Amy L. Charles 2015-11-17 09:56:41
Cathy Holbrook was moving back to West Michigan when she learned St. Cecilia Music Center sought an executive director. A Forest Hills Central High School graduate, she moved to California after college. She’d received a degree in mass media and communication, yet music was in her soul; her mother taught piano, and Holbrook herself played French horn and piano. California led to a public relations and production position with La Jolla Chamber Music Society—which led to other interesting events: For about a year, she worked as a personal assistant to Andre Previn, in New York—“a great life experience!” Holbrook loves music and the nonprofit world, and will soon celebrate 10 years with St. Cecilia. What are some of your favorite accomplishments? We’ve made a lot of changes. St. Cecilia as an organization has a rich history, but it was time for some things to move forward. The St. Cecilia Music Society name was changed to St. Cecilia Music Center to relay the message to the community that everyone is welcome. I was the driver of the Jazz Series. I started the Folk Series, and am proud of our association with the Acoustic Café syndicated radio show, broadcast in over 150 cities. I was integral in creating our partnership with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, working closely with CMS artistic directors (cellist) David Finkel and (pianist) Wu Han. It’s an exclusive partnership, in which the CMS brings us their musicians. What should everyone know about St. Cecilia Music Center? Through our Presenting Series, the community has an opportunity to see world-renowned, highly in-demand artists in their genre, in a gem of an intimate hall in West Michigan. Our building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and we have the honor of keeping and maintaining this beautiful landmark. St. Cecilia Music Center is 132 years old, and was founded by nine Grand Rapids women. Through their efforts, the first St. Cecilia building was erected. When the society needed a new home, those women raised the funds. We are the longest continually running arts organization in the area. St. Cecilia Music Center hosts more than 23,000 hours of music education yearly. Other major arts organizations in town got their start here—the symphony, the opera, Civic Theatre. We’re still an arts incubator. Our music education is based on wanting to bring art into lives. We’ve had the same mission since 1883: To promote the appreciation, study and performance of music in order to enrich the human spirit and enhance the quality of the lives of the residents of West Michigan. What are some highlights for the coming year? There’s a lot to enjoy! We have a fabulous January show for the Chamber Series: Piano Extravaganza features four pianists sharing the stage and even sharing pianos. Our Acoustic Café Series includes Shawn Colvin and Leo Kottke. In the Jazz Series, Cyrille Aimée has a really interesting way of presenting concerts, looping and layering her tracks. And our School of Music offers a wide array of programs for youth and adults. Music Lives Here: www.scmc-online.org
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