Concert to benefit Harbor Lights TV

Published 9:08 am Friday, January 4, 2013

Dawn Yarbrough, Karine Martin, Bonita Mitchell and Venitia Sekema will perform a concert to benefit Harbor Lights TV. Submitted photo

Benton Harbor will always have a special place in Dawn Yarbrough’s heart:

It’s where she grew up and the place that prepared her for her life today.

“I’ve lived in Los Angeles, Italy — the basis for everything I’ve done came from there,” said Yarbrough, creator, producer and host of Harbor Lights TV, a PBS television series highlighting the positive stories of Southwestern Michigan.

On Jan. 11, Yarbrough and three other Southwestern Michigan natives will be performing to raise money for the second series of Harbor Lights TV. The fundraising event starts at 8 p.m. at The Livery, 190 5th St., Benton Harbor.

All four women are talented singers with some performing all over the world.

Karine Martin plays the flute and sings, and Bonita Mitchell is a Los Angeles composer and singer who sang with Stevie Wonder. Venitia Sekema is a guitarist/singer/writer who recently released a CD, and Yarbrough, who lives in Italy, is a singer who tours Europe with her band. Yarbrough also does musical theater in Italy.

“We’ll have some of the songs the favorites that everyone knows and loves: “This Little Light of Mine,” “Superstition,” “It’s a Wonderful World” — classics that everybody knows,” she said. “We’ll encourage people to dance and sing along.”

The ladies will be backed by a band of local musicians: Steve Parker, on piano; Dennis Varo, bass; James Jones, saxophone; and Tara Saunders, drums.

The show will also feature excerpts from Harbor Lights TV season one shown between the sets.

“For people who’ve never seen the show, it will give them an idea of what we are raising funds for,” Yarbrough said.

In addition, local restaurateurs will provide savory and sweet, small appetizers. Minimum suggested donation is $50. Tickets can be purchased in advance at or at the door.

The Livery will be decorated with sculptures by Benton Harbor artist Dave Wilkinson.

“The entire event will be filmed by the WNIT television crew for one of the segments of Harbor Lights TV series two,” Yarbrough said.
Yarbrough said events, such as these, are vital for the survival of nonprofit shows like Harbor Lights TV. All proceeds go to WNIT, which airs the show.

“If people don’t support the project, it’s gone,” she said. “We won’t have the money to produce it.”

Series one ran for six weeks this fall.

“The objective is to inform the local community about the great things that are going on in our community,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know what’s available for them to participate in.”

For more information, or to watch series one, visit