THE SUMMER RHAPSODY MUSIC FESTIVAL
The Summer Rhapsody Music Festival first began as a concert series to feature a massive, collaborative orchestra comprised of some of the best musicians in the Midwest. Performers from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and all of the Northwest Indiana ensembles came together to rehearse challenging repertoire, selected by Maestro Rosario-Vega. They met once before the performance in Central Plaza, the park in downtown Valparaiso, and kicked off the festival with a bang.
Part of its aim is to unite musicians; another aim is to provide excellent, high quality performances for residents in Northwest Indiana (specifically Valpo) during the summer months. Over the years, the Festival has grown to include other artists and events on select Thursday nights. Join the festival again this summer!
Picture @ Dusk © 2012 Jon L. Hendricks – www.jonlhendricks.com
FEED THE SOUL
Co-created in 2013 by Derek Meilaender and the owners of Sweet Lou, That’s Who!, “Feed The Soul” came to life when Deneza Jadol, Victoria Myhand, and Grace Tarnow sang at the local restaurant during the Summer of 2014. It was a trial-and-error performance to see if various showcase events would, indeed, work at Sweet Lou’s each summer.
“Feed the Soul” became a full Written & Performing Arts Annual Showcase event in 2015, when Michigan City Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram joined forces with ViVace Assai and Sweet Lou to sponsor even more opportunities. Derek brought local band students out to the restaurant from Barker Middle School to give a performance and meet local representatives from non-profit arts organizations. ViVace sponsored Celebrity Artist Nicolas Orbovich to promote the Michigan City Chamber Music Festival, and Deneza, Victoria, & Grace returned as vocalists the same weekend. VAi continued to advocate for John Hancock’s film, The Looking Glass, and Derek initiated an annual fundraiser on Memorial Saturday for local band departments & performing arts groups, called the “Rock ‘N Wash.” While performing arts representatives and advocates stopped in to the restaurant to mingle with students, families, and VAi artists, MCAS students and parents washed cars out back in Sweet Lou’s drive through. All the different activities became part of the “Feed The Soul” Memorial weekend experience.
Many of the same artists returned in the summer of 2016, and VAi expanded the showcase to a second weekend to feature vocalists and establish a venue for Hoosier Stars to perform at Sweet Lou’s. Additional MCAS students from Michigan City High School joined the activities and the “Rock N Wash.” The concept was, and always will be, to bring as many different artists, directors, students, and families out to the Showcase events each summer to mingle with artists, advocates, and other non-profit representatives, to participate in various fundraising events, and to promote arts awareness and support for Written & Performing Arts in Northwest Indiana.
Expanded to multiple weekends (though still beginning every Memorial Weekend), VAi has launched the next phase of “Feed The Soul” Showcase activities – to bring in even more clinicians, professional artists, and celebrities to advocate for music, theater, and literature programs!