Thursday 14, 2009

School districts in Marquette and Alger counties will have a rare opportunity to interact with and learn from global musicians through Arts Midwest World Fest. The Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University has been selected to host the festival as part of its ongoing International Performing Arts Series.

From October 2009 through April 2011, musical ensembles from four countries will conduct week-long intensive residencies in conjunction with their scheduled public concerts for the NMU series. Each residency will consist of school performances, workshops and outreach activities.

“This is a big deal because only one town in each state gets to host Arts Midwest World Fest for a two-year period,” said Daniel Truckey, director of the heritage center. “We encourage area districts to take advantage of the opportunity to host school visits by these performers during their extended stays in Marquette.”

Arts Midwest provides participating communities with a curriculum that helps students and teachers better understand and appreciate the customs and traditions of the visiting ensembles. Its mission is based on the hope that studying other cultures will spark a lasting curiosity in both teachers and students that will result in further exploration of the diverse and fascinating cultures of the world. 

The four ensembles scheduled for the festival are:

▪Beauty and Melody from China, a group comprised of a dozen string players and vocalists who will perform traditional and contemporary Chinese music and dance. Members will be available for workshops Oct. 19-22 before their public concert Oct. 23 at Forest Roberts Theatre at NMU.

▪ Hiromitsu Agatsuma, considered Japan’s finest player of the Shamisen. Hiromitsu Agatsuma’s music encompasses both the traditional aspects of his instrument and his love of contemporary jazz and pop. He and his band will be available for workshops April 12-16, 2010, with a concert on April 17.

▪ The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble, which performs traditional music of Israel and the Middle East that relies on Eastern European, Balkan and Gypsy influences. In addition to original music, the group’s repertoire combines material from the countries of origin of its five musicians: Sephardic traditions, Mediterranean influences and music of Yemenite Jews. Dates have not been confirmed, but the ensemble will probably begin its residency sometime in fall 2010.


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▪The Mauvais Sort from Quebec, which presents a contemporary arrangement of traditional Quebec folk music. The Mauvais Sort takes the lyrics and mixes them into contemporary musical compositions or original stories with old folk rhythms. This band is projected to begin its residency in the spring of 2011.

The 2009-2011 Arts Midwest World Fest is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, 3M Foundation, Verizon Foundation and MetLife Foundation. School districts interested in participating in this program should contact Truckey at 227-1219 or

Kristi Evans
News Director