Community Music School
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  • Information
  • Guest Artist
  • Workshops


Saturday, March 1 from 1-6pm
At The Music Center, Fremont Street adjoining the Davidson Building at Kellogg Community College.

**Click Here for Workshops Details and Register Today!!**

Community Music School presents its fourth annual GuitarFest on March 1, from 1-6pm. Musicians can register for $10 in advance, by calling 269.963.1911 ext. 2585, or for $20 at the door beginning at 12:30pm. Guests are encouraged to bring guitars to play along, but are also welcome to come just to listen and observe. There will be topics for all skill levels.

The event will feature workshops by Community Music School faculty as well as guest artists, Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra, with performances by faculty and the KMGO, and a raffle drawing for guitar accessories and other prizes. Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra will lead workshops on various topics alongside the Community Music School faculty who will present classical guitar to acoustic blues, folk, ukelele and more. Then to close the day out, stay to enjoy and experience an open jam session with fellow attendees from 5-6pm!.

Our sponsor for this event is GHS Strings, located right here in Battle Creek, MI! Students registering for Community Music School lessons the day of GuitarFest will receive a 10% discount. For questions or to register, contact Dinah Vaden, Community Music School - Battle Creek Coordinator by phone at 269.963.1911 ext. 2585 or by e-mail at

Tickets are just $10 in advance or $20 at the door.

How to register:

Call CMS at 269.963.1911 ext. 2585 or register at the door.

Visit one of our locations:
450 North Ave., Battle Creek, MI
200 South Boltwood, Hastings  49058
101 East Mansion Street,  Marshall 49068

Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra




GuitarFest with The Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra and CMS

There will be many workshops throughout the day, hosted by the Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra, as well as CMS faculty.


Workshop 1: 1-2pm

A Beginner’s Guide to the Guitar (Miles Kusik)
A workshop for those just beginning or thinking of beginning pick-style guitar. Hand positions, guitar terms, basic picking drills, instrument care, tuning and techniques for effective chord changes, and more.
Bring your guitar – this is a hands-on workshop!

Praise With Strings (Laurie Elmen and Steve Youngs)
Late beginner/Intermediate
Learn to chord with six praise songs. Includes help with chord changing, strum patterns, and accompanying a congregation or praise team.

Renaissance Rock (Ed Swarthout)
Medieval Folk Renaissance Rock emerged in the early 1970s in England and Germany, combining elements of early music with rock music. We will explore Blackmore’s Night and other artists who have made Renaissance Rock popular at Renaissance fairs and other venues.

Finger-style Guitar (Stephen Williams)
Finger-picking styles for guitar derived from folk styles (Travis, Cotton, Delta Blues and Scruggs style banjo) and from classical guitar. Includes some basics on bottleneck style.

Time Travel: the Guitar in Art and Music in the 1800s (James Kuch)
A history of the 19th century guitar in art and music. 

Songwriting on Guitar (Doug Peterson)
Having trouble finding the right chord, or making the right mood?  Do you just want to be able to sit down and write a song?  Creating chords, making melodies, and writing words: this class will help you put all of this together to form songs you can be proud of.  Must have a working knowledge of basic guitar chording.  Music reading knowledge helpful, but not necessary.


Workshop 2: 3:45-4:45pm

An Illustrated History of the Mandolin (Jackie Zito and Miles Kusik)
Jackie and Miles, co-founders of the Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra, will present the history of the mandolin from 17th century Italy to the present, using historical photographs, illustrations, and musical examples. Learn how the mandolin played an important part in the development of popular music and the guitar in America.

Banjo with Just One Pick (Rock Newsome)
Late Beginner/Intermediate
Want to explore the banjo? If you play guitar you already know lots about the banjo.
This workshop includes banjo basics so you can add a new style later.

Make a Change: Guitar Chord Team-ups! (Doug Peterson)
We’ve all at some point had trouble making chord changes on time.  This class focuses on ‘paired chords’ plus finger ‘tricks’ to help you smooth out those chord changes and develop great technique.

Beatles Music for Fun and Improvement (Doug Acker)
Beginning and intermediate students will benefit greatly from this fun session as they expand their guitar skills through Beatles music.

Bass Guitar (Ed Swarthout)
The name says it all!

Ukelele for Fun (Stephen Williams)
All skill levels
Learn some easy chords and rhythms on the ukulele! A few easy-to-learn songs will be presented and taught.
If you don’t have a uke, bring your guitar and capo.

Open Jam: 5-6pm
Choose a jam session: Rock, Jazz, Blues, Folk, Contemporary Christian



To register, call Dinah Vaden at 269.963.1911 x 2585

or fill out this form and mail to:

The Music Center | P.O. Box 1613 | Battle Creek, MI 49016

*please do not send cash through the mail*




 Contact Us

Nancy Brown, Director
269.963.1911 x 2502

Dinah Vaden, Battle Creek Coordinator
269.963.1911 x 2585

Christianne Statler, Hastings Coordinator

Alexis Stark, Marshall Coordinator

 Locate Us

The Community Music School has three campuses; Battle Creek, Hastings, and Marshall.

Click here for maps to our locations

 Registration Info

Community Music School

Winter 2014

January 6- May 23, 19 weeks

Summer 2014

June 2 - August 22, 12 weeks

Registration open all semester

For registration and start up dates of each program please check out the pages for private lessons, Music First,and the Registration page.

 Financial Aid

CMS financial aid is available to families with under $50,000 in annual income. Other aid is available to qualifying families from area foundations and organizations. For more information, please contact the Music Center.

Some of the financial aid options are need based while others are not. Please call today to find out how we are able to keep music learning accessible and affordable for our community.

 Qualified Instructors Needed

National Guild of Arts Educators