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Orchestra Iowa Helps All-America Bid

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Six years after the 2008 flood, Cedar Rapids is applying to become an All-America City, an award given by the National Civic League each year.

In just a few days, Cedar Rapids will find out if its one step closer to getting that honor. Helping the city make its pitch on its written application was Orchestra Iowa, and its story of resilience in the wake of the 2008 flood.

On the way into an Orchestra Iowa performance at the Paramount Theatre, the first thing theater-goers see is the Hall of Mirrors, featuring chandeliers, elaborate molding and plenty of mirrors. It makes you take notice and Orchestra Iowas Institutional Relations Manager Devin van Holsteijn says thats the point.

"It puts you in that mindset of, We're going to experience something really great because you've seen something really great already, said van Holsteijn.

But in 2008, the flood put them out of their facility which was the Paramount Theatre and forced them into some new surroundings, said Cedar Rapids Public Library Community Relations Manager Amber Mussman. She helped write part of the citys All-America City Application.

Van Holsteijn says as soon as the flood started, the groups Executive Director and Maestro got on the phone with each other.

They said, What are we going to do, where are we going to perform next? It wasn't 'Are we going to survive?' It's, What can we do for the community? How can we provide them hope, how can we provide them that arts program that we so strongly believe in, said van Holsteijn.

While Cedar Rapids was picking itself back up, Orchestra Iowa was right there. It performed at Brucemore and other venues, making sure people knew that while the flood might have taken so much, their arts and culture didnt go anywhere.

"It's a way to engage with the rest of your community and if that goes away, then you feel like that community isn't there anymore, said van Holsteijn.

Now, six years later, that community building isnt done.

"And our goal eventually is to take the art that's created here and that our sponsors and supports are helping us create and bring it out throughout eastern Iowa, said van Holsteijn.

Taking the good Orchestra Iowa has done in the City of Five Seasons to anyone who will listen.

Orchestra Iowa was part of the Arts and Culture focus of the citys application. Cedar Rapids also showcased businesses and organizations that do work concerning Healthy Living and Community Revitalization.
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