Carolyn Koebel

Austin Colbert

From Friday, Oct 18 through Sunday, Dec 1, the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music will present the 2019 Connecting Chords Music Festival, a series of 20 events that reveal traditions of faiths around the world. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, festival director Elizabeth Start and performer Carolyn Koebel talk about the master musicians who will be visiting the community to perform, and ways community members can become participants in activities like Taiko drumming, sacred singing, and African drumming and dance. 

Some of the prominent artists include multi-instrumentalist Samite of Uganda, early music group Schola Antiqua, oud master Rahim Alhaj, and Japanese-American Taiko drummer Ken Koshio

In particular, Start and Koebel detail the work of the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery.  From Nov 6 - Nov 10, the monks will create an intricate mandala, or sand-painting. The public can observe its creation from 9 am - 5 pm at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. The monks will also offer a concert of song and dance featuring rare instruments and costumes, at 7:30 pm Friday, Nov 8 at Comstock Auditorium.


Craig Freeman

Kjartan Code was raised in Kalamazoo, but for most of his twenties he has circled the globe, playing gypsy-style violin in street and festival settings. In a live performance at WMUK, with guitarist Bert Ebrite and percussionist Carolyn Koebel, Code talks to Craig Freeman about the demands of busking and the influence of the many cultures he's been immersed in on his music. 


courtesy of the artist

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival will feature five of Michigan's finest players of global traditions in the Dave Sharp Worlds Quartet (with special guest Elden Kelly) on June 6, at Kalamazoo College's Dalton Theatre at 7:30 pm.  In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Dave Sharp and percussionist Carolyn Koebel discuss the connections and community that brought them together, and their shared love of music that invites the musicians to improvise.   ​ 

Members of the group will lead an improvisation workshop on June 6, at 2:45 pm in same venue. The Dave Sharp Worlds Quartet are: Dave Sharp, bass; Igor Houwat, oud; Henrik Karapetyan, violin; and Carolyn Koebel, percussion.

C. Lieurance

Both Carolyn Koebel and Elizabeth Start are busy professional musicians based in Kalamazoo -- Koebel as a percussionist with An Dro, Elden Kelly, and the Dacia Bridges Project. and Start as a classical cellist and composer who plays with the Kalamazoo Symphony and the Elgin Symphony. Their roles as music organizers cause their paths to cross regularly, and a few months ago, they made a plan to collaboratively finish their own holiday albums, and release them in a joint concert. On Thursday, December 7 at 7 pm at First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo, the two resulting seasonal albums, Love's Pure Light and A Very Cello Christmas will be available at a live concert featuring Start and Koebel and additional performers. 

In a musical preview interview with Cara Lieurance, Koebel explains that her role in Love's Pure Light was to bring together the contributions of nearly a dozen musicians, most prominently hammered dulcimer player Doug Berch. For her part, Elizabeth Start focused on the solo cello arrangements she'd written for herself after finding others' arrangements weren't up to snuff. 

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Dr. Thomas Evans, the conductor of the Kalamazoo Concert Band, will lead a program called Arabian Nights on Saturday. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, he previews several of the works that take middle eastern sounds as their inspiration. Percussionist Carolyn Koebel, who appears as a featured soloist along with oud player Igor Houwat, discusses her approach to improvisation and her appreciation for the special qualities of middle eastern music.


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