For two weeks in mid-July, three of the members of Wild Prairie Winds served as artists-in-residence at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. During our time at the laboratory, we got to learn so much about Iowa's prairies, wildlife, and heritage.
What is Iowa Lakeside Laboratory?
Iowa Lakeside Laboratory is owned by the state of Iowa, and funded by the Iowa Board of Regents. It offers classes, outreach, and research opportunities year-round. Located in Milford, Iowa in Northwest Iowa in the lakes region. The grounds feature several historic stone laboratories, two lake docks, cabins, and a dining hall, as well as a library, lecture hall, and several lakeside trails. The artist-in-residence program is an opportunity for artists of all medias to find inspiration in the beautiful nature of the lab. Artists live, work, and interact with the scientists and students at the lab.
What did an average day look like at the lab?
Days at Lakeside lab included a good balance of practice, rehearsal, nature, and relaxation. Generally, we would structure time to allow personal practice time as well as time for the ensemble to rehearse, time for outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and kayaking, and time spent interacting with others living at the lab. One of the most memorable days of our residency included a field trip to a nearby protected prairie, Cayler prairie. One of the lakeside interns, Emma, led us through a tour of the prairie ecosystem and functions.
Performances at the Lab
One of the most exciting things about this residency was allowing music and nature to combine. We did as much playing outdoors as possible (weather and heat permitting!). This means that in our individual and group practicing, our music was heard all over the grounds of the laboratory.
We had two performances while at Lakeside lab. The first was a casual performance of patriotic tunes to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The second was our culminating concert at the end of our two-week stay. We created an integrative concert that allowed guests to walk along a specified trail to experience our music while enjoying nature.