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Why I love the Midwest Theater, and cultural sponsors

January 23, 2015


Last night, I attended a wonderful concert at the Midwest TheaterMatuto.

Matuto is a “world jazz” band that ties together musical traditions of African diaspora on the North and South American continents, blending bluegrass and Brazilian folk music. On stage, the members of the band radiate a joyous energy that seeps into the audience. I left the concert feeling a warm happiness in my core and thought, “Ah, this! This is the power of music!”

Matuto has received some pretty big honors and has seen a lot of the world. The band was awarded a Fulbright Grant in 2009 for a residency in Recife, Brazil, and in 2012 was appointed “American Musical Ambassadors” for the U.S. State Department. In 2013, the band toured Mozambique, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and Senegal.

This is the type of band that appears at universities and major music festivals, yet, here they were, performing in a rural community in western Nebraska.

It’s this type of programming that makes me feel a little more connected to the university-campus-town type of life that I led for 17 years before moving to Scottsbluff five years ago. Yes, we have a community college campus here, but it’s not the same vibe.

I’m grateful to the Midwest Theater for providing exposure to a variety of art forms and for opportunities to think about our connections with the wider world and other people.

I’m looking forward to the Community Cinema screening of “American Denial” on February 5. I could just stay home to watch the films (they are also available on TV), and I may not always stay for the community discussion after the film, but I appreciate these screenings because they provide an uninterrupted time to watch a thought-provoking film and an expectation that there will be a discussion of the issues presented. I love walking home with Bugman after a Community Cinema screening and talking about the film.

This type of programming would not be possible in our community without sponsorships. The program for the Matuto concert alone listed 19 sponsors, and other grants and sponsorships enable the Community Cinema program.

To all the organizations, individuals, and businesses that sponsor events at the Midwest Theater – thank you!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw

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