Making music in Michigan (and waiting for spring)

I’ve gotten quite passionate recently about the idea of investing in our local musical communities as artists – the impact we can have as local musicians, and the many benefits, both for us as individual artists, and for our greater communities, when we do so.  In that vein, here are some vignettes of what’s been going on musically in Holland, Michigan in the last months:  nothing earth shattering, and no one’s gotten famous or wealthy, but I do believe we’ve all had a good time, and have brought something special to our corner of the world.


Isaac and Bach

– Isaac, Bach, and assorted instruments…

With my son’s Suzuki violin teacher, Ellen Rizner, we planned a Bach Birthday Bash in March, to be held in the chapel at Western Theological Seminary.  This was a great afternoon of community music making.  Students from the seminary sang Bach chorales, Ellen’s students played their Bach pieces from the Suzuki books, and she interspersed “Bach facts”, read by the younger students, between the music.  I played some keyboard works on the piano and organ, and of course, there were cookies afterwards.  Before the cookies, however, was the grand finale – the Bach double concerto, with many area teachers, colleagues, and former students of Ellen’s, along with her advanced students. 


Bach bday bash

 – I’m playing the piano for the Bach Double.  You  can almost see my leg.


Music Cookies

I am NOT a crafty-type mom, but I made musical cookies for the event, of which I was very proud!


I played a noontime recital on the Februrary organ recital series at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids this winter, where friend Marilyn Ossentjuk is the assistant organist, and they have a very large instrument.


Fountain St and Isaac

 Because of winter storms, I had to bring Isaac along with me.  He loved seeing the “castle church”, as he called it, hearing and playing around on the gigantic instrument, and during my practice time, completed a puzzle on the communion table (something I’ve never seen done before…).


Isaacs puzzle

 I enjoyed seeing the posters hanging in the Green Room – besides having had many jazz legends play there over the years, they had a concert series in the 70’s with some pretty unusual artists for a church! (Iron Butterfly was on the other wall…)


Fountan St Green Room

 My anual spring concert at Hope Church this year was another first for me – a benefit concert.  Organized in cooperation with Lorilyn Wiering, we raised money for the newly founded Red Cord Community – an organization founded by Lorilyn to stand in solidarity with, and offer hope and healing to, women who have been involved in prostitution, trafficking, addictions, and abuse.   My program consisted of music written since 1950 – most of it was by women, and written in the last 30 years.  So this was a pretty unusual program, but it went over very well.  Lorilyn gave a passionate and informative talk, and lots of support was gathered together that day. 


Lorilyn and I

 – Lorilyn Wiering and I after the concert

 Our local AGO (American Guild of Organists) chapter held a members recital this spring as well.  A nice cross-section of our small chapter played – ranging in age from 13 to 88 years old!  We played pieces based on hymns, and had the audience sing along with the hymns, and it was gratifying to hear some great hymn singing amongst those gathered, and in the great acoustic of Harderwyk Church (thanks to Jane Bosko for hosting). 

Members Recital 2014

 Easter came and went, and with the arrival of Tulip Time in Holland, finally it started to feel like spring.  The flowers and trees have been slow in opening this year, and spring was a long time in coming!  As evidence, here are the kids in mid-March, with our sleds and snow suits out by the lake. 


Snow in March