Arts Midwest Word Fest – Baladino

Arts Midwest World Fest brings Baladino to Forest City
October 18-24, 2015


Forest City is the only city in Iowa to be invited to participate in the 2015-17 cycle of Arts Midwest World Fest. Through this two year partnership, Arts Midwest will bring four international music ensembles to the community. Each ensemble will spend a week in Forest City, sharing unique culture and music through workshops in schools, in community locations, and through a public concert celebration at the end of the week.  Baldino arrived in Forest City on October 18th and was the first of four ensembles that will spend a week-long residence in Forest City.

The appreciation for world music in Forest City was felt from ages 6 to 96. During their weeklong stay, Baladino enchanted the community with their fresh, energetic style of Mediterranean music.  At each of the eight venues, audiences witnessed a world-class performance and the opportunity to interact with the group. Baladino was generous with their time and shared many Israeli cultural characteristics with the audiences. With a total attendance numbers for the week reaching 3000, the 432 people who attended the community concert told us that the impact on the community was overwhelmingly positive.

During Baladino’s residency, our community experienced a cultural awakening.

•    The Forest City High School performance gave the group a standing ovation, a first for the high school students.
•    The Waldorf College music students were inspired to practice more by the musical talents of each musician in the ensemble.
•    The welcome reception for Baladino was wonderful. Waldorf College and Forest City High School featured outstanding vocal and musical performances for Baladino.  The audience was in awe of the ensemble’s musical talent in the preview performance. The group was engaging and so approachable.
•    At the elementary school, the children loved the performance and in fact many returned with their parent’s for the community concert.
•    The morning performance at the YMCA was enthusiastically received by area seniors….and a group of 2-year-olds who even participated by clapping on the beat for 45 minutes!
•    We were happy to get to share an ensemble workshop with an even smaller nearby school district so they could have a live world music experience with Baladino.
•    The lively performance at Forest Plaza Assisted Living was enthusiastically received by the residents, guests and visitors from the nearby nursing home.  After the performance, the seniors were exercising to Baladino’s CD!

Thank you to the many sponsors, Arts Midwest World Fest, Iowa Arts Council, 3M, and The National Endowment for the Arts for providing our small, rural community exposure to the world-class music and culture of Baladino. This experience opened the eyes of so many in our community to the joy of live world music and the positive impact it can have on our lives. More importantly, they inspired several hundred students and community members to learn about a different culture and look for opportunities to engage in world music in the future.

The Forest City Arts Midwest Committee is represented by –
Darwin Lehmann, Forest City Community Schools
Dr. Bob Alsop, Waldorf College
Norma Hertzer, Grow Forest City


Event photos can be viewed here: