MAJIC (Music and Art for Justice in the Community) is looking forward to the 2015-2016 concert season! Details of the art shows and artists can be found here.
2015-16 season fundraiser
Blue Water Ramblers at the Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters
Banjo Jim and Bear Berends form the foundation of this group focused on rich vocal harmonies and a vibrant bluegrass instrumental sound. Join us for an evening of good food and drink, fun music, and a talk about all things coffee from GRCR founder and owner Craig. Tickets at $15 apiece available at evenbrite, just click here.
Ralston Bowles, a musician and songwriter who often is called the Dean of West Michigan’s acoustic music scene, has been making music since he was a child growing up in Gary, Ind. “The stories are out there,” he says. “It’s about finding the stories and telling them. That’s what Woody Guthrie did. That’s what Bob Dylan does.”
Ralston Bowles’s father played the fiddle, guitar and banjo in the Appalachia hills before he moved to Gary, Indiana, to work the steel mills. Ralston’s first professional job was at the age of 16 when he was asked to make up one of his story songs for a neighborhood party.
After graduation he found himself playing in clubs and coffeehouses throughout the Midwest, making up songs about the people and places he visited. His songs have been performed and recorded by Caroline Aiken, Peter Mulvey, Amy Speace, Betty Soo and Rachael Davis. He has received awards from American Songwriter Magazine, NSAI/CMT, Unisong and the International Song Competition, among many others. As a Kerrville New Folk finalist, he even found himself opening for such artists as Shawn Colvin, T-Bone Burnett and Arlo Guthrie.
His first recording, Carwreck Conversations, was produced with Marvin Etzoni and earned him triple Jammy Awards locally and recognition as best musician in West Michigan by Grand Rapids magazine. It also led him to his first commercial release through Judy Collins’ Wildflower Records. He has become a bi-annual favorite at Boston’s Club Passim.
Back by popular demand, Embellish returns for our December concert. Expect nothing less than the usual virtuosity, musicality, and entertaining showmanship.
Embellish was founded in the fall of 1995 to be a professional level group that provides a high quality musical experience for diverse audiences through performance and teaching the art of handbell ringing. And they never disappoint!
No concert in January.
A fixture in Michigan’s deep and vibrant music scene, Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, well-known to audiences as single acts, have been performing and recording together for over 10 years.
These prolific musicians have recorded over 17 albums together, seasoning their songs along the way. Seth and May draw from a deep well of American folk, rock, country, blues and soul music. May Erlewine plays guitar and violin and is a songbird reminiscent of Patsy Cline and Patty Griffin. Her songs have been recorded by artists across the country and sung in schools, places of worship and on every kind of stage. Samuel Seth Bernard has drawn comparisons to Woody Guthrie and Neil Young as a shape shifting folk rocker, community organizer and communicator of ideas. They harmonize their voices and instruments beautifully, believing music can bring people together and proving so at every performance.
Seth and May’s believe music strengthens communities and is a part of positive change, leading to collaborations with numerous schools, farms and non-profit organizations, as well as a partnership with best-selling author and famed environmentalist Bill McKibben. They have also fostered the creation of the Water Festival, a series of events in the Great Lakes region dedicated to music and education about preserving water quality and universal access.
Seth and May are members of the Earthwork Music collective, a group founded as a means to form a viable alternative path to the conventional music industry. Through collaboration, the collective strives to incorporate efforts of environmental advocacy, social justice, creative empowerment and community building into the core functioning of a musical profession.
John Bragle is the Director of Choirs and Instructor of voice at the Interlochen Arts Academy, and is also the director of the World Youth Honor Choir and Festival Choir at the Interlochen Arts Camp. Choirs under his direction have performed in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall , DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C., Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, the Harris Theater in Chicago and DaVos Hall in Grand Rapids. He is a cum laude graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelor degree in music education and also received a master’s degree in choral conducting from MSU. Mr. Bragle maintains an active performance schedule in both concert and recital.
Besides being the pianist and music director at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Sheryl Iott is a frequent solo and collaborative performer, adjudicator, presenter, and author. Recently given specialist status by the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto for all levels of teaching, she is also a member of their Board of Examiners, a position of great prestige. She performs frequently around the midwest, and has given solo and collaborative performances in Italy and around the United Kingdom. Sheryl also teaches applied piano at Grand Rapids Community College, and in her home studio.
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.
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 $35,000 in concert donations and passed these funds on to the Heartside Fund, Heartside 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 email@example.com. And “Like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive notices of upcoming events!