The historic downtown Grand Rapids venue today announced a record-setting lineup of folk, jazz and chamber music concerts starting this fall. Get details at Local Spins.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS OF SOME FEATURED PERFORMERS
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In the midst of almost daily announcements of concert and festival cancellations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, St. Cecilia Music Center is delivering some brighter, more optimistic news about its upcoming concert season.
The historic venue in downtown Grand Rapids today announced St. Cecilia’s “largest performance roster in recent history,” with a slate of folk, jazz and chamber music shows starting in September and running through April 2021.
Performers scheduled to play Royce Auditorium include Marc Cohn, Sam Bush, The Milk Carton Kids, Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell, Mark O’Connor, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Delfeayo Marsalis, Joshua Redman and renowned jazz bassist Christian McBride, who leads a three-evening “WinterFest” in late February 2021.
Tickets go on sale July 1.
Concerts featuring Cohn and Colvin represent rescheduled shows from the spring 2020 Acoustic Café Folk Series.
Next season’s folk roster – which kicks off Sept. 11 with Cohn – will feature nine concerts, the most in the history of the series, with Leo Kottke, Watkins Family Hour and Kat Edmonson also in the lineup.
The “Spectacular Jazz Series” officially gets under way with Grammy winners Bridgewater and jazz pianist Bill Charlap on Oct. 29. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Concert Series begins with “Sensational Strings” on Nov. 12.
SCMC Executive Director Cathy Holbrook, who’s thrilled with the “largest offering since I’ve been here as we celebrate 137 years of music-making history,” conceded the COVID-19 shutdown has created major scheduling challenges – and some changes could still occur.
“Our feeling is to forge ahead in announcing a hopeful season so that if and when we might be able to get back, we’d be ready with a robust season,” said Holbrook, adding that St. Cecilia hopes to fulfill performance contracts that already are in place.
“Obviously, the further we get into this, the more ominous the opening dates are. If we have to cancel concerts in the fall, we will do our best to reschedule those into May and June. The one thing I see is that the venues, booking agents and artists all want to do our best to work together. The artists want to play as much as we want to present them.”
Holbrook also insisted St. Cecilia “will adhere to recommended cleaning and disinfecting protocol” and do what’s necessary to keep patrons safe in the intimate, 650-capacity Royce Auditorium.
SOME UNCERTAINTY ABOUT IMPACT OF SOCIAL-DISTANCING GUIDELINES
“However, social distancing in our hall would most likely not allow us enough audience to cover the costs of having our visiting artists,” she added. “But we are brainstorming ways that we could be available to the local musicians who may need an outlet and we could provide it with a limited number of people in the hall following social distancing guidelines.”
Holbrook said St. Cecilia decided to announce the series “to let people know that SCMC plans to continue to be an important part of the music scene” in Grand Rapids.
“Our main goal this year is to fulfill our mission – and that may look different than our usual season,” she said.
“But these artists were in place prior to our knowledge of the outbreak and so we decided to let everyone know that these are the artists we plan to bring. Some dates may change, but our goal is for people to see these great artists in our hall.”
Several shows in the folk series feature returning performers, including Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Cohn on Sept. 11, The Milk Carton Kids on Dec. 10, Colvin on Jan. 22 (touring behind a new album), and legendary guitarist Leo Kottke on Feb. 18.
First-timers to the series will be award-winning bluegrass star Sam Bush on Nov. 5, acoustic stars Sean and Sara Watkins with Watkins Family Hour on Nov. 7, vintage pop/jazz artist Kat Edmonson on March 4, Americana icon Rodney Crowell on March 25 and Grammy-winning violinist Mark O’Connor on April 21.
See the full schedules for each series online here.
FINDING ‘CREATIVE WAYS TO FULFILL OUR MISSION’
Single tickets for folk series concerts range from $40 to $60; chamber music shows $40 to $45; and jazz series concerts $45 to $55.
Winterfest Jazz Festival tickets are priced at $50-$55 for McBride and Edgar Meyer on Feb. 25, $40-$45 for the Christian McBride Trio and Cyrille Aimee on Feb. 26 and $40-$45 for McBride and Inside Straight on Feb. 27.
Jazz and chamber music series subscription tickets also will be offered. All tickets will be available online July 1 at scmc-online.org or by calling 616-459-2224.
During the current venue shutdown, St. Cecilia has lost all concert income, rental income and School of Music tuition for classes that it holds.
“Not a good scenario,” Holbrook conceded.
“Again, we will be doing all we can to find creative ways to fulfill our mission of promoting the appreciation, study and performance of music in order to enrich the lives of the residents of West Michigan. We hope our supporters will believe in us … and stand by us.”
Check out some videos of featured performers below and revisit Local Spins’ 2019 review of The Milk Carton Kids at St. Cecilia Music Center.
VIDEO: Sam Bush (ROMP 2019)
VIDEO: Christian McBride (Music on the Inside)
VIDEO: Rodney Crowell (Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight)
VIDEO: Kat Edmonson (What a Wonderful World)
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