Road Stories Blog

Thank you, Knoxville!

Ori Naveh plays percussion on stage.

By Ori Naveh, musician

Today’s guest blogger, Ori Naveh, plays percussion for The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble.

Hi everybody! Here’s a little bit about our last week in Knoxville, Iowa.

The first week of our tour, we arrived in this small pastoral town, which seemed to me like a kind of a typically American place—beautiful landscapes, small lakes, green forests, trees turning orange, yellow, and red. Such wonderful, natural fall beauty.

Marquette, Michigan

Elementary school workshop in Marquette, Michigan.

By Shigeyo Henriquez, tour manager

Beauty and Melody arrived in Marquette, Michigan early on the evening of Sunday, October 18th. This is our last stop of Arts Midwest World Fest tour.

Marquette is beautiful—filled with fall colors, yellow, red, orange, and tall dark green of evergreens.


Musicians with their instruments at a local pub.

By Daniel Hoffman, musician

One of the best things about being a musician is the times when the unexpected happens—when you get a chance to play music with people you may have never met before and everything somehow comes together like magic. It’s a chance to make great connections with people that you may have not even spoken to. This is exactly what came together for the band at Megan McKay Ziller and Scott Ziller’s new brewery last Thursday night.

Welcome, Israeli Ethnic Ensemble!

Goats in foreground, group of people look on.

By Lindajoy Fenley, tour manager

Please join us in welcoming another group of fantastic musicians to the Midwest! The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble arrived in the U.S. last Friday. Today’s blog post comes to us via their tour manager, Lindajoy Fenley.

From race cars to docile goats, the Israeli Ethnic Ensemble got a feel for down home Iowa this week. After a visit to the 3M plant fell through Tuesday, the five-member ensemble, plus sound man and company manager, visited the Knoxville Raceway which claims the title “dirt racin’ capital of the world,” and had dinner at a family farm.

Beauty & Melody: Week 4

Teaching the yangqin to Representative Pridemore

By Shigeyo Henriquez, Tour Manager

We are into the fourth week of the tour. We arrived in Hartford, Wisconsin on Sunday evening, October 11th. It was a long drive from Alexandria. Thanks to Joel, our bus driver, for his safe driving.

The first day in Hartford started with a visit to Erin and Neosho elementary schools. The students always amaze me with how well they behave and pay attention to the workshop.

From Aberdeen to Alexandria

Retirement community performance

By Autumn Patterson, Arts Midwest

What an incredibly busy two weeks it has been! In Aberdeen, the group visited not only the local elementary, middle, and high schools, but also the Parkside Retirement Community, and the 3M factory there.

Today, we have two reports from the road—one from Shigeyo, the tour manager, and another from Cai Lingyun, the band’s interpreter.

Conducting Workshops

High school chorus with Beauty & Melody

By Cai Lingyun, Interpreter for Beauty & Melody

In her second guest blog, Cai Lingyun talks about the experience of conducting workshops at schools in Valley City, North Dakota.

From September 21-23, we had 10 workshops for students and kids from high schools, junior high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens. Sometimes, 250 students for one workshop.

Week 2: Aberdeen, SD

Band members in red track suits pose with a local man and his pumpkin display.

By Shigeyo Henriquez, Tour Manager

Shigeyo Henriquez is the tour manager for Beauty & Melody’s Arts Midwest World Fest tour. She is also a great photographer, so she has been sending us fantastic photographs along with her updates from the road!

Well, we left Valley City on Sunday, September 27th. Aberdeen was only 130 miles from Valley City and we had plenty time to get there. We stopped at the Sheyenne Valley Arts & Crafts Fall Festival in Ft. Ransom, ND—30 miles south of Valley City.

Workshop in Valley City

Beauty & Melody

By Anne Romens at Arts Midwest

The Beauty & Melody tour is off to a great start! The band just completed their first workshop at Valley City High School in North Dakota.

The workshop opened with some traditional Chinese music. Then, Beauty & Melody members introduced their instruments, and invited some students to the stage for some hands-on instruction! There was a brief question and answer session, and any student to give a correct answer was awarded a little stuffed panda!

After the workshop, Beauty & Melody visited the band and choral rooms and jammed with the high school band.

Guest Blog: Preparing for the Tour

A large group photo

By Cai Lingyun, Interpreter for Beauty & Melody

Cai Lingyun is a project manager with the Cultural Department of Sichuan Province in China. She is currently traveling with Beauty & Melody in the U.S. to act as their interpreter.

Hi, I am Cai (in Chinese pronunciation we call it tsai). I am the interpreter of Beauty and Melody, which is from Sichuan Province of People’s Republic of China.

On September 16, after almost 27 hours long trip of Chengdu—Shanghai—Chicago, we, the 18-member-troupe of Beauty and Melody arrived at Chicago. On September 17, we came to Minneapolis by bus. Yes, everyone was so tired.