Dinner and Music

I had the opportunity to attend a performance of the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus Thursday night at the Moose Club.  The occasion was a fundraiser for Showboat.  I’ve been a fan of this group for as long as I’ve lived in Grand Rapids and they never disappoint.   I had missed their annual Christmas concert at Zion, so was especially happy to get to see part of that program.  Eileen Grosland directs the group and their great accompanist is Bonnie Kangas.  The program was a combination of some wonderful old and new hymns, along with some of the secular music.  They opened with O Come Let Us Sing and Come and See the King.  A new hymn for me was The Straw Carol, which featured the voice of Harry Smith.   Their rendition of Rejoice and Sing Noel had us just about dancing in the aisles.  A couple of the secular songs they performed were Silver Bells and Mele Kalikimako (a Hawaiian Christmas song).  The Moose Club put on a great roast beef dinner.  Showboat got the boat back in the water this past year, but it sorely taxed their funds.  Rain and cool temperatures during the season did not help fill the coffers.   Their next major fund raiser is bringing us the Whitesidewalls at the Reif Center on February 8th.  The Whitesidewalls are the Upper Midwest’s premier rock and roll band.  They are presenting an exciting 2-act musical play called Love Potion #10.  Lovers of  50’s and 60’s music will definitely want to relive their youth in this nostalgic show.  Tickets are available through the Reif or at Reed Drug and are only $19.00.

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Enjoy a great dinner and entertainment!

Thursday, December 19th, the Moose Club will be serving a terrific dinner from 4 to 6.  Cost is $10.00.  At 6:00, the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus will entertain with one of their terrific musical programs.  The whole evening is a benefit for Showboat.  Be sure not to miss this great evening. 

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Dinner and Entertainment

Get down to the Moose Club between 4 and 6 on Thursday, December 19th.  Enjoy a delicious dinner and entertainment by the Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus.  They will start entertaining at 6:00.  Tickets are $10.00.  This is a benefit to support Grand Rapids Mississippi Melodie Showboat.  Come down and join the fun.

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WE WANT YOU! Are you a visual or musical artist?

If you are a local area visual or musical artist, we invite you to join the on-line artist list we are starting.  We have been maintaining a paper list of musicians, as requests for people to play for local functions happen regularly.  Keeping paper lists is very difficult and labor intensive and has been abandoned.  Just got a request through Visit Grand Rapids from an individual bringing 2 busloads of people here next year.  They are looking for one or two nights of entertainment for their group.   We also get requests for visual artists who may want to market their work by exhibiting at First Fridays or other art events in the area.  So, click on Sign up for Artist List.  That’s all there is to it.  Grand Rapids arts continues to work hard to connect artists and arts organizations with audiences throughout the area.   

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An Evening with Gershwin and Copland

Himy 2

The Itasca Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Keith Swanson will perform its final concert of the season on Saturday, May 11, 7:30 pm at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids. An Evening with Gershwin and Copland will feature pianist Eric Himy performing Rhapsody in Blue from the original Gershwin manuscript, which is longer by 88 bars.

Also on the program are Aaron Copland’s Variations on Shaker Hymn and selections from the ballet suite Rodeo.

The concert marks Himy’s return to the Reif stage where he performed several years ago. Besides Rhapsody in Blue, he also will give an entertaining presentation, “Gershwin in Paris,” which explores Gershwin’s music and its relationship to classical composers. Himy is one of the more highly regarded interpreters of Gershwin.
His playing has been described by The New York Times as “flawlessly poised, elegant and brilliant.” His compelling artistry has intrigued audiences around the world. The Revue Musicale de Suisse Romande compared him to the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz calling him “a sensual gourmand of sound.” He has played to critical acclaim in the United States, Canada, South America, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Slovenia. Mr. Himy has been heard most notably at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, The Frick Collection, The Phillips Collection, Teatro Amazonas, Salle Cortot and Salle Gaveau in Paris and on NPR “Performance Today.”
The Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program is funded in part by the Blandin Foundation. The concert also is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council through an appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund and an appropriation from the State Legislature.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students and may be purchased by calling the Reif Center at 218-327-5780 or on line at reifcenter.org.

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March Exhibitions at MacRostie Art Center

MACROSTIE GALLERY | NEW GROWTH: Regional Printmaking Exhibition

The third annual printmaking exhibition at MacRostie Art Center will showcase the work of local and regional artists working in an art form that encompasses a wide range of tools and techniques from silkscreens to woodblocks and linocuts to lithographs.

This year’s show will feature the work of Emily Gray Koehler of White Bear Lake, MN. Koehler was born and raised in Michigan and received her BFA in printmaking from Grand Valley State University. After moving to Minnesota, her work has largely focused on regional environmental and modern land use concerns. Through a recent series of prints entitled Agraria, Koehler explored the relationship of humans to the land through the lens of agriculture. Now she has turned her eye to the forest for the works included in this exhibition.


“In the battle between forest and grassland, the conquest of the north by formerly southern species and seasons in ever more violent flux, trees function as the lens through which may be seen the intended and unintended effects of human action on the land,” writes Koehler.

In addition to the series by Koehler, the exhibition will present new work by artists J. Charles Cox  (Fergus Falls, MN), Talicia Honkola (Aurora, MN), Teréz Iacovino (Minneapolis, MN), Eric Johnson (Fargo, ND), Ashley Kolka (Grand Rapids, MN), Deb Page (Cohasset, MN), and Aaron Squadroni (Coleraine, MN).



Lisa Koch uses the reflective properties of float glass and mirrors to suggest the passage of time. In Molecular Reason, Koch considers the movement of water as it travels around the earth. Clouds and individual molecules rendered in clear and mirrored glass evoke the water cycle, and intermingle with viewers’ reflections as they walk around her sculptures and wall installations. For Koch, the water cycle is emblematic of the way matter and information are constantly in flux, commingling and interacting in both predictable and unexpected ways.


“In addition to a master’s degree in art, I have a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, so it is in my nature to categorize, catalog, and connect various bits of information like a scientist,” Koch notes. “On a molecular level, we are all much more interconnected than we often realize.”

Lisa Koch received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and began her career as a scientist researching cell division. Impelled by her passion for the arts, she discovered glass and later went on to earn her M.F.A. in glass from Alfred University.  She has since taught neon and glass classes at Alfred University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and currently lives and works in Madison, WI.

The March exhibitions at MacRostie Art Center are sponsored by Miskovich Dental Clinic and Anderson Family Dental.


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First Friday Art Walk | March 1 | 4 – 8 pm | downtown Grand Rapids

Click here for a map of the events.

Special Event: Grand Rapids Arts 
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts invite you to a
 “Reception to Advocate for the Arts” with State Senator Tom Saxhaug from 4-5 pm at MacRostie Art Center.

1. MACROSTIE ART CENTER Presenting the Regional Printmaking Exhibition featuring Emily Gray Koehler in the MacRostie Gallery and glass sculpture by Lisa Koch in the Minnesota Gallery. With refreshments by Brewed Awakenings, music by Anne Nalan from 5 – 7 pm, and artist talks at 6 pm. 

2. BENDERS SHOE & SPORT Hosting Brian Miller of Brian Dean Miller Glass from 4 – 7pm with hand blown art glass — each piece uniquely designed. Come enjoy refreshments and visit with Brian.

3. THE YARN GALLERY It’s our 1 Year Anniversary Party!! We’ll have demonstrations, a drawing for a giveaway and music by Jim Mason and friends!  We also need your vote for our Cowling at the Moon Design Contest! Stop in and join the fun!!

4. STAINED GLASS WITH CLASS Showcasing new stained glass suncatchers made on-site by George and Lisa Berkholz.

5. WHISPERING WOODS GALLERY The March First Friday at Whispering Woods Gallery will feature a furniture sale, artist demonstrations, and homemade goodies.

6. VFW POST 1720 Presenting the Sam Miltich Trio from 7 – 10 pm with gypsy jazz  featuring Sam on lead guitar, Matthew Miltich on bass, and Mike Miller on rhythm guitar.

7. JENNY & COMPANY Hosting fiber artist Dawnette Davis with new hand painted scarves and natural dyed items.

8. FRAME UP Stop in to see the beautiful Norwegian rosemaling by Michelle Carlson: flowers and scrolls painted on bowls, platters and furniture. We will be serving lefse and other Norwegian delicacies.

9. BREWED AWAKENINGS March’s artist is photographer Tom Godfrey with music by brother Bill Godfrey, complimentary coffee and cookies, and dinner special until 6:30 pm.

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