Festivals, Concerts, and More to Spice Up Your Summer

May 29, 2015

Pack up the car, turn up your favorite public radio station, and set your GPS for these Iowa arts destinations on this summer’s road trip. The combined June and July summer edition of the Iowa Arts Showcase features:

  • Iowa State University’s Heartland Marimba Festival and Academy with Artistic Director Matthew Coley
  • The Belin Quartet’s noon-time summer series, with two members Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn and George Work
  • The North American Review Bicentennial Conference with Jeremy Schraffenberger
  • Details on the facelift to the Wright on the Park Hotel in Mason City with Ann MacGregor and Jean Marinos
  • And the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 43rd Festival Season with General and Artistic Director Michael Egel

Matthew Coley, Artistic Director of Iowa State University’s Heartland Marimba Festival and Academy, discusses the festival’s origins and this year’s concerts. The Festival includes masterclasses, and concerts featuring members of the community. Performances take place between June 13 and June 27 in Mason City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Waterloo, Ames, and Dubuque.

The Belin Quartet showcases alternating violinists Julie Fox Henson, John Helmich, and Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn, violist Sherida Josephson, and cellist George Work. The five musicians are all members of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, and during the summer play noon-time concerts every Friday in downtown Des Moines. Presenting works by Debussy, Brahms, Beethoven, and others, the quartet performs on the Downtown Library Lawn and at the Cowles Commons in Des Moines.

The North American Review, the longest-living literary magazine in the United States, is hosting a creative writing and literature conference at the University of Northern Iowa and the Hearst Center for the Arts to celebrate its bicentennial. Dr. Jeremy Schraffenberger talks about the history of the magazine, the conference events, and the keynote speakers, including Steven Schwartz, Patricia Hampl, and Martin Espada. The conference runs from June 11 through June 13.

Executive Director Ann MacGregor and President of the Board of Directors Jean Marinos of the Wright on the Park Hotel in Mason City share details on the hotel’s recent renovations. The Historic Park Inn Hotel is the only remaining hotel in the world designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It re-opened in July of 2011 following an $18 million restoration.

And General and Artistic Director Michael Egel of the Des Moines Metro Opera details the three operas comprising their 43rd Festival Season.  This summer, the festival features three casts of top-notch opera singers performing in Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West, and Janáček’s Jenůfa.