The Blue Water Ramblers sing the folk song of Michigan, America and your life. Their repertoire comes right out of our Michigan life experiences and the history of the Great Lakes region. It includes lake shanties, lumberman ballads, union rallying cries, farmers’ paeans, Michigan humor, 60’s civil rights and protest music, love songs, gospel music and children’s ditties. Everyone agrees that these combine into a versatile- repertoire to the delight and entertainment of their audiences.
The Blue Water Ramblers are lead singers who take turns harmonizing with each other to create the Blue Water Rambler tapestry of sound. Banjo-Jim Foerch sings of the sailors, farmers, lumberjacks, politicians and workers. Bear Berends croons the love songs and delivers protest songs old and new.
Banjo-Jim Foerch picked up his first banjo in 1965 and hasn’t put it down since. As a founding member of the regional touring band “Beats Settin’ Home,” Banjo-Jim was busy pickin’ and singin’ all over the Midwest for 20 years between 1982 and 2002. He says singing the songs of Michigan, America and our lives to all the people we meet on tour is the best thing he’s ever done. “Everyone I ever met here in Michigan or around the Midwest is proud of our home state and our country. Our songs express that pride the best way we know how- by getting us all singing together!”
R. H. “Bear” Berends holds down the rhythm with his big, black six and twelve string guitars. As with so many baby boomers he started strumming guitar and singing folk songs in high school in the sixties. He joined Banjo-Jim and “Beats Settin’ Home” at the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, Michigan in 1993 and “Da Bearster” hasn’t stopped playing and touring since. “I wanted to sing with Banjo-Jim, so I learned all his songs and taught him mine and here we are,” he explains. Whether delivering the lead line of a love song or harmonizing with his solid baritone, Bear sculpts the Blue Water Ramblers’ sound.
UpHIll Climb is a classic bluegrass gospel music group. Based in southwest Michigan, its members are: Bill Colwell, Ken Simpson, Robert Nelson, and John “Mack” McElligott. Their traditional harmonies and lyrics have musical and spiritual roots that reach back to the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee.
The film, Painting the St. Joseph Lighthouse with Bob Fagan, will show the lighthouse from an artist's perspective. The film, by Douglas, MI filmmaker John Leben, was part of a PBS series entitled “Painting on Location with Bob Fagan.” The series included Fagan painting on location at 13 of the lighthouses on Lake Michigan.
The film screening takes place during the "Lighting the Lake" Special Event. Tickets include admission to the "Lighting the Lake", and includes one free drink.
Cameo is a dynamic, multi-talented trio whose members include Mary Czarnecki on vocals and guitar, Gary Tope on vocals and guitar, and Greg Ladewski on cello, piano, and bass. The group performs contemporary and traditional folk music, as well as blues, jazz, celtic, and pop standards. Cameo brings a unique blend of vocals and instruments to their varied repertoire. Mary, Gary, and Greg have performed for enthusiastic audiences at many Southwest Michigan venues, including Fernwood Nature Center, the Box Factory for the Arts, the Chocolate Café, and a variety of summer festivals.
Larry and Sandy Feldman perform “songs for a better world”, drawn from the folk, blues, and gospel traditions. The Feldmans’ rich vocal harmonies are accompanied by Larry on guitar and banjo and Sandy on hand-held percussion. In addition to previous appearances at the Box Factory for the Arts, they have performed for the St. Joseph Brown Bag concert series, at Fernwood Nature Center, and at a variety of other local venues and summer festivals. They also share their love of music in their roles as coordinators, conductor, and accompanist for the All God’s Children Community Choir.
Each group will perform separately, and they will combine their talents in ensemble performance. There will be opportunities for audience members to join in on familiar tunes and become part of this engaging experience.
The ARK Jazz Project is a four piece instrumental group from the southwest Michigan
area featuring Andrew Kolosowsky on Tenor Saxophone, Tim King on Bass, Jim Allen
on Drums, and the newcomer to the band Alex Ispa--Cowen on Guitar.
"Our show is a great mix of Cool Jazz and Bebop with a hint of Latin for flavor"
say's saxophonist Andrew Kolosowsky. Only in the clubs of Chicago do you hear
jazz like "Midnight Voyage" by Michael Brecker, "Four on Six" by Wes Montgomery
or "Ornithology" by Charlie Parker.
So come on out, relax and enjoy the best Jazz this side of Lake Michigan.
The Jim Cooper Jazz Quartet will appear Saturday, November 22 at the Box Factory for the Arts. Appearing with Cooper on the vibraphone will be Ivan Akansiima on piano and guitar; bassist Tim King; and drummer Mike Van Lente.
The program will consist of a variety of music ranging from original music, jazz standards and music from Akansiima’s native country of Uganda.
Jim Cooper teaches jazz and blues piano at Lake Michigan College, jazz vibraphone at Northwestern University and elementary music at Glenn School in Glenn MI.
He has played the vibraphone for 40 years, leading numerous groups and appearing both as a soloist and sideman. He received a 2014 Jammie Award for his appearance on Dirty Fingers, A Tribute to Big John Patton, led by organist Jim Alfredson. Cooper has performed at The Chicago Jazz Festival, Festival, Grand Rapids Jazz Festival, Chicago's Millennium Park, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, The Green Mill, Baker's Keyboard Lounge.
Tim King plays bass and saxophone and is Owner/Operator of LTD Music Productions in Berrien Springs. He performs in many bands in the West Michigan such as The Ed Bagatini Trio, Ed Bagatini Quartet, Dynabones, New Swing Orchestra, Lake Effect Jazz Big Band and many others.
Mike Van Lente is a native of Holland, Michigan and is a member of the Cooper, Hay, Van Lente Group. He teaches at Hope College.
Ivan Akanssima is a student at Lake Michigan College. He hails from Uganda and plays both piano and guitar as well as many other instruments.
Hosted by area songwriter Monte Michel Bleu, the concert will feature three mid-west songsmiths: Adrienne Frailey, Molly B Moon, & Jess Lucille, performing their compositions; "as they were written, one instrument/one voice."
Each artist will perform a solo segment, and then “in the round” with all 3 taking the stage and sharing songs and stories about the tunes, the songwriting process, and tales of life as a performing artist. A very intimate show for audiences & artists alike.
The concert is dedicated in memory to the highly revered Northwest Indiana songwriter Larry Platz, who participated in the previous Rust Belt concerts in 2012 and 2013.
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