Music & Entertainment
Spencer Bohren Brings Blues to the Schools September 8-1 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by M V B S   
Friday, 05 September 2014 08:47
Thanks to a major grant provided by the Riverboat Development Authority, the MVBS 2014/2015 Blues In The Schools Artists-in-Residence series will begin with New Orleans-based blues musician and educator Spencer Bohren.  He will conduct workshops at schools and free open-to-the-public performances throughout the Quad-Cities during the week of September 8-12.

Spencer is scheduled for two free public performances:


  • Tuesday September 9, 7:00 p.m.—River Music Experience, 2nd & Main Streets, Davenport IA
  • Wednesday September 10, 7:00 p.m.—Co-op Records, 3727 Avenue of the Cities, Moline IL

Please check our website at for updates on Spencer’s public performances.

Spencer Bohren was born and raised in Wyoming, where he sang in a family choir that performed in churches, schools, and nursing homes.  He acquired his first guitar at the age of 14, and

began his personal study of the blues by listening intently to all the music he could get his hands on and integrating it into his guitar playing.  In 1968 this study became even more focused when he played in a duo called Eagle Ridin’ Papa, named after a Big Bill Broonzy song and featuring the music of the Mississippi Sheiks, Bo Carter, Robert Johnson, Skip James, Snooks Eaglin, and dozens of other legendary blues musicians. Soon thereafter, Spencer moved to Denver, where he played with and learned from such blues legends as Bukka White and the Reverend Gary Davis.

Spencer moved to New Orleans in 1975, where he began performing regularly in popular clubs such as Tipitina’s and the Absinthe Bar.  Often he was paired with legends Professor Longhair, Earl King, Clifton Chenier, or James Booker.  In 1983 Spencer began a seven-year tour all over the U.S. with his family in an Airstream trailer towed by his 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air.  He later toured extensively in Europe and Japan.  In 1997 Spencer returned to New Orleans, which he considers his spiritual home.  His first recording came out in 1984, and since then he’s released numerous albums.

In 1997, Spencer developed Down the Dirt Road Blues, his award-winning history of American music, which he has presented to thousands of students of all ages, as well as concert audiences in America and Europe. Spencer fell upon the approach of using a single melody and letting that song transform and migrate in a possible and probable historical context to illustrate the way blues has informed American music for three centuries.  The result is based on a song first recorded by Charley Patton in the late 1920s and easily adaptable to a variety of American musical styles, from Delta blues to Memphis jug band, Appalachia to Nashville, Chicago to rock & roll, Beatlemania, and the British invasion. It follows the journey of a single song's journey from 16th Century Africa through America's culture and history up through the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.  Down the Dirt Road Blues not only follows the song, it also is a commentary on the relationship between American history and music.  Spencer talks about slavery, the Great Migration, racial integration through music in Memphis, the impact of radio on the cross-cultural spread of music, payola and its influence on popular music, and geographical styles and rhythms.

Down the Dirt Road Blues is performed on a variety of vintage instruments to add authenticity to the various versions of the song.  Spencer Bohren’s soulful vocals carry the listener to the exact time and place of each rendition.  Listeners of all ages find themselves mesmerized with the story, curious to hear where the song travels next.

Spencer Bohren’s residency this September is made possible by major support from the Riverboat Development Authority.  Additional support is provided by Alcoa, The Lodge, River Music Experience, and KALA radio.

Slipknot Prepare For Hell Tour With special guests Korn & King 810 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Stephani Nagle   
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 13:51

November 25, 2014 - 7:00 pm

iWireless Center

On Sale Friday, September 5 at Noon

Ticket prices are $35.00, $49.50, and $65.00. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 5 at Noon and are available at the iWireless Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, and online at Brought to you by Live Nation.


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents BUILT TO AMAZE! Hits iWireless Center This Weekend for Seven Performances!!!!! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Lindsey Lobur   
Friday, 29 August 2014 15:04

Moline, IL (Aug. 28) - The iWireless Center is excited to announce the arrival of the all-new 143rd Edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Built To Amaze! --an extraordinary engineered circus experience where Children of all Ages find out what it takes to build The Greatest Show On Earth. The foundation is set and the rising anticipation of high energy, high jinx and hilarity is ready to be transported by colorful circus machinery and unleashed from shipping crates right before the audience's eyes!

A fantastic design with more than 110 of the world's best performers representing 17 countries along with 95 exotic and domestic animals will be assembled, creating never-before-seen heart pounding performances. Ringling Bros. brings a spirited and fiery competition of basketball with the next generation of whirling unicyclists, the legendary King Charles Troupe hailing from New York City! Also new to Ringling Bros. is the Tower Tumblers, a troupe of competitive aerial athletes from the Ukraine who launch themselves from trampolines to scale, repel and pass through a three-story high translucent tower. Come and join us for an affordable and fun Labor Day Tradition.

Visit to learn about the all new show never before seen in the Quad Cities! For ticket information please see or

Ringling Bros. Built to Amaze: Performance Schedule:

*No Discounts on VIP or Circus Celebrity Seating

*Tickets are $65 (Circus Celebrity), $32 (VIP), $19, and $14. All seats are reserved, and tickets are available at the iWireless Center box office, and by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.


Quad City Symphony Orchestra's Premiere Commission of Rock Island Line to be featured on APR Performance Today PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Sara Morby   
Friday, 29 August 2014 15:01

The performance by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Mark Russell Smith, Music Director and Conductor, of Jacob Bancks' Rock Island Line will be featured tomorrow, Friday, August 29, 2014, on Performance Today, a nationally syndicated radio program produced by American Public Media. The QCSO commissioned Bancks, an assistant professor of music at Augustana College, to write a piece in memory of Isador, Ruth Evelyn, and Judith Katz that was premiered last season on March 8, 2014. Fred Child, Host of Performance Today, will also lead a short interview of Bancks.

APR's Performance Today is America's most popular classical music radio program and a winner of the 2014 Gabriel Award for artistic achievement.  The show is broadcast on 292 public radio stations across the country, and reaches approximately 1.4 million listeners each week.  The QCSO is honored to have its performance selected for broadcast through the program's competitive process.

"Bringing a new orchestral piece to life is always challenging, exciting and satisfying," commented Mark Russell Smith, QCSO Music Director and Conductor. "Jacob has created an incredible new work that fits this orchestra and its community in a unique way. He is a skilled and sensitive composer who knows how to make an orchestra sound great, and a first-class musician and colleague - one of the new treasures here in the Quad Cities. I look forward to collaborating with him for many years to come."

Aside from Rock Island Line, Bancks' many performances and commissions include works for the United States Marine Band, Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra alum and Oberlin violin professor David Bowlin and QCSO Executive Director Benjamin Loeb will premiere a chamber piece by Bancks on the WVIK/QCSO Signature Series on October 19.

"I'm humbled and thrilled that a national audience will be able to share in the excitement of last March's premiere of Rock Island Line. The performance shows everybody what we in the Quad Cities already know: Maestro Smith and the QCSO are leading the way in supporting local composers with absolutely top-notch performances," said Bancks. A recording of the live performance is available for download at

Dedicated to the effort to keep classical music alive, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its 100th year by opening each 2014-15 Masterworks performance with pieces commissioned by the QCSO including 5 World Premieres. Composers commissioned include John Frantzen, James Romig, David Gompper, Michael Torke, William Campbell and James Stephenson.  Other season highlights include an appearance by Garrick Ohlsson performing Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #3, Beethoven Symphony #9 and a Gala performance by cellist Yo-Yo Ma of Dvorak's Cello Concerto.

The broadcast will air locally on Friday, August 29 at 8 p.m. on WVIK, Quad Cities NPR, at 90.3 FM.

QCSO 100th Season

Subscriptions are available for this milestone season.  Contact the QCSO Box Office at 563.322.7276 or online at to purchase tickets.  Currently, only subscribers may purchase tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime performance by classic superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma on May 14 at the Adler Theatre.

Grab your picnic basket and head down to LeClaire Park as the Quad City Symphony Orchestra kicks off our 100th Season with the Quad City Bank & Trust Riverfront Pops Concert featuring Michael Cavanaugh singing the songs of Elton John with Quad City Symphony Orchestra and QCSO Music Director Mark Russell Smith.
In honor of our 100th Anniversary, the QCSO will be giving away 2,500 complimentary cups of delicious Whitey's ice cream!
Come early to enjoy the park and visit our many vendors including Whitey's Ice Cream, Thunder Bay Grill, Jumpin' Joey's Bounce Houses, and more!
LeClaire Park opens at 3:00 PM.  There will be a special Performance by Minus Six and the Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra at 5:00 PM. Concert begins at 6:30 PM with fireworks to follow.
Tickets are available at Quad City Bank & Trust, Whitey's Ice Cream, Ticket Master, and the QCSO Box Office (563) 322-7276.
Give our QCSO Box Office Manager the code M6 when you purchase tickets to enter into a drawing for a $400 Bose Sound Bar courtesy of Zeglin's TV & Appliance.
Groups of 10 or more can contact the QCSO Box Office for special rates (563) 322-7276.

Michael Cavanaugh Sings the Hits of Elton John at Riverfront Pops PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by QCSO   
Friday, 29 August 2014 08:42
Broadway Star Opens 100th Season of Stellar QC Symphony Orchestra Performances

IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – Singer/pianist Michael Cavanaugh was marked for greatness when he was picked by Billy Joel to perform in the Broadway musical, Movin’ Out. On Sept. 6, the Broadway star will open the 100th Season of stellar Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) performances when he performs The Songs of Elton John & More at the Quad City Bank & Trust Riverfront Pops Concert. 

Cavanaugh’s performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6, 2014 at LeClaire Park in Davenport, IA. The park will open for picnicking at 3:00 p.m. The music starts with a special performance by the pop/rock group Minus Six and the Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra at 5 p.m. The QCSO will give away 2,500 Whitey’s Ice Cream cups at the beginning of the show in honor of the 100th Anniversary. 

Tickets for Riverfront Pops are available at Quad City Bank & Trust, Whitey's Ice Cream, Ticket Master, and the QCSO box office at 327 Brady St., Davenport. You can also call the QCSO at (563) 322-7276 or visit Group discounts and VIP seats are available. Mention code M6 when purchasing tickets through the box office to enter a drawing for a $400 Bose Sound Bar, courtesy of Zeglin’s TV & Appliance. 

Cavanaugh’s second collaboration with the QCSO, The Songs of Elton John & More will include his celebrated renditions of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Benny and the Jets,” “Rocket Man,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Candle in the Wind” and more, as well as other rock and roll classics and some special surprises. “I performed with the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra back in 2011 and it was an amazing crowd, so I’m thrilled to be back,” Cavanaugh said.

Mark Russell Smith, QCSO Conductor and Music Director, will conduct the orchestra during Cavanaugh’s performance. “The Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra begins every season with the Riverfront Pops,” Smith said, “and it’s an exciting and unique tradition that I’ve come to love. We’ve worked with the very talented Michael Cavanaugh before and I know the community will enjoy The Songs of Elton John & More.”

“Our mission is to inspire, engage, and entertain,” said Benjamin Loeb, QCSO Executive Director. “Some people wonder if orchestral music might be too highbrow for them, but they will see that Riverfront Pops is a whole lot of fun. LeClaire Park is a great outdoor venue with a great view of the ballpark, the new Ferris wheel, and the Mississippi River. For some, it might be their first experience in listening to an orchestra. If they like it, we hope they’ll try more of our many QCSO performances.” 

“Quad City Bank & Trust deeply believes in strengthening the community in which we work and play,” said Cathie S. Whiteside, Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Human Resources and Branding at Quad City Bank & Trust. “As our Quad City Symphony celebrates its 100th Season, we are particularly mindful of the continuing vital role music education can play for success in school, in life and in our society. Quad City Bank & Trust’s title sponsorship of the Riverfront Pops concert is designed to help ensure that programs such as Instruments for Kids and Youth Orchestra scholarships are maintained and perhaps increased.” 

Star Moved Up with Movin’ Out

Singer/pianist Michael Cavanaugh moved up into the ranks of stardom when he performed in Billy Joel’s Broadway musical, Movin’ Out. Cavanaugh appeared in the show for three years and more than 1,200 performances, receiving both Grammy and Tony award nominations in 2003.  

Cavanaugh began playing the piano at age 7. He formed his first band at age 10 and was soon performing at local functions. His first full-time gig was with a piano bar called Blazing Pianos in Orlando, Florida. In January 1999, he received an offer to play the New York, New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. One night, Billy Joel caught his act and joined him on stage. Joel was so impressed by the young performer, he asked Cavanaugh to move to New York City and help shape the musical, Movin’ Out. 

When Movin’ Out closed at the end of 2005, Cavanaugh created his own show and began touring. Before long, symphony orchestras discovered Cavanaugh’s audience appeal. His first orchestral booking, The Songs of Billy Joel & More, debuted in April 2008 with the Indianapolis Symphony. Later that year, he signed with Warner/ADA to distribute his first CD, In Color. In June 2010, he debuted his second symphony show, The Songs of Elton John & More.

“I love the vibe of an outdoor event venue in the summertime – everyone is ready to have a good time and I feed off that energy,” Cavanaugh said. “The production’s material is sure to be a crowd-pleaser and the caliber of the orchestra is outstanding. Knowing they’re behind you really drives you to pull out all the stops for your best performance.” 

For a century, the QCSO has presented masterpieces both old and new at many Quad-Cities venues. The 100th Season will present the premieres of exciting new compositions. Also, the season will end in a one-night-only concert featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a best-selling classical recording artist with more than 75 albums, including 15 Grammy Award-winners. For more information, visit or call 563-322-7276.

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