KCC “Singing in the Spring” concert returns April 21; concert to feature world premiere of new College alma mater

Kellogg Community College’s annual “Singing in the Spring” concert returns to Battle Creek this month with a musical celebration of springtime that will also include the world-premiere performance of the College’s first-ever alma mater.

“Singing in the Spring” will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at First Presbyterian Church, 111 Capital Ave. NE in Battle Creek. The event is free and open to the public, though a freewill offering will be collected to support future music programming and initiatives at the College, including a planned concert tour of the Baltics in June 2025 featuring performances in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

KCC Music Area Coordinator and Vocal Arts Director Dr. Gerald Case-Blanchard said the concert repertoire represents music from many centuries, styles and genres as “a celebration of springtime” and the choral arts.

“Every concert is unique in its own right, but this one is special because I have selected music from our past,” Case-Blanchard said. “Many of these pieces were from previous concerts spanning our 68-year-long history and my 20 years of leading this program. What makes this concert even more special is that our choir along with invited alumni will present the world premiere of the College’s alma mater.”

The concert will open with remarks from the Rev. Lorenzo Small, pastor of First Presbyterian, and KCC President Dr. Paul R. Watson II, before the music begins with a faculty spotlight featuring coloratura soprano Betty Picard and trumpeter and KCC Jazz Band Director Eric Campbell, performing in a cantata accompanied by Nancy Brown.

Performances will follow with a program presented in four parts, performed by the KCC Choral Union directed by Case-Blanchard with accompanist Brown.

Part one, “Music for Sacred Spaces,” will feature Handel’s “Zadok the Priest,” Giuseppe Pitoni’s “Cantate Domino,” and “I Will Arise” by Kenneth Drake.

Part two will consist of student spotlight performances by saxophonist Chifumi Tsukagoshi, accompanied by Cynthia Garn, and pianist Zach Franklin.

The choirs will return for parts three and four, titled “Songs of Joy, Sorrow, Longing and Spirit,” and “Americana,” respectively.

Selections from part three include the traditional hymn “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal,” arranged by Alice Parker and sung by KCC student soprano India Carney-Wright and baritone Anthony Garn; compositions by Johannes Brahms; “In Song We Raise Our Voices,” by Dominic Dousa; the traditional Welsh air “All Through the Night,” arranged by Jeremy Rawson; and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Music of the Night,” from “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Part four will consist of more modern compositions, including “Stomp Your Foot” (from “The Tender Land”) by Aaron Copeland; “Great Day,” arranged by Brazeal W. Dennard and performed by student soloist Franklin; and “The Battle of Jericho,” arranged by Moses Hogan and performed by student soloist Carney-Wright.

The concert will close with the world premiere performance of KCC’s brand-new, first-ever alma mater – official song – titled “Alma Mater KCC: Beacon of Hope,” with words by KCC English professor Ronald E. Davis, music composed by Case-Blanchard, and arrangement by longtime KCC music instructor Dr. Mark Wells.

Case-Blanchard said Davis’s words guided his hand as he worked composing the music, “which truly expresses from a musical standpoint the very elements that represent who we are as Bruins and our 100% commitment to our charge as an institution of higher learning.”

“I am so grateful to Dr. Paul Watson and the KCC Board of Trustees for placing their trust in me and my musical colleagues to produce a piece of music that would be truly reflective of who we are as a caring, nurturing, community-focused institution of higher learning,” Case-Blanchard said. “I believe we have created a final product that all Bruins, past, present and future, can celebrate and have a sense of pride in.”

For more information about the concert or other music programming at the College, contact Case-Blanchard at case-blanchardg@kellogg.edu or 269-565-7859.

About Music at Kellogg Community College

KCC’s Arts and Communication Department offers a robust Music Program including an Associate of Arts degree with a Music concentration and certificates in Music Enrichment and Sacred Music. Additional music opportunities for students and community members offered through the College include individualized voice and instrument lessons, master classes, student recitals, an annual Opera Workshop and other music initiatives, including youth performance camps.

The College also host three residential choirs, including the Branch County Community Chorus, the Concentus Vocal Ensemble and the Kellogg Singers – which perform together as the KCC Choral Union – as well as resident Concert and Jazz bands.

In addition to performing regularly in its home state of Michigan, the KCC Choral Union has performed nationally at major venues in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and performed international concert tours of Ireland and Italy in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

KCC choirs have opened for several internationally renowned musicians, including Grammy Award-winning musical groups Take 6 and Sweet Honey in the Rock, and regularly collaborate with major musical organizations including the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, the Haydn Festival Orchestra, the Monroe Community Chorale and Symphony and the Sacred Music Festival of Kalamazoo.

For more information, visit kellogg.edu/music.

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