Our View

Congratulations to Pro Musica, a local nonprofit that has worked since 1981 to bring world-class, live classical music to the Joplin area, on another successful chamber music program.

Joplin’s First Community Church was packed on Thursday night for the season’s second performance, from Aeolus Quartet. The group also performed earlier in the week for fourth- and fifth-grade students at Cecil Floyd and Irving elementary schools in Joplin.

Pro Musica also is to be applauded for tailoring its programming to the youngest among us. “Bach-a-Bye Baby,” a mini concert, was offered for the first time this week in partnership with the Joplin Public Library for young children and their parents/guardians. Children were introduced to chamber music and welcomed to play and respond to it in whatever way they wanted.

You can’t go wrong with a Pro Musica concert — thanks to generous donors and sponsors, programming is free to attend. Check out promusicajoplin.org for upcoming events.

Museum idea a hit

Could Joplin be the next community to get a children’s museum?

That’s what a committee of 15 local residents is exploring. This group envisions a discovery center or museum that would be a hands-on attraction for families, with exhibits that promote learning and science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — STEAM — activities. They’ve launched a feasibility study, and in the meantime, they asked parents and children earlier this week for their opinions.

Several youngsters who attended those public forums were excited about having a place where they could learn about and do science. And upon hearing of the museum idea on Thursday, a classroom full of fourth-graders at Irving Elementary School had just one question for their teacher: “When can we go on a field trip there?”

Thanks to this committee for brainstorming new ways to help make Joplin a better place. We’ll be eager for the results of the feasibility study to see where this idea might go next.

Out-of-state guests

Speaking of drawing in outside visitors, a series of lectures at Missouri Southern State University this week did just that.

For its Nordic-themed semester, Missouri Southern welcomed Carl Magnus Palm, the world’s leading expert on Swedish superstar pop group ABBA. His three lectures and a meet-and-greet opportunity brought in ABBA fans from as far away as Florida, Georgia, Texas, Indiana and Nebraska — all of whom made the trip to Joplin solely to hear Palm speak.

Chad Stebbins, director of the MSSU Institute of International Studies, acknowledged that doesn’t usually happen. Most themed semester events and activities spark plenty of local interest, but it’s rare that they attract the notice of people from across the country. Perhaps the last time something similar happened was during the 2009 Canada semester, when a concert by Canadian folk rock band Great Big Sea brought in groupies from beyond the Midwest.

We’re glad that everyone — both students and out-of-state guests — got the chance to hear from this world-renowned expert. And the semester isn’t over yet. Check out mssu.edu/nordic for more.