Dogwood Fine Arts Festival announces 2019 lineup

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, February 19, 2019

DOWAGIAC — A chance to enjoy the finer things in life will be coming to Dowagiac this spring with the 2019 Dogwood Fine Arts Festival.

Saturday evening, The Dogwood Fine Arts Festival hosted a reception at Round Oak Revisited in downtown Dowagiac to announce its 2019 lineup. The festival will feature a variety of different art forms and art related events in March and May.

Festival President Jim Benedix said he is excited about this year’s lineup, saying that he and the Dogwood board have been working on the schedule since last year’s festival concluded in May 2018.

“We have a really diverse list of events — from chamber music to silent movies to rock and roll,” he said. “We have a really fun range of talent choices.”

In the months leading up to the festival, Benedix said he hopes the public will get excited about the festival and support it as they have in years past.

“I think the festival is a great thing for Dowagiac,” he said. “People always have a great evening, no matter what the event is.”

The lineup for the 2019 Dogwood Fine Arts Festival includes:

Vienna Boys Choir — 7 p.m. March 11, Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center

The Vienna Boys Choir is a famous chorus is comprised of four separate ensembles of boys between the ages of 10 and 14, totaling 100 choristers at the Vienna Boys Choir school at any given time.

The group has been renowned as one of the finest vocal ensembles in the world for more than five centuries, having been formally established at Vienna’s Imperial Chapel in 1498 by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Today’s Vienna Boys Choir is comprised of young singers from all over the world who are admitted by audition. The choir visiting Dowagiac in the spring includes boys hailing from Austria, Cambodia, China, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the Philippines.

The March performance will mark the first time at the Vienna Boys Choir has visited Dowagiac.

“[The Vienna Boys Choir] is what I am most excited for this season,” Benedix said. “To have that kind of talent in Dowagiac is really exciting.”

Tickets start at $40.

Adult Aerial Silks class — 7:30 p.m. April 17 and 4:30 p.m. April 18, Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center

Adults will have a chance to take to the skies with an adult aerial silks class with the Aerial Angels. No performance will be hosted for this event.

“There is no judgement or performance,” Benedix said. “This is a chance to have fun, learn from the coaches and play on the silks.”

Tickets are $25.

Starfish Circus — 7:30 p.m. May 4 and 2:30 p.m. May 5, the Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center.

For the Starfish Circus, Dowagiac students train for two weeks with trained professionals to learn circus moves and routines to perform on the show dates. This year will mark the third year that the Dogwood Festival has included the Starfish Circus in its lineup.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for preschool-aged children.

Auditions will be hosted April 17 and 18. 

“We have had parents tell us this has changed their children’s lives,” Benedix said. “That alone is worth this.”

• Fischoff Chamber Music Soiree — 7:30 p.m. May 9 at the Dowagiac Area History Museum

The event will feature music produced by a Quarter Finalist Ensemble of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.  The concert will be followed with an opportunity to meet the musicians over light refreshments.

“If you like chamber music, this is the one to see,” Benedix said. “This is the best of the best nationwide.”

Tickets are $20 and are limited.

• Silent Cinema with Jay Warren — 7:30 p.m. May 10, Southwestern Michigan College Dale A. Lyons Building

Jay Warren, photoplay organist for the Silent Film Society of Chicago, will treat Dogwood festival goers to a classic silent film with full organ accompaniment.

“We will be getting movies the way they were originally produced,” Benedix said. “The music will tell the story and set the mood.”

Tickets are $10.

Transit Authority — 7:30 p.m. May 11, Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center

Transit Authority — known throughout the U.S. as a premier tribute band to the iconic group, Chicago — will visit the 2019 Dogwood festival.

“It is going to be a great concert,” Benedix said. “If you like the sound of Chicago, you won’t be able to tell the difference.”

Tickets will range in price from $20 to $30.

Storyteller Master Class with Anne Rutherford — 7:30 p.m. May 14, Cass County Council on Aging Front Street Crossing

Rutherford, a professional storyteller since 1999, will visit the COA to host a masterclass on storytelling to teach visitors how to tell their own stories.

Her repertoire includes original fictional tales, ghost stories, tall tales, personal stories and Pacific Northwest Folklore. Her 2016 CD, “The Habit of Joy,” was a Storytelling World Award Winner. She is a four-time 1st-place winner at the Northwest Folklife Festival Liar’s Contest in Seattle and took the grand prize in the NW Tall Tale Challenge in 2016.

“I love her [stories],” said Jennifer Ray, a member of Dogwood’s storytelling committee. “We look forward to her.”

Tickets are $10 and limited.

Storyteller Anne Rutherford On Stage — 7:30 p.m. May 15, Southwestern Michigan College Dale A. Lyons Building

Rutherford will take the stage the day following her masterclass for a performance.

Tickets are $8.

Youth Fine Arts Night — 6 p.m. May 16, Dowagiac Union High School

For the annual Youth Fine Arts Night, the Dogwood Festival will display art from every grade level in the Dowagiac Union Schools District and the choir and bands will play at the event. Exhibits will open at 6 p.m., and concerts will start at 7 p.m.

“The hallways of the high school will be transformed into an art gallery,” Benedix said. “It’s a great way to see the talent Dowagiac has within our school system.”

The event is free and open to the public.

Author Wade Rouse — 7:30 p.m. May 17, Southwestern Michigan College Dale A. Lyons Building

Wade Rouse, better known as his pen name Viola Shipman, will serve as the 2019 author for the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival. Rouse is the bestselling author of seven books, including his latest novel, “The Hope Chest,” which launched in March 2018.

“We love to have our authors each year, as they talk about the craft and how they move within their craft,” Benedix said. “We expect a great presentation by [Rouse] and are happy to have him.”

Tickets are $20.

All tickets can be purchased at