The legacy of Dick and Mary Jo Stanley, two of Muscatine’s most prominent and generous citizens, will be celebrated with a series of events on May 20, 2018. Local organizers are hoping to showcase the wide ranging impact of the Stanleys, who passed away late last year, on Muscatine, the state, and the world. The couple embodied the ideal of “service above self,”and the ripple of Dick passing in November 2017, followed by Mary Jo within a month, left the community to reflect on the lessons the couple taught through example.
Following Dick and Mary Jo’s example, a volunteer group is organizing “Follow the Music” as a series of free public events on May 20. Muscatine’s City Council has proclaimed May 20th as “Dick and Mary Jo Stanley Day.”
Activities held from 1 to 3 p.m. will take place at Stanley Consultants and the Muscatine Art Center. A performance by the Muscatine High School Jazz Band will kick-off the activities at 1 p.m. at Stanley Consultants, followed by a 1:45 p.m. presentation on the Muscatine Center for Social Action (MCSA), and a granting ceremony for the Muscatine Health Support Foundation at 2 p.m. Visitors to Stanley Consultants can view an exhibit about the company, explore African art objects from the educational collection of the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, and engage with traveling exhibits from the African American Museum of Iowa and displays from the University of Iowa College of Engineering. Visitors are also encouraged to walk one block for a tour of MCSA.
Also from 1 to 3 p.m., a reception for the Muscatine Middle School and High School Art Exhibition will be held in the Stanley Gallery at the Muscatine Art Center. Families can participate in drop-in studio activities, learn more about the Stanley Foundation, and hear music from organist Sally Potter at 1:30 p.m., the Muscatine Youth Choir at 2:00 p.m., violinist Heather Straley at 2:30 p.m., and pianist Richard Sessler at 2:45 p.m.
The highlight of the day is the return of Preservation Hall Jazz Band who will perform at 4 p.m. in Weed Park. (In case of rain, the Muscatine High School Auditorium will serve as the concert venue.) Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa played a critical role in securing this world-renowned band for the free concert.
By the time the band reaches Muscatine, Preservation Hall Jazz Band will have just returned from a busy touring schedule that includes London, Paris, Madrid, Dublin, Glasgow, Frankfurt, Lisbon, and other major cities in Europe. New Orleans is home to the band which has been central to the Crescent City’s music scene for more than 50 years. With a wonderful, lively spirit and influences from a multitude of world cultures, Preservation Hall carries a long history and melds the past with the present.
“I’ll never forget sitting with Dick and Mary Jo in beautiful Weed Park when Hancher brought the Joffrey Ballet to Muscatine in 2007,” said Chuck Swanson, executive director of Hancher Auditorium. “We were surrounded by 7,000 of their closest friends—their community—and their support made that magical night possible. As many people know, Dick and Mary Jo made so many things possible with their generosity, enthusiasm, and kindness. Weed Park is the perfect place to remember their contributions and what they meant to so many of us.”
Concert attendees should bring a lawn chair or blanket. Parking is available at Muscatine Community College and MuscaBus will provide transportation. Weed Park will be partially closed to traffic.
“The Stanleys supported such important causes,” said Keith Porter, president of the Stanley Foundation. “Shaping global governance to build peace, providing support and housing to those in need, enriching lives through transformative artistic experiences, and enabling the physical and spiritual care of a diverse, local population were among the things that were vitally important to them. We celebrate their lives and we commit to continuing their world-changing work.”
The organizing committee for “Follow the Music” includes individuals representing the following: Hancher Auditorium, The Stanley Foundation, Stanley Consultants, Muscatine Art Center, Muscatine Center for Social Action, Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, Muscatine Symphony Guild, Muscatine Symphony Orchestra Board, First Presbyterian Church of Muscatine, Rotary Club of Muscatine, University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, and African American Museum of Iowa.
Event sponsors are Stanley Consultants, HNI Corporation, The Stanley Foundation, Hancher Auditorium, Howe Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, and Deb and Keith Porter Donor Advised Fund. The event is also made possible through assistance from the City of Muscatine, Muscatine Community School District, and Muscatine Community College.
Information about “Follow the Music” can be found on The Stanley Foundation website, www.stanleyfoundation.org. MCSA is located at 312 Iowa Avenue, and the Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue. All afternoon activities are free and open to the public.