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 6

Concert 6
October 16, 2011 • 4:00 P.M.
Big Rapids High School Auditorium

Straight Ahead

The all-female jazz ensemble Straight Ahead is one of Detroit's most intriguing tales of glory. Formed in 1989 by pianist/singer Michelle Braden, five of Michigan’s most promising and highly skilled jazz musicians joined forces as Straight Ahead

Straight Ahead

Keyboardist Eileen Orr, bassist Marion Hayden, drummer Gayelynn McKinney, violinist Regina Carter and vocalist Braden are individually stunning and a rich rarity collectively -- hard-hitting female jazz cats.  These Grammy-nominated women join Edward Mallett for a dynamic close to the 2011 Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival, with the concert also serving as an exciting kick-off event for the Big Rapids community’s 2011 “Paint the Town Pink” breast cancer awareness campaign to benefit the Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer and Wellness Center.

Paint Big Rapids Pink
This concert is made possible through the generous support of

Guest Artists Appearing with Edward Mallett:

Marion HaydenMARION HAYDEN Born in Detroit, MI, Marion Hayden is one of the nation's finest proponents of the acoustic bass. She creates a rich, dark tone and a very advanced rhythmic concept. Classically trained, she honed her skills in private studies at the prestigious University of Michigan and Michigan State University. An accomplished composer and educator, Hayden is bass instructor in the jazz department of Tri-C College, Cleveland Ohio. She has performed or recorded with such luminaries as Marcus Belgrave, Roy Brooks, Kirk Lightsey, Ralph Peterson and James Carter.

Eileen OrrEILEEN ORR entered the jazz scene via the blues, working with many of the Midwest's finest blues talents before immersing herself in jazz. Her rich, full sound was honed in the traditional manner - "hanging out" - studying and playing with "the cats." An inveterate wanderer, she accepted an invitation to visit the Caribbean and ended up living in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Returning to the states, she lived in Boston where she studied with former Jazz Messenger and Grammy-winning composer Donald Brown, who said, "she's funky, has a big sound and can swing!"

Gayelynn McKinneyGAYELYNN MCKINNEY is a member of a musical dynasty which helps to explain her powerhouse style! Her father, the legendary Harold McKinney, is a formidable pianist and composer. Her uncle Ray McKinney, an important bassist during the be-bop era and her cousin Carlos McKinney, a brilliant young pianist on the international scene. Her sound is a composite of swing, funk and African polyrhythmics. Gayelynn is also a gifted composer who plays piano and saxophone as well.

Althea ReneALTHEA RENÉ is an accomplished flautist who became a hit in Paris while living and performing in that city. Althea attended Howard University, studying with legendary educator/ trumpeter Donald Byrd. She is a first call soloist and session player and joined Straight Ahead in 1997.

Kymberli WrightKYMBERLI WRIGHT is a gifted vocalist who is accomplished in the areas of jazz and R&B styles. Originally from Flint, Mich. she has been recording since the age of 13 and is among one of the top studio artists in the Midwest. Her approach to jazz is highly influenced by the work of Nancy Wilson and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Her tour credits include stints with Patti Austin, Mary J. Blige, Omar Hakim, George Clinton and Earl Klugh.