Vocal Soloist, Saxophone soloist, and Composer–Conductor featured this week

Director of the St. Joseph Municipal Band, Dr. Donald Moely, indicated the band concerts scheduled for Sunday, July 15 will feature guest vocal soloist Michelle Gruver of St. Joseph, singing the music of "South Pacific." Also included in the concert will be band member Dr. David Ratajik, of Stevensville, performing an alto saxophone solo with the band and principal tuba player of the band, Jerry Lackey, of South Bend, conducting his latest composition featuring outstanding songs of the last Century.

Michelle Gruver currently teaches general music at Intermediate and Eagle lake Elementary schools in the Edwardsburg Community School District. She received her Bachelors degree in both Music Education and Vocal Performance at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana. Mrs. Gruver has taught in the Niles (MI) and South Bend (IN) Public Schools. A graduate of Bethel College, Mrs. Gruver performed with the Bethel College Concert Choir and The Collegians, the college’s swing choir. She toured with the Bethel Concert Choir during their performance at Carnegie Hall in the fall of 1998. She also was a soloist in some of their various performances. Michelle is a member of the Michigan Music Educators Association and also teaches private voice lessons.

Dr. David Ratajik, received his Bachelor of Arts-Elementary Education from Murray State University, his Master of Arts-Education Administration from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and his Doctor of Education-Education Administration from Andrews University. He is a five year member of the St. Joseph Municipal Band and and the St. Joseph Municipal Band ‘Big Band.’ Ratajik has recently retired as principal of E. P. Clarke and North Lincoln Elementary School in St. Joseph. He has performed in the LaPorte Municipal Band, Michigan City Municipal Band, South Shore Concert Band, the "Nostalgics" Big Band and "Carol and Kay’s Dixieland Band. Previously Dr. Ratajik taught in the Grand Haven Public School System.

Jerry Lackey, is our featured guest conductor–composer today who received his Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Music Education from Indiana University in 1965 and 1974 respectively. Mr. Lackey has been a band director in the South Bend Community School Corporation since 1965 and is currently band/orchestra director at Clay Middle School in the South Bend Public Schools. He has been Solo Tubaist with the South Bend Symphony since 1966. Mr. Lackey directs the Jazz Ensemble and Wind Ensemble at Indiana University South Bend. He composes and arranges for orchestra, band, jazz band and various other ensembles. His arrangements are featured on 4 compact discs including the Houston Symphony, Utah Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic. His composition: "Jazz Concerto for Tuba" has been performed by the St. Louis Symphony, Tokyokosei Wind Orchestra and other orchestras and bands throughout the world.

Dr. Moely said the concert begins with a march entitled "Dam Busters" by Erik Coates. Featured Alto Saxophone Soloist, David Ratajik, will perform "Lazy Sunday," a Johnny Hodges tune arranged by Dick Femo. Contrasting marches highlighting the Sunday concerts will include: ‘March of the Siamese Children,’ by Richard Rodgers and a Karl King circus march entitled "The Big Cage." Principal tuba of the band, Jerry Lackey will come forward to conduct his latest composition highlighting comprising outstanding songs of the 20 th Century. Michelle Gruver will sing Highlights from the musical "South Pacific," and the concert ends with a favorite march written by John Cacavass, "Burnished Brass."

The concerts will be at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m., at the John E. N. Howard Band Shell across from the Whitcomb in downtown St. Joseph.

updated on 07/06/2001