Art Center to hold concerts with music from near and far

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–This October, the Muscatine Art Center hopes to transport listeners to a variety of times and places with a series of four concerts. Planned to showcase the E. Bradford Burns Performing Arts Park, the recently built outdoor theatre adjacent to the Muscatine Art Center at 1314 Mulberry Ave., these events will feature free live music and related events to pique concert goers’ curiosity.

A familiar ensemble to many in the area, the Mad Creek Mudcats will perform Sunday, Oct. 2 from 3 to 4 p.m. A Muscatine classic for 30 years, their repertoire includes music from the 1890s to the 1930s, encompassing everything from ragtime, to jazz, to some eclectic creations all their own. Muscatine Art Center Director Melanie Alexander looks forward to hosting the Mad Creek Mudcats, and to celebrating the return of the roaring 20s with them. “We’ve had them at the Art Center in the past, but not for a while, so we’re excited to work with them again.”

Oct. 15, the Art Center will add new dimensions to their, “Captivated by Japan,” exhibit by inviting the Japanese Society of Iowa’s Soten Taiko drum group to perform. The musicians will introduce audiences to traditional Japanese drumming, a style of music not often heard in Iowa. Before the performance from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., archeologist Beth Cody and Alexander will give a free guided tour of the “Captivated by Japan” exhibit, highlighting how the research done for the Japanese style garden restoration taking place outside brought to light Laura Musser McColmb’s love for Japanese style as well as the wider fascination with it in the early decades of the 1900s. Kristin McHugh-Johnston will also discuss her collection of Kokeshi dolls, a traditional Japanese artform that has evolved and continued to this day.

Concert goers of all ages will enjoy the many activities accompanying the performances put on by Los Cometas Mariachi band from West Liberty and Ballet Folklorico, a dance group from the Quad Cities. With the help of Muscatine’s League of United Latin American Citizens and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, attendees can make masks, mini piñatas, and paper flowers; view an exhibition of photos examining luchadores, and receive taco coupons for Guadalajara. “It should be a very fun evening!” Alexander said.

Finally, on Oct. 27 at 3 p.m., LADAMA, a part of the Quad Cities Visiting Artist Series, will, perform. A group of women performers from across the Americas, they will play several original pieces and encourage children to join in on their musical fun.

Brought to the community in part through a Mary Jo and Richard H. Stanley Human Conditions grant, these four concerts will give guests a wide variety of experiences and allow them to sample many genres of music without leaving Muscatine. “I just love the variety with all the performances we have going on,” shared Alexander. “I’m happy we can present such a wide range of experiences, and I hope people will come out and learn about a culture outside their own and connect to their heritage through music or dance.”

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