Slovak and Cedar Rapids heritage come together in Five Seasons Chamber Music Honors Quartet

A group with roots in both Cedar Rapids and Slovakia has been chosen as the high school honors quartet for the 12th annual Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival, June 16-22.

The members of the quartet are the oldest four of the eight children of Tracy and Brenda Lesan. Violist Jacob was born in Cedar Rapids, while sisters Anna, Jennifer (both violin) and Rebekah (cello) were born in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, where the family has lived for almost 18 years.

Brenda Lesan grew up in the Cedar Rapids area. Christian service took the family to Bratislava; they return to Eastern Iowa periodically to visit extended family.

“The Lesan family participated in the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival during their 2010 trip home,” according to festival director Stephanie Wagor, “and made great friends and great music with us. We are delighted to have them back and to feature them as our honors quartet this year.”

The group will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, June 20, at the Chapel of Mercy on the Mount Mercy University campus in Cedar Rapids—one of four concerts capping the festival week. (See complete schedule below).

The Lesan students homeschool in English but their music language is Slovak. They attend music lessons at Zakladna umelecka skola Jana Kowalskeho (Jan Kowalsky Elementary Art School) in Bratislava.

The quartet plays for hymn singing and many other events of their church, and has entered in regional, national, and international competitions.

Ironically, the family doesn’t have Slovak roots, according to father Tracy, “but the last name, Lesan, is spelled exactly the same as a relatively common Slovak name meaning ‘forester’.”

The Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival, now in its 12th season, brings together close to 100 musicians from around the world for a week of learning and performing in the nurturing environment of Eastern Iowa. Students, mainly from the Cedar Rapids area, collaborate with faculty from across the nation to make music and friendships that can last a lifetime.

Partnering for the second year with Mount Mercy University, the festival rehearses five days on the Mount Mercy campus for a series of gala concerts held at the beautiful Chapel of Mercy at the end of the week.

Friday, June 20, 5:00 p.m.: Flute and harp ensembles.

Friday, June 20, 7:00 p.m.: Strings, piano, and wind ensembles, including the Lesan family honors quartet.

Saturday, June 21: 7:00 p.m.:  faculty ensembles and the Festival Orchestra, featuring guest artist William Preucil and festival artistic director Suzanne Wagor in Telemann’s Concerto for Two Violas. (Concert sponsor: Rife Recording Studio, Marion.)

Sunday, June 22, 5:00 p.m.: Special concert of the Festival Orchestra, Tirrill Park, Manchester.

All concerts are free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Learn more about the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival, in residence with Mount Mercy University.

For more information contact festival director Stephanie Wagor at 319-365-1510, or fiveseasonschambermusic@gmail.com.

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