A longtime District of Rock Island tradition will morph into a hopeful new one on June 15 and 16, as MidCoast Fine Arts' Gallery Hop! turns into the new weekend celebration Rock the Arts, organized by MidCoast, Quad City Arts, Desoto, and the Quad City Woodturners.

A 2003 inductee in the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame, acclaimed blues vocalist and Quad Cities native Ernie Peniston reunites his Ernie Peniston Band for a special Redstone Room concert on June 21, an evening that finds the artist sharing the soulful talents that led Blues Blast Magazine to state, “Peniston is a singer with a magnificent voice, capable of handing a wide range of styles with aplomb and always with full-bore emotional commitment.”

A legendary comic opera about a single day of madness in a Spanish palace, Mozart's classic The Marriage of Figaro will enjoy rare area performances at St. Ambrose University on June 8 and 10. But the presentation of this romantic, hilarious, and gloriously composed work is rarer still in being a community collaboration between Genesius Guild, Opera @ Augustana, the St. Ambrose music department, and Opera Quad Cities – the latter group making its large-scale public return for the first time this decade.

Performing June 8 through 10, company members of Ballet Quad Cities bring their annual, eagerly awaited presentations of Ballet Under the Stars vignettes back to Rock Island's Lincoln Park. But this year, as Artistic Director Courtney Lyon explains, the outdoor stage will also be filled with many additional area talents sharing the spotlight with her company's professional dancers.

With Broadway World calling the performers' live show “an awe-inspiring experience” in which the phrase “'must-see' doesn't really cover it,” the global phenomenon Celtic Woman brings its “Homecoming Live” tour to Davenport's Adler Theatre on June 12, demonstrating why the Irish musicians' international appearances have been continual sell-outs, and why they have thus far sold in excess of 10 million albums worldwide.

Anvil, June 8

Heavy-metal mainstays of the early '80s that have been enjoying a decade-long renaissance perform a special concert at the Rock Island Brewing Company, with the June 8 concert by Anvil treating patrons to a night with the stars of the 2008 documentary hit Anvil! The Story of Anvil, called “a hell of a movie” by Empire and, by IndieWire, “a must-see for dreamers everywhere.”

Praised by Paste magazine as “reliably and thoroughly exceptional” and by Spin for “music as blissful and unhurried as a cat lolling about in a sunbeam,” the indie-rock artists of Real Estate play a June 8 Codfish Hollow Barn concert co-sponsored by Moeller Nights, with their most recent album In Mind inspiring Consequence of Sound to rave, “Everything Real Estate touches turns to bliss.”

On display from June 9 through September 16, the Figge Art Museum's new exhibit Alois Kronschlaeger: Polychromatic Contemplations will acquaint visitors with the talents of one of America's most prolific artists, a native Austrian whose work, as he states, “deals with space, light, color, how you intervene and activate a space, and how a space can be a combination of both interior and exterior.”

An eagerly awaited summertime festival returns to the District of Rock Island on June 9, as this year's celebration of Cajun culture Gumbo Ya Ya treats guests to a veritable Mardi Gras complete with a quartet of electrifying concerts, a French Quarter Marketplace, Cajun cooking, street performers, and, as always, more than 20,000 strands of Mardi Gras beads.

Performing what OnMilwaukee.com calls “a supreme blend of traditional country, Americana, and contemporary folk styles,” Wisconsin's alt-country five-piece Buffalo Gospel headlines a Moeller Nights concert on June 9 in support of its new album On the First Bell, a work the Web site decress “worthy of not only a listen, but a permanent place on your playlist.”

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