MMC April Program Notes

By Mary Alice Brunner

This month’s theme is “ Together We Sing and Dance”

Date and location – Monday, April 6, 2015; 7:00 PM at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, 601 Main Street in St. Joseph.  The program is open to the public.

The April program will feature a performance by local southwestern Michigan square dancers, bluegrass and folk music presented by Deep Fried Pickle Project, and a sing a-long with Stewart Beach on the banjo.

Square dancing will be performed by Greg and Char Cook, Mark and Jean Penwell, Russ and Sandy Looker, and Lee and Sue Scherwietz. All are dancers from various square dancing clubs in southwestern Michigan.  Caller Ken Burke has been calling for over 25 years.  Ken is a real entertainer who combines smooth and innovative choreography with his vocal talents.  Those that dance with him have a great time.  Ken’s widespread appeal can be attributed to his distinctive styling (as well as his offbeat sense of humor).  Ken calls through the A-2 level and is currently on staff at Chaparral Records.  He’s also recorded on the Four-Bar-B/ Quadrille label. 

Deep Fried Pickle Project is a bluegrass and folk band with members Alan Selvidge, Daniel Boone Daniel, and Charlie King.  The group started out as a jug band playing traditional 1920's music and have been together almost 15 years.  They make music using a variety of “instruments”, including guitar, Canjo, Panjolele, Suitcase Kick Drum, Nose Whistle, Washtub Bass, Washboard, Harmonica, Jug,

Ham-do-lin, Schlitar, Dobro, Slide-Whistle, and Song Sandwhich.  They will be performing: “Picklejuice”, by A. Selvidge, D. Daniel; “Foldin' Bed”, Traditional; “Boogie”, by J. Hartford, arrangement DFPP; “Savor Every Day”, by C. King; and “Mobile Line”, Traditional.

Stewart Beach is a resident of Bridgman. He has been a teacher of voice, stage presence, and a variety of stringed instruments, including guitar, banjo, and mandolin at the American School of Music in Three Oaks. He performs music of many genres spanning folk, bluegrass, jazz, and barbershop. Beach will lead the audience in a sing along of familiar tunes from traditional American folk and pop tunes of the last 150 years.


MMC March Program Notes

By Mary Alice Brunner

This month’s theme is “ Crusade for Dance and Strings” and the program will take place Monday, March 2, 2015; 2:00 PM at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, 601 Main Street in St. Joseph.  The program is open to the public.  The March program will feature  a violin performance by Beth Oeseburg, and the Berrien County Dancers under the direction of Theresa Graziano.

 Beth Oeseburg was born and raised in Kalamazoo, where she began studying violin at age seven. She went on to study music at Western Michigan University where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree, specializing in violin performance. Since then, she has performed in the Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and South Bend symphony orchestras, as well as the Southwest Michigan Symphony and LaPorte County Orchestra. She is currently teaching in the Saint Joseph, Michigan, school orchestra program as Artist in Residence for high strings, as well as teaching privately through the Citadel Dance and Music Center on both violin and viola. Beth currently performs in the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra as assistant concertmaster, and is the Junior Prep Strings Conductor for the Lake Michigan Youth Orchestra.  She will be performing Sonata for Violin and Piano, opus 24, "Spring" by Ludwig van Beethoven, accompanied by Paul Flyger.

 Members of the Berrien County Dancers are Audrey Ballard, Carley Beemer, Grace Brackman, London Cook, Elizabeth Feldbruegge, Katie Harner, Anna Haynes, Ashley Main, Hannah McGrew, Kate Miller, Mallory Mishler, Lexi Sanders, Raechal Smith, Alyssa Swanson, Ashley Weber, and Lexi Winkler.  Throughout the school year, the members base their primary focus on modern dance technique, but also spend time learning techniques of jazz and ballet.  Students learn about elements of composition and are offered opportunities to choreograph their own works. Outside of learning student choreography, BCD members also learn repertoire from Mrs. Graziano and outside professionals including  Nan Giordano, Giordano Dance Chicago, Randy Duncan, Jon Lehrer, LehrerDance, Frank Chavez, Laurie Eisenhower and Eisenhower Dance Ensemble,  Mari Jo Irbe, Sarita Smith Childs, Winifred Haun, Lisa Catrett-Belrose, Jennifer Archibald,  Autumn Eckman, Taryn Kaschock Russell, Hubbard Street 2, Adam Houston, and Cesar Salinas.   The troupe will perform the following three dances: No FM, with music from 21 Pilots, choreographed by Audrey Ballard; Metempsychosis, with music from Alt-J, choreographed by Elizabeth Feldbruegge; and Trudge, with music from DJ Chus, choreographed by Cesar Salinas.

 Theresa Graziano, Artistic Director of the Berrien County Dancers, received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in Dance from the Barat Conservatory of Dance and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment through Walden University.  She was the Associate Director at the Citadel Dance Center in Benton Harbor from 1999 through 2004, where she helped to build the strong foundation that the Citadel continues today.  In 2001, Mrs. Graziano was hired to serve as the Artistic Director and teacher for the Berrien County Dancers located at Lakeshore High School with the responsibility of developing a complete curriculum in dance for high school credit.  The program has experienced consistent growth on multiple levels under her leadership and has developed a reputation for excellence in dance as well as offering a unique program for high school students in southwestern Michigan.  Mrs. Graziano has been the Choreography Director for many Lakeshore High School musicals, adding a new dimension to the productions and increasing the aesthetic appeal for audiences while enhancing the breadth and depth of performing arts experience for the cast members, many of whom had little to no prior experience.  A number of students, having had their first exposure to dance during these musicals, have chosen to continue their study with Mrs. Graziano through formal enrollment in her dance classes.


Monday Musical Club February Program Canceled

Due to the severe inclement weather, the Monday Musical Club program scheduled for Monday, February 2nd at The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center has been canceled. 

We look forward to seeing you at the Monday Musical Junior Club meeting on Saturday, February 21nd at 10:30 AM at the Whitcomb.  Also, please join us on Monday, March 2nd at 2:00 PM at The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center.

Monday Musical Junior Scholarships Announced

Congratulations to the following MM Junior Club members who secured full scholarships following the annual scholarship competition held on Sunday, January 25th at The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center.

Megan Guldan-The Parr/Blohm Scholarship for Interlochen 3 week Intermediate Piano Camp

Ashley Ke-The Upton Foundation Scholarship for Interlochen 3 week Intermediate Piano Camp

Nathanael Mitchell-The Burgoyne Vocal Scholarship for WMU 2 week Music Seminar in Voice

Chiara Thrum-The Sullivan Scholarship to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Piano

Kathy Zhang-The Joyce Gouwens Memorial Scholarship for WMU 2 week Music Seminar in Violin

Congratulations to their teachers: Sandra Camp, teacher of Ashley Ke; Sharon Lee, teacher of Kathy Zhang; and Laurie Marshall, teacher of Megan Guldan, Nathanael Mitchell and Chiara Thrum. 

The scholarship winners will perform at the May 4th club program also held at The Heritage.

Congratulations to the Monday Musical Club Scholarship Committee for their continued dedication and support of the Junior Scholarship Program.  

February 2015 Program Notes: This month’s theme is “ Fine Arts Warm Our Hearts in Winter”

The February program will feature a vocal performance by the Wilsonians from the Second Baptist Church in Benton Harbor, Michigan; poetry reading by Pearl Blaylock; and a piano concert by Jean Prosper.

The Wilsonians sing monthly during services at Second Baptist Church in Benton Harbor. They have participated in many musicals for various churches throughout Benton Harbor, and most recently in a Fine Arts program entitled "Didn't David Dance?" The directors, Wilbur Scott and L.J. Joseph, have had a wealth of musical training. Wilbur and Maurice Scott sang in their college choirs and were part of presentations of Handel's Messiah, Brahms' Requiem, and Negro spirituals and anthems. L.J. Joseph is a great Gospel singer who has performed with Mahalia Jackson, the Barrett Sisters and Thomas Dorsey (the father of Gospel music). Wilbur Scott has taken classes in the Lucie Campbell Workshop of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education.  The Wilsonians will be accompanied by Edwina McCree and will be performing “Swing Low,” “Say the Name,” “Precious Lord,” “Down By the Riverside,” “Somebody Bigger than You and I,” and “Let It Be Real.”

 Pearl Blaylock began her studies and career in dramatic art at the age of 6. She gave numerous recitals in New York, Waterloo, Los Angeles and Chicago, and received the key to the city of Waterloo, Iowa, when she took her one-woman show to the University of Iowa. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Chicago State University and a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from DePaul University in Chicago. She taught in the Chicago Public Schools for 12 years, the Harvey, IL schools for 2 years, and the St. Joseph Public Schools for 25 years. She has served on the boards of the Berrien County Association of Churches, the Twin Cities YWCA, and the Blossomland United Way. She is currently president of Church Women United. She started and continues to direct the Drama Club at Second Baptist Church as part of the church’s youth outreach program. She has devoted her life to family, education and the theater. She has one daughter, 4 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, all of whom reside in Benton Harbor.  Ms. Blaylock will read from selected poems.

Pianist, composer, and arranger Jean Prosper  has toured  in cities across the United States and Canada. Born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, after his familys immigration to Montreal, Canada, he received keyboard training and his music education at Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music, in Montreal.  He also went to a private school, Kingsway College, in Oshawa, Ontario, where, as a choir member, he traveled across Canada and parts of the United States and performed major choral works twice a year with the Oshawa Symphony Orchestra. While studying in Oshawa, Jean won 1st prize at the Kiwanis Piano Competition.  Later, after moving to the United States, Jean studied piano at Andrews University and at Indiana University.  Although Jean’s main focus is jazz, he performs other genres of music spanning the classical to gospel repertoires. (Chopin, Mozart, Bach, Brahms and Beethoven are among his favorite composers.) He has performed for thousands on concert stages; in churches, parks, clubs, and peoples homes; and at restaurants, schools, wineries, arts centers, weddings, funerals, museums, and jazz festivals. In 1999, he garnered a prestigious Stellar Award nomination for his recording Getting Up Morning.  In May 2005, Jean Prosper founded a non-profit organization called The Jazz Exchange.  Its mission is to preserve jazz music as an art form by providing exposure and education to the youth and community as well as cultural exchange.  Mr. Prosper will perform selected songs.

Date and location – Monday, February 2, 2015; 2:00 PM at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, 601 Main Street in St. Joseph.  The program is open to the public.

Additional information regarding this program and Monday Musical Club can be found at our this website.

Monday Musical Club Donates to Goodfellow Fund

Karla Armstrong Hake, President of the Monday Musical Club of Southwestern Michigan, presented a check for $1,089 to the Goodfellow Fund, respresented by Dave Holgate, Publisher of the Herald Palladium.  The money was collected as a free-will offering at the 83rd Annual Candlelight Christmas Vespers Program held on December 7, 2014 at the First Congregational Church in St. Joseph, Michigan.

The Monday Musical Club has records of annual contributions to the Goodfellows fund collected at the Christmas Vespers Program since 1979, with a total contribution to date of $39,510.  The 2014 contribution was our third largest overall.  Our club records state that the first Vesper's service was in 1933.  Dr. George Horst, minister of the St. Joseph Congregational Church asked the Monday Musical Chorus to perform at the first Candlelight Vesper Service as a gift to the community.  It was held at the Benton Harbor Baptist Church and $100.00 was collected and given to the Public Welfare Fund.  Also in the 1930s the Club sponsored the Messiah.  During the war years the Messiah was cancelled but the Vespers continued.  Through the years there were other recipients of the monies given at the free-will offering including the St. Joseph Memorial Hospital and the Red Cross.

The Goodfellow Fund, administered by the Herald Palladium, donates Meijer gift cards during the holidays to struggling families in Southwest Michigan identified by the Michigan Department of Human Services.  

Dr. Lia Jensen-Abbott Presents Florence Price: An American Treasurer

Monday Musical Club of Southwestern Michigan

November 2014 Program Notes – Parade of American Music Women Composers

Date and location – Monday, November 3rd, 7:00 PM at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, 601 Main Street  and Saturday, November 22nd, 10:30 AM at The Whitcomb, 509 Ship Street, St. Joseph. Both programs are open to the public.

The November program will feature Dr. Lia Jensen-Abbott of Albion College lecturing on the life of and performing works composed by Florence Price.  Florence Price (1887-1953) was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas and was the first African-American woman whose music was performed by a major symphony orchestra.  Her Symphony in E Minor was premiered in 1933 at the Chicago World’s Fair by the Chicago Symphony and subsequently performed by many other leading orchestras.  In 1939 one of Florence Price’s compositions was sung by soprano Marian Anderson at her legendary Easter Sunday performance at the Lincoln Memorial, a milestone in the Civil Rights Movement.

 Dr. Lia Jensen-Abbott of Albion College has recently performed in Hawaii, Montana, Arkansas, Novi Sad, Serbia, Paris, Zurich, as well as regionally in Michigan and Indiana. In February of 2012 Lia performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City.  Her recording of Fanny Hensel’s Das Jahr was completed in August of 2012.   Future performances include an upcoming solo and collaborative recital with singer Dr. Karen Kness in Costa Rica.  Lia is a sought-after adjudicator, most recently judging at the Music Teachers’ National Association National Senior Piano Duet Finals in Chicago.  Her background in the humanities has allowed her to present lecture recitals on multiple topics, including the works of Florence Price and Wayne Horvitz.  She co-founded the Albion College International Piano Festival with her husband, David.  She has degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The Pennsylvania State University, and Indiana University.   In addition, she is the President of the Lake Michigan Music Teachers Association.

Additional information regarding this program and Monday Musical Club can be found at our website,

Welcome New MMC Chorus Members

Monday Musical Club welcomes three new additions to their chorus including two, new club members.  Member Emily Strayhorn and new members Patricia Williams and Beverly So auditioned today at the clubs biannual chorus audition.  Emily, who sings alto, is a former soloist.  Patricia, first soprano and Beverly, alto, both hold degrees in music and have served as professional music educators. 

Additional information on the MMC Chorus is located on this website’s Club Activities page.  See photo on our Photo Gallery page.

For additional information on the MMC Chorus or auditions, contact Myrth Kremers. Contact information is located on our Contact page.

MMC 2014-2015 Season Opener

Monday Musical opens the 2014/2015 season on Monday, October 6th, 7:15 PM, at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, 601 Main Street, St. Joseph, MI.  The program is open to the public.

The program features the North American Brass Company made up of Jay Crouch and Charles Steck on trumpet, Bill Browne on French horn, Gary Cooper on trombone and Roger Lewis on the tuba.

The North American Brass Company (NABC) is a professional brass quintet specializing in innovative performance and teaching programs. The NABC engages the audience by combining music and fun. They have performed at the Krasl Art Center, Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor and across the Midwest.

See photo in this website's Photo Gallery.  

Submitted by Mary Alice Brunner.

Monday Musical Club Chorus Auditions Announced

Calling all singers!  Monday Musical Club of Southwestern Michigan is hosting their biannual members chorus audition on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at the Saron Lutheran Church, 510 Main Street, Saint Joseph, MI at 3:50 PM.  

Learn more about the Monday Musical Club Chorus on this website at the CLUB ACTIVITIES link.  The CONTACT link contains contact information for the membership and audition chairmen.  Club membership is required.  Audition specifics are made available to you from the audition chairman.

We are a group of women who love to sing! We look forward to your audition!



MMC Scholarship Committee Announces Competition Rules

The Monday Musical Club of Southwestern Michigan, Scholarship Committee unveiled the newly revised Junior Scholarship Competition Rules at the MMC Annual Teacher and Club Advisor Meeting last night.  

Members of the Committee announced the updated rules are more clear and concise with updated application and competition day procedures.  Further, performance standards are defined to meet the highest standards required by professional music educators. 

Monday Musical Club continues to be the only Federation Club in Michigan providing full scholarships to summer music camps and collegiate seminars in Michigan.  

Full scholarship rules are available at their website or by contacting MMC Scholarship Committee Registration Coordinator, Myrth Kremers at


Monday Musical Club 2013-2014 Season Finale

Monday Musical Club of Southwest Michigan closes its 2013-2014 program season with a celebration of music and honors.  A Rainbow of Music featuring pianist Anthony Beer, vocalist Michelle DeFrancesco, trumpet with William "Bill" Camp of the Chicago Classical Brass and the Monday Musical Club Chorus.

The trio featured a collaboration of work including Kent Kennen's, Sonata for Piano and Trumpet and Anthony Plog's "Two Scenes" for voice, trumpet and piano.  DeFrancesco sparkled during her performances of "Simple Little Things" from 101 in the Shade, Debussy's "Green" from Ariettes Oubliees and Bach's "Quia Respexit" from the Magnificat.  

The Monday Musical Club Chorus celebrated with a rainbow of composition styles including works from Mozart's "Allelujah" and a stunning a capella version of Arlen's "Over the Rainbow."

Following the Club's annual dinner, members received 25 and 50 year membership honors by Michigan Federation of Music Clubs, 1st Vice President Dr. Penny Draper of Lansing.  President Sandra Nye received the MFMC Citation Award, the highest award given by the state Federation.  Nye completed her second term as club president with the celebratory tradition, "The Passing of the Gavel" to incoming president, Karla Armstrong Hake.

The Monday Musical Club of Southwestern Michigan resumes their program season on Monday, October 6th.  Contact information is available on this website.