2016 Michigan Festival of Sacred Music set to begin Oct. 23 The Michigan Festival of Sacred Music is ready to welcome you to concerts from some of th

Hazeltree- Sound and Spirit Nov. 2

Hazeltree will present one of many performances at the Sound & Spirit of Southwest Michigan

2016 Michigan Festival of Sacred Music set to begin Oct. 23

The Michigan Festival of Sacred Music is ready to welcome you to concerts from some of the nation's best musicians who celebrate the world's religious traditions in their performances. The festival begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 and runs through Tuesday, Nov. 2.

This week we also are highlighting the final day of the 2016 Festival. The featured event is a community favorite—the Sound & Spirit of Southwest Michigan. It is a full evening of area artists presenting music from diverse faiths and genres. They are:

Hazeltree (Ginny Shilliday, Vivian Abramowitz, and Jackie Zito), a professional acoustic traditional music ensemble of close girly harmonies, guitar, mountain dulcimer, mandolins, and drum, performing traditional songs and tunes from the British Isles, Ireland, and America.

Capoeira Mandinga, a combination of acrobatics, flexibility, music, dance and spirituality. Capoeira Is a unique martial art about Brazilian culture with an international community for everyone to join! Participants: Thomas “Santo” Braganca, Kayla “Picapau” Williams, Rickey “Maluco” Cornelius, Joseph “Cachorro” Bielecki, Kevin “Morcego” Sanchez, Joselynn “Tinta” Borres, Chanise “Sossegada” Love.

Leahaliza Lee, who brings alive moments from the lives of women silenced in the nearly forgotten history of Spain’s once-vibrant and long-gone Jewish communities through Judeo-Spanish traditional song. Leahaliza most often performs intimate house concerts, has appeared at Symphony Space in New York, and will perform at Carnegie Hall in December. She is also a lay leader at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills. She is accompanied by Stefan Kukurugya.

Jean Watson, an internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, violinist, and speaker from Kalamazoo. She holds degrees in violin performance from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Miami University of Ohio. Having an appreciation for many styles of music, Jean began singing and recording contemporary Christian music in 2003. Since that time, she has recorded 8 CDs, and her music has been featured on TBN and “The 700 Club” on CBN. A gifted speaker, she also hosts a daily radio show on United Christian Broadcasting Ireland Radio.

Greg Secor is on the faculty of Grand Valley State University where he directs the percussion program and teaches courses in music literature. He is a member of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and frequently performs with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra. He will perform A Robe of Orange Flame (2005) by Christopher Deane. The piece is a work for percussion and spoken word based on the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Quang Duc, who ended his life by immolation in order to bring attention to the brutal treatment of the Buddhist Monks by the Vietnamese government in the early 1960's.

The choir of Second Baptist Church. The church was organized in 1854 and was originally named the African Baptist Church. The growing congregation moved to its present location at Rose and Ransom in 1960, building additional space when needed in 1985. It is presently led by Pastor Strick Strickland, and the choir is led by Mark Hill.

See these talented musicians at First Baptist, 7 p.m. Nov. 2. Free.


The full festival lineup for 2016

The 2016 Michigan Festival of Sacred Music is Oct. 29-Nov. 2 at various venues across Kalamazoo.

Desert Dreams accompanied by Earth Spirit Duo — Master of the Native American flute, Gary Stroutsos, and festival favorite, percussionist Carolyn Koebel. 11 a.m. Oct. 29, Kalamazoo Nature Center. Free.

Friends of the Gamelan — Traditional Javanese compositions and contemporary works by members of Friends of the Gamelan. 2 p.m. Oct. 29, at the Kalamazoo Public Library. Free.

The Rose Ensemble —The Multiple award-winning Rose Ensemble, 2 p.m. Oct. 30, Dalton Center, Western Michigan University. $25/$20 senior /$5 student

Nefesh Mountain Jewish Americana that blends Jewish and Bluegrass traditions, 11 a.m. family friendly performance, Free. 7 p.m. in concert with their band, Oct. 30, Congregation of Moses, $15/$5 student

Jonathan Ryan — Multi-prize winning organist, 6 p.m. Oct. 31. Come-in-costume, short family program of organ music. Free. preceded by Trunk or Treat event in the parking lot of First Congregational Church from 5-6 p.m. Organ concert, 8 p.m. Oct. 31, First Baptist Church. $15/$5 student

DIO — A trio of Syrian musicians, Heritage Hall, Western Michigan University, 7 p.m. Nov. 1. $15/$5 student

Sound & Spirit of Southwest Michigan — Artists present music from diverse faiths and genres. First Baptist, 7 p.m. Nov. 2. Free.

We will have details on the Sound and Spirit of Southwest Michigan performance in our next 2016 MFSM Update.

For more information and tickets, please visit our website.


Special thanks to our festival sponsors, including SignArt.

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The 2016 appearance of The Rose Ensemble is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the Crane Group.


The Michigan Festival of Sacred Music is a 501 (c) (3) arts organization, which presented its first full festival in 2001, and is supported by grants from government and foundation sources, and contributions from individuals and businesses.

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