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On April 3, St. Cecilia Music Center will present some of West Michigan's most well known and loved musicians in concert for the Fresh Folk Series. The concert will also bring in a new face from the East Side of Michigan. This event will bring together strong Michigan musicmakers and songwriters for a night to remember. The Fresh Folk Series is a series of St. Cecilia Music Center in collaboration with John Sinkevics' Local Spins and Michael Crittenden of Mackinaw Harvest Studios.

The April 3 concert will feature longtime West Michigan music advocate, singer, songwriter, and storyteller Ralston Bowles on stage with an award winning talent from Detroit, Jill Jack. According to Bowles, "I want to introduce amazing talented musicians from other parts of the state to West Michigan. If I can be a gateway to bridge some of the amazing talent throughout the state and beyond that's my aim." Jill Jack has won over 35 Detroit music awards since 1997 in every conceivable category that applies to a singer-songwriter. Not only will the two sing original music individually, but they will also blend their voices together onstage to interweave stories and their vast music experiences. Other musicians "friends" to perform with Bowles and Jack include Billy Stings and Don Julian from Traverse City, Drew Howard from Lansing and Rick Chyme from Grand Rapids.

The evening of April 3rd will also feature The Northern Skies, a prolific West Michigan band that began in 2009, created by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Eric Engblade. The band includes violinist Jeffrey Niemeier, bassist Eric Raby, and drummer Jake Castillo adding up to a dynamic quartet with maximum sound and stage impact. According to Engblade, "The band is looking forward to the Fresh Folk concert at St. Cecilia Music Center. It's outside our norm to perform acoustically and we think this is an exciting change of pace for our music followers and fans." Engblade added, "We are calling this our "Farewell Show". In 2013 we played over 100 gigs. Playing music is a lot of fun, but we won't be traveling near as much any more as we need a rest. We're excited to do live performances in the future that fit more into our lifestyle here in West Michigan. We're still excited to continue playing together, as well as, with other great bands and musicians who live here."

The Fresh Folk Series has been on the roster at St. Cecilia Music Center since the 2011 – 2012 season. It has brought Michigan's celebrated folk musicians to the unique setting of Royce Auditorium, giving all of the bands and musicians who have performed there the opportunity to play within an intimate venue with accoustic sound. Many of the performers have said that it has "given our fans and others the chance to hear us play outside of our normal routines in bars and event settings that require amped sound." According to Cathy Holbrook, Executive Director of St. Cecilia Music Center, "We wanted to showcase the great regional talent that exists in Michigan and the Fresh Folk series has done that. We are pleased to have profiled some great Michigan based talent." St. Cecilia Music Center also hosts the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center series and the Jazz series that brings world-renown performers to the Royce Auditorium Stage.

Concert Information & Tickets

The Fresh Folk Series Concert with Ralston and Friends & The Northern Skies will take place on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Cecilia Music Center located at 24 Ransom NE Grand Rapids.

Tickets for the concert are $20 for general seating. A cash bar will be offered prior to the concert and during intermission where all guests can meet the artists and obtain signed CD's.

Open seating tickets for the April 3rd Fresh Folk Series concert can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online with no additional service fees at www.nyc2gr.com or www.scmc-online.org

Courtesy: Sally Zarafonetis

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