Road Stories Blog

Full day in Alexandria

The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble performs at a reception.

By Lindajoy Fenley

Alexandria welcomed the Israeli Ethnic Ensemble this week with soft rain and a promise of snowfall by Wednesday. The ensemble responded with music, stories about Israel, plus rhythm, dance and language lessons at three school workshops. Throughout the week, the ensemble will offer seven more school workshops as well as additional presentations for seniors and families.

Same, same; but different

Yonnie Dror and his shofar.

By Lindajoy Fenley

One of the most unusual instruments out of the array of more than 20 that the Israeli Ethnic Ensemble presents to school children is the shofar, a ram’s horn. Yet Yonnie Dror’s shofar stories have a way of connecting Midwesterners to the far-away culture of Israel.

Showered with gifts at the Schauer

Yonnie points to his photograph on a cake.

By Lindajoy Fenley

The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble received the key to the City of Hanford, the State of Wisconsin Bluebook, a mini-flashlight and an engraved shot glass at the Schauer Arts and Activities Center. The shower of gifts at the Schauer also included a chocolate marble cake decorated with the ensemble’s photograph.

Microcosm-Macrocosm

Musicians on stage

By Lindajoy Fenley

We left Marquette, MI, this weekend with many memories—big and small. They were born at small schools like Republic (total school population 144) to discussions of major issues at Northern Michigan University, where professors are planning a new curriculum focusing on the Middle East.

Parents, teachers and students at Republic wanted to know how their little school located in rural Upper Peninsula was selected for one of the Israeli Ethnic Ensembles workshops.

Inspiring workshops in Bloomington, Illinois

Young woman stands, speaking on stage.

By Shigeyo Henriquez

Eric Zeal and Brandy Maloney, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA) staff, escorted us to every school we visited with hot water and green teas. The week went by fast. We went to see a B-52’s concert which was a blast, and Saturday some of us went to the magic show at BCPA, as well. All were generous invitations of BCPA.

Israeli tour begins

Israeli Ethnic Ensemble

By Lindajoy Fenley

Gorgeous autumn leaves, wonderful weather and friendly UP folks have made the beginning of the Israeli Ethnic Ensemble's tour spectacular. The weather is so unseasonably wonderful that we were able to hold our pre-tour meeting with program director Ken Carlson sitting around a picnic table in Presque Isle, a beautiful city-maintained park.

Keeping busy in Terre Haute, Indiana

In a TV studio, musicians shake hands with a man.

By Shigeyo Henriquez

The week in Terre Haute, Indiana started with such a nice reception at the home some Arts Illiana board members, a performance at the library, workshops at the elementary schools—our schedules were filled. We often feel a bit of tired, but no one ever complains. Beauty & Melody members are always willing and proud to show their music and culture. Community people, young or old, are also eager to lean Chinese culture and their music!

Every new community we visit something happens unexpectedly.

Beauty & Melody in Sandusky, Ohio

Two musicians watch as seated man plays an instrument in high school classroom.

By Shigeyo Henriquez

We spent the week of September 20th in Sandusky, Ohio. It was sunny and warm; we were lucky to have such nice weather in the middle of September.

I visited the same schools and communities 6 months before with Agatsuma. I am back and glad to see the familiar faces again. The students, teachers and community people are just as I remembered—hospitable, thoughtful and appreciative.

Sightseeing in Chicago

The group poses in street clothes in front of the Cloud Gate sculpture.

By Shigeyo Henriquez

Beauty & Melody arrived in Chicago on September 14. Months and months of preparation for a concert at Harris Theater in Chicago unfortunately had to be canceled. This cancellation was disappointing, but we managed to keep ourselves busy and had fun.

Terre Haute, Indiana

Agatsuma plays shamisen while people watch at nearby cafe tables.

By Shigeyo Henriquez

When we started this tour in mid April, the first community was Marquette, Michigan, where we shivered in snow. It’s now early May and the weather is definitely warmer, the bright ray of the sun makes us squint. It’s almost too hot that we need to wear lightweight clothes.