Wesley United Methodist Church has presented The Jackson Concert Series every year since 1981. In 1979, a Muscatine lawyer named Robert S. Jackson passed away and left a trust fund to the church to fund “musical concerts to be known as Jackson Concerts, open without charge to the general public, to be held in the City of Muscatine and if possible in Wesley United Church.”
The first Jackson Concert was held in October 1981. Jackson and Wesley United Church wanted the presentations to be a way to provide a cultural amenity to Muscatine, adding to the quality of life in the town. Jackson specifically said the concerts should be free of charge and the church considers it his gift to the community after he passed.
Anyone is invited to attend the concerts. Some are ticketed but the tickets are still free of charge. The purpose of the tickets is simply to reserve preferred seating for each person. Tickets are available at the church office two weeks before a concert.
While the concerts aren’t the type to feature a chart-topping pop star, they have covered a large variety of genres and musical styles. Attendees should watch the schedule because it’s highly likely there will be at least one concert in the series to spark each person’s interests. Over the years, the concerts have featured symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, vocal ensembles large and small, brass bands, bluegrass groups, and soloists both vocal and instrumental, as well as jazz groups and big band swing.
One of the biggest benefits of the Jackson Concert Series is the chance for people to explore new genres of music they may never have experienced before. At other venues, concerts such as the Jackson Concerts tend to be costly, but thanks to Robert S. Jackson, people of Muscatine can experience new music at no charge and Muscatine has gained a cultural event.