You can stop reading if you think I’m going to spend a few hundred words on George Strait or Garth Brooks. Maybe another day.
I’m talking about the time a quartet of classical musicians lived in Jesup, Iowa.
My hometown was picked as one of the three locations in the Hawkeye State to have an extended artist-in-residence. We got to know three brothers and their sister for nearly 2 years.
At the time, I was told this was a pretty cool deal. I did think it was special, but maybe I didn’t fully appreciate it until later. After all, this group did graduate from the Eastman School of Music. I wasn’t as impressed as I should have been as a high school kid in 1992…
Jesup, Fayette and Decorah were the locations in Iowa. Kansas and Georgia were also selected to be part of the National Endowment for Arts program.
The next time you hear the NEA is going to be cut off from government money, think about the 2,000 community members in Buchanan County who were enriched with music we didn’t listen to much on the radio or on CD, let alone in person. People from the big city were living with us for several months playing concerts, giving lessons and offering a look at what hard work can really achieve.
My first news boss, Kim Adams as the Jesup Citizen Herald wrote a first person account in last week’s newspaper. Kim took lessons, practiced until his fingers bled and then kept on playing.
CBS Sunday Morning came to document the Ying’s in Jesup. This article appeared in the New York Times in 1993. Iowa Public Television’s Living in Iowa program featured the three Iowa groups on this episode from May 6th, 1993. Watch this video posted on IPTV’s Facebook page this week. You’ll see Michael Krumm, our superintendent at the time, Renata Sack who helped make it all happen and check out Marcy Krumm taking lessons. I recognize a few other folks and locations in the story.
The J-Stars (our fine arts booster club at the time) held many events during those months the Ying’s were with us. Several people spent hours and hours putting on special receptions and fundraisers as part of artist’s visit. I benefitted from a J-Stars scholarship to attend events outside of town.
The Ying’s have continued to play and have won several awards including a Grammy. They are returning to Jesup on Sunday, February 5th for a special concert. They will also play Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus on February 11th. Get your tickets here.
One of the brothers, Tim, is no longer with the group and has been replaced by Robin Scott. But Janet, Phil and David will be back in Iowa soon.
What do you remember about the Ying’s in Jesup?