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Bringing art year-round to Marshalltown

T-R photo by Chuck Friend Bob Untiedt, executive director of the IVCCD Orpheum Theater Center in Marshalltown stands in the theater.

Davenport native Bob Untiedt has always had a heart for the arts and has shared it with many people in all parts of the United States through his service to faith-based organizations.

He continues to share that love as executive director of the Iowa Valley Community College District’s Orpheum Theater Center in Marshalltown.

“I graduated from Durant High School and then attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids in the 1980s,” Untiedt said. “After graduation I left the state for almost 20 years – living almost three years each in Milwaukee, Chicago, Kansas City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. I moved back to Cedar Rapids for about 10 years, before moving to Marshalltown in 2016.”

“While in Cedar Rapids I ran a training program for about eight years, serving about 2,000 residents in Linn and Johnson counties,” he said.

He was hired by Iowa Valley Community College District in 2016 as Executive Director for its performing arts center — the Orpheum.

Unitedt can be found occasionally in the ticket booth of the IVCCD Orpheum Center.

“I can be found moving tables and chairs, working the light board in the black box theater, selling tickets, but most importantly being responsible for all of the scheduling and programing,” Untiedt said. “And the heart of all that is about two dozen concerts and movies that are held or shown every calendar year.”

He pointed out that movies are free weekend movies, and most all G-rated, for elementary students at all of the Marshalltown, East Marshall and West Marshall schools.

Friends of the Orpheum is a group who sells beer and wine at the adult public events with all proceeds going to pay for the movies and artists that play concerts and gigs at the Orpheum.

Untiedt noted that IVCCD has not paid an artist from their coffers since 2017.

Another fundraising event for the Friends group will be the annual “18 Men Who Cook” event on April 18.

T-R photoS by Chuck Friend Untiedt is shown doing one of his many jobs — working on the lighting board section of the catwalk in the black box theater.

Booking concerts is one of Untiedt’s loves, and he said his next event will be March 20 when Ted Simeon and the Zydeco Experience from Louisiana performs for Miller Middle School Students during the day and for a public concert that evening at the theater.

Later in May the University of Iowa Steel Drum Band will return to Marshalltown and work with MHS students in the morning, followed by a concert for the students. An evening performance will be held at the Orpheum for the public.

“We are in the process of finalizing our summer outdoor ‘Live after Five’ concerts which will begin the third Friday in June and continue each Friday through the third Friday in August,” Untiedt said. “A special Friday will be on July 3 when two country bands will perform.”

Untiedt feels arts and culture play a strong role in economic development for a community and said the Orpheum has a role in making this community a great home for Marshalltown residents.

He said the Orpheum, the 13th Street District and the Grimes Farm are in discussion about a marketing campaign to advertise all of the upcoming musical events in the community.

“We exist as a performing arts center – mainly music and movies – but we could do more in the arts and cultural realm with more types of programming such as improv, poetry, comedy and dance,” he said.

“We hope to collaborate with more high school and college age students to see what might be out there and available.”

The Orpheum is also the place where larger groups hold their meetings and conventions on a rental basis. Untiedt said he looks for between 11,000 and 12,000 to use the center during 2020 – of that 9,000 to 10,000 would be to attend a cultural event and another 2,000 to 3,000 for meetings and other events.

Things like the annual Holiday Stroll Tree Festival and the bi-annual Jean Seberg Festival bring some of the largest crowds to the Orpheum.

“Sharing the love for the arts with the community makes coming to work just plain fun,” Untiedt said.

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