Art center to organize concerts with music from here and elsewhere

MUSCATINE, Iowa–This October, the Muscatine Art Center hopes to transport listeners to a variety of times and places with a four-concert series. Scheduled to feature the E. Bradford Burns Performing Arts Park, the newly constructed outdoor theater adjacent to the Muscatine Art Center at 1314 Mulberry Ave., these events will feature free live music and related events to pique the interest of audiences.

A familiar set to many in the area, the Mad Creek Mudcats will perform Sunday, October 2 from 3-4 p.m. A Muscatine classic for 30 years, their repertoire includes music from the 1890s to the 1930s, ranging from ragtime to jazz. , to a few eclectic creations of their own. Muscatine Art Center Director Melanie Alexander looks forward to hosting the Mad Creek Mudcats and celebrating with them the return of the Roaring Twenties. “We’ve had them at the Art Center in the past, but not for a while, so we’re excited to be working with them again.”

On October 15, the Art Center will add new dimensions to its “Captivated by Japan” exhibition by inviting the Soten Taiko drumming group from the Japanese Society of Iowa to perform. The musicians will introduce the audience to traditional Japanese drumming, a style of music not often heard in Iowa. Prior to the 2:30-3:30 p.m. performance, archaeologists Beth Cody and Alexander will give a free guided tour of the “Captivated by Japan” exhibit, highlighting how the research done for the restoration of the Japanese-style gardens taking place outside was highlighted. Laura Musser McColmb’s love of the Japanese style and wider fascination with it in the early decades of the 1900s. Kristin McHugh-Johnston will also talk about her collection of Kokeshi dolls, a traditional Japanese art form that evolved and continues to this day.

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

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

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