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History and art collide at Figge
You can witness a remarkable fusing of art and history as Quad City Symphony Orchestra Music Director Mark Russell Smith will introduce a free screening of the 2016 documentary “Leningrad & the Orchestra that Defied Hitler” at 7 p.m. Friday at the Figge Art Museum's John Deere Auditorium.
It tells the story of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony (to be featured at the QCSO's upcoming Masterworks II: Conflict program) at the Philharmonic Hall in Leningrad in August 1942, during World War II, in the midst of the siege of the city. A year earlier, the Germans had begun the deadliest siege in history, which would kill three-quarters of a million civilians, and in the midst of the terror, a group of starving musicians assembled to perform Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony — “in what would become a defiant moment in the city’s ultimate survival,” according to a film synopsis.
Historian Amanda Vickery and BBC Radio presenter Tom Service reveal the extraordinary story of the triumph of the human spirit in the documentary. Vickery shows how Leningrad was persecuted by Stalin and Hitler; from siege survivors and uncovering diaries and photos, she reveals the reality of life in Leningrad as it literally starved to death, the summary says.
Service explores the thin line walked by Shostakovich as the composer came close to becoming a victim of Stalin’s paranoia and reveals how, as Leningrad starved, his Seventh Symphony was performed around the world, uniting audiences against a common enemy before finally returning to the city.
The film has excerpts of the piece performed by the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maxim Shostakovich, the composer’s son. The QCSO's Nov. 2 and 3 concerts honor both the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day and the 200th anniversary of the birth of poet Walt Whitman — examining the emotional influence of war and conflict. The program features Samuel Barber's gripping “Adagio for Strings” (1938) and John Adams's melancholy “The Wound Dresser” (1989), inspired by Whitman’s graphic and tender 1865 poem.
Find the pros of Quad Con
Quad Con Davenport — a free, family-friendly, pop culture event filled with costumes — will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Golden Leaf Banquet Center, 2902 E. Kimberly Rd., Davenport. A Halloween Parade will be part of the activities, from 3 to 3:30 p.m.
Local businesses, vendors and organizations will hand out candy and goodies as kids and families walk through the Golden Leaf banquet hall dressed in costumes. The Halloween Parade theme this year will focus on "creepy characters,” but other outfits are welcomed. Quad Con hosts the parade to provide a fun and safe alternative to traditional outdoor trick-or-treating.
“We are always excited this time of year to start registering vendors and artists for this fun family annual event,” event coordinator John Wells said. “This Halloween Parade is a safe alternative to door-to-door trick or treating and provides an opportunity for the community, including businesses and organizations, to come out and support our kids and families.”
Quad Con is a pop culture celebration designed to bring together fans of comics, board games, toys, video games, art, cosplay and other geeky goodness. Quad Con also has a live mini-auction held in conjunction with a costume contest.
This auction raises money for Helping Hannah's Heart Foundation, a Q-C nonprofit designed to help children diagnosed with congenital heart defects. To date, the foundation has helped raise over $65,000 for families in need.
Diverse quartet to play Rock Island
Harlem Quartet — the latest group in the Quad City Arts Visiting Artist Series — will give a public concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday (preceded by a 6 p.m. reception) at Trinity Anglican Church, 1818 6th Ave., Rock Island. Tickets are $20 for adults, and $10 for students, children and military.
The quartet is comprised of Cuban violinist Ilmar Gavilan, American violinist Melissa White, Puerto Rican violist Jaime Amador and American cellist Felix Umansky. It was founded in 2006 by The Sphinx Organization, a national nonprofit dedicated to diversity in classical music and providing access to music education in underserved communities. This acclaimed string quartet advances diversity in classical music while bringing excitement to repertoire ranging from Ravel and Haydn to Wynton Marsalis and Chick Corea, according to its biography.
Woodwind virtuoso Ted Nash of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra declared in a 2018 Playbill article, “Harlem Quartet is one of the greatest string quartets I have ever heard. They can play anything.” Since its public debut at Carnegie Hall in 2006, the ensemble has performed in 47 states as well as around the world.
Harlem Quartet focuses on diverse programming that combines music from the standard canon with jazz, Latin and contemporary works; a collaborative approach that broadens the ensemble’s repertoire and audience reach through artistic partnerships with musicians from the classical and jazz worlds, and a commitment to residency activity and other forms of outreach.
The quartet’s mission is to engage young and new audiences through the discovery and presentation of varied repertoire that includes works by minority composers. In the 2017-18 season, the Harlem Quartet did a week of residency activities with the Santa Fe Youth Symphony. And since 2015, it's led an annual workshop at Music Mountain in Falls Village, Conn., culminating in a concert. For more information, visit harlemquartet.com.
TGIF at Bucktown Center
Thank God it's time for another Final Friday at Bucktown Center for the Arts, 225 E. 2nd St., Davenport, as you can celebrate a free “Artoberfest” from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Of course, there will be beer and food — samplings from Front Street Brewery and chili tastings. Thanks to Front Street, there will be artist decorated beer glasses for sale ($10) in exchange for samples throughout the Bucktown suites. Second, it's the opening reception for mixed-media artist Corinne Smith of Rock Island, whose work has been installed in many local homes and businesses.
Her work in the Midcoast Gallery “is glowing with rich colors that push forward and pull back in space in pulsing, masterful balance,” according to a release from the nonprofit art organization. “Rendering form and space guides the underlying structure and composition of my work,” Smith said. “I approach the work intuitively by laying in color choices, be it paint, papers or prints.” You can check out samples at http://corrinesmith.net/images.html.
Also on Friday night, Davenport artist Regan Hatfield will be in Suite 203 to introduce his “American Devil Sound.” With one hand, he'll perform on the microphone while painting with the other hand. In the second-floor casement, there will also be a display of Hatfield’s paintings made during an “American Devil Sound” rehearsal, as well as metal sculptures by Philip Force inspired by the music.
“I focus on being receptive to everything — photos, dreams, architecture, music, people, emotions and colors, which I then translate into my own language through paint,” Hatfield said on his website, reganhatfield.com.