Tasting the Music

Gilad Ephrat plays the double bass.

By Gilad Ephrat, musician

Gilad Ephrat plays double bass for The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble.

On my honeymoon on a Greek island a couple of years ago, I fell under the spell of two men—Stoykos and Ilias—and the experience inspired me to compose a piece I now play in concert with the Israeli Ethnic Ensemble. The one who reminded me of a famous Israeli comedian operated a small restaurant; his friend, a tall, lanky guy, ran a tavern nearby.

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.

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.

Welcome, Beauty & Melody!

Three band members in red and gray track jackets at the airport

Please join us in welcoming Beauty & Melody to the U.S. for their first Midwest tour!

The band traveled over 11,000 miles on Wednesday from Chengdu, China to Chicago, Illinois. Tour manager Shigeyo Henriquez wrote on Wednesday evening, “The plane landed early, but it took over an hour to go through immigration and customs. They are tired after traveling almost 24 hours from Chengdu, but they are safe and happy.”

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