2007-2009 Tour Highlights

By Autumn @ Arts Midwest

From Fall 2007 – Spring 2009, Arts Midwest World Fest welcomed four incredible ensembles from all over the world into our Midwest partner communities. Los Utrera (from Mexico), Mauvais Sort (from Canada), An Da Union (from Inner Mongolia), and Esta (from Israel) all had a great time conducting informational workshops and performing for kids and adults in all nine states in our region. Here are just a few highlights from the tour.

All of our contacts reported how great the Israeli band Esta was at working with children and encouraging them to participate in the music. Their public concerts drew large and enthusiastic crowds. At the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Michigan, the band played for almost two hours straight and received two standing ovations from the audience.

The Nevada, IA, school system hosted An Da Union for a day, and the ensemble joined the kids for lunch. Imagine this scene: while waiting in the hot lunch line with the ensemble, 200 elementary-school children all began to throat sing just as they had heard the ensemble do in the workshops!

Mauvais Sort charmed audiences and made some dedicated fans all along their route. Some college students in Ames, Iowa were so thrilled with the band’s performance, they traveled 278 miles the following week to see the band again in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

In Hutchinson, Minnesota custodial staff at the local high school introduced Los Utrera to a local man who used to live in Mexico. This man made his own music in the son jarocho tradition, much like the band. He invited the entire ensemble over for dinner, and they had a jam session that lasted well into the night. At the public concert later that week, the man was so moved by the music that he ran up on stage to dance with the band!

These are just a few of many great anecdotes from the last cycle of the program. We wait with anticipation for many more stories like this from our 2009-2011 ensembles and communities.

Three children learn to play the spoons from a band member
Guillaume Côté of Mauvais Sort teaches children to play the spoons at a workshop in Elgin, IL.