The mission of ArtsBridge is to celebrate the arts in our neighborhood and provide a space where the diversity in our community is bridged through the appreciation of music and art. In 2017, the 7th Season of ArtsBridge is underway! The programs continue to draw people together. Many members of the community began to support ArtsBridge in partnership donations as well as the church’s support.
ArtsBridge conveys the spirit of community, joy and hope these concerts bring to the community. Special thanks goes to Susan Burkholz, who has spearheaded the publicity for the events and does a lot of the nuts and bolts work behind the scenes.
Sunday – September 30 – Autumn Celebration Concert & Exhibit
ArtsBridge’s 8th season begins a program featuring gospel singer Jolita Burton followed by Ed Bagatini and his 11-piece jazz band The Revival of the Cool! Acrylic paintings by Nikki Gauthier will also be on display and for sale.
Jolita Burton is a native of the Black Pearl of Berrien County, the city she loves, Benton Harbor, Michigan. She has been a Gospel songstress in her community for many years. Her love for Jesus Christ is her inspiration to live the kind of life that invokes the presence of His glorious spirit, which she shares the gift she has been blessed
with. She has been a longtime member of Refreshing Fountains Church of God in Christ (COGIC) on Euclid Avenue in Benton Harbor. Her husband, Maurice Burton, is a retired State of Michigan trooper and is an elder and minister at Refreshing Fountain COGIC. She is also blessed with two children, Marcellus and Imyn, and three grandchildren.
The Revival of the Cool jazz band is comprised of some of the best jazz players in the area including Bump Enders and Mark Gamble (Trumpet) Dino Jackson (French Horn), Ruth Livengood, Joel Fletty, Brandon Yenchus, Ed Bagatini (Trombone) Rob Funk (Baritone Sax), Stephen Lundquist (Guitar), Jason Spiegel (Bass), and Jim Allen (Drums). Arrangements and original compositions are the work of Ed Bagatini. In rehearsal since
June of 2017, the library hosts 104 arrangements. Some of the music selections performed will include the Theme from Deception by Miles Davis, Stella by Starlight by Victor Young, Fly me to the Moon by Bart Howard plus several original compositions by Ed Bagatini such as Eggs & Ice Cream, Bella Donna and Awe Shucks.
Ed Bagatini was born, raised and schooled in Calumet Michigan where the circle of 4th’s was taught along with the three R’s. With maternal encouragement, he graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Music Ed. Degree. He then became a trombonist with 5th Army Headquarters Band. Mr. Bagatini has taught instrumental music in various schools in Southwestern Michigan He laid the foundations for the band programs at Lake
Michigan College and Lake Michigan Catholic Schools. Ed has had extensive experience in arranging music. He has arranged music for: The Navy School of Music, Dan Belloc, Kai Winding, Tommy Shepard, Bill Russo, Bill Porter, Mike Suter, Bobby Davidson, Western Michigan University, The Jazz Assemblage and The Nostalgics. He was the musical director of The Nostalgics Big Band, leads The Dynabones, and The Ed Bagatini Trio. He performs with The Ed Forrest Big Band, Carol And Kaye’s Dixieland Band and various church ensembles. Major influences upon his arranging are Gerry Mulligan and the late great friend Bill Evans. Presently, Ed and his wife, Adrienne, operate Bagatini’s Music Store in downtown St. Joseph.
Nikki Gauthier is the Communications, Programs and Events Coordinator for the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, Michigan. In her role at the Box Factory, Nikki helps to develop programs, which nurture the arts and creativity. She plans special Box Factory events such as concerts, open mic nights, gallery receptions, film nights and personal tours. Nikki loves being part of the team at the Box Factory and looks forward to continuing to build an organization, which fosters and celebrates artistic expression.
Nikki’s work at the Box Factory is a natural fit, as she has always had a passion for the arts in its many forms. She developed her own artistic talents as a musician early in life, but only recently discovered an affinity for painting when her dad gave her art supplies for Christmas. Since then, Nikki has been creating acrylic paintings featuring mainly floral and beach scenes. You can find Nikki’s works entitled “Introspective Life” on Etsy, Facebook, Instagram (@introspectivelifegirl), and at local artisan markets. Nikki is also the mother of two children, Geoff (17) and Hope (9).
Pastor Laurie Hartzell says “There is God-given talent and art all around us. Our hope is to provide a space where their art can help bridge our diversity as we fellowship together and revel in each other’s creative gifts.” A reception will follow the program in Goff Hall. For details call (269) 925-7075 or find them online at firstpresbh.org or Facebook.
See the schedule below and a special night with David Baker at the Box Factory on September 19!
Admission is free, donations accepted. A reception will follow the program.
All programs start at 4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church and are absolutely free.
Rev. Laurie Hartzell, who is the minister at this church, commented about ArtsBridge: “In a community that is often known for its racial and socio-economic divisions, ArtsBridge provides a safe space where people can come together through the creative and performing arts. There is incredible talent throughout our community—what a joy to share in it together.”
Past Events of this Season:
Sunday – May 6 – Spring Concert & Exhibit
Featuring jazz guitarist Gene Butler, music students from The Citadel Dance & Music Center under the direction of Susan Dietrich-Reed, and wearable art from Sharon Wilkinson.
ArtsBridge presents a “Spring Concert and Exhibit” on Sunday, May 6, 2018, 4:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 475 Green Avenue on Morton Hill in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The program will feature music students from The Citadel Dance & Music Center under the direction of Susan Dietrich-Reed and jazz guitarist Gene Butler.
Wearable art by Sharon Wilkinson will also be on display and for sale. Pastor Laurie Hartzell says “There is God-given talent and art all around us. Our hope is to provide a space where their art can help bridge our diversity as we fellowship together and revel in each other’s creative gifts.” A reception will follow the program in Goff Hall. For
details call (269) 925-7075 or find them online at firstpresbh.org or Facebook.
Sunday – March 11 – Choral Concert & Exhibit
Featuring the SMC Select Voices directed by David Carew and colorful artwork by Brian Cooley.
ArtsBridge presents a Choral Concert and Exhibit on Sunday, March 11 4:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 475 Green Avenue on Morton Hill in Benton Harbor, Michigan. This program features SMC Select Voices conducted by David Carew, with guest tenor, Andrew Fisher. Colorful art work by Brian Cooley will also be on display and for sale. Admission is free and donations accepted. For more details visit www.FirstPresBH.org or find on Facebook.
Sunday – February 4, 2018 – 10th Poetry Reading – AT 2:00 P.M.!
ArtsBridge will present its 10th Poetry Reading at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, February 4, 2018 at First Presbyterian Church, 475 Green Avenue on Morton Hill in Benton Harbor, MI. Poetry lovers of all ages are invited to attend and read a poem they wrote or simply listen. Possible topics may include nature, feelings ranging from love to loss, diversity, spirituality, and more.
Isabel Jackson, who is the event organizer, commented: “This (event) will take place in an intimate and non-intimidating setting. Attendees may read their own work or have someone else read it. Participation is highly encouraged. All present will have the option to simply listen.”
Sunday – November 19 – Thanksgiving & Praise Concert & Exhibit
ArtsBridge presents Thanksgiving and Praise Concert and Exhibit on Sunday, November 19 4:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 475 Green Avenue on Morton Hill in Benton Harbor, Michigan. This program features organist, Perry Heppler, All God’s Children Community Choir and David Smykal’s reclaimed wood art. Admission is free and donations accepted.
Sunday – October 15 – 9th Annual Poetry Reading
ArtsBridge will present its 9th Poetry Reading at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, October 15, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church, 475 Green Avenue on Morton Hill in Benton Harbor, MI. Poetry lovers of all ages are invited to attend and read a poem they wrote or simply listen. Possible topics may include nature, feelings ranging from love to loss, diversity, spirituality, and more.
Sunday – September 24 – Three Pianists Concert & Exhibit
ArtsBridge presents Three Pianists Concert and Exhibit on Sunday, September 24 4:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 475 Green Avenue on Morton Hill in Benton Harbor, Michigan. This program features pianists Joshua Goines, Susan Burkholz, and David Brock plus ceramic artist Jerry Sirk. Admission is free and donations accepted. For more details visit FirstPresBH.org/ArtsBridge.
Sunday – April 23 – Spring Concert and Exhibit
featuring SMC Chamber Group led by David Carew, The Hampton Men (Corey Sr., Corey Jr. & Cameron), plus photo and oil artwork by Bill Rothwell
Sunday – March 26 – Collage Concert & Exhibit
featuring vocalist Andrew Fisher with pianist Gabriel Smith, students from The Citadel Dance & Music Center, stone sculptures by Sara Shambarger and painted wood by George Barfield
Sunday – February 5 – Poetry Slam
featuring written and performed poetry by participants
Sunday – December 18 – Sights & Sounds of Christmas
featuring North American Brass Company, the community All God’s Children Choir and watercolor artist David Baker
Sunday – November 13 – Organ & Piano Concert and Exhibit
featuring organist Jim Kraus, pianist David Brock and painter Evan Robinson
Sunday – October 23 @ 4 pm – Three Pianists Concert and Exhibit
featuring Masashi Sekioka, Susan Burkholz, Jean Prosper and Water Street GlassWorks Fired Up! teens’ glass art