MISSION: To provide volunteers and audiences with exciting, quality musical events, utilizing professionals to educate and develop its talented, community-based participants.
Community participation has been the lifeblood of Center Stage Choirs for more than 55 years. Its performance season draws audiences from across the Great Lakes Bay Region and includes an exciting variety of choral programs. Five ensemble groups make up Center Stage Choirs: the Bella Voce Singers, the Camerata Singers, the Chorale, Center Stage Youth Choirs, and the Men of Music. Performances take place in the 1,500-seat Midland Center for the Arts Auditorium and the 400-seat Little Theatre, as well as run-out performances to locations around the region.
Yearly concerts like the Youth Holiday Concert, Jingle: A Choral Celebration, and Men of Music’s Spring Show are interspersed throughout the year with special choral events featuring the talents of each ensemble. Recent performances include Proud to Be an American, Brundibár, and Broadway Showstoppers.
If you have a love for vocal music, become a Center Stage Choirs Volunteer. There is a niche to fill every interest, whether you want something behind the scenes, or the “full impact” experience of sharing your gift of song! Innovative education and outreach programs nurture a love and appreciation of choral music in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Bella Voce Singers
Bella Voce Singers, composed of high school-age women, performs regularly with the Chorale as well as at many community events. Membership in this group is by audition to any qualified singer as positions become available. Rehearsals are September through April, Mondays from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at Midland Center for the Arts. Email the Center Stage office for openings.
Directed by Heather DeGroot and Tracey Kempsell
The Camerata Singers is a 38-member chamber choir known for its intricate work in the classics as well as for showcasing new and dynamic pieces. The ensemble presents a June concert, and other performances throughout the season. Membership is by audition to any qualified singer as positions become available. Rehearsals are March through June, Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m., at Midland Center for the Arts. Email the Center Stage office for openings.
Directed by Matt Travis
Center Stage Youth Choirs
The Center Stage Youth Choirs program is a year-long commitment, with rehearsals once a week and multiple performance opportunities throughout the year. Members are accepted by audition. Rehearsals are September through April, Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m., at Midland Center for the Arts. Email the Center Stage office for openings. Art from the Heart scholarships are available.
Prelude: 3rd – 5th grades, directed by Jillian Struble
Lyrica: 5th – 8th grades, directed by Tracey Kempsell & Heather DeGroot
Bel Canto: 5th – 8th grades, directed by Heather DeGroot
The 100-voice Chorale performs a wide range of repertoire from the sacred and popular genres. Yearly performances include a December holiday concert and 2 – 3 other appearances, both singularly and with other choral ensembles. Membership is by audition to any qualified singer as positions become available. Rehearsals are September through March, Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m., at Midland Center for the Arts. Email Matt Travis for openings; open auditions typically take place in January and September.
Directed by Matt Travis
Men of Music
Entering their 79th year of singing, the Men of Music is a four-part harmony ensemble specializing in popular, folk and barbershop music. They present a family-friendly Christmas Concert and a themed Spring Show, in addition to performing for local nursing and retirement homes. Membership in this group is open to any qualified singer as positions become available. Rehearsals are September through April, Tuesdays from 7:30 to 10 p.m., at Midland Center for the Arts.
Directed by Grace Marra
The Men of Music is a member of the Great Lakes Male Chorus Association. For more information visit the Men of Music website or contact Lew Willertz at (989) 687-6533.
Matt Travis, Music Director
A native of Bay City, Michigan, Matt completed a bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance at the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Choral Conducting at Penn State University. While attending Penn State, he served as assistant conductor to the Penn State Men’s Glee Club, conducting performances at various division conferences and in domestic and international tours. During his time in central Pennsylvania, Matt was music director of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County, from 2006 to 2010. Following his years at Penn State, Matt was the Music Director at Trinity-Pawling School in Pawling, N.Y. from 2010-2014. Matt recently completed his doctorate in choral conducting at The University of Connecticut where he founded and directed the UCONN Men’s Glee Club and taught undergraduate courses in conducting and general music. In addition to his work at UConn, Matt served as Music Director of the Kent Singers and as Male Choirs Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Connecticut chapter of The American Choral Director’s Association. Matt is founder and Artistic Director of The Mid-Michigan Singers and Mid-Michigan Voice Academy.
An active conductor and dedicated student of music, Matt has participated in numerous summer programs, including the Yale Summer School of Music, University of Michigan Choral Symposium and Eastman Conducting Institute, and prestigious Oregon Bach Festival studying with German conductor Helmuth Rilling. Matt has been fortunate enough to receive numerous fellowships including: American Choral Director’s Association Lannom Fellowship, Chorus American Choral-Orchestral Fellowship, and The Yale Summer School of Music Fellowship.
James Hohmeyer, Music Director
James Hohmeyer is the conductor emeritus of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra, and the Director of Choral Programs and Music Theatre at Midland Center for the Arts. In 2010 he was the conductor of the Hollywood Concert Orchestra on a national tour with Shirley Jones in A Night at the Oscars.
Hohmeyer apprenticed with Maestros Robert Shaw and James Levine, and has degrees from Wayne State University and completed the requirements for a Doctor of Music Arts (orchestral conducting) at Michigan State University. Conducting credits are many, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Arizona State honors Orchestra and the Michigan Opera Theater Touring orchestra. He is active as a choral music adjudicator and clinician, and his multi-faceted background includes a 30-year career as a Detroit-area educator, jazz pianist, theatrical conductor and jazz conductor/pianist/arranger for the Michigan Opera Theater touring programs.
In July 2014, Hohmeyer traveled to Europe with Center Stage Choirs where the ensemble was awarded The Silver Diploma Award at the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia.
Hohmeyer was named the “Midland Musician of the Year” for 2014. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and the Michigan Music Teachers Association. He is also currently the Director of Music at the United Church of Christ in Midland.
Center Stage Choirs is an incorporated member group of Midland Center for the Arts, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.