June 2019

BICAA is Celebrating the Past, Building for the Future

BICAAThe Baroque on Beaver Festival of Beaver Island, MI will celebrate the tenth anniversary of outstanding leadership by both Robert Nordling, the Festival’s Music Director and Principal Conductor, and Kevin Simons, Choral Director. Together they have transformed the Festival into one of the most artistically adventurous and successful chamber music series in the Midwest.

In recognition of their contributions to the Festival and its musical forces, the Board of the Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association (BICAA) has reached a multi-year agreement with both gentlemen to secure their services for the foreseeable future. At the same time, BICAA is instituting multi-year program and financial planning to ensure the Festival has the musical forces and technical support needed to meet the high level of performance quality the Island community has come to expect. Incoming Board Chair Tammy McDonough is delighted with the new arrangement. “Beaver Island is becoming a destination for cultural tourism, and the Baroque on Beaver Festival is a big part of the attraction for hundreds of visitors each summer. Robert and Kevin are essential to keeping the Festival’s unique blend of outstanding music and laid-back ambience. We have many great years ahead under their leadership as well as that of our Festival Director Matthew Thomas, who does double duty as Principal Trumpet in the Festival Orchestra.”

“We are delighted to recognize Music Director Robert Nordling and Choral Director Kevin Simons on their tenth anniversary seasons with Baroque on Beaver,” said Thomas. “Thanks to their efforts, the festival has become recognized as one of the Midwest’s finest.”  Indeed, Baroque’s season highlights are now broadcast on National Public Radio affiliates across Michigan, the festival’s musicians hail from national and international destinations, and its guest artists include some of the most sought-after names in classical music today: Garrick Ohlsson, Martha Guth, Michael Hall, James Crawford, The Lincoln Trio, and Jeeyoon Kim.  “Robert has consistently raised the bar in his tenure with us,” says Anne Glendon, the BICAA’s outgoing Board Chair. “We are so very grateful for his talent, collaborative spirit, and musical vision.”

Nordling’s conducting has been characterized as “emphatic”, “dramatic”, and “vivid” with a “fresh and airy quality and a certain elegance” (San Francisco Chronicle). A superb communicator as well as gifted conductor, he came to Beaver Island when a change in musical direction was needed. The vision was to create a nimble musical ensemble able to excite and inspire Festival audiences with a range of repertoire from Baroque classics to contemporary gems, and Mr. Nordling has worked closely with the BICAA Board to do just that. In addition to his Beaver Island work, Robert is the founding Music Director of the Bandung (Indonesia) Philharmonic, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Shoreline Music Society (MI), and Music Director of the Lake Forest (IL) Civic Orchestra, making musical magic across Lake Michigan to the Pacific rim.

Beloved by choral groups from Oklahoma to Northern Michigan, Kevin Simons is also a church organist, solo baritone, and devoted instructor to his students at Saginaw Valley State University where he is Director of Choral Music. Mr. Thomas notes that “Kevin Simons has overseen the marvelous transformation of our Festival Chorus with an infusion of fresh voices to complement an already strong core of local singers which he has cultivated and coached. Not every chorus has the ability to perform Mozart’s Requiem, which we will feature during this season and release for broadcast.”

Please visit for more information on the Baroque on Beaver Festival and its upcoming season, and to learn more about the Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association and its mission.

May 5, 2017

Instrumental Move

BICAA PianoOrganizers of the Baroque on Beaver Music Festival are on the move again. This time instead of moving chairs, risers, sound equipment or even the occasional church alter, the
Association's brawn will be moving a 9 foot concert grand piano. The piano, a refurbished 1916 Mason & Hamlin concert grand, is topping out at 1000-1200 lbs. The piano was recently acquired by the Association thanks to the generosity of a number of Island donors.

Concert grand pianos are more difficult to move than household furniture. They are unwieldy instruments with delicate parts. Thanks to a grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, Baroque movers and shakers will have an easier time transporting their Mason & Hamlin during the Baroque Festival (July 28 through August 6). The $8000 CCCF award is assisting with the purchase of piano moving equipment, including a specially fitted trailer...
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April 2, 2017

Baroque on Beaver Festival Names New Concertmaster

Music Director Robert Nordling and the Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association are pleased to announce the selection of James Crawford as the Festival orchestra’s new Concertmaster. Mr. Crawford is also the Concertmaster with the Grand Rapids Orchestra.

Reacting to his appointment Crawford said: "I am keenly interested in the Festival Orchestra and making it the best it can be."

James Crawford
James Crawford

Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association Chair Frank D’Andraia said: "It will be a pleasure to welcome James Crawford to this important position. He brings both talent and experience and will be an important part of our continued success in attracting music lovers from around the region to Beaver Island. We look forward to introducing him to our Festival audiences and to having him in the concertmaster chair when the Baroque on Beaver Festival opens on July 28, 2017."

The concertmaster is the link between the conductor and the rest of the orchestra. It's the second-highest position after the conductor. As the violinist with the highest "rank", the concertmaster sits in the first chair, next to the conductor's podium. The concertmaster leads the orchestra in its tuning prior to the concert, and customarily plays all of the violin solos within pieces.

James Crawford is a native of Charleston, SC, where he began violin studies at the age of seven. He made his first solo appearance with the Charleston Symphony at age ten. At age twelve, he was awarded a full scholarship to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts. Mr. Crawford then continued his musical studies at the Curtis (PA) Institute of Music.

In January of 1994 Crawford joined the Grand Rapids Symphony as Concertmaster. He came to Grand Rapids from North Carolina, where he was Concertmaster of the Western Piedmont Symphony and Associate Concertmaster of the Winston-Salem and Salisbury (NC) Symphonies. Some of Mr. Crawford’s orchestral and chamber music experiences include performances and tours with the Gilmore (MI) Festival, New York Pops, Warner Brothers Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Gamper Contemporary (ME) Music Festival, and the Razoumovsky and Devos String Quartets. Other previously held positions include faculty member and Artist-in-Residence with the Saugatuck (MI) Chamber Music Festival, and assistant faculty member of the Bowdoin (ME) Summer Music Festival.

Mr. Crawford was a First Prize winner in the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts "ARTS" Competition, and recipient of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Giannini Award. He was also a winner of the UNC’s International Music Program Concerto Competition and was soloist on its European tour through Germany and Italy. In 1985, Mr. Crawford was a United States Presidential Scholar Finalist.

Crawford succeeds David Reimer as Concertmaster. Mr. Reimer will continue with the Festival Orchestra as Associate Concertmaster.

Mr. Crawford resides in Grand Rapids and is married to Grand Rapids Symphony Violinist Megan Reiter-Crawford. They have four children, Julia, Orion, Naomi and Kenji.

The Baroque on Beaver Festival celebrates its 16th consecutive season 2017. The Festival is the signature event of the Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association. The mission of the Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association, a 501-c-3 corporation, is "To serve the Beaver Island community by promoting and supporting the cultural arts, including the annual Baroque on Beaver Festival." For more information about BICAA and the Baroque Festival, call (888) 511-5189.

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March 6, 2017

Island Potters Receive Cultural Arts Association Grant to Build Kiln

Island Potters Fired Up
The Board of Directors of the Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association have awarded a $1000 Mini-Grant to the “Potters of Beaver Island,” board chair Frank D’Andraia announced today.”...
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January 16, 2017

“101 is a very good age to be”

The Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association will celebrate the acquisition of a fully restored 1916 Mason & Hamlin grand piano with a concert featuring internationally acclaimed pianist Garrick Ohlsson on July 15 at the Beaver Island Community Center auditorium.

BICAA’s grand concert piano was purchased with the aid of considerable Island support. Anne Glendon, BICAA Chair Emeritus, spearheaded the fundraising drive and she did so in record time, said BICCA Chair, Frank D’Andraia.

“This is truly a special moment for the Association and for Beaver Island,” D’Andraia noted and then added: “Mason & Hamlin pianos are legendary for their artistry in craftsmanship and luscious depth of sound. The Association is delighted to acquire an instrument that was built during the golden age of the piano. Owning a Mason & Hamlin will give BICAA artists the opportunity to use equipment of the caliber they encounter in concert halls on the mainland and will definitely enhance the listening pleasure of audiences who attend the Association's Baroque on Beaver Music Festival.”

Founded in 1854, Mason & Hamlin is one of America’s oldest and most respected piano manufacturers. Of the hundreds of American piano companies that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mason & Hamlin is one of only a handful that survive today.

Mason & Hamlin is headquartered in Haverhill, Massachusetts, not far from its original location in Boston, the birthplace of American piano design and manufacturing
To mark the acquisition and to pay tribute to the many donors who made the piano purchase possible, the BICAA Board of Directors has arranged for a special piano concert featuring the renowned pianist Garrick Ohlsson. The concert will take place on July 15th at the Beaver Island Community Center auditorium and tickets may be purchased at the Community Center information desk or by calling (231) 448-2022.

Garrick Ohlsson is one of the world’s leading interpreters of the music of Frederic Chopin and has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. Ohlsson can be heard on the Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, BMG, Delos, Hanssler, Nonesuch, Telarc, Hyperion and Virgin Classics labels.
A native of White Plains, New York, Garrick Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of 8, at the Westchester Conservatory of Music; at 13 he entered The Juilliard School in New York City. His musical development has been influenced in completely different ways by a succession of distinguished teachers. Although he won First Prizes at the 1966 Busoni Competition in Italy and the 1968 Montreal Piano Competition, it was his 1970 triumph at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where he won the Gold Medal (and remains the only American to have done so), that brought him worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation. Mr. Ohlsson was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994; He received the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor and in 2014 he was the recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. He makes his home in San Francisco.

The Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association was formalized as a 501c3 corporation in 2006. BICAA’s mission is “To serve the Beaver Island community by promoting and supporting the cultural arts, including the annual Baroque on Beaver Festival.” The Baroque on Beaver Festival runs over a 10 day span, this year from July 28 through August 6. For information about Baroque on Beaver, please see: or by calling 888-511-5189.

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