Jam packed year for Thunder Bay Arts Council

News Photo by Diane Speer Monte Jahnke, president of the Thunder Bay Arts Council, holds up both a schedule of events for the 2017-18 season and two TBArts passes that cover all seven showcase events.

It looks to be a busy, entertainment-filled year ahead for the Thunder Bay Arts Council with seven showcase series events, a Guitar Summit and the annual Art on the Bay coming up during the new 2017-18 season.

TBAC officials are viewing it as a Pure Michigan Season since the schedule features talent from around the state as well as locally.

“Early in our planning, which starts every year around September, we took a look at the artists directory for the Michigan Council for the Humanities and got the idea that it would be fun for the community to see what depth of talent is available around the state,” said Monte Jahnke, the newly installed TBAC president. “We started with that and ended up with what we would like to call our Pure Michigan Season.”

Jahnke said what’s also unique this year is how eclectic the offerings are.

“There’s everything for everyone who is interested in some aspect of the arts,” he said. “We have the season kick-off with a pig roast and hometown music, then the Community Chorus doing its holiday program, which is a wide range of holiday music from a lot of traditions from across the world.”

Those two events are followed by a Holocaust-related program presented by a professional storyteller, who is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Judy Sima not only will give a public presentation, but she also will do a session with students at the junior high level.

Sima’s student program dovetails perfectly with TBAC’s mission to expose students to the arts and provide them with a variety of arts-related opportunities.

“The student component has been an imperative for the Arts Council from the beginning. It was largely led for many years by educators so it has a real focus on kids,” said Jahnke, adding that TBAC Gallery also exhibits artwork by student artists.

By March, the program changes gears a bit with the Western Jazz Quartet, followed in April by the Grand Rapids Guitar Quartet. The Jazz Quartet is made up of four Western Michigan University faculty members considered world class performers. The Guitar Quartet lends a classical element to the overall season and is dedicated to the now disbanded Community Concert Association, which was absorbed last year by TBAC.

“This concert is going to be dedicated to the Community Concert Association legacy,” Jahnke said. “They were so strong in bringing classical music here. As our planning goes forward, we will be mindful of that Concert Association tradition.”

The TBAC Chorus makes a return visit on the schedule by presenting its spring concert in early May, followed by an evening of music and poetry by Allan James Grund later in the month. Art on the Bay in July caps off the full season of programming.

In addition, a Guitar Summit that spotlights the wealth of talent available locally will take place in January. This event is held every other year.

To enable the community to enjoy the wide variety of events, TBAC currently is offering its TBArts Pass that includes admission to all the showcase events. Cost for the pass is $50. The purchase of individual tickets are $7 per event or $105 total, making the pass a bargain.

“The arts pass covers admission to the entire showcase season listed on our brochure,” Jahnke said. “Fifty dollars gets you into all those events. It’s really the best entertainment bargain in town, and we are trying to keep it that way. Pricing is an important thing for us, and we try to make our events available to as many people as possible. Children and students are always free.”

To obtain an TBArts Pass, stop by the TBAC Gallery, call 356-6678 or visit the TBAC website at www.thunderbayarts.org.