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 is a Juilliard trained tenor who has performed with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Music Festival, New York Society for Ethical Culture, and Aspen Opera Theater Center. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa and is currently part of the Applied Voice faculty at Augustana College and Kirkwood Community College. For this concert series, Mendoza is accompanied by Jessica Monnier on the piano in the Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room.
As Executive Director for Living Proof Exhibit, Pamela Crouch is passionate about providing the therapeutic benefits of the arts to people impacted by cancer. The Muscatine Art Center has been a partner organization since 2017, and together the two organizations had planned to hold singalong events with Juan Carlos Mendoza as the guest star. However, singing is an activity that 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 are 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, was encouraged 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”:
November 13: “A Concert for Hope and Healing” #1 premieres on Muscatine Access Channel Nine at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
December 4: “A Concert for Hope and Healing” #2 premieres on Muscatine Access Channel Nine at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Starting on November 16, the first concert will be available to watch on YouTube. Starting on December 7th, the second concert will be available to watch on YouTube. Both Channel Nine and Living Proof Exhibit have YouTube channels. The Muscatine Art Center will post the videos on its website, www.muscatineartcenter.org.
The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. Visit www.muscatineartcenter.org for more information about programs and events and to download a class brochure. Please contact Katy, Program Coordinator, with any questions about our upcoming programs at 563-263-8282 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared on the Voice of Muscatine. Read More local stories here.