A Night of Neo Soul

R&B stars Marsha Ambrosius, Raheem DeVaughn, and Dwele are making their way to Grand Rapids for SMASH Productions presents Soul Sessions: A Night of Neo Soul at DeVos Performance Hall on Sunday, May 24, 2015 at 7:30 PM.

Hailing from Liverpool, England, Multi-Grammy® nominated musician Marsha Ambrosius burst onto the scene in 2002 as half of the English R&B duo Floetry. After two albums and multiple Grammy nods, Marsha continued carving a name for herself in the industry as a songwriter and producer. In addition to creating “Butterflies” for Michael Jackson in 2001, Marsha also worked with Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Busta Rhymes, and Nas, and was the recipient of the BMI Songwriter of the Year Award in 2003. Released in 2011, Ambrosius’ album Late Nights & Early Mornings entered the Billboard Hot 200 at #2 and debuted at #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Her most recent release, 2014’sFriends & Lovers, debuted at #12 on the Billboard 200 and reached #2 on the Hip Hop/R&B Albums chart.

The son of renowned jazz musician Abdul Wadud, Raheem DeVaughn began his career performing in clubs around Washington, D.C. before signing to Jive Records and releasing The Love Experience in 2005, featuring hits “You” and “Guess Who Loves You More.” His following albums, Love Behind the Melody and The Love and War MasterPeace, garnered him several Grammy nominations, and he released Love Sex Passion on February 17 of this year to rave reviews.Known for his contemporary style, lush harmonies, and wide-ranging lyrical content, Raheem continues to find new ways to spread love through music.

A native of Detroit, Dwele began writing songs at the age of ten. After making a name for himself in southeast Michigan with 1998’s The Rize, Dwele signed with Virgin Records and released 2003’s Subject, which gained instant steam across Europe. Since then, he has gone on to release four straight top 10 albums, including his most recent release Greater than One in 2012, and provide the hook on Kanye West’s hit single “Flashing Lights.”

Tickets will go on sale beginning Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 10:00 AM and will be available at the DeVos Place® and Van Andel Arena® box offices, all Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at Ticketmaster.com, and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Ticket prices are $65, $75, and $95, and prices are subject to change.

LaughFest 2015 Community Kickoff

Did you wear your sunglasses at night (cue up the Corey Hart) to help us kick off LaughFest in 2014? Then you helped officially broke the the world record for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark!

Now we’re ready to break another world record…with your help! For the LaughFest 2015 Community Kickoff, LaughFest is asking you to help us break the Guinness World Record for most people wearing paper crowns!

This family friendly Community Kickoff, presented by Feyen Zylstra, will take place at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids and will include free entertainment. The first 1,500 participants will receive an exclusive commemorative LaughFest button. A small quantity of official, limited edition world record event LaughFest t-shirts will be available for purchase.  Amway will be providing hand warmers and hot chocolate to fight off the cold!

The current Guinness World Record for largest number of people wearing paper crowns was achieved on July 22, 2014 by 1,324 participants and was accomplished at Sathya Diabetic Centre, at Kanchipuram, in Tamilnadu, India.  We’ve already set a new world record and broken records set by Boston, St. Louis, and Chicago…and now we’re ready to take on the world with your help!

LaughFest 2014 Sunglasses at Night World Record attempt

Here’s the run down for the night:

March 5 – LaughFest Community Kickoff

  • 5:30 p.m. – lineup begins, pre-activities start
  • 6:30 p.m. – program starts
  • 6:45 p.m. – official attempt to break the existing record

Following the Kickoff, the free opening night Preview Show will be held at the Pyramid Scheme (68 Commerce Ave.) at 10 p.m. and will include a sneak peak of local, regional and national comedians who will be featured during the 10-day festival. A suggested High Five donation to Gilda’s Club will be collected at the door. Fast passes are available at LaughFest Central, which will guarantee the holder a seat at the show as long as they are seated 15 minutes prior to start time.

Tickets are also available for the Clean Comedy Showcases at The BOB at 7 & 8 p.m. that night – tickets are $20 and $35.

Won’t you seriously join us to break this world record?

– Your Friends at Gilda’s LaughFest

Michigan Global Roots Music Festival

Local Spins

Music therapist and An Dro percussionist Carolyn Koebel has seen the impact that traditional music and rhythms from different parts of the world can have on audiences, from toddlers to senior citizens.

Those reactions – and a desire to expose audiences to multi-cultural art forms – sparked her interest in launching the Michigan Global Roots Music Festival, which takes place for the second year in three Michigan cities starting Friday.

Mediterranean Fusion: Wisaal performing during last year's festival at Osgood Brewing. (Photo/Kristine Carpenter)

With her own Celtic-fueled An Dro, Lansing’s Mediterranean fusion group Wisaal and West African drum and dance artists such as Dunuya, Rootead and Leah Ivory on board, along with others, the festival is a family-friendly affair that kicks off Friday night at The Avenue Café in Lansing, continues Saturday morning at the Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo and wraps up Sunday afternoon at One Trick Pony in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids Symphony Presents “Symphony with Soul” featuring Vanessa Williams

Multi-talented performer Vanessa Williams is known for her strength in the musical charts as well as her powerful performances on television and Broadway. On Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 8:00 p.m., Williams will join the Grand Rapids Symphony for its 14th annual “Symphony with Soul” concert. For the 10th year, the concert will be preceded by Celebration of Soul, a special event celebrating diversity and inclusion initiatives in West Michigan.

For 14 years, the annual “Symphony with Soul” concert has moved audiences with music ranging from jazz and gospel to opera and classical. This season, Vanessa Williams will join the orchestra at DeVos Performance Hall to perform a selection of her greatest hits. The program will include “Overture” by Adolphus Hailstork and the Grand Rapids Community Chorus
directed by Duane Shields Davis.

Tickets are available at the DeVos Place® convention center and Van Andel Arena® box offices, Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at Ticketmaster.com, or charge by phone at 1-800-982-2787.


Taste of Soul Sunday!!! Reminder

Taste Of Soul Sunday

February 15, 2015, 1:00 – 4:30 pm

Main Library
111 Library Street NE | 49503

Join us as we celebrate African American history and culture at the tenth annual Taste of Soul Sunday.Listen, learn, play and eat.

This popular event is free and open to the public thanks to the support of the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation. Consider a gift today.

Parking is always free on Sunday in the library lot. The parking ramp at GRCC (north of our building) is also open on Sundays. Metered spots on the street are free on Sunday as well.

Schedule of events:

1:00 pm Karisa Wilson, folk musician Level 1
1:30 pm 61Syx Teknique, dance group Ryerson Auditorium, Level 3
1:30 pm Growing Up in Auburn Hills with Beverly Grant and Ellen James Adult Computer Training Center, Lower Level
1:30 pm Whatever Happened to Idlewild? with Coy Davis Jr. Youth Computer Training Center, Level 2
2:00 pm What Does Your Name Mean? Paint Party Storytime Room, Level 2
2:15 pm Storyteller John Steven Crowley Quiet Study Room, Lower Level
2:15 pm Exploring African American Quilts with Aleia Brown Vander Veen Center for the Book, Level 4
2:30 pm Serita’s Black Rose, soul group Ryerson Auditorium, Level 3
3:00 pm Whatever Happened to Idlewild? with Coy Davis Jr. Youth Computer Training Center, Level 2
3:00 pm The Auburn Hills Neighborhood: Race and Grand Rapids from Past to Present with Jeremy Moore, Kyle Lim, Paula Triplett, Denise Evans, and Darel Ross Adult Computer Training Center, Lower Level
3:00 pm One Crazy Poetry Reading Children’s Area, Level 2
3:00 pm 61Syx Teknique Workshop Teen Area, Level 2
3:30 pm Imani Singers of Grand Rapids, gospel group Ryerson Auditorium, Level 3
3:45 pm Exploring African American Quilts with Aleia Brown Vander Veen Center for the Book, Level 4
3:45 pm Storyteller John Steven Crowley Quiet Study Room, Lower Level

When and Where to Find Jazz in Grand Rapids

When and Where to Find Jazz in Grand Rapids (Hint: All Over!)


– See more at: http://www.experiencegr.com/blog/jazz-in-grand-rapids/#sthash.t3SE0nSs.dpuf

Underground Concert Series Lafontsee Galleries

On February 15 at 3:00 p.m., you can catch the inaugural concert in LaFontsee Galleries’ Underground Concert Series presented in collaboration by AdventureMusic.org. A string quartet and jazz quintet with arrangements composed by Steve Talaga will accompany poet Linda Nemec Foster while she reads from her composition “Contemplating the Heavens.”

“The idea for this series is a throwback to the 1990s,” says Megan Dupuy, Marketing and Communications at LaFontsee Galleries. “We had a series with the same title when we were at our old location on Monroe.” During that era, the Underground Concert Series featured artists like Roscoe Mitchell, Reggie Workman, Nels Cline, Regina Carter, Ken Vandermark and the late Fred Anderson. “We’re excited to get to it again!” says Dupuy.

One unique aspect of the LaFontsee series is that they feature improvisational jazz. “These concerts bring in musicians from all over the place,” explains Dupuy. “The musicians may or may not have played together before. In a lot of cases, they haven’t. So it’s very creative.”

The second concert in the series is scheduled for March 22 at 3 p.m. and will feature Charlie Kohlhase’s Chicago Explorers Club. The April event is still being scheduled. “Our plan for next year to have a concert in October [2015], February, March, and April,” says Dupuy.

Tickets for each concert are $20 in advance, $10 for students with a student I.D. and $25 at the door. To purchase advance tickets from www.adventuremusic.org, click here.

– See more at: http://www.experiencegr.com/blog/jazz-in-grand-rapids/#sthash.t3SE0nSs.dpuf