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Brave new voices

Brave New VoicesMark your calendars for Friday, May 10th at 7:30 p.m. when seven choirs and individuals from the Great Lakes Bay region join forces to give voice to those who often remain silent in the Brave New Voices concert. The concert will be held at Central Auditorium in Midland, and aims to build community, promote inclusion, and support a vision of a more peaceful and united world. Tickets are $5 and available through Eventbrite ( or at the ticket office prior to the performance.

“We believe that all people have a place at the table, and elevation of voices that are too often silent helps us see ourselves in those voices,” said Sheree Clark Lovell, one of the event organizers. “Our intent is to support a vision of a more inclusive world, and our message will emphasize belonging, bravery, and authenticity through an energetic production of music and the spoken word.”

Lovell brought the concept for Brave New Voices to Midland after she attended an event called Nashville in Harmony last year. The 150 voice choir of LGBTQ individuals and their allies offered a performance that lifted up a message of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. When she shared her idea of developing a similar concert in Midland, the idea took hold. Serious planning began in September 2018.

Since then, organizers have expanded into a 14-person production team representing churches, schools, businesses and non-profits from across the region who believe that music and poetry speak powerfully to these themes, and as art, touch people in ways that transcend ordinary conversation. In addition to the music, guests will hear the words of a young African-American woman, a transgendered boy, and a first-generation Syrian immigrant and member of the Muslim community.

The concert features soloists Ben DeGroot and Mary Gilbert, along with speakers Aja Philpot, Felix Fritton, and Raheef Alturkmani. Jim Hohmeyer serves as conductor, with assistance from Grace Marra, Heather DeGroot, and Andrew Schulz. Tom Lowrey provides narration. Instrumentalists include Brad DeRoche on guitar; Loren Krantz on drums; Roland Wallace on bass; and pianists Matthew Conley, Heather DeGroot, and Sheree Clark Lovell.

Audience members are invited to the band room following the concert to enjoy refreshments and an opportunity to speak to the performers. Many event sponsors will also have informational tables at the reception. Sponsors include: Creative 360, Cultural Awareness Coalition of the Midland Community Foundation, Advance Concepts Committee of Memorial Presbyterian Church, Legacy Center, Midland United Church of Christ, Baumann Peace and Justice Fund of the Midland United Church of Christ, Family and Children’s Services, Perceptions of Saginaw Valley, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Midland Center for the Arts and GLAD of the Dow Chemical Company.

Find more information on the event website at

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