Minnesota

Ondekoza on a roll in Red Wing, MN

By Shigeyo Henriquez

Ondekoza arrived Thursday Feb 1st, Super Bowl weekend and the Minnesota/St Paul Airport was bustling. Ken Carlson waited for us in the cell parking lot. As Ondekoza members came through the US customs, Ken drove up and we shoved the luggage into the van and drove directly to Red Wing where we would spend our first week of residency. A beautiful mansion built in 1915, the Anderson Arts Center House, is our home for the week. We loved the house, a big kitchen, traditional living and formal dining room.

Remembering our week in Detroit Lakes

Ensemble sits outside at a picnic table with television crew nearby

By Shigeyo Henriquez

We arrived in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota at the most beautiful time of the year—fall colors at their best. The weather was perfect, warm, sunny, and in the 80’s the whole week. Is this really northern Minnesota? People in Wausau told us it would be much, much colder in Minnesota than in Wisconsin. Wust el Balad are not used to the cold weather, so they really loved this unusually warm fall.

Wust el Balad in Detroit Lakes

Classroom with kids and ensemble in a workshop

By Amy Stoller Stearns

We are loving having Wust el Balad here! What great, great guys! I know this update will be full of exclamation points because it’s all so good!!

Letters from Alexandria

Kids in a music workshop

By Arts Midwest

Last week, we received an envelope in the mail from Alexandria, Minnesota packed full of letters from students who participated in the Arts Midwest World Fest residencies there over the past few years.

Thank you so much to all of the students who wrote to us! All of the letters were very thoughtful and kind. Here are some of our favorite quotes…

“After watching these four groups, …I realized that all of the music was so different, but yet so beautiful in its own way.

Photos from Alexandria

By Shigeyo Henriquez

A snowy prairie

We left Knoxville early Sunday morning. As we drove north, we started to see snow on the ground. By the time we arrived in Alexandria, MN it was covered with several inches of snow.

Ensemble posing at a snowy park

Burrrrr…….. WOW!!! It’s cold outside. Did we bring warm enough clothes?

Saluting 3M in Alexandria

Posing outside by a 3M sign, wearing winter coats.

By Lindajoy Fenley

The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble’s last day of Minnesota workshops began at 8:45 a.m. Thursday with a trip to Miltona Elementary School and ended 12 hours later when the group finished loading out instruments and equipment at Alexandria Technical College, site of afternoon and evening workshops for seniors and families. In between, they found time for a quick visit to the Wimmer’s lake cabin, a meal at an Alexandria restaurant, and a photo opportunity in front of the 3M factory.

Why so many instruments?

Children raise their hands to ask questions.

By Lindajoy Fenley

Students ask how members of the ensemble met, how they formed their group, what’s life like in Israel and whether it’s hard to learn to play an instrument. In Alexandria, one of the youngest asked why they had so many instruments.

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.

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