Baladino enjoys a wonderful week in Forest City, IA

By Ken Carlson

Baladino’s week in Forest City was marked by all kinds of happy experiences—from incredible crowds to charming lodging to a few unexpected surprises from this small town in Iowa.

The ensemble was thrilled by a terrific crowd at the public concert as well as a spontaneous and unexpected standing ovation from a high school workshop audience. The group also enjoyed a lovely, spacious house to call home for the week, and they had a unique chance to admire a Winnebago motor home made right there in Forest City (rumor has it Baladino won’t return for Midwestern touring unless we provide a Winnebago instead of a tour van—thanks Forest City!). The group was especially won over by the warmth of this small community as the ensemble made its way through the week.

But what really seemed to kick off such a lovely week was the opening reception at Oak Knoll. Students from Waldorf College and the local high school welcomed Baladino to town with songs and music of their own. Baladino was so pleased to receive these gifts and eager as always to respond with a gift of music in return. It was a wonderful example of the kind of exchange and connection we hope for in Arts Midwest World Fest residencies.

All photos and descriptions below are by Eric Young Smith, the road manager on tour with Baladino.

Forest City School District and Waldorf College welcomed Baladino with a celebration of music. Schola Cantorum, a Waldorf College choral group directed by Brett Robison, performed at the reception.

A choral group from Forest City High School, directed by Michelle Jacobsen, also performed at the reception.

In addition, a Waldorf College student named Daniel Hernandez-Lopez played flamenco guitar.

Baladino returned the musical favor by sharing a song with all those gathered at Oak Knoll during a fun-filled reception.

Students at Forest City Elementary have all attention forward while attending this week’s opening workshop.

Baladino is treated to a demonstration from the music department at Buffalo Center Middle School.

Bassist Daniel Sapir offers a spontaneous song themed on the happenings of Forest City High School, and students gave a standing ovation.

Students invited Baladino to help celebrate their concert at Forest City High School gymnasium.

Percussionist Yshai Afterman talks about rhythm and melody during a master class at Waldorf College.

Baladino celebrates a great week in Forest City with our dear friend Audrey Olmstead of Forest City Arts Council and Matthew Harris of Iowa Arts Council.

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