Chicago performers Claudia Hommel and Elizabeth Doyle return to the Box Factory for the Arts stage, on August 22 at 7:30 pm with an illustrated concert. Their “Vocal Canvas: Hear the Painting, See the Song” program blends the talents of the Box Factory’s studio artists and writers with the vocals of these talented cabaret professionals.
Piano accompaniment will be provided by George Lepauw, recognized in 2012 as Chicagoan of the Year for classical music by the Chicago Tribune. He was included in Chicago Magazine’s classical music “power list” in 2013. Greg Ladewski will again join the musicians on stage as guest cellist.
Special VIP tickets of $25 per person for cabaret seating will be available by reservation. Concert seating is $15 general admission. Reservations for all seating arrangements are advised and are available online or with credit card at 269-983-3688. Light refreshments will be served at intermission and beer and wine will be available for purchase.
Inspired by the Box Factory audience at their illustrated concert in 2013, Claudia and Elizabeth named their malleable creation “Vocal Canvas;” have since created a film “Ovations for a Wise Man and a Fool;” and are now planning new concerts with artists guilds in Detroit, Alton and Chicago.
A favorite from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Cabaret Lapin Agile in Paris, Claudia Hommel is best known for her cabaret concerts celebrating Paris. Her repertoire also encompasses art songs and American standards. Claudia leads an active touring career in clubs, recital halls, museums, libraries, theatres and schools. She especially enjoys collaborating with teachers of French, history and performing arts to work with students of all ages. Most fun of all, she invites fans to France on a Cabaret Intourlude each year.
A featured guest on the late Marian McPartland’s NPR program Piano Jazz, singer-pianist-composer-writer Elizabeth Doyle was a magnet at Chicago’s famed Pump Room and has sung and played across the United States and Europe.
Lake Effect Jazz Big Band featuring Vibraphonist Jim Cooper takes the stage at the Box Factory Saturday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m.
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.
Vibraphonist and composer Jim Cooper will be featured at the concert. He has been playing the vibes for over 40 years, leading numerous groups, appearing as both soloist and sideman. A native Chicagoan, he was influence by that city’s healthy, vibrant music scene. He has performed with Ira Sullivan, Chicago pianists Bob Dogan and Gene Esposito, Detroit clarinetist Dave Bennett, organist Jim Alfredson, Buddy de Franco, Victor Goines, Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble among others.
His performances include the Chicago Jazz Festival, Sutton’s Bay Jazz Festival, Lansing MI Jazz Festival, Grand Rapids Jazz Festival, West Michigan Jazz Society, Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, Green Mill and Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit. He also has been making sessions at Small’s Jazz Club and The Fat Cat in New York City.
This year’s showcase features two dynamic duos: Chase & Jasmine Ehlert, and Bill & Aiden Schnell.
Aiden and Bill Schnell are a son-father duo who perform traditional and contemporary folk, pop, and “old-timey” songs. Their singing is characterized by rich vocal harmonies and strong solos. Instrumental accompaniment is provided by Aiden on guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bouzouki and by Bill on guitar and banjo. Aiden and Bill are regular performers at the Phoenix Café in Benton Harbor and have performed at a variety of other venues in the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor area. Aiden was recently one of the featured singers in Paul Mow’s “American Songbook” cabaret at the Livery. In addition to his performing talents, Aiden is also a burgeoning instrument maker who is currently in the process of creating his own banjo.
Jasmine and Chase Ehlert are a sister - brother duo who perform a variety of show tunes, pop, and gospel music. Jasmine, a recent graduate of River Valley High School, received the Director’s Award for choir and drama and was the winner of the most recent scholarship competition sponsored by the School of American Music in Three Oaks. Chase, an incoming freshman at River Valley High School, is a talented singer who was the only freshman to make the honors choir at this summer’s Southwestern Michigan College Choir Boot Camp. Chase is a very talented multi-instrumentalist, who plays guitar, bass, piano, bassoon, trumpet, saxophone, and French horn. He is also a budding percussionist.
Guitarist Stephen Brundage returns to the Box Factory stage Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. with a varied musical program that will span from American blues and jazz to Ireland, Europe and the Middle East. Several special guests will accompany him including accordionist Julie Urech, with whom Brundage performed with for several years overseas.
“Julie is traveling up from Texas for the show, and it will be great to get to play with her again,” Brundage said. “I also have asked members of the Jazz Rhythm & Blues Trio to accompany me on a few numbers.”
Brundage’s musical history goes back to the 1960s when as a youth he started playing folk music and performing at coffee houses in the Detroit area. From there he moved into blues, which led him into rock bands with the distinctive Motor City sound playing with members of the Amboy Dukes and other Detroit bands. He later became musical director of the audition band for a small Detroit record company where he worked with former Aretha Franklin trumpeter Clay Robinson. Excited by the music scene there, Brundage moved to Toronto, Ontario, where he led the Soul Citizens playing with a young Paul Schafer and Canadian jazz legend Maury Kaye.
His performance now reflects those musical experiences and includes everything from downhome blues and hot jazz to toe-tapping traditional music and haunting ballads.
“I hope we get a great crowd for the 19th,” he said. “There should be plenty of musical surprises that night.”
Back by popular demand! Gemini with the All God’s Children Choir at the Box Factory. Their show last year was a rousing, inspiring crowd pleaser!
Gemini, twin brothers San and Laz Slomovits, are award-winning singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, nationally known for their music for children and families (GeminiChildrensMusic.com). In this concert, they return to the roots of their music – the classic songs of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Malvina Reynolds, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, etc., as well as traditional songs associated with the 60’s. This is the music San and Laz grew up on, and they’ve put together a tribute/celebration concert with these quintessential songs. Come sing along!
For part of this concert, Gemini will be joined by the All God's Children Community Choir, a racially diverse group of children and teens, ages four to eighteen, from many communities in Southwest Michigan. Now in its 15th year, All God’s Children has performed at numerous events, including a special Martin Luther King Day concert in 2014 at Chicago’s Navy Pier and performances with renowned professional musicians Tom Chapin, Josh White Jr., LaRon Williams, Nikki Harris, Pamela Chappell, Peter Yarrow, and Gemini.
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