Brandon’s family left Bagley for North Dakota when he was very young. He graduated from Bismarck Century High School and performed in the famed Medora Musical. Brandon studied vocal performance at the University of Arkansas and pursued post-graduate work at the Actor’s Studio School of Drama in New York City. He has performed in and directed a number of musical productions. He currently teaches high school speech and theater in Bentonville, Ark.
That love of music started early for Box-Higdem. He gives credit to his father, Brenton Higdem.
“He got me invested into music,” Brandon said. “We would sing in church together, and he was the one who encouraged me to pick up an instrument. I’ve been involved in the arts for as long as I can remember.”
Brenton, 74, now lives in Little Rock, Ark., and will be making the trip to Bemidji with his son. They plan to sing a duet together during Tuesday’s concert.
“I called him a month and a half ago and said, ‘Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have a tuxedo, would you?’” Brandon recalled. “I said it’s ridiculous that we’re traveling up there and we’re not going to sing together. He got so excited. He can cross that off his bucket list. I said, ‘I know, Merry Christmas.’”
Box-Higdem and the BSO will perform holiday classics like “White Christmas,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Box-Higdem said although he grew up listening to the stylings of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, “as I have grown in my musical career, I really love Michael Buble, so I have quite a few numbers in that style.”
Brandon was introduced to BSO conductor Beverly Everett by Emily Walter, who sang with him at the Medora Musical. Everett, who also conducts the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, has had Box-Higdem perform with that group, but this will be his first time with the BSO.
“It’s going to be so much fun,” he said. “My entire family is probably going to be in the front row.”
If you go:
What: Bemidji Symphony Orchestra’s Rhythms of the Season concert
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3
Where: Bemidji High School Auditorium
Tickets: $25 general admission, $20 for seniors age 62 and over, $10 for college students with ID, free for K-12 students. Available at Lueken’s Village Foods North and South, online at brownpapertickets.com, or at the door.