Orchestra Iowa’s taped radio broadcasts for National Public Radio’s “From the Top” program are set to air beginning the week of June 15. The programs were originally intended as part of a “From the Top” yearlong residency in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; following extensive flooding in Cedar Rapids in June 2008, they were nearly cancelled. Forced out of its regular venue, the Paramount Theatre, the orchestra rescheduled its 2008-09 season to various venues in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Cedar Falls. Orchestra Iowa Music Director Tim Hankewich renamed the orchestra (then Cedar Rapids Symphony) to Orchestra Iowa, to reflect a broader statewide focus; he also worked with From the Top Tour Producer David Balsom to tape programs split between two cities—Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. At the same time, Hankewich and Balsom also expanded the radio-orchestra partnership to encompass school visits led by Iowa teenagers, develop new curriculum with Iowa teachers, and train high school musicians as peer leaders to create their own community-outreach programs. From the Top and Orchestra Iowa will continue the project through the fall of 2010, and From the Top will bring the same model to Hawaii when its residency there begins in January.

Posted June 16, 2009

Photo of Timothy Hankewich courtesy Orchestra Iowa

Group photo: From the Top’s Laura Behrens (far left), Laura Breeden (far right), and Jenny Meyburg (second from right), with 14-year-old Iowa pianist Chelsea Wang and Joanne Tubbs (music coordinator for the Des Moines Public Schools). Photo courtesy Laura Breeden