St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids Announces a Stellar 2018/2019 Season of Music including Special Events for Women’s History Month in March

St. Cecilia Music Center (SCMC) in Grand Rapids will begin a new season of music on October 11, 2018to celebrate their 135-year history as the oldest arts organization in Grand Rapids and West Michigan. Exciting happenings during the new season include a renewed three-year partnership with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performing three concerts and classical treasures from Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn to Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky. Another four-concert spectacular Jazz Series will feature some of the most renowned Grammy award-winning jazz artists in the world. Jazz greats to perform at SCMC include Jazz Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, Jazz Master Kenny Barron Quintet, Multi-talented Jazz Musician Joey DeFranceso, and the Legendary Benny Green Triowith 23-year old jazz sensation Veronica Swift. An expanded Folk Series also kicks off with the renowned Brooklyn-now-Nashville-based band The Lone Bellow.

“We are very excited about the artists coming for our 135th anniversary season,” says Cathy Holbrook, SCMC Executive Director. “And, we are so pleased to renew another three-year agreement with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, securing many seasons of phenomenal chamber music. This year’s Jazz Series is also going to be phenomenal with some legends, as well as, rising stars in the mix.”

In addition to the exciting concert line-up, SCMC is pleased to announce two special events to celebrate their 135-year anniversary during March 2019 Women’s History Month. SCMC’s history is integrally aligned with women’s history in Grand Rapids. The organization was founded in 1883 by nine Grand Rapids women and was the only organization of its kind to be run solely by women.  It was through the efforts of the first women of SCMC that the historic building on Ransom Avenue was erected in 1894, and it is their original mission that SCMC continues to uphold today.

St. Cecilia Music Center’s mission is to promote the study, appreciation and performance of music in order to enrich the lives of West Michigan residents. The Center fulfills this mission by presenting visiting world-class artists in concert, providing music education for all ages through our School of Music and preserving a historic building for musical activities and community events.

SCMC’s 2018/2019 Jazz Series

The Jazz Series will launch the new 2018/2019 concert season beginning on October 11, 2018 with 10-time GRAMMY™Award winner Jazz Trumpet Great Arturo Sandoval. Arturo Sandoval, protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, is one of the most dynamic and vivacious live performers of our time, and has been seen by millions at the Oscars, the Grammy Awards, and the Billboard Awards. Cuban born Sandoval, in addition to his 10 Grammy awards, has been nominated 19 times for a Grammy. He has also received 6 Billboard Awards and an Emmy Award, the latter for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, “For Love or Country” that starred Andy Garcia as Arturo. His two latest Grammy award winning albums, “Dear Diz “Everyday I think of you” and Tango “Como Yo Te Siento” are now available worldwide.

Following Arturo Sandoval on the Jazz Series will be theKenny Barron Quintet performing on November 1, 2018. Barron has earned eleven GRAMMY™ nods beginning in 1992 for Best Jazz Album with “People Time” an outstanding duet with Stan Getz, and most recently in 2017 for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. TheLos Angeles Timeshas called Kenny Barron “one of the top jazz pianists in the world”. Honored by The National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master, Kenny Barron has an unmatched ability to mesmerize audiences with his elegant playing, sensitive melodies and infectious rhythms. In 2009, he was inducted into the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and received the Living Legacy Award from Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. In 2005, he was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame and won a MAC Lifetime Achievement Award. He was named Best Pianist in 2017 by the Jazz Journalists Association a record seven times.

Multi-talented Jazz Musician Joey DeFranceso will appear with his quartet “The People” on February 7, 2018. Applauded as “one of the best B-3 players on the planet” by Jazz Times, DeFranceso will be releasing his new album on Mack Avenue Records – Project Freedom. The new album features him on the Hammond B-3, along with contributions on keyboards, trumpet and as a vocalist.Accompanying DeFrancesco will be drummer Jason Brown, guitarist Dan Wilson and saxophonist Troy Roberts—collectively billed as “the People.” DeFrancesco has recorded and/or toured with his own groups as well as numerous renowned artists that include Ray Charles, Diana Krall, Nancy Wilson, George Benson, John Scofield, Bobby Hutcherson, John McLaughlin, David Sanborn and many more. DeFranceso recently recorded an album with Van Morrison, soon to be released. The three time Grammy® Award-nominee, with more than 30 recordings as a leader under his belt, has received countless Jazz Journalist Association awards and other accolades worldwide, including being inducted into the inaugural Hammond Organ Hall of Fame in 2014, the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame in 2016 as well as topping the Critics Polls in DownBeat Magazine eleven times over the past fifteen years and the Readers Polls every year since 2005.

The final Jazz Series Concert of the season will be the Benny Green Trio with young rising jazz singer Veronica Swift on March 7, 2019Veronica Swift will launch her newest album for release in 2018 and the album will feature the great pianist Benny Green and his trio.At age 23, Veronica Swift is now being recognized around the country as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene.In the fall of 2015, she won second place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. In 2016, she was asked to perform a concert of her own at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City and she was a guest artist with Michael Feinstein at Jazz at Lincoln Center.  Benny Green, a veteran of the jazz world possesses the history of jazz at his fingertips. He combines a mastery of keyboard technique with decades of real world experience playing with no one less than the most celebrated artists of the last half century.Benny Green is hailed as perhaps the most exciting hard-swinging, hard-bop pianist to ever emerge from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.    

SCMC’s 2018/2019 Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center2018/2019 season begins on November 15, 2018 featuring the beloved composition The Trout Quintet. Five consummate musicians will perform diverse gems from the 19th century during this program. Musicians will include pianist Orion Weiss, violinist Paul Huang, violist Paul Neubauer, cellist Keith Robinson, and double bassist Zavier Foley. During the first half, their performance will include duos and trios featuring Beethoven’s variations on Mozart’s melody, Schubert’s creation for the arpeggione (an instrument that no longer exists), and Bottesini’s virtuoso showpiece for violin and double bass. The artists will join forces after intermission to perform Schubert’s “Trout Quintet”, which has garnered a reputation as one of the most popular works in the chamber repertory.

  • Beethoven – Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” from Die Zauberflöte for Cello and Piano, WoO46
  • Schubert – Sonata in A minor for Viola and Piano, D. 821, “Arpeggione”
  • Bottesini – Gran duo concertante for Violin, Double Bass and Piano
  • Schubert – Quintet in A major for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass, D. 667, Op. 114 “Trout”

In Spring, March 14, 2019CMS will return to perform a program entitled Russian Mastery, featuring works by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Arensky. Co-artistic Director  and pianist Wu Han will return to Grand Rapids with violinists Arnaud Sussman and Alexander Sitkovetsky, and cellist Nicholas Canellakis. Russia’s vastly expressive music over time has told the story of its country and people, painting a picture through music of its turbulent historical landscape. The Prokofiev Two Violin Sonata, written in 1932, stands apart as an audaciously creative work from the period between the wars, while the remaining works will be glorious musical outpourings of the age of the tsars and the Russian Empire.

  • Rachmaninov – Trio élégiaque in G minor for Piano, Violin and Cello
  • Tchaikovsky – Souvenir d’un lieu cher for Violin and Piano, Op. 42
  • Prokofiev – Sonata in C major for Two Violins, Op. 56
  • Rachmaninov – Romance and Oriental Dance for Cello and Piano
  • Arensky – Trio No. 1 in D minor for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op. 32 

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will perform again on April 25, 2018 with a program titled From Mendelssohn, who led composers to follow him for generations. Mendelssohn’s combined mastery of melody, form, counterpoint, and the chamber idiom was admired and imitated by composers for generations. In a program bookended by two works of Mendelssohn from 1845, one brief, the other epic, the audience will hear Mendelssohn’s close friend Robert Schumann’s response to Mendelssohn’s piano trios; how, near the end of his life, Brahms recalled Mendelssohn’s lyricism through the viola’s dark voice; and, finally, how Mendelssohn’s great admirer Tchaikovsky combined the German’s signature scherzo idiom with Russian melancholy and splendor in three selections from The Seasonsfor solo piano. CMS musicians performing for the final concert of the season will include pianist Inon Barnatan, violinist Cho-Liang Lin, violist Paul Neubauer, cellist Jakob Koranyi, and clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois.

  • Mendelssohn- Lied ohne Worte in D major for Cello and Piano, Op. 109
  • Schumann – Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales) for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, Op. 132
  • Brahms – Sonata in E-flat major for Viola and Piano, Op. 120, No. 2
  • Tchaikovsky – Selections from Les saisons for Piano, Op. 37b
  • Mendelssohn – Trio No. 2 in C minor for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op. 66

SCMC’s 2018/2019 First-of-the-Season Folk Series Concert

The first Folk Series Concert of the season on November 29 will feature The Lone Bellow, a Brooklyn-based band who have become known for their transcendent harmonies, serious musicianship and lively performances.This evening will be part of The Lone Bellow’s acoustic “TRIIIO TOUR.” Their victorious release three years ago,Then Came The Morningproduced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, was nominated for an Americana Music Awardand helped create a large dedicated fan base. Subsequently, the band appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Show With David Letterman,” “Conan O’Brien,” “CBS This Morning,” “Later…with Jools Holland,” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden” in support of the album. In the years since the release, the band left their home of Brooklyn and moved to Nashville. Right before their St. Cecilia Music Center appearance, The Lone Bellow will release a new album, Walk Into A Storm,on September 15, 2018 with Sony Music Masterworks. The trio features Zach Williams (guitar/vocals), Kanene Donehey Pipkin (multi-instrumentalist), and Brian Elmquist (guitar)

SCMC Executive Director Cathy Holbrook adds, “We are very excited to welcome The Lone Bellow on this special acoustic tour. SCMC will be the perfect venue for this great band to start SCMC’s Folk Series.  Stay tuned for more folk concerts to be announced as the fall approaches.”

Along with the exciting Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz and Folk series concerts, St. Cecilia Music Center is pleased to announce the following March 2019 Celebration Events for their 135-year anniversary during Women’s History Month. 

March 23, 2019, the first annual Helen DeVos Legacy Award dinner will debut to honor the late Helen DeVos, lifelong benefactor and supporter of many arts organizations within the community. SCMC will honor the late Helen DeVos for a lifetime of philanthropic service and, in particular, her support and love of the arts. The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation has been one of the most important benefactors of SCMC over the years. Helen DeVos served on the SCMC Board of Directors and had a special appreciation for music. Her lifetime of patronage to the arts had a huge impact on the cultural growth of Grand Rapids as a city.

At the gala dinner on March 23, 2019 SCMC will pay tribute to Mrs. DeVos. In subsequent years, each March, SCMC will select a woman in Grand Rapids to receive the Helen DeVos Legacy Award at the annual honorary dinner event. The honoree will be a person who has demonstrated exemplary service within the Grand Rapids arts community and whose efforts have helped expand the cultural landscape of the city. 

A second special event celebrating women during the 2018/2019 season will be an educational outreach performance for Grand Rapids Public Schools from the New York based organization JazzReach. Currently scheduled for March15, 2019, the program titled “She Said/She Says The History and Status of Women in Jazz” will give students a view of the important role women have played in jazz. She Said/She Says is a comprehensive program highlighting some of the many important achievements of female composers, arrangers, instrumentalists and vocalists from early 20thcentury through present day. The program celebrates the lives of some of the many courageous, creative women who have dedicated their lives to the serious study and practice of jazz music. Students from various Grand Rapids Public Schools will come to SCMC for this assembly.

“Celebrating SCMC’s 135th anniversary with special events during Women’s History Month in March 2019 is extremely meaningful and appropriate,” comments SCMC Executive Director Cathy Holbrook. “We are thrilled to honor the late Helen DeVos for the amazing vision she had for the arts in Grand Rapids and to keep her legacy alive with the continuation of the Helen DeVos Legacy Award in years to come. Part of SCMC’s mission has always been about education and our School of Music, so bringing in GRPS students for an assembly highlighting the history of women in jazz and broadening their horizons about jazz is a perfect fit for our anniversary celebration.”


Season subscription tickets to the 2018-2019 Jazz Series and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Concert Series are now available at special rates by calling 616-459-2224 or visiting St. Cecilia Music Center at 24 Ransom NE, Grand Rapids, 49503. Single tickets to chamber, jazz, and folk concerts are also on sale now and can be purchased by phone at 616-459-2224 or online at For each concert a post-concert party is open to all ticket-holders giving the audience the opportunity to possibly meet the artists and obtain signed CDs of their releases There will also be pre-concert receptions for the CMS of Lincoln Center concerts and the Jazz Series concerts featuring wine and hors d’oeuvresfor $15 per person.

Series Subscribers are offered with great benefits including:

  • 15-20% discount off single ticket prices
  • Reserved parking on concert nights (subject to availability)
  • A discounted rate on pre-concert reception ticket price ($10 per person per reception in the Jazz or Chamber Music series – discounted from $15 per person per reception)

Ticket prices: All ticket prices include service fees and are the same no matter the purchase point. No additional fees will be added. All concerts start at 7:30pm. All concerts include a post-concert party for concert ticket holders.


Chamber Music Society Series

3-concert subscription

15% discount off single ticket prices

A Sec. Subscription $115

A Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $145

B Sec. Subscription $102

B Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $132

Spectacular Jazz Series 

4-concert subscription

15% discount off single ticket prices

A Sec. Subscription $153

A Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $193

B Sec. Subscription $136

B Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $176

Chamber +  Jazz Subscription package

20% discount off single ticket prices

7-concert combination series 

A Sec. Subscription $252

A Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $322

B Sec. Subscription $224

B Sec. Subscription with Pre-Concert Reception $294


Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Single tickets 

All concerts – November 15, 2018March 14, 2019April 25, 2019

A section $45

B section $40

Jazz Series Single tickets 

Arturo Sandoval – October 11, 2018

A section $50

B section $45

Kenny Barron Quintet – November 1, 2018

A section $45

B section $40

Joey DeFrancesco – February 7, 2019

A section $40

B section $35

Benny Green Trio & Veronica Swift – March 7, 2019

A section $45

B section $40

Folk Series single tickets 

The Lone Bellow – November 29, 2018

A section $35

B section $30

Additional Folk Series Concerts will be announced throughout the 2018/2019 season