Ep. 14 KRPS Presents Joplin’s Spiva Center for the Arts, ProMusica Joplin, MSSU Choral Society & Fletcher’s film review

2022 could be one of the most transformative years for the arts and performing arts in Joplin and greater southwest Missouri when the Harry M. Cornell Arts and Entertainment Complex is completed this fall. The center will be the new home of Connect2Culture and the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts.

Episode 14 Complete
Spiva’s Heather Lesmeister
Spiva’s Heather Lesmeister

Another metamorphic change is the retirement of Spiva’s longtime interim Director, Susan Adam. Earlier this year, the non-profit announced they hired Heather Lesmeister to become Spiva’s permanent Executive Director.

While the Spiva Center is looking to the future and the opening of the Cornell Complex in early November, they are celebrating and remembering the history of Joplin with one of the final galleries at their current home the Cosgrove Building at S. Wall Avenue and W. 3rd Street. Located in the Upstairs Gallery now through the end of October is Local Color: Reflections on Joplin. Lestermiester says that the first Spiva Gallery at the Cornell Complex will be their annual Members Only Gallery. A perfect bridge between the deep history of the Spiva and what’s in store for the arts hub established in 1958.

In early September, ProMusica Joplin will launch their 43rd season with a performance by the Sinta Quartet at First Community Church at 2007 E. 15th St in Joplin. It will also be a season of transformation for ProMusica and likely the final three concerts performed in local churches. The classically minded non-profit will host its first performance inside the Beshore Performance hall at the Cornell Complex on Tuesday, November 15, when they present the world-renowned Schumann Quartet and pianist Jon Nakamatsu.

ProMusica’s Emlyn Johnson

ProMusica’s Emlyn Johnson

Executive Director of ProMusica Emlyn Johnson is excited to have a permanent home at the Cornell Complex, and to have her first, entirely uninterrupted year as Director. Johnson was hired in the spring of 2021 when people were still unsure whether they wanted to gather, in-person, inside for fear of catching COVID. In the direct aftermath of the pandemic, the organization relocated its performances to outdoor venues such as Joplin Empire Market and Wildcat Glades. This upcoming season all seven performances are scheduled indoors.

In addition to hosting the Sinta Quartet in early September, ProMusica will welcome New York City-based PUBLIQuartet in October for a concert at the First Presbyterian Church at 509 Pearl Ave in Joplin. And then, the only ticketed performance of the 2022-2023 season is the Vienna Boys Choir on November 4 at Central Christian Church in downtown Joplin. Tickets are $15 and available now.

For many of us, starting to play an instrument or signing starts early, whether in church or school. We continue through middle and high school and possibly join groups when we’re in college but when we reach adulthood, new responsibilities become a priority.

The Missouri Southern Choral Society, formed in 1982, looks to bridge the gap between performing in high school or college and as an adult. Choral Director Melissa Belk says the group sings a wide assortment of music, from hymnals to Christmas and pop music. The group takes summer off and rejoins in the fall, performing a Christmas concert mid-December. The Choral Society then restarts in January and runs through April, performing a Spring concert before the end of the academic year at Missouri Southern. There is a $30 fee when you join, and Melissa encourages interested people to drop in for a couple of rehearsals at no cost to see if it’s right for them.

Melissa Belk with MSSU’s Choral Society

This week Fletcher Powell looks at the new movie from a director who never gives us the whole story. ‘Both Sides of the Blade’ is available for streaming rental.


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