Velvet Caravan opens the Living Room Series at The Mendel Center on Oct. 3

Velvet Caravan, a high-energy, eclectic quintet based in Savannah, Georgia, brings its acoustic-based music to The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College to open the Living Room Series season. This performance is scheduled for Thursday, October 3, at 7 pm. This special Living Room Series performance will be held on The Mendel Center Mainstage where audience members will sit on stage with the band for a unique musical experience.

Since its beginning, Velvet Caravan’s journey has continued to gain momentum as its reputation for top-notch virtuosity and unforgettable live shows has become the band’s unique global brand. Praised for its “compositional whimsy and ferocious technique” (The Austin Chronicle), Velvet Caravan “brings together musicians from as close as Austin and as far away as Venezuela and Slovenia. The quintet’s varied lineage contributes to its eclectic sound, as the group weaves thick threads of Latin and gypsy music into acoustic swing jazz” (The Austin Chronicle). Whether on the big stage with a full orchestra or in an intimate jazz club, the band remains “tight and vibrantly free. Velvet Caravan pours violin, acoustic guitar, upright bass, accordion, keyboard, and percussion into a gumbo of lively swing music.” (Creative Loafing, Atlanta)

As a national and international touring ensemble that brings a bit of southern charm and coastal coolness to its music, the band still calls Savannah, Georgia, its home. If one were to name a Savannah-based musical act that most exemplifies this time-honored, eclectic, and adventurous city, they’d be hard pressed to find a more appropriate ambassador than Velvet Caravan.

This unorthodox group has emerged as one of the shining lights of the Coastal Empire’s burgeoning music scene. It has grown from performing as an instrumental combo, which routinely drew enthusiastic and loyal followers at raucous restaurants and jazz clubs, into a respected and admired touring act that is comfortable in an attentive listening room or large concert hall.

Among its orchestral collaborations, the group has performed with the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and the Jackson Symphony Orchestra. They have also performed in world-class jazz clubs such as The Iridium in New York City, The Jazz Corner in Hilton Head, and in intimate listening rooms such as Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta. Among many festivals and events, Velvet Caravan has enjoyed performing with many music festivals including the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, and the Rochester International Jazz Festival in Rochester, New York.

Velvet Caravan’s unique ability to subtly shift musical gears without sacrificing their integrity as composers and performers is rare indeed. This has resulted in an envelope-pushing group that is just as successful at dazzling jaded cocktail drinkers as they are at commanding the rapt attention of serious music aficionados in whisper-quiet recital environments. Of late, the band has even taken things a step further by mesmerizing and inspiring even the most finicky of schoolchildren through fun and engaging music educational programming.

Advance tickets for Velvet Caravan are $13 and available at, through The Mendel Center box office at (269) 927-8700, option 1, and in person weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm at the box office located in The Mendel Center, 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor. Tickets at the door will be $18. Published ticket prices do not include applicable fees.

The 2019-20 Living Room Series is sponsored by Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council.