The Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) has been approved for a $15,000 Art Works grant to support a commissioned opera entitled Karkinos by Quad Cities composer and Augustana College Professor of Music Jacob Bancks. In collaboration with the Living Proof Exhibit, this dramatic oratorio is inspired by direct conversations with people impacted by cancer. Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of the fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like Karkinos.

“We are absolutely honored by the vital support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This support speaks to the power of collaboration, which in this case has resulted in an uplifting and beautiful allegory directly related to the experiences of many in our community who are affected by cancer,” said QCSO Executive Director Brian Baxter

Premiering on May 10, 2020, at the Bartlett Center for the Performing arts in Moline, IL, Karkinos is Jacob Bancks’ first opera. This emotional multi-media work depicts the story of a beautiful empress who is forced into battle with the unseen monster Karkinos (cancer in Greek) the night before her coronation. The cast includes Sarah Shafer, soprano as the Empress, Kelly Hill, mezzo-soprano, as the Maid, and Nathaniel Sullivan, as the Angel. Ms. Hill and Mr. Sullivan are both natives of the Quad Cities. QCSO Music Director and conductor Mark Russell Smith will lead a chamber orchestra of QCSO musicians, and Madelyn Gunn will direct the work.

Tickets for Karkinos are available now and can be purchased online at, by phone at 563.322.7276, or in person at the QCSO box office located at 327 Brady Street in Davenport, IA.

Additional support for Karkinos provided by Genesis Health System, UnityPoint Health – Trinity, Scott County Regional Authority, Quad City Arts, the Moline Foundation, and Michael and Lois Harring.

For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit


Living Proof Exhibit Opera: Karkinos
Sunday, May 10, 2020 | 2:00 PM
Bartlett Performing Arts Center, 3600 Avenue of the Cities, Moline IL


$30 Adults each | $10 Students each
Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 563.322.7276, and in-person at the QCSO Box Office located at 327 Brady Street in Davenport.


Funding for the QCSO website provided by the Scott County Regional Authority