MusicIC celebrates co-music-lab-lit-eration


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Iowa City music and literature lovers will have the chance to attend the fifth-annual MusicIC, a festival created under the Summer of the Arts umbrella. 

The free music series, which runs from Wednesday through Saturday, is a mix of literature and classical music featuring locally developed talent and professionals. For four days, audiences can choose from several different performances from the spoken word to elaborate orchestrations. 

The first two performances of the festival are “Celebrating America” and “Love Rejected” — pieces that mix music and readings. MusicIC will then put on “Abundant Happiness: The Music of Robert and Clara Schumann” at the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., a performance that blends music, literature, and acting. The festival will close with a family concert at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St.

Tricia Park and Judith Hurtig, both longtime fixtures on the Iowa City arts scene, developed MusicIC. The two, chatting over drinks one night, agreed that the Summer of the Arts was missing something truly special, and they also noticed an overwhelming request from locals for classical music. Park and Hurtig decided that if they were going to create an event, it had to be “firmly rooted in Iowa City.” 

After all, as Hurtig pointed out, Iowa City is a town of readers and writers.

This sparked an exploration of possible connections between music and literature, a process that started in mid-November five years ago and was not complete until February.

Though the process is similar every year, the ideas behind MusicIC are continually changing, because Park and Hurtig take into account what literature and music they enjoy at the time. In addition, they evaluate how the program is going to sound as a whole and what musicians are available during the summer. 

MusicIC makes an effort to use locally grown musicians. It gives audiences the chance to see people’s careers come full circle — for example, being able to watch former high-school students turn their passion into a professional career. 

“We want to give people a chance to hear the kids again,” Hurtig said. 

Several local professionals who contribute to this year’s event include Park, a former University of Iowa faculty member and violinist, Jennifer Fawcett of Working Group Theater, and vocalist Megan Bruce. 

For more information, visit the Summer of the Arts website for locations and times.

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