Cortson majored in communications and music at Western Michigan University and has been performing since 1967. David Lahm of New York and Three Oaks is a regular host at the open mic series at the Acorn Theater.
Cortson began singing Sinatra tunes a few years ago when he met David Lahm at an open mic at the Acorn Theater. The two struck up a friendship and began rehearsing some of the old standards, specifically Sinatra tunes. They soon had a set list for a full concert, so come and listen to the smooth songs of Sinatra; it will be a night to remember.
The small band with the sounds of a big band consist of Leader / Writer / Arranger Ed Bagatini on trombone; Jay Handy, Guitar; Jay Crouch, Trumpet; Tim King, Bass; Christopher Keech, Alto Sax; updated swing arrangements of the 40’s 50’s and 60’s plus renditions of great standards of jazz and big band musicians.
The ensemble will include Larry Feldman, Joe Foster, Tom Meldrim, Gary Tope, and Ron Van Lente. Performing individually and together, these talented musicians will present a warm and inviting evening of traditional and contemporary folk music.
will be joyful songs, humorous songs, poignant songs, topical songs, and inspirational songs. Vocal harmonies will fill the air. Musical accompaniment will include guitar, banjo, mandolin, concertina, and harmonica.
Audiences have responded with great enthusiasm to previous Men of Riversong concerts. This one promises to be another evening to remember.
Lomax Big House was started in January 2010 by vocalist Jack Oonk, guitarist Jeff Ashby, and multi-instrumentalist Bob Willey in an effort to play music one might consider "out of the mainstream." Guitarist Mike Oonk and bassist John Ozinga were soon added to fill out the sound - instrumentally, but more important vocally.
The name of the band is derived from the late Alan Lomax, an American folklorist and ethnomusicologist, who was one of the great field collectors of folk music of the 20th century, and a scion of the Library of Congress to which he, his father and numerous collaborators contributed more than 10,000 field recordings. The Big House signifies that the band members feel they are all "prisoners" of this music they love so much.
The band members have tested their metal at a few small venues in West Michigan, and while happy with the music they were presenting, they knew something was needed to complete their musical goals. That "something" came in the form of drummer John Vrieling, whose versatile style was just what the doctor ordered. With the current line-up, Lomax Big House is prepared to amaze audiences with their vocal abilities, instrumental acumen, and esoteric song selection. The group guarantees that you've heard nothing like it in a long time.
Now in its 15th year of bringing its unique blend of traditional big band and contemporary jazz arrangements to the summer venues of Michigan’s beautiful southwest region, the Lake Effect Jazz Big Band has become one of the premier big bands in the Midwest. This season, the band will be performing music from the classic big band libraries of jazz composers like Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie, but also showcasing the sounds of more contemporary ensembles and composers like Pat Metheny, Gordon Goodwin, and Tom Kubis. The Lake Effect Jazz Big Band is committed to preserving the uniquely American art form of big band jazz. Our mission is to promote the art of JAZZ through performance, education, and community outreach.
The band is led by Steven L. Reed, retired instrumental music teacher for the St. Joseph Public Schools, where he taught jazz ensemble, orchestra, and band for 35 years. Several members of the Lake Effect Jazz Big Band are current or retired music educators and jazz education is a priority for the LEJBB.
The band will be joined by vocalist Michelle Bythrow. Michele was born and raised in St. Joseph, Michigan, and found a love for singing very young. She received a scholarship to study voice at Denver University and then went on to complete a music education degree with vocal emphasis at Indiana University, Bloomington. She has performed professionally as a singer, dancer and actress both locally and nationally, in styles ranging from opera to jazz. She recently received a Master’s of Sacred Music Degree from Notre Dame University. She is a private voice teacher and adjunct faculty member at Bethel College and at Notre Dame University. She also leads worship and conducts a choir at River Valley Church in Mishawaka, Indiana.
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