MASON CITY | Lindsay Dalrymple has always known she wanted to be involved in the arts — music especially.
But she didn’t know there was a career outside being a teacher or a performer until she was hired at North Iowa Area Community College nearly five years ago.
“I took a chance, and Liz (Gales) took a chance on me and it’s just been a natural fit for me,” she said. “I’ve loved it.”
Dalrymple was hired as the college’s Performing Arts and Leadership Series assistant director in 2014 and she was promoted to executive director in August after Gales retired.
Dalrymple grew up in Maynard, a small Iowa town of 500 people about 90 miles southeast of Mason City.
“I knew pretty early on that I wanted to do something with music,” she said. “Teaching just kind of happened when I was in college.”
Dalrymple attended Waldorf College in Forest City, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2005. She student taught in Mason City and Forest City before securing her first teaching job at Ventura Schools.
In 2011, Dalrymple took a 9-12 choral director position at Storm Lake, where she remained until returning to North Iowa in 2014 to marry her husband, Chris, and apply for the NIACC position.
In addition to her role at NIACC, she is a choir director at her church in Clear Lake, and she's the mother of a 1-year-old daughter, Eleanora.
“I do miss working with students, but I still get a little bit of that through what we do with our school shows,” she said. “I get to feel like I’m making a difference for them with the arts in that way.”
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The Performing Arts and Leadership Series, which runs from September to May, is responsible for bringing a variety of musicians, authors, comedians and productions for all ages to “enhance the quality of life in North Iowa.”
The 2018-19 lineup has featured Zak Ebrahim, “The Terrorist’s son” author; Marc Cohn, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter; and “Wild Kratts Live!” among others.
“We try to make sure we have something for everyone on our ticket,” Dalrymple said.
Dalrymple leads a small staff of at least three employees who together manage the current season’s shows, select the shows for the next Performing Arts and Leadership Series season and work with the community to find sponsors and partners to make it all happen.
“It really is a well-oiled machine that is just a lot of fun to be a part of that team,” she said.
The 2019-20 season, which will be announced in the spring, is Dalrymple’s first at the helm. Gales booked the current season.
“It is exciting, but there’s a little bit of fear when you do it because you’re booking everything that you think is right for the community, and then, in May, you have to tell them what you booked and you have to hope that they like it,” she said, noting she’s come across a few surprises for next season’s series.
Dalrymple said she was blessed to work with — and learn from — Gales, “the best mentor I could have.”
“I just feel nothing but support from the college and everyone involved to make sure going forward that this continues to be successful for North Iowa,” she said.