Archived Story

Choirs start 15th summer of concerts

Published 10:19pm Wednesday, May 26, 2010

As the Beckwith Park Summer Concert Series launches its 15th season tonight, the Dowagiac Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is pleased to announce for the third consecutive year Huntington Bank has agreed to underwrite the popular fine arts program, which is co-hosted by the DDA and Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce.

Karen Hale, marketing specialist in Grand Rapids for Huntington Bank, and Cindy Rolback, branch manager of the Dowagiac office, joined Vickie Phillipson, DDA program director, in making the joint announcement that Huntington Bank has agreed to fully underwrite this year’s $6,000 outdoor performance program.

“Huntington’s willingness to underwrite the concert series is a wonderful blessing for our community, especially in these uncertain times, when funding for the arts is limited,” Phillipson said.

“Huntington Bank has long understood the critical importance of investing in the livelihood of the communities we serve,” Hale said.

“Vibrant communities attract more businesses, more trade and more people moving into our area.  Frankly, it’s just good business to invest in quality education, social services and the arts.”

“An important part of any community is its arts and cultural programs. Whether through dance, instrumental music or song, Huntington strongly believes in supporting the many forms of arts and cultural programs that enhance the overall quality of life we all enjoy.”
“Huntington Bank remains true to its values of supporting the local communities that we serve,” Hale said.  “We are proud to support the Beckwith Park Summer Concert Series. We believe in investing in community events and programs such as this that allow us to connect with our community, and to those activities and programs for which we share a passion.”

“Huntington’s commitment to community is unwavering and constant,” Hale said. “As a financial institution and as individual volunteers, we give back in meaningful ways to the communities and to the neighborhoods in which we work and raise our families. When individuals and organizations band together, this creates a powerful force for good.”
“Huntington is a bank invested in people,” Hale said. “Yes, we’re bankers.  We’re also moms and dads and friends and neighbors.  We’re driving carpools, hosting book clubs and planting gardens. We care about our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools and our futures.  For each of us, being a member of our community doesn’t just happen on our own time.  Because we’re Huntington Bank, it’s all day, every day.”

Trish Brazo, a team leader at the Dowagiac branch office, is a member of the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, which co-hosts the 12-week concert series with the Dowagiac DDA.

As a Chamber board member, within the past year Brazo has assumed chairmanship for two of the Chamber’s seasonal events, Easter Eggstravaganza and the Candle-light Christmas Parade.

“Since we live in the communities in which we work, we have a good idea of how to improve things,” Hale said. “We share our knowledge of all things financial. We help small businesses to get started and established business to grow. Through our community partnerships, we breathe life back into communities and their neighborhoods. We serve on boards and, as volunteers, we honor our diverse cultures.  In doing so, we realize life tastes much sweeter when enhanced by the arts.”

In the past five years, the bank has donated nearly $20 million to organizations involved in health and human services, education, arts and culture and civic and community development.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Dowagiac DDA and Chamber of Commerce,” Rolback said. “Both organizations play a leading role in growing this community. As a bank invested in people, Huntington is grateful for the opportunity to partner with these two wonderful organizations as we grow our community’s cultural arts.”

The Beckwith Park Summer Concert Series attracts a loyal and returning audience of music enthusiasts from Dowagiac and surrounding communities.

Ninety-five percent of the individuals who participated in the on-site survey at the conclusion of last year’s performance schedule rated it high in quality.

The summer fine arts series is a spin-off of the original music program hosted by the Historic Dowagiac Association, which was once held on the lawn outside the old City Hall.

Phillipson has coordinated the fine arts series and has raised its program funding for more than 13 years.

Summer concerts open this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. as aspiring young vocalists and members of the Dowagiac High School Chamber Choir and its Women’s Chorale return to Beckwith Park under the direction of Jeff Robinson. Lawn-chair seating is encouraged.

To receive a concert brochure, call the Chamber of Commerce and DDA at (269) 782-8212.

The public can also access the concert schedule online at

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