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My Town: Muskegon instructor wins pastry chef of the year

My Town: Muskegon instructor wins pastry chef of the year

MUSKEGON, Mich.--  Baker College of Muskegon is home to the pastry chef of the year in the 2014 Great Lakes Regional Masterpiece Chocolate-Pastry Competition.

This is the second consecutive year Justin Raha has won the honor.  Raha is an instructor at Baker’s Culinary Institute of Michigan.  He’s also the owner and executive pastry chef of Grand Finale Desserts & Pastries in Grand Haven.

All competitors had to create a chocolate display piece, a chocolate anniversary cake and plate presentation and a petite four presentation with eight bonbons, in honor of the event’s 25th anniversary.

Mona Shores Fiddlers perform at Loutit District Library March 9

Mona Shores Fiddlers perform at Loutit District Library March 9

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.  -- St. Patrick’s Day festivities will come to Grand Haven early as the Loutit District Library presents the Mona Shores High School Fiddlers on March 9 for an afternoon of popular Irish fiddle music as part of the library’s Sunday concert series.

This free concert begins at 2 p.m. on the library’s upper level lobby. Library officials are encouraging the public to arrive early due to limited seating. LDL opens at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The MSF was formed in 1996 by the retired Mona Shores High School orchestra director, Timothy Staudacher, to create an alternative style for string players that revolved around the performance of folk music from various cultures. The fiddlers are lead by current high school orchestra director, Samer Jeroudi, who is in his third year.

Dozens of West Michigan Schools awarded field trip grants

Dozens of West Michigan Schools awarded field trip grants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Nearly three dozen West Michigan schools are getting a financial boost to help students learn outside the traditional classroom.

The Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs recently awarded more than $55,000 grants to 147 schools as part of its Arts & Culture Trek “Bus Grant” program.  Each school received up to $500 to help cover transportation costs for an arts or culture-related field trip through May 31.

 "These grants subsidize field trips across the state and expose thousands of students to arts, science and humanities experiences that enrich classroom learning.  Many of these trips would not have been possible in a year where most schools are continuing to cope with significant budget cuts," says Marianne Dorais, executive director of Michigan Youth Arts.

This year’s recipients include:

  • Comstock STEM Academy (Kalamazoo)
  • Cooper Elementary (Kalamazoo)
  • Kalamazoo C

Entries sought for West Michigan Regional Art Competition

Entries sought for West Michigan Regional Art Competition

LOWELL, Mich.—LowellArts is looking for entries for its 28th annual West Michigan Regional Art Competition.

Entries can be dropped off anytime between Feb.20 and Feb. 22 for judging by Henry Matthews, director of galleries and collections at Grand Valley State University.  Matthews previously served as director of the Muskegon Museum of Art and was a staff member of the Detroit Institute of Arts.  The Austrian native has conducted dozens of worldwide tours over the past 25 years.

The West Michigan Regional Art Competition is open to artists 18 years and older who reside in one of 15 West Michigan counties.  Only original artwork completed with the past two years is eligible.

The West Michigan Regional Art Competition runs from Feb. 26- April 10.  The top five entries announced Feb. 25 will receive a total of $2,000 in cash prizes. 

'The Moxie Strings' to perform at Mona Shores Fiddle Festival Feb. 8

'The Moxie Strings' to perform at  Mona Shores Fiddle Festival Feb. 8

MUSKEGON, Mich.  -- From their toe tapping melodies to electrifying rhythms, the Celtic band, The Moxie Strings, have amazed crowds the past three years in Muskegon at the Michigan Irish Festival.

The band returns to the area on Saturday, Feb. 8 as The Mona Shores Fiddlers present their 12th annual ‘Fiddle Fest’ at 7 p.m in the high school’s performing arts center, 1121 Seminole Road in Muskegon.

The Mona Shores Fiddle Festival is an annual event where a guest professional group is invited to perform and work with the students during the day. Last year’s band was the Oat Bran Boys. Proceeds of this concert benefit the MSF’s continuing education of the alternative Irish/Celtic music style. 

Party In Your Parka at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Jan. 25

Party In Your Parka at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Jan. 25

MUSKEGON, Mich.—  Celebrate Michigan’s 177th Birthday with a Party In Your Parka at Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Saturday, Jan. 25.

This is the second year for the all-ages, all-day celebration, which includes winter activities, live music and art.  Admission is free with a Michigan State Park pass, but there are fees for using the trails, renting equipment and getting luge lessons.  Pricing can be found on the Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex page here.  Concessions and drinks will also be available.  Park passes will be available the day of the event at the complex for $11. Those passes are good all year for every state park in Michigan.

 SCHEDULE*:

Careerline Tech Center opens newly renovated culinary classroom

Careerline Tech Center opens newly renovated culinary classroom

HOLLAND, Mich.—Nearly 6,000 square feet of newly renovated space is now open to a new generation of chefs.

Last summer, Careerline Tech Center began transforming the space into a teaching arena like no other high school in Michigan.  The new facility allows students to train on commercial grade equipment typically found in elite culinary colleges.  The equipment includes a steam/convection oven, new fryer and two broiler ovens.  Construction crews also added a demonstration lab with tiered seating and video monitors for optimal viewing.

“Our program is at capacity and the students are amazed at the new facilities,” says Joe Carmolli, culinary and pastry arts instructor for CTC. “Recent graduates told me they wish they could come back to experience the new lab. They are a little jealous.”