State of Stories is a series of free public programs developed by The Story Center at Mid-Continent Public Library and the University of Missouri Extension Community Arts Program. Programs will explore Missouri history and culture through storytelling performances and workshops, book conversations, lectures, a publication, and other activities.
Charles McPherson: The Journey Home is the celebratory homecoming of acclaimed jazz musician Charles McPherson, who is from Joplin, Missouri and will be held July 23-25, 2021. Events include a free public performance featuring McPherson and his band; the establishment of a scholarship in McPherson’s name; and a public art piece featuring McPherson and other Black Americans influential in the performing and literary arts. The Minnie Hackney Community Service Center of Joplin is collaborating with several community stakeholders to organize this week-long celebration, including: Connect2Culture, George Washington Carver National Monument, Joplin Emancipation Park Days, Missouri Southern State University, Post Art Library, Pro Musica, Spiva Center for the Arts, and Visit Joplin.
Shepherd: The Musical depicts a slice of life from the history of the Ozarks, as depicted in the novel, The Shepherd of the Hills, by Harold Bell Wright, one of the most iconic pieces of literature to depict this region. The story comes to life through action, songs, and performances of the actors. The story of The Shepherd of the Hills has been beloved by readers for more than a century and by audiences nationwide because of performances in the Branson area. This new musical brings new life, and new audiences, to the story—proving that the heritage of the Ozarks lives on. Information regarding performances in 2021 will follow.
The Ozark Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival is an annual two-day family-friendly event, bringing together local and nationally-recognized artists and musicians, showcasing their homemade cigar box guitars, which are made of recyclable materials. As the name cigar box guitar implies, the instrumental body is made of an empty cigar box. The head and neck can be made out of anything from broom handle to wooden slates or sticks and the actual body out of bedpans, skillets, and anything in between. The festival organizer, a Benton County native, seeks to cultivate a passion for the craft, teach others to make their own instruments, and share his passion for music played on these handcrafted instruments. This two-day family-friendly event is located overlooking the Osage Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks at the Drake Harbor outdoor amphitheater and will be held Saturday, August 1st 1-8pm and Sunday, August 2nd 11am-5pm (times subject to change). For more information, please contact Lynette Stokes at 660-438-2090 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Ryan at 660-233-1671.
The Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival in West Plains celebrates old-time music and the distinctive culture of the Ozark Highlands. Different from its rural counterparts, bluegrass and country, old-time music has its own distinctive sound that makes an important contribution to the complex palette of what we call indigenous American music. Demonstrating the spectrum of art forms from dance fiddling, local jig steps, and gospel singing, to the songs, narratives and ballads that tell the story of a place, to the occupational traditions of blacksmithing, log skidding, spinning and basket making, artists show how these arts are embedded in the experience of our daily lives and how they fit the functional and symbolic needs of our community. This will be our 26th celebration in Missouri’s Bicentennial year on June 4-5, 2021.
To commemorate the Missouri Bicentennial, Maplewood Barn Community Theatre will produce four plays in 2021 with a Missouri theme, featuring the work of a Missouri playwright, a Missouri subject matter, or a Missouri setting. The four shows that will be selected will showcase the wonderful talent of Missouri playwrights, the exciting history and stories of Missouri’s culture and heritage, and the majestic landscapes of this beautiful state. Shows and performance dates are as follows:
“Fifth of July” by Lanford Wilson: April 22-25 & April 26-May 2
“Plan 9!:The Musical from Outer Space” Book by Chris Bowling & Meg Phillips Crespy with Music & Lyrics by J. West: May 27-30, June 3-6, & June 10-13
“Henry V” by William Shakespeare: July 8-11 & July 15-18
“Meet Me in St. Louis” Book by Hugh Wheeler with Music & Lyrics by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane: August 19-22, August 26-29, & September 2-5
Voices of Arrow Rock, Spirit of the Missouri Frontier is a theatrical production bringing to life voices of early Arrow Rock citizens whose experiences help us understand what people’s lives were like during the early to mid-19th century on the Missouri frontier. These voices transcend time and geography and help give a platform for underrepresented voices of the past. The citizens include George Fenwick and Lewis, an enslaved man, Burton and Nancy Lawless, Sophia Murrell and Mary, an enslaved woman, and Adeline and Frank Switzler, former enslaved persons, freed by emancipation. In addition to the performances, a book with the script and insights from the producer and playwrights will be published. Friends of Arrow Rock as the sponsoring organization is partnering with the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre and the University of Missouri-Columbia Department of Theatre to develop and present the project. The Arrow Rock Premiere is August 7, 2021 at 10 am in the Christian Church on Main Street. Details about additional performance dates and locations will follow.
Show Me The Music: A Celebration of the Missouri Bicentennial will celebrate musicians from all parts of Missouri who have made important contributions to ragtime, blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, folks, bluegrass, country, rock, hip hop, and classical music genres. The project of the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis, in partnership with the Nine Network of Public Media, will include a major concert scheduled for Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at the Sheldon Concert Hall featuring top name artists from Missouri plus top local talent in many music genres. The concert will be videotaped and produced into a PBS special and aired on or near the bicentennial date in August 2021 on all Missouri PBS stations.
A series of concerts in summer and fall 2021 will include diverse artists from the Sheldon concert and others at venues in several Missouri cities, including Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Jefferson City, and Rolla. Educational materials celebrating Missouri’s rich contributions to many music genres will be provided to schools throughout the state, and background materials will be provided on the project website and social media.
The January 1863 Battle of Hartville marked a significant moment in Missouri’s Civil War history. A re-enactment of the Battle of Hartville will be held September 11-13, 2020, in Hartville. The event will include educational demonstrations, cannon night fire, tea, and a formal ball. The event is sponsored by the Hartville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Voices of the Past, a program of the Holt County Missouri Historical Society and Holt County Bicentennial Committee, brought Holt County pioneers and citizens to life through actor portrayals and highlight the cemeteries in which they are buried. The program, open to the public, was held Sunday, October 13, 2019, at 2:00 pm at the historic State Theater in Mound City, Missouri.