story and photographs by Janet I. Martineau
Announced today, the winners are kept a secret until the night of Thursday, May 2, during a banquet at TheDow Event Center, 303 Johnson. The reception, dinner with entertainment and awards ceremony recognizes arts organizations, businesses, volunteers and civic leaders whose efforts on behalf of the arts have enhanced the quality of life in Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Ah Tempo! is the nominated vocal sextet, Stasi Schaeffer the Saginawian in Scotland, and the Rhea Miller Series at Saginaw Valley State University the long-running music series.
|Sculpture show at SVSU's Marshall Fredericks|
However, one winner was named in today’s announcement.
Last year the commission originated a new award separated from the rest -- the Great Lakes Bay Regional Award, presented annually to a person, or organization, whose vision is to encourage a thriving arts and cultural environment in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Saginaw Valley State University, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is this year’s winner of that special award.
Among its varied artistic and cultural events are: the aforementioned Rhea Miller Concert Series, a series of 15 films shown by the Valley Film Society, the week-long Theodore Roethke Poetry and Arts Festival, the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, exhibitions in the University Art Art Gallery, Department of Music concerts by students and artists in residence, an International Cultural Night featuring talent from its foreign students, and a theater department which stages nearly 10 shows a year and operates a summer theater camp.
The All Area Arts Awards nominees, in alphabetical order, are:
|Ah Tempo! performing at Saginaw on Stage|
Ah Tempo! – Since 2009, this group of six male singers and an a piano accompanist has been entertaining audiences with intricate harmonies mixed with witty comments. Sponsored by the Saginaw Choral Society, they volunteer their time to rehearse and perform at area concerts, community events, special occasions and private parties.
Catholic Federal Credit Union – Catholic Federal offers volunteer workers, outreach programs and charitable contributions to PRIDE, Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, Temple Theatre, Saginaw Art Museum and many other organizations.
Ryan Kaltenbach – As deputy director and assistant curator of the Saginaw Art Museum, Kaltenbach’s commitment and leadership kept the museum operating on a daily basis during a time of significant financial and operational challenges.
Major Chords for Minors – Established two years ago by Katrina and John Vowell, Major Chords for Minors provides free music instruction to youths in grades 3-12 whose families cannot afford music lessons. Focused on at-risk youth in the city of Saginaw, the program employs four instructors in piano, guitar, drums and flute. It opened to 11 students in 2011 and now has 74 students with 71 on a waiting list.
Rhea Miller Concert Series – Now entering its 20th season, this series yearly offers four free classical music concerts by international artists -- guitar quartets, piano duets, vocalists. It is funded by an endowment given by its namesake.
|Rusty Myers in SVSU's "Moon Over Buffalo"|
Rusty Myers – Myers is the first student in the history of Saginaw Valley State University to win a regional Irene Ryan Award for acting during the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Only 16 college students nationwide receive this honor in a competition that thousands of collegians compete for each year in eight regionals of the festival. He heads off to the nationals later this month,.
Myers has performed in numerous productions in a variety of challenging roles during his years at SVSU, is a founding member of a theatrical mentor program for college students, has taught theatre basics to area youth as a volunteer for SVSU’s summer theatre camp and has led workshops for area high school students.
Saginaw on Stage – This year, the Rotary Club of Saginaw sponsored its 10th annual Saginaw on Stage fund-raising concert, over the years donating nearly $140,000 from its revenues to benefit the arts and other non-profits.
The event has grown from a few bands on the Temple Theatre stage to 30 acts on five stages at Apple Mountain. All efforts are volunteers, from the Rotary members who work out all the details to the performing groups.
Stasi Schaeffer – Schaeffer recently was the tour director for a Scottish Opera production touring 50 cities and towns in that country, and also directs new works at the A Play, A Pie and A Pint theater company in Glasgow.
During her Saginaw years she was a founding member of two theatre organizations, CAGE and 303 Collective. She performed in or directed nearly 40 productions at Pit & Balcony Community Theatre, Bay City Players and Midland Center for the Arts as well as CAGE and 303. And from 2003 to 2007 she was the manager of the Temple Theatre.
Howard Sharper – A lifelong Saginaw resident, Sharper is a Michigan Association of Public Broadcasting board member, retired disc jockey and manager of programming and production for WUCX Q, 90.1, Delta College public radio. He has been a long-time advocate for local and regional musicians and mentored students looking at a career in broadcasting.
Lois Wilkins – Wilkins started a beginning strings program for underserved urban youth in Saginaw. She has partnered with school administrators, musical organizations and funders to enable 60 of the area’s youth to participate in Lois’s Beginning Strinz Program.
Tickets to the May 2 awards ceremony are $40. The event is open to the public and begins at 6:30pm with an hors d’ oeuvres reception and music by Major Chords for Minors and the award-winning Trojan Drum Line from Saginaw High School. After dinner, “American Idol” contestant Charles Allen will perform.
Call the Enrichment Commission at 989-759-1363, ext. 223 for more information or to purchase tickets.