Muscatine Art Center presents virtual concert series

Muscatine native and acclaimed tenor Juan Carlos Mendoza

MUSCATINE, Iowa–The Living Proof Exhibit and the Muscatine Art Center have teamed up to offer a two-part concert series by Muscatine-native, Juan Carlos Mendoza. Mendoza, a Juilliard trained tenor, has performed with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Music Festival, New York Society for Ethical Culture, and the Aspen Opera Theater Center. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa and currently teaches as part of the Applied Voice faculty at Augustana College and Kirkwood Community College. For this concert series, Jessica Monnier will accompand Mendoza on the piano in the Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room.

As Executive Director for Living Proof Exhibit, Pamela Crouch has a passion for providing the therapeutic benefits of the arts to people impacted by cancer. The Muscatine Art Center has partnered with the organization since 2017, and together the two organizations planned to hold singalong events with Juan Carlos Mendoza as the guest star. However, singing creates a lot of small airborne particles, and people touched by cancer have good reason to take extra precautions to guard against the coronavirus. Instead, Mendoza and pianist Monnier pre-recorded the concert series.

The first concert features songs by George Butterworth, Franz Schubert, Claudio Monteverdi, and Thomas Savoy, while the second concert features the work of Joaquín Nin, Amy Woodforde-Finden, and Thomas Savoy. Mendoza sings in English, Italian, Spanish, and German.

“The concerts are intended to provide momentary respite from struggle,” explains Crouch. “Although this project was originally focused on the needs of those touched by cancer, the format of the pre-recorded series makes it possible for more people to use this concert series as a temporary getaway. 2020 has taught us the value of the arts in enhancing our quality of life.”

The directors of the two organizations first started planning the singalongs with Mendoza more than 18 months ago. His skill as a performer and his enthusiasm for music have potential to draw in those who not ordinarily interested in opera.

“Our organizations have adapted on many fronts,” states Alexander. “The positive is that our online and video content helps us connect with more people, and the staff is picking up new skills along the way.”

Muscatine Community College provided video production services for the project. Studio manager, Chad Bishop, too encouragement by the message and talent of the performers. “We have been busy this fall helping produce many virtual presentations,” he explains. “At-home audiences are able to enjoy performances like this one that otherwise would not have been shared in this format.”

When and Where to Watch “A Concert for Hope and Healing”:

  • Nov. 13: “A Concert for Hope and Healing” #1 premieres on Muscatine Access Channel Nine at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Dec.4: “A Concert for Hope and Healing” #2 premieres on Muscatine Access Channel Nine at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Nov. 16: The first concert will go live to watch on YouTube.
  • Dec. 7: The second concert will go live to watch on YouTube. The Muscatine Art Center will also post the videos on its website .