Things to Do

Friday, 11 January 2019 - 7:00pm

Event:               Elaine Dame

When:               Friday, January 11, 2019, 7 pm

Where:              The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College, Hanson Theatre

2755 E Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI

Mendel Center Box Office, (269) 927-8700, option 1, or

Tickets:             $15, $10 Mainstage & Economic Club members, seniors, students, and veterans



Chicago-based jazz singer Elaine Dame to perform at The Mendel Center as part of the Hanson Theatre Living Room Series Jan. 11


On Friday, January 11, at 7 pm, The Mendel Center welcomes Chicago-based jazz singer Elaine Dame to the Hanson Theatre Living Room Series. The Stevensville native returns to the area to delight the audience with an evening of selections from her albums Comes Love and You’re My Thrill along with jazz favorites that will warm a winter evening.

Dame, who Time Out, Chicagocalls a “jazz dynamo” and “a gem in the city’s vocal jazz scene,” has been turning heads for the past twenty years as a mainstay of the Chicago jazz scene. From her headlining appearances at New York City’s legendary Rainbow Room and Michael Feinstein’s 54 Below, to her mainstage performances at the 2015 and 2017 Chicago Jazz Festivals, to her appearances at venerable jazz clubs all across the country, Dame brings her joyful, unique interpretations to vintage vocal gems and modern standards alike. 


Neil Tesser, Grammy award-winning jazz critic and author of The Playboy Guide to Jazzsaid, "Dame has risen to the top ranks of Chicago jazz singers. She possesses all the musicality you could want in a true jazz vocalist: centered intonation, an enviable command of rhythm and a translucent but powerful instrument.” 


While virtuosity is a given, it’s the joy she exudes with every note that makes Dame’s performances unforgettable. A graduate of The Theater Repertory Program at California State Northridge, Dame worked for years in Chicago’s theater scene before turning her whole focus to jazz. She is a singer who understands the importance of stage presence. It’s no wonder the Chicago Reader wrote, “Ms. Dame has a winning stage presence and a chameleon-like vocal flexibility.” 


Comes Love, Dame’s debut recording was released to wide critical acclaim and international radio play. “Dame combines a freshness of approach with an unaffected fondness for the music she sings. The result is a clear-eyed approach to her material that remains accessible to a broad cross section of listeners, potentially enlarging the audience for jazz,” said Jazz Improv Magazine.


In December of 2014, Dame released her highly-anticipated sophomore recording You’re My Thrillto rave reviews: “Dame’s interpretive gifts - which are through the roof - do what jazz is meant to do: turn these well-worn tunes into a revelatory and often very witty set of commentaries on each other. Her voice is capable of doing whatever she asks of it-from an extended staccato run to a single word teased by a beguiling melisma – but it’s the choices behind these technical feats that are the real story. Everything is in the service of the narrative; the beauty of her instrument is guided by the shrewdness of her instincts and her instincts are infallible,” said Robert Rodi of New City, Chicago.  


Dame is currently planning her third studio recording, a special project that will feature extraordinary jazz renderings of her favorite songs from the ‘70s with an all-star line-up of notable jazz instrumentalists.


For the past twelve years, in addition to her consistent work as a jazz singer, Dame has been a private jazz vocal instructor. She was honored to have been a 2013 teaching artist at Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Summer Jazz Academy, where she taught scatting master classes. She has also conducted jazz clinics at The Chicago Academy for the Arts, Minneapolis Public Schools, Drake University in Iowa and the Benjamin Franklin International School in Barcelona, Spain.


A wine bar and craft beers from local makers will be available beginning at 6 pm for attendees to enjoy throughout the performance.


Tickets for Elaine Dame are $15 and available at, through The Mendel Center box office at (269) 927-8700, option 1, and in person weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm at the box office located in The Mendel Center, 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor. Discounts available for Mainstage and Economic Club members, seniors, students, and veterans.


The Hanson Theatre Living Room Series is sponsored by the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council.


About the Hanson Theatre Living Room Series

The Hanson Theatre Living Room Series is a live performance experience in the intimate setting of the 250-seat Hanson Theatre inside The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College. The venue is designed for maximum viewing and listening pleasure and provides audiences with the opportunity to connect more closely with the performers and the performances.




The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). Its GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.


Find Elaine Dame online at:

Facebook @ElaineDameJazzSinger

Instagram @ElaineDame

Twitter @ElaineDame

YouTube @TheElaineDame


Find #TheMendelCenter online at:

Facebook @mendelcenter

Instagram @TheMendelCenter

Twitter @TheMendelCenter

Friday, 18 January 2019 - 8:00pm

Event:              The Russian National Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty

When:              Friday, January 18, 2019, 8 pm

Where:             The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College, 2755 E Napier Ave., Benton Harbor, MI

Mendel Center Box Office, (269) 927-8700, option 1, or

Tickets:            $32 - $54


The Russian National Ballet returns to The Mendel Center with its presentation of Sleeping Beauty


The Russian National Ballet returns to southwest Michigan on Friday, January 18, at 8 p.m., with its adaptation of the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty during a stop at The Mendel Center Mainstage as part of its U.S. tour. This performance is part of The Mendel Center’s Discovery Series.


Choreographed by Marius Petipa, Sleeping Beauty is a full-length ballet in three acts with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It premiered January 16, 1890, and is often considered the finest achievement of the classical ballet. It is a grandiose and refined blending of the traditional mime, expressive pas d'action, and spectacular divertissements in a lavish theatrical setting.  


The Russian National Ballet was founded in Moscow during the transitional period of Perestroika in the late 1980s. It was a time when many of the great dancers and choreographers of the Soviet Union's ballet institutions were exercising their new-found creative freedom by starting new, vibrant companies. This movement was dedicated not only to the timeless tradition of classical Russian Ballet, but to invigorating this tradition as the Russians began to accept new developments in the dance from around the world.


The company, then titled the Soviet National Ballet, was founded by and incorporated graduates from the great Russian choreographic schools of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Perm. The principal dancers of the company came from the upper ranks of the great ballet companies and academies of Russia, and the companies of Riga, Kiev, and even Warsaw. Today, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is its own institution with over 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, many of whom have been with the company since its inception.


In 1994, the legendary Bolshoi principal dancer Elena Radchenko was selected by Presidential decree to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of the company. Radchenko is the founder of the Russian National Ballet, and she has focused the company on upholding the grand national tradition of the major Russian ballet works and developing new talents throughout Russia, with a repertory of virtually all of the great full works of Petipa: Don Quixote, La Bayadere, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Paquita, Coppelia and La Sylphide, as well as productions of, among others, The Nutcracker, Sylvia, and La Fille Mal Gardee.


A separately ticketed pre-show Fairy Tale Dinner and Tea will be served in Mainstage Lower Lobby beginning at 6:30 pm, featuring a kid friendly menu and special surprises. Families are encouraged to dress their little princes and princesses in their finest royal or dance attire for the dinner and the ballet performance.


Tickets on sale now starting at $32. Tickets for the dinner are $15 for adults and young people ages 13 and older, $10 for children ages 3 – 12, and children under 3 are free.


Tickets for both events are available online at, and through The Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-8700, option 1, weekday 10 am to 6 pm. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, seniors, students and children, active military members, and veterans. For information about group rates, pre-show party options, and other special arrangements, contact the Box Office. While dinner tickets are not required for children under 3, ballet performance tickets are required for all attendees, including lap sitting infants.


This performance is made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment and is sponsored by Honor Credit Union, Reny Picot, and WNDU Channel 16.


About The Mendel Center Mainstage
The Mendel Center raised the curtain on its first Mainstage season performance in the fall of 1992. Since that time, it has presented Mainstage season performances to more than half a million attendees. This is in addition to the scores of performing arts, national and international speakers, ceremonies, and community events hosted by other groups and organizations on the Mainstage. The 1,559-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre offers state-of-the-art acoustics and comfortable seating in elegant surroundings. Amenities include free parking, handicap accessibility, and an array of services including catering and bar service for private pre- and post-show events, child booster seats, assistive listening devices, non-spill cups for beverages inside the theatre, and premium seats in the Stage Side section.


About the Discovery Series

Now in its sixth season, The Mendel Center’s Discovery Series provides family friendly performing arts events for audiences of all ages. The series delivers enriching experiences that introduce young people and their families to the excitement of live, professionally produced, touring productions. The goal of the series is to inspire creativity, spark imagination, educate through the arts, and create opportunities to build cherished memories while having a lot of fun.



The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). Its GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.


Find #TheMendelCenter online at:

●      Facebook @mendelcenter

●      Instagram @themendelcenter

●      Twitter @LMCMendel



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