Cori Somers

Benjamin Lau

Today would have been Dacia Bridges' 47th birthday. The performer, who died of a brain aneurysm in 2019, was re-building a music career from Kalamazoo, after garnering considerable international success on the music scene in Germany. Bridges was working on an album with the Dacia Bridges Project, an all-female lineup of Michigan-based musicians. She was also raising her daughter, Billie Sky, as a single parent, and filming a documentary about an untold piece of Kalamazoo history, the Kalamazoo Boxing Academy, among other things.

In a conversation that frequently references Dacia's spirit and personality, bandmates Carolyn Koebel and Cori Somers, and La Luna Studios' Ian Gorman, talked to Cara Lieurance about finishing seven songs (including "Unpredictable Child" and "Road Back To You") for release on Bandcamp (available locally at Green Light Music).  Proceeds will go toward a fund benefitting Bridges' daughter.

Sud Web, via Flickr. All creative commons license.

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival - a 73 year-old music organization that presents a series of (mostly) classical concerts each spring - and Open Doors Kalamazoo - a 49 year-old aid organization that helps move people out of homelessness - are collaborating for the first time to bring musical experiences to new audiences. Stephanie Hoffman, executive director of Open Doors, and Cori Somers, executive director of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, say they found common ground over a shared love of music and belief in every person's need for beauty in their lives. 

In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Somers talks about the variety of upcoming concerts the Kalamazoo Bach Festival will present between April 26 - May 6. In particular, the May 3rd "Breaking Barriers With Bach" and the May 4th "Visions and Miracles" events will include cross-collaboration with Open Doors. Hoffman describes her experience starting out as a social worker with Open Doors 16 years ago. She learned to go beyond the negative circumstances and labels attached to her clients and ask a simple question that cut through to their real selves: "Who are you?"  Food and shelter are basic needs, she says, but access to art also addresses a deep desire everyone shares.


via Flickr user hanni80

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival kicked off on May 5  with "Bach And Beyond," a program featuring the Arcato Ensemble and countertenor soloist Terry Barber, led by Andrew Koehler. Festival director Cori Somers, conductor Andrew Koehler, and organist Kory Heitzig joined Cara Lieurance to preview the first five days of the festival, which includes performances by Carl Witt and the Red Sea Pedestrians, and a first-time program, "Inside the Organ," a guided tour of the inner workings of an organ installation.