It’s common to see people dancing and singing along at Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán shows. According to Julio Martinez, a harpist who has performed with the band for 22 years, it’s also not out of the ordinary for audience members to cry. The range of emotion Mariachi Vargas elicits is the result of a masterful balance between 120 years of tradition and innovation within their art form.

Review: 'Well Strung' lives up to its name, and then some

Written by Marin Heinritz | Saturday, 15 July 2017 13:08 |

It’s not often one attends a string quartet concert and hears witty banter among the players, much less a description of the next arrangement as “an Italian sandwich” or “almost like a tiramisu.”

Madelaine Lane spends her days in an office tower overlooking Calder Plaza, defending people for Warner, Norcross & Judd.

There are no program notes for Saugatuck Chamber Music Festival performances. Instead, musicians tell the stories behind the compositions directly to the audience before playing the piece.

Years ago, conductors were aloof, intimidating figures on their onstage platforms. But when Raymond Harvey became the music director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra 18 years ago, he knew his role required more and embraced the position as a community resource.

Cellos and violins have become instrumental in the creation of a safe harbor for the children of refugees who have relocated here from countries like Syria, Egypt and Lebanon.

Q&A - Peter Perez: President and CEO, Grand Rapids Symphony

Written by Samara Napolitan | Monday, 01 May 2017 09:00 |

Peter Perez has been a magnet for uncommon musical experiences his entire life. From conducting his youth festival orchestra as a youngster to requesting that his upstairs neighbor, Placido Domingo, “please rehearse louder,” such experiences have led him to his new role as the Grand Rapids Symphony CEO.

Colorful paintings line the halls of the K-12 building at the Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology. Each work exists as an individual expression, made even more powerful in abundance.

A new children’s book, The Dance of the Violin, is based on superstar violinist Joshua Bell’s first competition at the age of 12.

Sara Daneshpour may be one of tomorrow’s stars. The Gilmore Rising Stars Series brings young and exceptional artists like the Iranian-American Daneshpour to Kalamazoo every year. First presented in 1999, the series features acclaimed pianists like Lang Lang, Jonathan Biss and Kirill Gerstein before they hit it big.

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