The Chicago-based KAIA String Quartet will perform March 31 at the Boys and Girls Club of the Mississippi Valley Teen Center at 1122 5th Ave., Moline.

Composers from Mexico are rarely found on classical-music programs. But the Chicago-based KAIA String Quartet and Quad City Symphony Orchestra are changing that with a new partnership.

The QCSO recently won a $10,000 Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which requires an equal match, to bring the quartet to the Quad-Cities for a March 18 residency in Moline and Coal Valley, and for a March 31 Signature Series concert, which will begin at 2 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of the Mississippi Valley Teen Center, 1122 5th Ave.

“We are honored to have the support of the NEA for this impactful programming and are excited to connect in new ways with our Quad-Cities community,” Brian Baxter, QCSO executive director, said recently.

“We were looking to have some programming to broaden our relevancy to all communities in the Quad-Cities,” Steve Mohr, QCSO development director, said Monday. “We want to make sure we're here for everyone in the community.” 

For two years, QCSO cellist Elizabeth Oar has offered free cello lessons to 20-plus elementary-level students at the Boys & Girls Clubs in Davenport and Moline, Mohr said. Cellos used in the lessons are provided by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley.

The NEA's Challenge America grants support projects that extend the reach of the arts to under-served populations — including those limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

The KAIA String Quartet is a Chicago-based ensemble that promotes Latin-American culture through the medium of the string quartet, according to kaiastringquartet.com. It does a lot of similar educational outreach, Mohr said.

On March 18, the four bilingual women will participate in community engagement and education in local schools and with Boys and Girls Club members. Visits to Lincoln-Irving Elementary in Moline and Bicentennial Elementary in Coal Valley will be included.

On March 31, the quartet will perform four works by Mexican composers: Carlos Chavez’s String Quartet #3, Miguel Bernal Jimenez’s “Cuarteto Virreinal,” Silvestre Revueltas’ String Quartet #2, and Javier Alvarez’s “Metro Chabacano.” A post-concert reception will follow the performance.

The QCSO also is partnering with the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to promote the event to the Latino community and provide discounted tickets through their member businesses. The concert will have an impact on the neighborhood directly because a portion of the money collected through ticket sales will benefit the Boys & Girls Club, and donations will be requested at the event for club programs, according to the QCSO.

“We were super excited to partner with them,” chamber executive director Zenaida Landeros said recently, noting some complimentary tickets will be available to members of the Hispanic chamber's Empowering Latina Leadership Alliance group for women.

Tickets for the general public for the concert are $25 for adults and $10 for students. Call 563-322-7276 or go to qcso.org to reserve them. ELLA members can find out more at facebook.com/groups/QC.ELLAS/?ref=share.

This concert will be presented in partnership with WVIK Quad Cities-NPR radio, as all QCSO Signature Series performances are. WVIK will air the recording of the performance and an interview with the musicians from the quartet.

The QCSO’s larger Masterworks orchestra performance taking place April 6 and 7 will feature Carlos Chavez’s “Sinfonía India," which focuses on the native Mexican population.

These concerts will be presented in partnership with the Hispanic Chamber and will include free tickets through the QCSO's Students @ Symphony program for area music students and Boys & Girls Club members.

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