The Community Artist Series was established to make the performing arts more available to the people of West Michigan. We have hosted many exciting musicians, speakers and events over several seasons. Our events are held at First Presbyterian Church and are always free and open to the public.

2017/18 Season Schedule

September 17, 2017, Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Great Lakes Barbershop Chorus
The Great Lakes Chorus was formed in 1947 and has been a part of the West Michigan music community ever since. Now under the direction of Jamie Carey, the current Great Lakes Chorus is drawing members from all over Michigan, and is performing exciting a cappella music for an ever-expanding audience.

The chorus has been crowned District Champions many times, most recently in April of this year. The chorus has qualified the past three years for the Barbershop Harmony Society’s international competition, competing in Pittsburgh in 2015, Nashville in 2016, and in Las Vegas this past July. Singing on the stage of Planet Hollywood’s Axis Theater in the most recent competition, the chorus posted its highest score ever, and is now recognized in the barbershop world as an “A” level chorus.

Great Lakes Chorus repertoire includes a wide variety of musical styles including barbershop, gospel, patriotic, doo-wop, seasonal, and swing.

October 29, 2017, 4:00 p.m.
“Spooktacular” Organ Recital
Dress up in your Halloween best and join us for an afternoon of spooky and fun organ music!

Artists from the West Michigan Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will present a frighteningly delightful program of organ music that is sure to entertain kids and parents alike. Classical, popular and Broadway hits will be featured.

November 26, 2017, Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Embellish Handbells
The premier handbell ensemble of West Michigan, Embellish is a professional level group that promotes the art of handbell ringing by providing a high quality musical experience for diverse audiences.

January 28, 2018, Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Western Michigan University Jazz Quartet
The Western Jazz Quartet is a resident faculty ensemble in the School of Music at Western Michigan University. Formed in 1974, the quartet combines performing and teaching to promote jazz music and education through tours, concerts and workshops, including recordings with artists such as Art Farmer, Stefon Harris, Kenny Werner, Billy Hart, Mark Murphy, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Janis Siegel and Bobby McFerrin.

Come and hear the ensemble described by The Chronical of Higher Education as being “…imaginative with brilliant flashes of impeccable technique, and a persistence of serious musical intensity.”

February 18, 2018, Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace is an acoustic classic rock band that has been known and loved since the 1970’s, featuring acoustic guitars, bass and the big harmonies of Ronnie Burke, Steve Damstra and Robin Spring.

Join us and sing along to the songs of the Beatles, Badfinger, Mamas and Papas, Fleetwood Mac, Crosby, Stills, & Nash and so many more.

March 11, 2018, Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Matt Bickett, Organist
Matt Bickett, from Portsmouth, Ohio, is a fourth-year student at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, where he pursues a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance. While still a candidate for both Bachelor’s degrees, he was accepted into Oberlin Conservatory’s accelerated Master of Music in Historical Performance program. Matt also serves as Assistant Organist and Choirmaster at Christ Episcopal Church in Oberlin, Ohio. Matt received the honor of the 2017 Presser Fellowship from the Presser Foundation and took first prize in the 2017 Great Lakes AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists.

April 15, 2018, Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Austin Channing Brown
Known as a fierce defender of civil discourse related to race relations with specific reference to encouraging open dialogue and tolerance between African American and white communities, Austin Channing Brown will be speaking on her experiences and perspectives on this topic. She states, “Our commitment to racial justice and reconciliation requires we dig into the muddiness of humanity, reckoning with the worst of our humanity as we call out its best. This work is not for the faint of heart. It requires hope. Not a hope founded on good feelings or good intentions, but hope that demands. For our hope is risky, relentless, rooted in our certainty that love will win.”

Please join us and have the opportunity to ask Ms. Brown questions as we explore this timely and important topic.

May 6, 2018, Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Tom Harryman, Passion and Perversity: The Inner Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe
Tom Harryman is a Muskegon native and full-time faculty member at MCC where he teaches a variety of theater courses, designs and directs, and acts as the technical director for MCC’s Overbrook Theater. He also continues to perform in solo and full cast shows around West Michigan including two one-man shows he adapted for the stage, one of which is Passion and Perversity; the Inner Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe.