MAJIC Concert Series

MAJIC (Music and Art for Justice in the Community) is looking forward to the 2014-2015 concert season! Details of the art shows and artists can be found here.

October 10    

Deep Greens and Blues, visual art: Art Prize

DGB Garage DoorDeep Greens & Blues is an alt country band based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Blending eclectic musical backgrounds and influences, the band came together in 2010 to create its own flavor of earthy, vocal-driven music. The band grew to a regularly performing ensemble in West Michigan and released their debut album in June 2013.

Deep Greens & Blues’ influences include Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, and James Taylor.  The band is rooted in its three core members-:Travis Atkinson (guitar & vocals), Kelsey Gustafson (vocals), and Jason Upton (bass and vocals).

Growing up in a musical family, Travis developed an affection for classic artists of the ’60’s & ’70’s, including James Taylor, Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt, America, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, and as the primary songwriter he infuses those artists’ vocal artistry into the band’s songs.  Travis’ experience working in the mental health field for the past ten years has provided him with a unique empathy and awareness that influences his songwriting.

Kelsey and Jason both come to the band with previous performance experience: Kelsey as a music education major at Hope College, and Jason as a bass player working with several rock bands in West Michigan over the past fifteen years. Jason’s passion and prowess, and Kelsey’s angelic voice blend with Travis’ knack for songwriting, making a tight, rich sound pleasing to the ears of vocal and instrumental enthusiasts alike.

November 14  


An_Dro_picture_1An Dro is a union of four seasoned instrumentalists who speak from the heart with uncommon synergy. Their music is a blend of traditional and original melodies from across the globe, reaching back to the past, with an eye to the present and the future.

An Dro takes you on an adventure that is both personal and universal. You’ll hear traditional Irish melodies, medieval French songs, Breton dance tunes, Scandinavian refrains, Appalachian influences, Arabic rhythms, and African grooves all performed with joy and freshness. This is dance music but it’s also listening music.

The band’s original works have a feel that is both ancient and modern with a dynamic range that takes you from crazy dance grooves to delicately orchestrated waltzes and airs to blazing improvisational assaults.

The band takes their name An Dro from a folk dance of Brittany where the dancers link fingers as they move in a spiral line dance. An Dro translates literally as “The Turn” and is an apt description of music that is alive and ever changing.

The band consists of Michele Venegas, Fred Willson, James Spalink, and Carolyn Koebel.

Visual art for November: Ritsu Katsumata and Kim Ohms: The Ultimate Selfie

December 12   

Gwenneth Bean


Michigan-born contralto Gwenneth Bean is a graduate of Mona Shores High School, with a 20-year career that has taken her to opera stages and concert halls throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. She has sung numerous roles with The Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and in opera houses in Dallas, Miami, Santa Fe, Toronto, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Vienna, Rome Paris and London (just to name a few). She toured Europe and the United States with the late maestro Leonard Bernstein, and has performed in Carnegie Hall as well as on Live from Lincoln Center PBS broadcasts. Ms. Bean has shared the stage with Luciana Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Renee Flemming, Kathleen Battle and other opera “greats.”

She currently resides in Grand Rapids, where she teaches private voice, is Director of Music and Worship at Ada Christian Reformed Church, and teaches at Muskegon Community College.

Her December concert will feature many Christmas-season favorites, and will be accompanied by Bethlehem’s Music Director and pianist Sheryl Iott.

Visual art for December: Tom Duimstra

January 9    



Wisaal” is an Arabic word meaning links, connections, or unities, and reflects the band’s fusion of the Arabic musical heritage with Klezmer, Indian, and American influences to produce exciting and culturally engaging performances. Traditional Arabic pieces blend with Western harmonic backgrounds and rhythmically charged pop and world-music grooves as Arabic instruments – oud, percussion, and bass – are joined by Klezmer-influenced clarinet and American folk mandolin. Original compositions and extended improvisations showcase how the diverse traditions can engage in harmonious conversation. Formed in 2010, based in Lansing, Michigan, Wisaal ultimately aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the cultures that they represent.

Members include: Igor Houwat – oud, Will Cicola – clarinet and saxophone, Ben Fuhrman – mandolin, Tim Patterson – double bass, Ty Forquer – percussion, and Mike List – percussion.

Visual art for January: Kids of Hill

February 13  

Hope College Faculty Jazz Trio

TrioPicThe Hope College Jazz Faculty Trio (pianist Steve Talaga, bassist Charlie Hoats, and percussionist Mike VanLente) performs a broad range of jazz styles.  These versatile musicians specialize in putting a fresh spin on jazz standards and playing original music.  Individually, all three are very active recording and performing with numerous other ensembles in the west Michigan area.  When they come together as a group, the result is always exciting…never predictable.

A subset of the Hope College Jazz Faculty, the group represents the broad range of musical styles students are exposed to in their studies at Hope.  As busy recording and performing artists themselves, they bring real-world experience and their own passion for music to the classroom.  Talaga, Hoats, and VanLente  have worked with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Clark Terry, Fred Hersch, Rick Margitza, Claudio Roditti, Phil Woods, and Maria Schneider, just to name a few.

Visual Art: Stafford Hiroshi Smith: The Family Portrait Project

March 13  

Aries Trio (Richard Stoelzel, trumpet; Megan Crawford, violin, Sheryl Iott, piano)

RichRichHailed as “one of the foremost performers and teachers of trumpet in the U.S.” and “one of the greatest trumpet players of our time,” Richard Stoelzel maintains an active career as an international soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. Reviewers have called his trumpet playing, “virtuosic and lyrical,” with a “liquid like tone,”  and a “. . .bel canto style [that] gave this reviewer chills.” He began his career as solo cornet with the United States Coast Guard Band, a presidential band. In this position he performed throughout the U.S. and gave numerous command performances for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. As a soloist he has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad including five highly successful tours of China and as a result earned the title of “Distinguished Visiting Professor” at the Shen Yang Conservatory of Music and other schools throughout China.  As an orchestral musician Stoelzel has performed as third and assistant principal trumpet of the New Orleans Symphony and was winner of the principal trumpet position in 1993. He has held positions with the Miami City Ballet, Ballet Florida, Florida Symphonic Pops, New World Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, Bear Lake Music Festival, and the Des Moines Opera Orchestra. He has performed with the Naples Philharmonic, Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Louisville symphony orchestras. Stoelzel is presently principal trumpet of the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra and serves on the artist faculty of the Masterworks Summer Music Festival held at Grace College in Indiana.

Violinist Megan Reiter Crawford has been a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony since 1999. She is originally from Dearborn, Michigan, where she made her concerto debut at the age of 12. She has since performed frequently as a recitalist and chamber musician throughout the area, and has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony and the Fort Collins Symphony.

Ms. Crawford received her Bachelor of Music degree with honors from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Paul Kantor. She then went on to earn her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she worked with Michael Gilbert and Patinka Kopec. She studied chamber music intensely under Isidore Cohen while in New York, and other major influences include Joseph Silverstein, Donald Weilerstein, and Felix Galimir.

Ms. Crawford is a dedicated violin teacher, and maintains a studio of twenty students as well as coaching chamber music. Ms. Crawford is married to Grand Rapids Symphony concertmaster James Crawford, and they reside in Grand Rapids with their four children, Julie, Orion, Naomi, and Kenji.

IMG_4704In addition to being the music director at Bethlehem, Sheryl Iott is a frequent performer in both solo and chamber music capacities, including a recent tour of the British Isles with Voca Lyrica, a Big-Rapids based women’s choir, a solo recital in Perugia, Italy, Grand Rapids’ sister city, many years as the pianist for the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and many collaborative performances with area musicians including Eric Tanner, Libor Ondras, Diane Penning, Stacey Tanner, and on the GRAM Recital Series.

Dr. Iott is also on the faculties of Interlochen Arts Camp as well as Grand Rapids Community College, where she teaches applied piano. Previous appointments include teaching piano, piano skills, music appreciation, and piano pedagogy at Michigan State University, Hope College, and Calvin College. She also maintains a private piano studio in Grand Rapids.

The Aries Trio was founded by Richard Stoelzel several years ago, and has settled into its current configuration fairly recently. Most of the works being performed were commissioned by Mr. Stoelzel for the trio, and they will be recording a CD later in the spring of 2015.

Visual Art: April Joy Galbreath

April 10   

Duo Tandem (guitar duo) 

DuoNY1Duo Tandem is considered by both the general public and by critics as one of the most exciting new guitar duos in classical music today.  Across the United States, in the UK, and in Cyprus, Duo Tandem performances have been lauded as “magical” and praised for their “beautiful articulations, rhythm, and timing”.  

Having already established themselves as virtuoso solo performers, Mark Anderson and Necati Emirzade formed Duo Tandem while studying at the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Marc Teicholz.  Duo Tandem has also worked with Sergio and Odair Assad, the world’s preeminent guitar duo.

Originally brought together by a shared passion for the music of Astor Piazzolla, their repertoire has since expanded to include arrangements of Gnattali, Chopin, and Le Six.  As well, Necati and Mark have received new compositions written expressly for Duo Tandem from João Luiz of the renowned Brasil Guitar Duo as well as from Grant Ferris and David Gottlieb.  With such a diverse selection of music, Duo Tandem performances are also distinguished by Mark and Necati’s unique ability to communicate the core feeling of every piece.

Visual art: Andrew Le, photography


Performances are held on the second Friday of the month in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Sanctuary, located at 250 Commerce Ave SW in downtown Grand Rapids. Parking is provided in the enclosed parking garage. Visual Art openings are held at 6:30 p.m. the night of the concert. Bios and samples of the work of our participating visual artists can be found here. Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and usually consist of two 45-minute sets. A “meet the musicians” reception follows, hosted by members of the Bethlehem Church community.  Concert admittance is through a free-will donation.

If you would like to donate money to help support the concert series, just click on the “Donate” button below.

History of MAJIC:

MAJIC was begun in 2007 to support high quality arts programming in West Michigan while helping the economically disadvantaged in the Heartside neighborhood and beyond.  MAJIC is a ministry of Bethlehem Church, which underwrites all of the concerts in advance and then contributes 100% of the at-the-door donations to local organizations whose focus is social justice.

The MAJIC Concert Series showcases music written and/or performed by local and regional musicians and features a local visual artist as well. The art is often available for purchase, and decorates the lobby of the church for the month following the concert. The series is an excellent way for people who are interested in cultural enrichment to attend live performances, view new art pieces, and help others in their community. MAJIC draws a diverse audience through varied programming of classical, folk, jazz, and world music.

To date MAJIC has generated more than $30,000 in concert donations and passed these funds on to the Heartside FundHeartside Music Together (now Hill Music Together) and the Coalition to End Homelessness.

If you have questions about this ministry, or would like to suggest a group or a visual artist for future series, please send an email to And “Like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive notices of upcoming events!


Past concert series:


 Fauxgrass Quartet
Knock on Wood
The Hildegard Singers
Karisa Wilson 
 The Honeytones 
Chain of Lakes
Jenny Walvoord and Andrew Le


Sunny Wilkinson
Potato Moon
Jukejoint Handmedowns
Andrew Le
Luminescence and Twelfth St. Harmony
We Are the Ink Monkey


Rachael Davis
Sergei Kvitko and Ken Beachler
Keith Hall Trio
Wazobia and Badenya
Neil Jacobs


Sheila Landis
Who Hit John?
Ralston Bowles
Eastern Blok
Diane Penning
Kurt Ellenberger with Ütaké


Drew Nelson
Los Gatos
Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus
An Dro
Paul Vondiziano
Steve Talaga