BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – You are home. Your neighbors and friends are home. For the moment, we all live in a stay-at-home-world. However, that doesn't mean live performances need to be on hold. To keep the arts alive during COVID-19 social distancing measures, The Mendel Center is introducing a new, online series: Remotely Interested: Live to Your Living Room.
Seven online events are scheduled to be delivered via Facebook Live exclusively through The Mendel Center's Facebook page during April. The lineup features local and regional artists who will perform from the comfort of their homes or studios while the audience sits back and enjoys online.
“With in-person gatherings prohibited everywhere, artists who make their living through live performances are feeling tremendous economic impact. This is a way we can all band together and give these talented artists space to share their craft and continue their livelihood while we all enjoy a much-needed break during these stressful times,” states Grace Kelmer, director of The Mendel Center Mainstage.
The series lineup includes:
Siusan O’Rourke & Zig Zeitler
Wednesday, April 1, 7 pm
Together, this husband and wife duo have been 3-time committee nominated by the Irish Music Association for Top Due internationally. Their CD “Chance the Arm” was name Celtic Album of the Year in 2014 by Irish radio, Celtic Echoes. They co-founded the White Crow Conservatory of Music in Saginaw, Michigan, and have been fully steeped and involved in the music community as lifelong contributors; hosting radio, founding festivals, and creating space for music. Beyond all of their credentials, by far and away, the magic happens with Siusan O’Rourke and Zig Zeitler step on stage together to perform for their audiences.
Thursday, April 2, 7 pm
Dan Maxon is a local singer/songwriter and guitarist. He was raised under all manner of musical influences, finding a particular fondness for rock, folk, and jazz. He channels these genres through his own intimate, acoustic style.
Omri Geva, the creator of Aureum: An Aerial and Acrobatic Adventure Tale
Saturday, April 4, 7 pm
COVID-19 may have caused The Mendel Center to postpone Aureum, originally scheduled for Saturday, April 4, on the Mainstage, however the creator of this high-flying aerial and acrobatic adventure tale will be online to say hello and conduct an exclusive Q&A session about the show.
Sunny Wilkinson with Dr. Ron Newman
Tuesday, April 7, 7 pm
Sunny Wilkinson is a jazz recording artist, session singer, performer, and teacher. She sang on the theme and numerous episodes of Saved by the Bell, and was a Solid Gold singer, backing Marilyn McCoo and Dionne Warwick. Sunny has sung with The Count Basie Band, Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, Mark Murphy, Milt Hinton, Kenny Wheeler, Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, Ron Cater, Curtis Fuller, Edgar Winter, and Gene Bertoncini, among others. Joining Sunny on piano will be Dr. Ron Newman. He is a member of the Michigan State University faculty since 1980, where he served as Director of Jazz Studies from 1980 until 1995, and where he is currently Professor of Music Theory.
Sunday, April 12, 7 pm
This alumnus of Lake Michigan College and a former Mendel Center box office staff member is back! Masa Sekioka, originally from Japan, is a pianist and current student at University of Southern Maine. His unique approach to music is mainly influenced by Jazz, but the way he illustrates sound goes beyond one genre.
Tuesday, April 14, 7 pm
Jaime has a diverse repertoire, and her musical influences are from a vast array of different genres, but somehow, she is able to pull a unique element out of each of those to make her own flavor. Along with being an accomplished vocalist, guitarist, and drummer, Jaime has been writing for a few years and has just released her first album. Jaime is, in a word, raw…what you see is what you get. When she plays, her music touches your soul, she feels every chord, every note, and so do you. Jaime performs in concert playing guitar and percussion simultaneously, and usually taking a round or two on the piano.
Saturday, April 18, 7 pm
Mike is considered a master vocalist, guitarist, and pianist, as well as a prolific and innovative songwriter. His performance history, spanning three decades and totaling over 30,000 hours, includes a wide range of gigs, from local haunts to headlining concerts. He is also considered a master painter and works with his wife Cat to create imaginative canvas art. Currently, they are in the early stages of two new projects, the first being the expansion of their successful children’s entertainment brand, “The Front Porch Puppeteers,” and the second, a grass roots radio show that shines the spotlight on the local music and arts scene.
The Remotely Interested series is free to view at https://www.facebook.com/mendelcenter/.
All in-person events through Sunday, May 10, at The Mendel Center have been postponed. As events and performances are rescheduled, information will be made available at www.TheMendelCenter.com.
Posted March 31, 2020