Illinois

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.

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.

Agatsuma in Bloomington, Illinois

Retirement home residents work musicians to play the instruments

By Shigeyo Henriquez

We arrived in Bloomington, IL Sunday April 25, our third week of Arts Midwest World Fest. With a population of 150,000, Bloomington, IL is the largest community so far in this tour. Two major universities, a large insurance company, and financial businesses are located here in Bloomington.

First Week in Chicago

Musicians at the airport just after arrival

By Shigeyo Henriquez

Agatsuma and his ensemble arrived in Chicago on Monday, April 5th. After an 11-hour long flight and a 14-hour time difference, it was not easy to adjust. Having a full day of rest on Tuesday helped to make the adjustments and prepare the group for their first concert of the tour on Wednesday.

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.

Playing in Peoria

The Red Barn in Peoria, Illinois

By Lindajoy Fenley, tour manager

We spent a whole day in Peoria, Illinois—that metaphorical yardstick used to measure public acceptance of performers. The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble measured up—and then some.

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