Sunday worship at 9:30 • Education hour at 11:00 10 College Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI • (616) 456-1773

The Barker Series@Central

The Barker Music Festival began on October 16, 1977 and in 2013 will celebrate its 36th year. This series of concerts was named in honor of Dr. Cyril Barker, who served as Minister of Music at Central Reformed Church from 1961 until his retirement in 1975. Dr. Barker was born in England, grew up in Canada, and received his professional degrees from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and the University of Michigan. In 1962, he inaugurated an annual concert series at Central that became the precursor to the current Barker Music Festival.

Primary funding for the Barker Festival is derived from a trust established by the estate of Benjamin and Ethel Buikema, long time members of Central Reformed Church. Concerts are presented without admission costs, although free-will offerings are collected to aid in support of the church’s commitment to spiritual renewal and expressions of God’s grace by providing quality music and related programming to enhance worship, education, and outreach.

Barker Series 2013 – 2014

Bowling Green State University Men’s Chorus
Sunday, November 10, 2013
4:00 pm

The Bowling Green State University Men’s Chorus has been in existence since 1971.  The 75 member auditioned ensemble is open to all male students at the University, and encompasses students from a wide variety of majors; over half are non-music majors, representing seven colleges at the University.  Biannual Choir tours deepen both the educational experience and the development of brotherhood in the Chorus.

The BGSU Men’s Chorus has produced a number of CDs and has performed with distinction at numerous regional and national conferences.  Recently, the chorus was chosen in a blind audition to perform at the Ohio Music Educators Association 2013 state conference.

Now in his fifth year at BGSU, Timothy Cloeter conducts the Collegiate Chorale and the Men’s Chorus, and teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting and choral literature courses.  Mr. Cloeter holds a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and is finishing a D.M.A. at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Douglas Cleveland, Organist
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
8:00 PM

This year’s Annual New Year’s Concert of the Barker Series features organist Douglas Cleveland.  He currently serves on the organ faculty at the University of Washington School of Music and is also the Director of Music at Plymouth Church in Seattle.  He has also studied at the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University and Oxford University.  His teachers have included Russell Saunders, Larry Smith and Marilyn Keiser.

Dr. Cleveland gained internationa prominence when he won first prize in the 1994 American Guild of Organists Young Artists Competition in Dallas.  Since the, he has performed in 49 of the United States and such international venues as Westminster Abbey, The Berlin Cathedral, Stockholm Cathedral, Moscow Conservatory, Notre-Dame Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, the Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore, and the Cathedral of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Many of Cleveland’s performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio, the BBC, and the Northwest radio program “The Organ Loft.”  Cleveland’s recordings include four critically acclaimed CD’s on the Gothic label.

Majestic Brass of Grand Rapids Brass Ensemble

Sunday, February 23, 2014
4:00 PM

Formed in 2008, the Majestic Brass of Grand Rapids is a group of eight professional brass musicians and teachers from the Grand Rapids Symphony and the faculty of Western Michigan University.  Member of the ensemble are:

Charley Lea, Trumpet, GRSO;     Erich Peterson, French Horn, GRSO;
Stephen Jones, Trumpet, WMU;     Richard Britsch, French Horn, GRSO;
Daniel Mattson, Trombone, GRSO;     Scott Thornburg, Trumpet, WMU;
Robert Ward, Bass Trombone, GRSO;     Dwight Burch, Tuba, GRSO

In concert, Majestic Brass of Grand Rapids presents a variety of musical styles designed to satisfy a broad range of musical tastes.  Their repertoire includes fresh arrangements of classic literature as well as original works written specifically for the group.  Majestic Brass of Grand Rapids is highly acclaimed for a harmonious sonority, delicate virtuosity, and a powerful sound in their exciting and moving performances.

The Barker Series performance will include selections with Mr. Brian Bartusch, Director of Music and Organist at Central Reformed Church, on Central’s magnificent Schantz organ.

Jennifer Walvoord and Andrew Le

Violin & Piano

Sunday, May 18, 2014
4:00 PM

Violinist Jennifer Walvoord holds the position of concertmaster with the West Michigan Symphony and is also a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony.  Jennifer graduated from the University of Michigan with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.  She has a Masters Degree in both violin performance and chamber music from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Hope College.

Pianist Dr. Andrew Le is currently Head of Keyboard Studies and Associate Professor of Piano at Hope College.  He holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree from the Julliard School of Music.  He also studied at the University of Michigan and the Interlochen Arts Academy.

As husband and wife, Le and Walvoord were recently appointed to be the Artistic Directors of the Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck.  As active chamber musicians, they perform together frequently and are known for their charismatic stage chemistry, the energetic performances and their fresh and witty commentary about the music they choose to perform.