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Jazz in the Park

Monday Night at the Park Concerts
Ah Nab Awen Park, 220 Front Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
6:30 till 8:30 PM



August 22 (Note date change due to rain cancellation on August 15)
Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra
Swoosh

Back by popular demand, they will close out our 2016 Jazz in the Park series! GRJO was founded in 1977 by the late Bruce Early; this premier jazz ensemble has been featuring some of the area’s finest musicians for more than 35 years. Led by Bob Nixon, they play swinging original compositions and arrangements as well as traditional favorites.

GRJO

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Due to popular request we are reinstating the Jazz Gumbo Series-complete with Gumbo! The Guest House 634 Stocking Avenue NW, Grand Rapids MI.  Doors open at 5:50 for those with accessibility issues, for all others at 6:00. Concert time: 6:30-8:30. Cost is $10.00 for members: $15.00 for non-members.* Laura and crew will be cooking up their famous gumbo accompanied by salad and a roll. A soup or chili will be available for those who prefer a different choice. *A limited number of students with ID will be offered a special entrance for $5.00 which does not include food.

Fall Lineup for Monday Night Jazz Gumbo!

Amy Williams

September 19 Swoosh

Amy Williams Quintet will kick off the fall installment of Monday Night Jazz. She is “beyond excited” to be featured in her first official WMJS sponsored event. Come help us welcome her to our stage! Joining Amy on this musical adventure will be Mark Kahny on keys, Freddy DeGennaro on guitar, Rob Jewett on bass and Bob Thompson on drums. Amy performs jazz standards with bluesy, soulful nuances and theatrical flair; she has enjoyed performing her entire life. She studied vocal jazz with April Arabian-Tini and with Duane Davis in Shades of Blue. This quintet with Amy at the helm is sure to keep the melody line moving while painting with every texture and color in their musical pallet.

Amy Williams
Libby York

October 17th Swoosh

Chicago based vocalist  Libby York and the Terry Lower quartet ; featuring 2016 W.M.J.S.’s Musician of the Year , Terry Lower on piano, Larry Ochiltree on drums, Jim Hayward on sax and Ed Fedewa on upright bass. Libby has been praised by The New York Times as “a jazz singer of cool composure and artful subtlety”. She has performed at top venues nationally and internationally from Chicago’s Green Mill and Jazz Showcase to New York City’s The Kitano, Waldorf Astoria and Metropolitan Room as well as La Beliere in Paris.  During her dozen years in New York City, Libby studied with the renowned jazz singer Abby Lincoln, who she says, "taught me about the truth and soul of a song." She makes her home for part of the year in Key West where she performs at the Truman Little White House among others. Libby has graced our stage several times and we warmly welcome her back! www.libbyyork.com

Terry Lower
Rick Reuther

November 21st
Swoosh

Vocalist Rick Reuther along with Tom & Cherie Hagen and, Mike Lutley will present “Rags to Riches” a tribute to the artistry of Tony Bennett. This show is bound to be a crowd pleaser! Rick is also professional songwriter, guitarist, actor and voice-over artist. A graduate of Michigan State University, he has performed in clubs, hotels and resorts throughout the Midwest and the East Coast, and spent two years in Los Angeles performing with the Astrid Cowan Trio. Acting stints on Unsolved Mysteries, as well as in a host of commercials followed. Currently, Rick performs regularly with the Tom Hagen Trio as part of the acoustic band “We Know Jack”; with singer/dancer Mary Rademacher in their show “Steppin’ Out” and as headliner of the “Sinatra in Vegas” show. Rick has opened for comedian Pat Paulson and the Four Freshman, he has five recordings, and the most recent is “Uptown”, a well-received collection of vocal standards. www.rickreuthersings.com

Rick Cherie Tom
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2016 Spring Newsletter

WMJS Has a New Annual Award! Bruce Early

This award will be given in Bruce Early's name to the Jazz Educator of the year by the W.M.J.S. Dr. Bruce Early (1939-1998) was the area's premier educator, band leader, performer, adjudicator, and contractor in the Grand Rapids area as well as the Mid-west. He taught at Aquinas College and organized an annual jazz festival and summer jazz camp besides being a conductor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He nurtured young talent and gave them an environment to gain experience to perfect their craft. So this award will continue his legacy as well as give acknowledgment and thanks to each recipient.

Each recipient will not only be selected by their teaching talent but by their support and caring of the direction that our young jazz musician's paths may take. West Michigan has many devoted and talented educators and this will be a way thanking and acknowledgment for their expertise.

Max Colley IIOn June 2016 the first award was presented to Max Colley II. His dedication, drive, enthusiasm, as well as Northview High School's unparalleled competition record at jazz festivals, has been an inspiration to all who are involved in jazz education and have been jazz enthusiasts for years! Max inspired not only his students but everyone around him. He welcomed other teachers to share their knowledge which in turn gave his students unlimited knowledge and experiences to learn from. Max has retired from teaching but still keeps in touch with many of his "kids" through out the country. He is still sharing his enthusiasm and caring for other peoples lives and accomplishments.


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