Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival

The Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Big Rapids, Michigan.

Since its inception in 2006, Tuba Bach has brought hundreds of exceptional musicians from around the world, across the United states, and from every corner of our state to present concerts and educational programming in West-Central Michigan, free of charge and available to all.


Past Seasons Archive > 2011 Concert Season > Concert 1

Concert 1
September 11, 2011 • 4:00 P.M.
Big Rapids High School Auditorium

Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke, and Alvin Waddles

Tenor Rodrick Dixon, Soprano Alfreda Burke and pianist Alvin Waddles join forces with Edward Mallett in a program of African American spirituals and gospel music.  Dixon, Burke and Waddles are regarded as three of the country’s leading African-American musicians, garnering critical acclaim throughout the U.S. and abroad.  Special guests on this concert will be an ecumenical community church choir, comprised of Big Rapids area vocalists.  This stirring opening concert of the 2011 Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival season will also honor the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. 

This concert is made possible through the generous support of

Guest Artists Appearing with Edward Mallett:

Roderick DixonRODRICK DIXON possesses a tenor voice of extraordinary range and versatility that has earned him the respect and attention of leading conductors, orchestras, and opera companies throughout North America.

Notable recent engagements include appearances with Los Angeles Opera in the title role of Zemlinky's Der Zwerg conducted by James Conlon. He earned critical acclaim and an invitation to return with Maestro Conlon to the Cincinnati May Festival as tenor soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Carmina Burana, Rachmaninoff's The Bells, and Rossini's Stabat Mater, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra for more performances of Der Zwerg. He has also appeared at the Vail Music Festival as tenor soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony conducted by Marin Alsop.

In 2009, he made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut in the title role of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and directed by Peter Sellars; and repeated the production at the Sydney Arts Festival in Australia, 2010. He also appeared as tenor soloist with the Atlanta Symphony conducted by Robert Spano; and returned to the Cincinnati May Festival at the invitation of James Conlon.
Elsewhere on the operatic stage, Mr. Dixon has appeared with Los Angeles Opera as Walther von der Vogelweide in Tannhauser; Michigan Opera Theater as Tonio in La Fille Du Regiment; Todi Music Festival as Lenski in Eugene Onegin and as Tonio; Portland Opera in the title role of Les Contes d'Hoffmann; Opera Columbus as Prince for the world premiere of Vanqui; and the Virginia Opera as Sportin' Life in Porgy & Bess.

During his association with the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Center for American Artists, he appeared on their stage in many productions, most notably as the Prince in the world premiere of The Song of Majnun, plus performances at the Ravinia Festival and a series of concerts at the Chatelet Theater in Paris.

A gifted recitalist, Mr. Dixon earned rave reviews for his Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert broadcast honoring Roland Hayes on WFMT-FM/Chicago. He has also presented pre-concert recitals at the Cincinnati May Festival; completed a 30 city tour for Community Concerts and a duet concert Following in the Footsteps at Hampton University with Soprano Alfreda Burke, with whom he has also appeared in duet recitals for the Umbria Music Festival in Italy. He participated as a guest soloist for the Cincinnati Symphony's New Year's Eve Celebration.

As a part of The Tenors: Cook, Dixon & Young, he has appeared in concert with the Atlanta Symphony, Hollywood Bowl, Cincinnati Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Millennium Park; Elgin Symphony, Rackham Symphony Chorus and the Concordia Orchestra at Lincoln Center. arrow Website

Alfreda BurkeALFREDA BURKE's vocal artistry has been described as "voluptuous, creamy and luxuriant" (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune). She has appeared in concert throughout North America and in Europe. Ms. Burke made her Carnegie and Orchestra Hall debuts in Strauss' Elektra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim. Highlighted performances include the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia under Erich Kunzel, Civic Orchestra of Chicago under Yaron Traub, Detroit Opera House/DSO/Rackham Symphony Choir under Suzanne Acton, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonic, Umbria Music Festival (Italy), TodiMusicFest, Lancaster Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, Millennium Park Gala, Kennedy Center, Chicago Opera Theater, Auditorium Theatre, Chorus Angelorum and Chicagoland Pops Orchestra, among others. Ms. Burke filmed 2010 Prague PBS special, Hallelujah Broadway (Mind the Gap Films, Ireland) and recorded it on EMI/Manhattan Records label (Czech National Symphony Orchestra Studios).

Ms. Burke's oratorio, opera, concert and musical theater engagements include the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts broadcast on WFMT-FM; Mozart Requiem, Mass in C Minor, Coronation Mass in C Major; Handel's Messiah; Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream; Beethoven's Mass in C; Poulenc Gloria; Mahler 2nd & 8th Symphonies; Strauss' Elektra; Puccini's Turandot (Liu); Tchaikovsky's Iolanta; Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915; Menotti's Amahl & the Night Visitors; Rutter Requiem; Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem; Boulez's Le Visage Nuptial under baton of Pierre Boulez; Gershwin's Porgy & Bess; Bernstein's West Side Story; Christianson & Anderson's Too Hot to Handel; Kern's Show Boat (Kennedy Center/National Tour, Auditorium Theatre with her son, Dean),directed by Harold Prince. She was featured in CSO's Symphony Center Inaugural Festival and Radiothon.

Ms. Burke's work in recordings, music video, television, radio, film and commercials includes: soprano vocalist in Dawa movies (LA) soundtrack featuring Ramsey Lewis, James Mack and members of the CSO; Bobby Lewis release; Celine Dion and R. Kelly's I'm Your Angel; profiles and broadcasts on CBS, NBC, WGN, WFLD, WCFC, WTTW, KCET, KVCR, Odyssey, CAN-TV; features on WFMT, NPR, KUSC, WBEZ, WMBI, WGCI, WYCA and WOSU; The Visit, The Visitors, Unconditional Love, U.S. Marshals. Ms. Burke has made guest soloist appearances on the WTTW/Odyssey broadcast of 30 Good Minutes. She has performed the National Anthem for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Fire. arrow Website

Alvin WaddlesA native of Detroit, ALVIN B. WADDLES, III began studying the piano at the age of eight under the tutelage of Mrs. Gusseye Dickey, a respected educator in the city. It was she who first instilled in him a life-long love of classical music while encouraging the highest standards of scholarship and performance. It is to her influence that he attributes the meticulous and disciplined approach to his craft for which he is well known. He continued his studies at Cass Technical High School and later at the Interlochen Arts Academy completing his formal education at the University of Michigan School of Music.

After returning to the Detroit area he immediately immersed himself in the rich musical culture of the city, benefitting from the diverse influences that would eventually shape his own unique style. Mr. Waddles has worked in both the Detrois and Ann Arbor Public Schools as well as serving in the Music Ministries of several churches; among them, the historic New Bethel Baptist Church, Hartford Memorial Baptist and Hope United Methodist where he has served as the Director of Music since 1995. He has served as musical directyor and/or pianist for numerous theatrical productions including: The Wiz, Dreamgirls, Chorus Line, West Side Story, Sophisticated Ladies with Detroit Jazz legend Marcus Belgrave and the 1996 Detroit production of Black Nativity directed by Tony Award-Winner George Faison.

Mr. Waddles has performed at the 2004 Ford International Jazz Festival, the Detroit Taste Fest, “Too Hot to Handel” in Detroit and Chicago. Since 2004 has presented a Fats Waller revue with Marion Hayden and Charlie Gabriel. In 2003 he received the Detroit Musician’s Association award for excellence.

He is currently the musical director/pianist for Cook Dixon and Young formerly of the Three Mo’ Tenors. Mr. Waddles has been blessed to work with some of the world’s finest musicians - from Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, Brazeal Dennard Minister Thomas Whitfield, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Haley Westenra and Tramaine Hawkins.

He is the founder of the New Millennium Choral , a group of talented and anointed vocalists hand picked to spread the gospel of Hope, Joy, Strength and Peace as called upon. Still, it is his earnest belief that the greatest honor is to be chosen by God to do His work and he is constantly seeking new ways to align his prodigious gifts with the will of Christ.

This presentation is supported by the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, General Mills Foundation, and Land O’Lakes Foundation.