Terry's Picks November 2010

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

EVENTSThis is the column in which West Michigan Christian web writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-inspired arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming month.

Well friends, due to the pandemic, concert and other medium or larger-sized events have been few over the last seven months. And most of those have been virtual/online.

But here's a bright spot: Magnify Church in Rockford (formerly Blythefield Hills Baptist) is going ahead with its annual fall musical production. They're staging "The Hunchback of Notre Dame,"the Victor Hugo story backed by a Disney musical score. It's set for five performances Nov. 5-8 in the church auditorium, 6727 Kutshill Dr. NE.

But there will be some COVID-19 accommodations.

"We are allowing only 20 percent capacity per show – with empty seats in front, behind and between parties," said Vicki Modert, Magnify's director of worship and production co-director."And we've been rehearsing with masks, social distancing and lots of sanitizing," she added. Twenty percent of Magnify's 1,350-seat sanctuary means there will be adequate spacing. Masks will be essential for audiences moving in and out of the auditorium.

Usually there has been a pre-show dinner option for select evening performances. But not thisyear, thanks to COVID-19.

In the lead roles are Alyssa Garcia Bauer as Esmeralda and Tate Radaz as Quasimodo.Curtain times are 7pm Nov. 5, 6 and 7; matinees at 2pm Nov. 7 and 3pm Nov. 8. Don't forget masks. Tickets are $10, and are available at www.dramaseats.com.

And here's another hopeful development: Jubal Brass, the instrumental ensemble that has been providing sacred music to area audiences since 1975, has resumed rehearsals. The group is hoping to be available for area Christmas season concerts, although nothing is yet officially on the books.

"Our rehearsals are properly socially distanced and we all have bell covers to reduce any aerosol emission from our instruments," the group reported on its Facebook page.

Like other area choral and instrumental groups, Jubal Brass has been absent from rehearsing and performing since March.The ensemble, once directed by Grand Rapids Symphony associate conductor John Varineau, has been a fixture at area church and community events. The current director is Dr. Mark L. Taylor.

The membership features a combination of area amateur and semi-professional brass players.Visit their website at www.jubalbrass.org

And now a sad note: According to officials at the West Michigan Lutheran Chorale, the group is disbanding, largely due to the ongoing shutdown of live music events.

"Thanks to all of you who have supported our mission," read a September Facebook group post after the decision. "We have loved singing for and with you all."

The choir dates back to 1998 and has performed in Europe as well as here in West Michigan.

The members sang mostly at church-related functions, but have been regulars at the annual Festival of the Arts in downtown Grand Rapids (here's a video link of their version of "God Bless America" sung two years ago at Festival)

The choir has been directed by Diane Long, who is also Music Director at Grace Lutheran Church in Wyoming.

The news was sad for chorale members, including singer Fred Kuklinski. "However, united with our God-given talents, we were able to share God's work through His music," he wrote. "It was always a blessing to see how people responded to our offering of such comfort, reassurance, and hope in the Lord!

"A personal note: in these virus-strewn days, it may take extra effort this year to approach the Thanksgiving holiday with a grateful spirit. Perhaps we could look to the small things, and maybe together we'll discover blessings that we never knew were there.
Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Author: Terry DeBoer
Terry is a journalist/feature writer for newspapers, magazines and websites, with a background in radio broadcasting. His usual beat is arts and entertainment, specializing in Christian/gospel music. A married father of two, he is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan Contributing Writer: West Michigan Christian News August 2011 – Present Feature writer: -Mlive.com (website and various newspapers) 1988– 2016 -Spotlight New Christian Music Magazine 1997-2008 -Church News Editor, Church Herald Magazine 2004-2009

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