Thursday, January 24, 2013
The Equinox Band Expands Ancient Celtic Music to New Dimensions
Having played at dozens of music and cultural festivals throughout the region, the Equinox Celtic Band will return to the Great Lakes Bay Region in a concert March 3, 4:00 p.m., at historic First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson Avenue, Saginaw, MI 48607. This concert, the third in the Friends of Music series of musical events offered during the 2012-2013 season, is free and open to the public, but the suggested donation of $10 will help defray event expenses.
Equinox is made up of six multi-talented musicians: Leslie Gregory, Jean Marie Learman, Kathy Morris, Bob Pennington, Vern Pococke, and Liz Sauer. At the Celtic core of the band are traditional pipes, fiddle, flute, whistles, and the concertina. By adding guitars, the mandolin, and Middle Eastern and West African percussion instruments, the band expands an ancient music to new dimensions. Joy Butler, Director of the Bay Arts Council, comments that “Equinox can bathe you in seemingly effortless melodies one moment and then turn around and amaze you with a ferocious musical barrage of sound and dance the next.”
Equinox Celtic Band performs a range of repertoire from sweet renditions of the familiar “Danny Boy,” “The Irish Washerwoman,” and the tunes of O'Carolan, to hard-driving arrangements of “Ye Jacobites” and “Whiskey in the Jar.”
First Congregational Church is an acoustically superb building, which dates to 1868, and is located on the corner of Jefferson and Hayden in downtown Saginaw. The congregation is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and has recognized excellence and eclecticism in its musical offerings since the 1800’s.
Music and the performing arts have been a key part of the congregation’s demonstration and outreach for over one hundred years. The church has offered concerts for the general public welcoming Duke Ellington and Virgil Fox, high school and college choirs, the Saginaw Choral Society, the city’s Jazz on Jefferson street festival, the Friends of Music series of recitals, and several other events. It is also the birthplace of The New Reformation Band. Recently, Michigan’s Ninetieth Legislature recognized the key role of the congregation in the preservation of Saginaw’s Cathedral District and in the outreach to the community as a whole: “The example that the members of this church has provided has touched and influenced all the people of Saginaw, and is a tangible demonstration that First Congregational is a church that has not abandoned Saginaw, but rather, keeps working to improve it.”
The congregation’s comprehensive music programs have attracted professional and amateur musicians, music educators, and enthusiasts for decades. More than fifty choir members and Friends of Music serve as the program’s on-site technical base that is almost entirely volunteer. In 2011, the congregation welcomed Dr. Steven L. Egler, Professor of Organ at Central Michigan University, as its first Artist in Residence.
Dozens of Friends of Music initiatives take place annually and are self-sustaining. These events bring together regional artists of all ages and skill.