Iowa

Big Bang of Taiko in Dubuque, IA

By Shigeyo Henriquez

On the first workshop day in Dubuque, Dennis Williams, board member of Dubuque Arts Council, led us to Seton Elementary School. K-5th grade students entered the gym and sat on the gym floor quietly. Catherine explained the workshop and how loud Taiko could be, and then Yoshi banged the smaller taiko drum once. The students screamed “Whoa!” Catherine continued, “It’s OK to cover your ears. You can still hear it with your body.” Some of them cover their ears right away, but as the workshop went on they were so engaged and no longer covered their ears.

Knoxville, Iowa

Donation jar on the shop's front counter

By Shigeyo Henriquez

The day we arrived in Knoxville it was 70˚—warm and sunny. We received a warm welcome by the people gathered at Peace Tree Brewery. I recognized the same friendly faces from my first visit to Knoxville last fall with Beauty & Melody.

At Peace Tree Brewery they had a donation box for the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. Contribution boxes are found everywhere in town. We are so touched to see people’s concern and participation to help & support. 3M Corporation is even offering one-to-one match to all US employees up to $500,000.

A great week in Knoxville, concert this weekend in Alexandria

By Arts Midwest

A great story and some video of last Friday’s Agatsuma Ensemble concert in Knoxville, Iowa is up on the website of local radio station KNIA/KRLS.

Local Residents Enjoy Agatsuma and Donate to Japan Relief

Arrival in Des Moines

Ensemble posing in hotel lobby

By Shigeyo Henriquez

Almost one week has past since the biggest earthquake, the 40’ tsunami and the nuclear disaster horrified not only people in Japan, but throughout the world. Agatsuma Ensemble, leaving their families and friends at home, arrived in Des Moines as scheduled while the country still tremors.

Wrapping up the Beauty & Melody tour

Beauty & Melody on stage in front of school children.

By Shigeyo Henriquez

The last stop, the last week of Beauty & Melody in the U.S., brought us to Knoxville, Iowa. Every day we could feel closer to the day to say “Goodbye.” It’s the toughest day of the tour, the final day.

A week went by as usual, workshops at Northstar Elementary school, West Elementary school and middle school. We visited the 3M factory in town, took a tour of the production area, and gave a mini performance for the workers.

The final workshop in Knoxville was for high school students.

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.

Magic

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.

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