March 10, 2018: Tuba Bach Spring Concert

Tuba Bach Spring Concert – Songs from the Americas

Saturday, March 10 — 7 – 9 PM
Fellowship Christian Reformed Church
407 Perry Ave Big Rapids, MI 49307

Mezzo soprano Kira McGirr, Cleveland Chamber Choir soloist, bass baritone Jeffery Norris, Instructor of Voice at Interlochen Arts Academy and Alvin Waddles, piano virtuoso, present folk and art songs from throughout the Americas – featuring music by Stephen Foster, Aaron Copland, Big Rapids composer Robert Garrels and other traditional selections from the Americas.

Mezzo soprano Kira McGirr is delighted to appear with the Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival in 2018. She currently sings as soloist and member of Cleveland Chamber Choir, under renowned choral conductor Scott MacPherson, and as soloist and section leader with Trinity Chamber Singers and Cathedral Choir at Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, under preeminent American organist Todd Wilson. Ms. McGirr has been featured as alto soloist in Mozart’s Requeim with Trinity Cathedral Choir and Orchestra. Her operatic experience includes Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte), Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore), Teresa (La sonnambula) and Soeur Mathilde (Dialogues des Carmélites), as well as a variety of opera choruses with Opera Cleveland, Indiana Univeristy, and Oberlin Conservatory. She performs in outreach efforts with Cleveland Opera Theatre. Ms. McGirr holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She resides in Oberlin, OH with her husband and two young sons.

Jeffery Norris made his classical orchestral debut while still a student at the Eastman School with the Omaha Symphony, singing Bach’s Mass in B Minor, which marked the beginning of numerous solo symphony appearances with many Orchestras, including the Aspen Music Festival, Charlotte, N.C., Elgin, IL, Green Bay, WI, Grand Rapids, Interlochen Philharmonic, Kalamazoo Bach Festival, Battle Creek, Keweenaw, Music Academy of the West, National Music Camp, and Traverse City Symphonies, amongst others. Very much at home in opera as well as straight dramatic plays Mr. Norris’ opera experiences range from The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, La Boheme, Tosca and La Traviata, to Kurt Weils, Three Penny Opera, while also appearing as soloist in the symphonic offerings of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Handel’s “Messiah”, and the requiems of Verdi, Mozart, Faure, Durufle & Brahms, and several Broadway reviews. Mr. Norris received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and his Masters degree from the Eastman School of Music where he was in the voice studio of John Maloy. Additional voice studies were with Martial Singher, Beverly Johnson and William McIver.   A dedicated educator, Mr. Norris has served as instructor of voice at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Interlochen Arts Camp for 30 years. His former students have been represented in every major conservatory and the finest schools of music in the United States, with many proceeding to enjoy professional careers in both performance and education. Former Norris students can be found singing in diverse genres from musical theater to opera, with opera companies such as the New York Metropolitan and Chicago Lyric operas, and in many European opera houses and as program directors of fine choral programs at the university level.  Mr. Norris was honored as a Recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award from White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, Mr. Norris, was one of two teachers recognized nationally, and the only voice instructor in the United States to receive the high honor of being named as “Distinguished Teacher in the Arts” by the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts.  Mr. Norris is active in his church and the local community, helping those entities in any way that he is able.

Pianist, singer, composer, director, Alvin Waddles began studying the piano at the age of eight in his hometown of Detroit, MI. He continued his studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the University Of Michigan School Of Music after which he returned to the Detroit area where he currently resides. After returning home he immediately immersed himself in the rich musical culture of the city, benefiting from the diverse influences that would eventually shape his own unique style.

Mr. Waddles has worked in the Detroit and Ann Arbor Public Schools as well as the Music Ministries of several churches; among them, the historic New Bethel Baptist Church, Hartford Memorial Baptist and Hope United Methodist in Southfield, MI. where he has served as the Director of Music since 1995.

He has been musical director and/or pianist for numerous theatrical productions including: The Wiz, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, Chorus Line, West Side Story, Sophisticated Ladies and received rave reviews as a featured performer in the Detroit Music Hall’s long running production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. During the 2010-2011 season his diverse gifts were on full display when, within a two week period, he sang the role of Crown for Bolling Green University’s production of Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’ and played the composers ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ with the Michigan Opera Theater Orchestra.

Mr. Waddles has delighted Detroit music lovers with performances in a variety of musical events including the Detroit International Jazz Festival and the Detroit Festival of the Arts. He is the featured piano soloist in annual productions of “Too Hot to Handel” in Detroit and Chicago and can frequently be heard performing his own Fats Waller Revue.

Mr. Waddles’ engagements as a soloist and featured artist have taken him to a variety of destinations including Barbados, Beijing, Paris, Barcelona and Ghana, West Africa. He has also traveled extensively as musical director/pianist for Cook, Dixon and Young (formerly of the Three Mo’ Tenors). He has been blessed to work with some of the world’s finest musicians including Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, Brazeal Dennard, Minister Thomas Whitfield, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Placido Domingo, George Shirley, Marcus Belgrave, Jack Jones, Haley Westenra, Stephanie Mills and Tramaine Hawkins.


Check out some photos from the concert.  Thank you, Jeff Pedelty for capturing this magical evening!