Arts & Entertainment

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Monthly Community Sing Open to Everyone

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

If you love to sing, and are looking for a community of like-minded people, check out the Monday Night Community Sing, held on the first Monday of most months at the Unitarian Universalist Church in East Lansing. The singing is neither church choir nor karaoke, but a casual, comfortable gathering offering about 90 minutes of song. The next Sing will take place on Monday, October 6.

Fall Color Tour by Train

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) of Owosso is offering a unique and relaxing way to see the fall colors of the Lower Peninsula: an all-day train tour. The SRI will be hosting a series of trips: October 4, round-trip from Cadillac to Boyne Fall; October 11, round-trip from Petoskey to Fife Lake; and October 18, round-trip from Mount Pleasant to Cadillac. The series’ migration south over October ensures great colors on each tour.

9/11 Commemorative Concert at St. Thomas Aquinas TONIGHT

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Veterans, police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders will be honored tonight, September 11, at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in East Lansing. The program will run from 7:00-9:00 pm, and admission is free. Performers will include barbershop chorus The Capitol City Chordsmen, bagpiper Terry Carroll, and trumpeters Will Reid and Michael Liberato.

MSU Teddy Bear Picnic Saturday with MSU College of Human Medicine

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On Saturday September 13 MSU’s College of Human Medicine will sponsor a Teddy Bear Picnic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in MSU’s 4-H Children’s Garden on Bogue Street just south of Wilson Road. Admission to the event is free for everyone, and free parking will be available in both the parking lot across from the MSU Clinical Center and in the Wharton Center parking structure.

The bells are ringing again!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. the carillon marks the hour with the familiar Westminster chimes. Four times a day we hear the bells toll the hour followed by two hymns, evoking East Lansing’s dual nature as both a small town and a vital city.

The current carillon is the fourth to be used at Peoples Church, and all four have been manufactured by Schulmerich Bells in Sellersville, Pennsylvania. The first three relied on a paper scroll similar to that used in a player piano; the current system uses high fidelity recordings of actual bells.

Decembersongs Acoustic Celebration, Dec. 10

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pump House Concerts presents our annual holiday concert featuring DECEMBERSONGS! The concert will be on MONDAY, December 10th, with music at 7 pm and will feature four friends singing songs of the season as old as the ages and as fresh as new fallen snow. These are all acclaimed singer/songwriters, trading original holiday songs ‘in the round’.




Amy Speace (songs recorded by Judy Collins), Jon Vezner (Grammy winner), Dan Navarro and Sally Barris (Grammy nominees) will entertain us for the 3rd year in the smallest and most intimate venue they will perform in.

Decembersongs will perform only 11 shows, including Nashville's Bluebird Café, Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music, & New York's The Living Room.

Come see them at The Pump House - the smallest, most intimate venue where this group will EVER perform.

Free Holiday Concert by Arts Chorale

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Arts Chorale of Greater Lansing will perform its annual Holiday Concert on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. at the University Lutheran Church on 1020 SouthHarrison Road, East Lansing. The concert is free to the public with annual Christmas treats for all following the concert.

Theatre Review: "Measure for Measure" at MSU

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Measure for Measure, dating to 1602 or 1603, is an infrequently performed Shakespeare comedy, probably because it has less easy appeal than its more famous predecessors. The MSU Theater Department production, continuing through November 18 at Wonders Hall, shows why, if well done, this play deserves a stronger place in the repertoire.

Christina Traister's direction is what I would call a post-modern-traditionalist take on this "problem play." The story revolves around draconian, if unenforced, laws against pre-marital sex, a topic that has had little relevance in college communities for a couple of generations, if not more, although it is not at all irrelevant from a global perspective. I generally find attempts to make Shakespeare, or other "dated" works, relevant by updating the setting, usually to a time and place also not here-and-now, distracting, but purist, as we imagine performed at The Globe, productions can get tiresome. Traister mostly stays true to period costumes and setting, but throws in enough contemporary allusions to allow the audience to be aware it is watching in 2012, while engaging fully with the darkness that cannot be done tongue-in-cheek.

The post-modernism (along with using "tablets" for paperwork and a few other bits) is embodied in the "bawd," Pompey, wonderfully played as a "trouser-role" by Zachera Wollenberg, who had a similar, albeit unquestionably female role, to much applause, in last Summer Circle's Adrift in Macao. Not in period costume, complete with iPod and ear bugs, but with a period lock-picker, the acerbic, up-yours-authority, her Pompey is both totally now and totally Shakespeare, including providing half-time entertainment. This gives the audience a way to relate, while the other comic characters, the constable, Elbow (Chris Coy), and Pompey's bawdy-house employer, Mistress Overdone (Mary Dilworth), as well as the authority figures whom she baits, stay in period. It is a remarkably effective way of letting us have contemporary fun -- Ms. Wollenberg has the talent to be a first-rate professional comedic actress -- without distracting from the serious drama, best left in its Vienna Dukedom.

Stella! At the Pump House

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pump House Concerts presens Stella!, a 4-piece, all-women, American roots band on Sunday, November 11th. Our doors will open at 6:30 and the great music will start at 7 pm.

When my wife Gerry and I first started our quest for good Americana music in the Lansing area, Jen Sygit was one of the great local artists we found. Then we heard about her venture with three other women known as "Stella!".  We're happy as heck to finally get this wonderful quartet in front of you this Sunday.  We've seen them many times before--they are a Michigan country/roots music treasure. Such great songwriting, musicianship, and fun!

Two guitars, a fiddle and upright bass give Stella! a rootsy vibe. Stella! has been referred to as a singer-songwriter super group with three-part vocal harmonies and four songwriter voices. Among the women, they have to their names #1 records on the roots music chart, been nominated for Detroit Music Awards, and appeared on ‘A Praire Home Companion. Karen Koski of the Detroit Metro Times says “Four Stars! A post-feminist speakeasy!"

Theatre Review: "The Giver" (through October 28)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Editor's note: "The Giver" is playing through next weekend, Friday at 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 3 pm. Click here for more information.

Our family went to go see "The Giver" done by Mid-Michigan Family Theatre on Saturday. In my opinion, the play was amazing. The closeness to the story made it very interesting to me because I read the book by Lois Lowry. I feel that the actors did a good job with remembering all the lines that they have, especially the main character, Jonas, played by Jonathan Townley. (He had a lot of lines!) All of the children and adults acted their parts really well. I love how they have a bunch of kids and a few adults. They used a clever method for showing what Jonas was able to see. We don't want to give it away.

East Lansing Youth Explore "The Giver"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Have you ever longed for everything to be under control and safe? Have you wished for no war or fear or pain? Welcome to the futuristic community that Lois Lowry created in her book, The Giver. There are also no choices, and no feelings. The Giver is the only person who holds the memories of real pain and real joy. When a young boy named Jonas turns 12, he is chosen for special training from The Giver—to receive and keep the memories of the community. Jonas learns the truth about life—and the hypocrisy of his utopian world. The Giver explores what it means to grow up, to grow wise, and to take control of your own destiny.

East Lansing Public Schools seventh graders read The Giver at McDonald Middle School each year, but for the next two weekends, everyone has the opportunity to see it onstage with the Mid Michigan Family Theatre. The show is directed by Bill Gordon and the cast includes some of our own East Lansing youth. The Giver will be performed at The Miller Performing Arts Center, 6025 Curry Lane, South Lansing (2 blocks west of the Miller/Cedar St intersection). The play will run from October 19-28, Fridays at 7 pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets are $7 and are available at the door (not recommended for preschoolers.) For more information, go to

Grammy Winner Don Henry at Pump House This Sunday

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This Sunday, October 21st, Pump House Concerts presents Grammy-Winning Singer/Songwriter Don Henry. The concert starts at 7pm. Suggested donation is $15, with all collected going to the musician.

Grammy Award-winner Don Henry's songs have been recorded by legends like Ray Charles, Patti Page, and Conway Twitty. And by country crooners like Gene Watson, John Conlee and B.J. Thomas. And by young hit makers of today like Blake Shelton, Lonestar and Jimmy Wayne. And the list goes on.

And he’s shared the stage with perfomers as diverse as Joey Ramone and Keith Urban.

Local Family's Plight Inspires Pediatric Hospice Fundraiser

Friday, October 12, 2012

Image: Charlie and his sister, Esther. Photograph by Lindsay Wilkinson.

The plight of an East Lansing preschooler entering hospice in a region without specialized care for children facing death has inspired artists around the globe to donate their talents to help create an extraordinary East Lansing fundraising event in support of pediatric end-of-life care in mid-Michigan. The artwork – original drawings, watercolors, acrylics, oils, photographs, prints, pottery, painted ceramics, art jewelry and more – will be auctioned at the second annual Art for Charlie on November 1, 2012, 6-9 pm, at the East Lansing Marriott. Local artists also will be showing works available for sale with a portion of the sale going to the Art for Charlie Foundation. Mayberry Homes serves as the event’s primary sponsor.

The event is named in honor of four-year-old Charlie Waller who was diagnosed in April 2011 with an inoperable brain stem tumor called “diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma” or DIPG. Charlie has survived longer than expected, thanks to great care at Sparrow Hospital where radiation has stalled the tumor’s growth. Sparrow earlier this year named Charlie the 2012 Cancer Survivor of the Year.

“He has no symptoms of progression now,” said Charlie’s dad, John Waller, an associate professor of the history of medicine at Michigan State University. “He has fatigue and problems with motor functions but he’s active, entertaining, bright and humorous, and lives a normal 4-year-old life in many ways.”

Youth Creating Quality Theater

Thursday, October 4, 2012

All-of-us Express Children's Theatre begins its twenty-fourth season with the production of Little Women. Shows are at Hannah Community Center on November 2-3 & 9-10. More information:

All-of-us Express Children's Theatre (AECT) was founded in 1989 by Evelyn Weymouth at the request of a number of area parents and young people who wanted to form a group to do serious theater by and for young people. Since then the Theatre has been located in various places around Greater Lansing, and is currently operating in cooperation with the City of East Lansing's Department of Parks, Recreation and Arts. AECT remains an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with a member-elected Board of Trustees.

AECT is one of very few organizations around the country producing mainstage shows with young people not only on stage but performing all crew duties. Adults serve as instructors and crew heads, but there is a guild system in which young people practice and prove their skills, eventually reaching the point where they can lead a crew or direct a production. Many of the current adults involved with AECT are alumni of the program, including artistic director Miranda Hartmann.

Although one does not have to perform on stage to participate in All-of-us Express productions, to be on stage one must also work on crews; no one is only on stage, or on stage for every production. Long-term participants in AECT have the opportunity to learn about all facets of the theater arts: directing, costuming, makeup, props, set construction, sound and lighting. There are also less-intensive experience crews such as ushering for those just beginning. The summer production is ages 6-18; other productions are ages 9-18.

Claude Bourbon French Finger Picking and Crane Wives indie Folk at The Pump House

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pump House Concerts and Music Under the Pines are proud to present a special double show (not just a double bill, but two shows in one) on Sunday October 7th. Claude Bourbon, a finger picking Medieval blues guitar player and singer from France will perform at 5 pm, followed by a pot luck dinner, and then Crane Wives, the hottest indie folk band in Michigan will perform at 7pm.

Medieval & Spanish Blues - Finger-picking Guitar & Song - Claude Bourbon:

Born in France, Claude Bourbon grew up in Switzerland, where he was classically trained for many years. This finger-picking guitarist has performed and studied all over the world and has crafted an unbelievable fusion of classical and jazz, with ethereal Eastern influences, Spanish and Latin elements with strains of Western folk.

The unique Monsieur Bourbon is a formidable performer. He may have his roots in the blues, but he is inspired by music and song from all around the world, taking these sounds and weaving them into a performance of blues, rock, jazz, songs and melodies that defy a label, all delivered with a gravely voice.

Claude’s inimitable style incorporates all five digits on each hand dancing independently but in unison, plucking, picking and strumming at such speed and precision that his fingers often seem to melt into a blur. Thousands of people in the UK, Europe and USA have enjoyed listening to this virtuoso and for the majority of his audience it is an experience that compels them to return again and again to hear and watch him play, as his fingers lightly dance over the strings of his guitar and create a unique sound that is ’Claude’.

The BBC has said, "This accomplished artist offers tender, compelling performance through highly developed precision. His sound instantly creates ambience – from haunting Spanish moods to lyrical, romantic jazz, Claude Bourbon provides both a rich evening of music for lovers, and a real treat for music lovers."

The Crane Wives:

The Crane Wives are an indie-folk outfit from Grand Rapids, Michigan, that defies musical stereotypes. Using three-part vocal harmonies, eclectic instrumentation and a knack for dynamics, they create organic music that is both accessible and innovative. Each live show features contagious energy as well as original music that ranges from whisper quiet ballads to danceable grooves.

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