LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The McNeese Banners Cultural Season has officially kicked off and the organization started their performance series with a "classical" touch as New York Based ensemble "The Harlem Quartet" took center stage.
"I really enjoy it because it brings such a diverse amount of entertainment to the area," said attendee and New Orleans native Jim Booth.
Over a hundred faces filled up the F.G. Bulber Auditorium at McNeese State University as the 2013 Grammy Award-winning group performed multiple classical standards and a jazz quartet by legendary jazz players Chick Corea and Paquito D'Rivera, with whom the quartet recorded the album "Hot House," which won the 2013 Grammy award for Best Instrumental Composition.
Violinist Melissa White says the quartet's main focus is to advance musical diversity by presenting pieces through a varied repertoire.
"It's actually our mission to bring classical music to audiences that don't get it easily or necessarily go out of their way to have access to it," said White. "So, it's exciting to be in a town that may not exactly get all the classical music we get up in New York City."
White also says performing at a university brings back memories to when the group first began touring their pieces.
"It's right up our alley because in Harlem, we started out going to every school in the community and bringing classical music to young school children," said White.
The Banners' concert was the quartet's second visit to Louisiana after making their Bayou debut at a concert in New Orleans.
"We loved it," said White. "So, when we found out we were coming to Lake Charles, we were so excited."
Lake Area locals praised the two-hour long event emphasizing its ability to bring musical diversity to Southwest Louisiana.
"It shows the diversity that there is in music besides your regular hip-hop, rap and even jazz," said attendee and Lake Charles native Kevin James.
Karen Mundt of Sulphur says she enjoys visiting the McNeese Banners Cultural Season events to encourage cultural exposure.
"It's great," said Mundt. "I think the more different kinds of exposure people around here can get or any place as far as that goes is wonderful. It doesn't hurt to always hear something that you're not used to hearing."
The Harlem Quartet will head back home to New York City and embark a new concert in Puerto Rico.
For more information on the McNeese Banners Cultural Season, CLICK HERE.