Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saginaw's own Broadway star to receive special All Area Arts Award

by Janet I. Martineau
To celebrate this year’s 25th anniversary of its All Area Arts Awards, the Saginaw Arts and Enrichment Commission has invited a special guest for the evening -- two-time Tony nominee, and native son, Brian d’Arcy James.
“We will present him with a special 25th anniversary award that night,” says Marsha Braun, director of marketing for the commission. “And although he hasn’t confirmed it yet, we are hoping he also will perform for us.”
Brian d'Arcy James also has a long recording list
James, a 1985 graduate of Nouvel Catholic Central High School, in 2009 received Broadway’s Tony nomination for his lead role in the “Shrek the Musical” and in 2002 for his supporting role in the the musical “The Sweet Smell of Success.” 

Other stage credits in New York City include “Titanic,” “Carousel,” “Next to Normal,” “The Apple Tree,” “The Good Thief” (for which he won an Obie Award), “Floyd Collins,”  “The Wild Party” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”
He also has performed for the Kennedy Center Honors, at the White House, with the Boston Pops and in a regional tour of the musical “White Christmas.”
And despite the fact he has lived in New York City for several years now, the 42-year-old has returned home to perform for shows at the Temple Theatre and Midland Center for the Arts and with the Saginaw Choral Society. He also wrote the song “Michigan Christmas,’ with its lyrics recalling his Saginaw childhood. 
Most recently, James has been cast in the upcoming NBC-TV series pilot “Smash,” about the creation of a Broadway musical. James  plays the husband of the musical’s lyricist (played by Emmy-winner Debra Messing). And also is the cast is “American Idol” contestant Katherine McPhee.
The All-Area Arts Awards is slated for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at TheDow Event Center, 303 Johnson. Tickets are $40, which includes dinner. Call (989) 759-1363, ext. 223 to make reservations.
Confirmed performers thus far are the award-winning Trojan Drum Line from Saginaw High School and the seven-member Ah, Tempo! men’s group from the Saginaw Choral Society.
The awards recognize arts organizations, businesses, volunteers and civic leaders whose efforts on behalf of the arts have enhanced the quality of life in Saginaw County and beyond.
This year’s nominees are:
Rosalind K. Berlin – Berlin is one of Michigan’s foremost fiber artists. Over a period of 40 years, she has created a woven forest of more than 200 colorful trees, ranging in height from 2 to 15 feet, and has displayed them in galleries throughout the state. She also has taught art in schools, performed with Pit and Balcony Community Theatre, served on arts group boards, and is the current president of the River Junction Poets. 
Chancel Choir of Bethel A.M.E. – The choir has looked beyond its music ministry, seeking opportunities to collaborate with community organizations by using their music as a means to bridge the racial and cultural divide.
Megan Bublitz and Sally Giroux – Bublitz (dance) and Giroux (3D art), new staff members this year at the Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy, have fostered students selected to participate in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. 

“J.C.” Jeannine Coughlin – As instrumental music teacher at Saginaw High School, Coughlin built the program from 15 students in 1993 to nearly 200 today. Among her achievements is the creation of the award-winning Trojan Drum Line.
Domonique Freeman – Freeman studies dance at the Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy and will pursue a degree in dance after she graduates in June. She has performed at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, with the NAACP troupe, and with her knowledge of sign language helps the deaf to understand and appreciate dance.   She is the daughter of Yalonde Freeman of Saginaw Township.
Donyea Freeman – Freeman is an art student at the Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy. His work has been shown in local student art exhibitions, including the Saginaw County Art Show. He is the son of Yalonde Freeman of Saginaw Township.
Tim Grefe and Tamara Grefe – Tim Grefe has been leading and playing in bands since high school, most notably the Loose Caboose. A pianist, Tamara Grefe has performed in countless musical productions and for a number of years was the accompanist for the Saginaw Choral Society. She is currently the executive director for the Saginaw Choral Society. Over the years, the Grefes both together and individually has given freely of their time organizing and performing in benefit concerts.
Castle Museum’s History on the Move – This free-of-charge traveling classroom, housed in a brightly painted semi truck,  was created to address the need for local history education in Saginaw County. History on the Move’s current exhibition offers a hands–on archaeology experience, led by a certified teacher.
Mike and Sarah Jury – As arts advocates, Jurys are active in a variety of arts organizations. He sings with the Saginaw Choral Society, both are active board members and volunteers, and their Jury Foundation supports arts organizations with program funding.    
Sylvia McAfee – McAfee’s enthusiasm for vocal music has been a catalyst for several culturally enriching programs at Bethel A.M. E. Church. She is a member of the Saginaw Choral Society and Heritage Choral Group, while also encouraging her peers to volunteer their time and talents to local arts groups.  
Jeff Hall and Julie Meyer, Music Artists-in-Residence at Saginaw Valley State University – Hall (instrumental jazz) and Meyer (voice) are training the next generation of performing artists while also contributing to the advancement of musical performance through public concerts and outreach initiatives. 
Andrea Ondish – As director of education at SVSU’s Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, Ondish has developed community projects bringing inner-city Saginaw youth together with SVSU students for art experiences. She also is a member of the Bay Arts Council, on the adjunct art faculty at SVSU, and a painter and printmaker.
Sue White – As an entertainment writer for The Saginaw News for more than 26 years, White helps cover and promote local arts and cultural events as well as concerts by national artists. 
Wildfire Credit Union – Wildfire provides funding to many arts and cultural organizations as well as volunteer support and leadership. Annually employees volunteer more than 2,000 hours.
The All Area Arts Awards evening is funded by Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, Consumers Energy, Hausbeck Pickles & Peppers, HealthPlus of Michigan, St. Mary’s of Michigan, Ed & Suzanne Skrelunas, W.L. Case & Company and Wildfire Credit Union. 
Previous winners include the Saginaw Art Museum, Tri-Star Trust Bank, Mike Brush, Marshall M. Fredericks,  PRIDE’s Friday Night Live, Sam and Patricia Shaheen, Tom Trombley and  Saginaw Choral Society. 

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