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“The River” with ETHEL & Robert Mirabal, a cross-cultural concert & educational outreach experience

An immersion in a flow of music, narrative and ritual that evokes timeless Native American traditions through contemporary musical artistry.

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Newspaper announcement of New Music USA Grant Award

Posted on July 26, 2020 by Beaches Fine Arts Series


Beaches Fine Arts Series enters its 48th season in 2020-21, always striving to bring the finest programs, ranging from classical, to world, to new music, offered free of charge to our community. Our belief in the power of the arts to enhance the lives of all people supports this mission to bring outstanding offerings to the community, free of charge. Our award-winning educational outreach programs are known for innovative and engaging activities targeting various age groups, to enhance their studies.

“The River” is an ideal project to bring to our community which will be held during Native American History Month, since it will introduce them to new music composed by Robert Mirabal and members of ETHEL. Mr. Mirabal is a multi-Grammy winning Native American flutist, while ETHEL is a string quartet known for exploring new ideas and adventurous music.  The music for “The River” was composed and recorded in 2016 in Taos, NM.  The live performance will include a moving narration as well as the music. The program will be a new creative endeavor for BFAS, which we believe will be well received by our concert audiences.  Since the majority of our programming is classical in nature, this program will offer a departure as well as an education to our audiences, who may not be familiar with Native American music. Significantly, one of the aims of the program is to highlight the importance of water to our lives. Since Jacksonville is a city surrounded by water—from the giant St. John’s River to the Atlantic Ocean—this program is particularly significant. Our venue can accommodate approximately 550 people, and we expect this free concert to attract an overflow house.

The educational outreach portion of the residency will be our first collaboration with the National Park Service and the program for 4th grade students will be presented at the Timucuan National Preserve, a site on the St. John’s River in Jacksonville, and will be part of other Native American studies on site. The site is of great importance historically, and melds well with the message of “The River”. These activities will involve hundreds of children, and we plan to work with the Music Educators of Duval County Public Schools to select students to benefit, targeting Title 1 schools. The curriculum for 4th grades includes Florida history, and there is great involvement between Native Americans and European settlements, which are the oldest in the US. ETHEL and Mr. Mirabal have created an outstanding Study Guide which will benefit students in preparing for the event. We will distribute the guide well in advance, and we anticipate that this wonderful opportunity will introduce children to music they have never heard, bring them to a closer understanding of protecting the environment including our surrounding waters, and infuse in them an appreciation of the Native American experience.

Project Media

ETHEL + Robert Mirabal: The River
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Features: Dorothy Lawson

This clip discusses the recording of the project that will be presented live in concert at our venue and at the Timucuan Preserve for the education of children, with an emphasis on speaking clearly to children about Native American heritage and about the importance of water to our life on this planet.

“Chant” from “The River”
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Features: Dorothy Lawson

This video, recorded in studio, is a sample of the music that will be performed in concert and outreach programs. The video exhibits the teamwork and the spiritual connection between the performers.

“The River” Study Guide
Features: Dorothy Lawson

This document is the study guide to be given to all teachers whose students will participate in the outreach activities at the National Parks’ Timucuan Preserve/Ft. Caroline. It gives an overview of the program, including information about Taos Pueblo. We expect that Mr. Mirabal will expand his comments to include Eastern Native American settlements, specifically involving the Timucuans, and similarities and differences between Eastern and Western Native American life.

Start and End Dates



Jacksonville Beach and Jacksonville, Florida

1 update
Last update on July 26, 2020

Project Created By

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

In Collaboration With

Coordinator at Timucuan National Park location
Agent for performing artists
Member of ETHEL and artists' coordinator for ETHEL/Robert Mirabal for the project,
Volunteer Coordinator for Timucuan Park Foundation


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