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The Lake Michigan College Mendel Center announces the 2023-2024 season of performances and speakers

The Lake Michigan College Mendel Center announces the 2023-2024 season of performances and speakers

The Lake Michigan College Mendel Center announced its 32nd season of events during a season reveal presentation Thursday evening to series ticket buyers and supporters who gathered in the Mainstage.

Among the 12 performers, productions, and guest speakers scheduled for the 2023-2024 season are a St. Patrick’s Day celebration - Scottish style - with the bagpipe rock sensations The Red Hot Chilli Pipers; a live on-stage discussion with William Shatner following a screening of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” the Irish step dance and musical stage production Christmas in Killarney: An Irish Christmas Celebration, and boxing champion, international Boxing Hall of Famer, Lifestyle Brand CEO, and author Laila Ali.

New patron-centered experiences this season include:

“We’ve designed a season that has something for anyone who desires a break from everyday life and to explore beyond the ordinary,” stated George Kendall, associate dean, Visual & Performing Arts. “The quality and variety of the programming will entertain and provide meaningful audience experiences to share with family and friends.”

The 2023-2024 Mendel Center season lineup is:

Jonathan Dely: Live in Concert with his All-Star Jazz Band
Friday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m.
$45 | $55 | $75 | $90

Performing one of jazz's most sought-after live concerts, Jonathan Dely leads his All-Star Band across the United States, from venues including Lincoln Center in New York to the NAMM Show in Los Angeles. Dely’s live show is as dynamic and energetic as it is cool and romantic. Expect a cross-genre performance in the vein of Chris Botti that is sure to delight audiences of all ages and musical tastes.


Pete Souza
Former Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama & Best-selling Author
Tuesday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.
$45 | $55 | $70 | $95

Pete Souza has spent more time in the Oval Office than almost any person in history, serving as the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama for all eight years of the administration and as an Official White House Photographer for President Reagan. During his presentation “What I Saw Inside the Presidency,” this New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and freelance photographer shares some of his iconic behind-the-scenes photographs, along with his poignant detailed stories, all leading to a bold and dynamic depiction of true leadership.


Vegas McGraw
Saturday, Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.
$40 | $45 | $55 | $75

Presenting a powerful show that thrills and captivates audiences everywhere, Vegas McGraw accurately recreates the music and mystique of country music icon Tim McGraw. Nashville recording artist and Las Vegas entertainer Adam D. Tucker and his talented crew of musicians showcase Tim McGraw’s mega-hits from the ‘90s such as “Don't Take the Girl,” “I Like It, I Love It,” and “Everywhere,” along with the hits of today. This electrifying tribute show has been seen in 46 states, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and the Virgin Islands, and has opened for more than 40 national acts including Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Reba McEntire, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and more!


William Shatner and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Saturday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
$45 | $65 | $80 | $95

Set your phasers to stun! Prepare to be beamed up for an unforgettable night with the original ‘Captain James T. Kirk’, award-winning actor William Shatner. Following a screening of the classic film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” William Shatner takes to the stage to share fascinating and humorous behind-the-scenes stories from his storied career, including answering audience questions. A limited number of VIP add-on tickets will be available, which include a post-show photo op with Mr. Shatner.


Step Afrika!
Sunday, Nov. 12, 4 p.m.
$35 | $40 | $55 | $80

Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities, traditional west and southern African dances, and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling, artistic experience. This is much more than a dance show. The immersive event integrates songs, storytelling, humor, and audience participation. The blend of technique, agility, and pure energy makes each performance unique and will leave you with your heart pounding. Learn more about Step Afrika! at Funded in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.

The Baltimore Consort presents Wassail, Wassail! Music for the Yuletide Season
Friday, Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.
$40 chair seating | $60 table seating

Step back in time to the origins of Yuletide traditions. With its festive cornucopia of instruments – lute, cittern, viols, crumhorns, recorders, rebec, and percussion – the Baltimore Consort offers old carols and dance tunes from the British Isles, Germany, France, Spain, and the New World. Wassail, Wassail! will take you back in time to the origins of Yuletide traditions. As part of the Mendel Center’s holiday season celebration, a special mix of Mendel Center Wassail, made with Lake Michigan Vintners cider, will be served as part of the pre-show cash bar at this performance. This special holiday performance will be held in Grand Upton Hall.


Christmas in Killarney: An Irish Christmas Celebration
Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.
$35 | $40 | $55 | $80

Join us as the Irish village of Killarney comes alive in the 1920s with world-class Irish dancing, classic Christmas favorites, and a heartwarming story about love, family, and tradition during Christmas in Killarney: An Irish Christmas Celebration. Marvel as Irish dancers leap through the air and tap their feet to the music and harmonies of the season. Enjoy favorite holiday sounds including “Joy to the World,” “Hark the Herald Angels,” “Oh, Holy Night,” “Sleigh Ride,” and many more. Bring the entire family and see what it means to celebrate Christmas the Celtic way! Funded in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.


Laila Ali
Boxing Champion, International Boxing Hall of Famer, Lifestyle Brand CEO, & Author
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, 7 p.m.
$50 | $65 | $80 | $95

Laila Ali is a world-class athlete, fitness and wellness advocate, TV host, home chef, founder of the Laila Ali Lifestyle Brand, and mother of two. The daughter of the late beloved global icon and humanitarian, Muhammad Ali, she is a four-time undefeated boxing world champion whose stellar record includes 24 wins (21 of which were “knockouts”) and zero losses. During an “Evening with Laila Ali,” she will talk about a wide range of topics including her trailblazing career in sports, her journey as an entrepreneur, as well as the influences of her famous father on her life.


Valentine Dinner Cabaret with MOIPEI
Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, 6 p.m.

Experience an elegant Valentine’s Day celebration when the Mendel Center Grand Upton Hall transforms into a cabaret. Your evening begins at 6 p.m. with a served, gourmet dinner, dessert, and cash bar. At 7 p.m., the vocal trio MOIPEI steps onto the stage to dazzle you with an eclectic mix of their own acclaimed vocal arrangements of selections from the great American songbook and beyond. Composed of Kenyan-born triplets Mary, Maggy, and Marta, MOIPEI has performed at the Kennedy Center, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center, the famed Birdland Theatre and the acclaimed 54 Below in New York City. The sisters’ exceptional talents blend musical genres to create a Valentine’s Day to remember.


An Evening with MOIPEI
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, 7 p.m.

Join us for night two of MOIPEI, this time in the Hanson Theatre! The performance titled “From the Land of the Lion to the Big Apple” features a set list comprised of a few favorites from the Valentine’s Day concert plus many new selections, making this another not-to-miss night of vocal magic. The trio - Mary, Maggy, and Marta - interpret some well-known selections from the great American songbook and dazzle with their illuminating take on Broadway. Throw in a dash of Duke Ellington, a flash of pop, some gospel for salvation, and a traditional Swahili children’s song, and you have an evening guaranteed to put a smile on your face.


Simply Queen
Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
$40 | $45 | $55 | $75

This completely live tribute performs the iconic songs that have made Queen one of the most legendary rock bands of all time. Simply Queen faithfully recreates the grand scope of Queen's live shows, musically and visually capturing the amazing Queen experience that has filled stadiums around the world. From “Killer Queen” and “We Are the Champions” to “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Simply Queen’s playlist delivers the hits along with choice album cuts from the famed Queen catalog.


The Red Hot Chilli Pipers
Sunday, March 17, 2024, 7 p.m.
$35 | $45 | $60 | $85

Be at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center for one hot St. Patrick’s Day! Bagpipes with attitude. Drums with a Scottish accent. A blazing rock band and show so hot, it carries its own health warning! It’s the Red Hot Chilli Pipers (NOT the Peppers!) – a 9-piece ensemble consisting of pipers, guitarists, keyboards, and drummers. They have been rocking the world with sold-out tours from New York to Beijing and everywhere in between with traditional pipe tunes like “Amazing Grace” (Chilli-style, of course), Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” and a fantastic rock medley of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” and more.


Jarabe Mexicano
Friday, April 19, 2024, 8 p.m.
$25 | $35 | $50 | $75

Jarabe Mexicano captures the nostalgic spirit of their border roots with their brand of "Bordeño-Soul," which honors the musical tastes and cultural influences of its members. Expect an eclectic mix of genres ranging from Mexican Folk, Rock & Roll, and Norteño/Tex-Mex to Latin Rock, Trio Romántico, and popular Cumbia. Their traditional Mariachi string instruments and Norteño-inspired drums complement dramatic vocals in English, Spanish, and Spanglish. Jarabe has shared the stage with Louie Pérez of Los Lobos and opened for internationally renowned acts Gaby Moreno and La Santa Cecilia. Funded in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.

Tickets for the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center 2023-2024 season are available:

Mendel Center series ticket packages are available by purchasing three or more events. Series benefits include a 10% discount on eligible events, ticket pre-sale opportunities, exclusive services, and advance notice when new events are added. Series ticket buyers who also contribute $100 or more to the Mendel Center before purchasing a series ticket package receive a 15% discount on eligible events plus donor benefits based on giving level.

To purchase tickets or learn more visit Questions may be emailed to or left via voicemail at 269-927-8700, option 1. Box office hours will resume after the Labor Day holiday.


About the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center

The Lake Michigan College Mendel Center raised the curtain on its first Mainstage season performance in the fall of 1992. Since then, it has presented Mainstage season performances to more than half a million patrons in the 1,559-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre. Grand Upton Hall, first opened in 1979 and fully renovated in 2019, is a 13,700-square-foot venue serving the community as the host site for meetings, banquets, trade shows, weddings, and other celebrations. The 229-seat Hanson Theatre, which was renovated in 2020, hosts numerous Lake Michigan College Visual & Performing Arts Department performances as well as a variety of Mendel Center and community events.

The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). Its GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.

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Posted June 22, 2023

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