White Lake Chamber Music Festival


For a number of years this was the official site of the White Lake Chamber Music Festival.
Content is from the site's 2016 - 2017 archived pages provideing a limited look at what this festival offered its audience.

For current information about the White Lake Chamber Music Festival go to: http://www.whitelakemusic.org/

106 East Colby Street
Whitehall, MI 49461


White Lake Chamber Music Festival

Downtown Whitehall 106 East Colby Street, Whitehall, MI 49461

Performances by the legendary Avalon String Quartet will be among the many highlights of this year’s White Lake Chamber Music Festival to be held August 3-13, 2017. Now in its eighth year, the Arts Council of White Lake’s festival will present exceptional performances and events held throughout the White Lake area of Montague and Whitehall. Most events are free. From August 3 -13, local, national, and international performers will come together in the White Lake area. The Chicago based Avalon String Quartet returns as our Resident String Quartet, but with a new and added surprise; a special performance with Chicago clarinetist Elizandro Garcia-Montoya performing the Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op.115! Grand Rapids performers, Andrew Le - piano, and Jenny Walvoord - violin, joined by Alicia Eppinga – cello, and much more will be presented. Acclaimed trumpet artists and pedagogues, Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer, will join organist Thomas Wikman for a concert that has been performed by this trio world-wide!



Embrace great music!
Discover or rediscover the classics! Be inspired and awed by our stellar artists who will play their hearts out for you!

August 3 - 13, 2017

Bringing great music to the charming towns of Montague and Whitehall, nestled on the shores of scenic White Lake, connecting to Lake Michigan. 

​We invite you to experience the White Lake Chamber Music Festival and explore the quaint downtown shopping districts, family-friendly parks, and extensive bike trails of this beautiful vacation paradise.



Welcome to the 8th Annual 

White Lake Chamber Music Festival

As we move into our 8th annual White Lake Chamber Music Festival, the White Lake area has had the privilege of hosting and experiencing exceptional talent and great music. Our reach has expanded considerably and we are on our way to put the White Lake area on the national map of exceptional chamber music festivals!

​Performances by the legendary Avalon String Quartet will be among the many highlights of this year’s White Lake Chamber Music Festival to be held August 3-13, 2017. Now in its eighth year, the festival will present exceptional performances and events held throughout the White Lake area of Montague and Whitehall. Most events are free.

From August 3 -13, local, national, and international performers will come together in the White Lake area. The Chicago based Avalon String Quartetreturns as our Resident String Quartet, but with a new and added surprise; a special performance with Chicago clarinetist Elizandro Garcia-Montoyaperforming the Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op.115! Grand Rapids performers, Andrew Le - piano, Jenny Walvoord - violinAlicia Eppinga – cello, and much more will be presented.

Acclaimed trumpet artists and pedagogues, Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer, will join organist Thomas Wikman for a concert that has been performed by this trio world-wide!

Youth programming will be expanded this year to include four events;

  1. The popular educational concert at the White Lake Community Library featuring Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra’s Bill Vits, percussionist
  2. An opportunity for young musicians to perform
  3. A children’s concert at the Arts Council of White Lake’s Nuveen Center featuring educator and cellist, Erin Wang.
  4. A performance by the top three winners of the Young Artists College Solo Competition, giving the community a glimpse into Michigan’s top talent from the state’s universities and colleges.

"Music with Friends" concert will be held on Friday, August 4 at the beautiful home of the VanderHagens. Wine, cheese, and desserts will be served between musical sets. Performing will be William Watson, tenor: Tracy Watson, mezzo-soprano; Teresa Kang, piano. Tickets are $40. 

Two performances will be presented by the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble, a versatile and dynamic group praised by the New York Times for its “conviction, authority, and finesse.” Defined by limitless imagination, the ensemble engages curiosity to create unexpected connections with artistic collaborators and audiences of all types, breathing life into repertoire both established and emerging. Over the last decade, the ensemble has engaged theater groups, visual artists, animators, living composers, astronomers, folk musicians and corporate innovators through transformative cross-media performance experiences for audiences of every type.

The traditional Baroque concert on Friday, August 11, will feature theGaudete Brass Quintet from Chicago. "Per Amor, per Natura" is a program exploring the personification of love and nature in 16th and 17th century madrigals. In the music of the master madrigalists, nature becomes mythopoeic and love moves the world. Music from Thomas Morley, John Wilbye, Giaches de Wert and Francisco Guerrero is paired with two modern works, Stacy Garrop’s Legends of Olympus where each movement depicts a different aspect of the natural world through the stories of classical mythology, and Joan Tower’s Copperwave where the very elements of earth are given voice to sing through the brass instruments.  This concert has become one of the festival’s favorites! 

Free Salon Concerts are among the many highlights of the week. Great talent will be featured daily at 4:30 p.m. at the Book Nook and Java Shop. Guest artists include a cello duo – Avalon’s Cheng-Hou Lee and his wife, Anna Sanders Lee; 4 Hand Piano, Bryan Uecker and Steve Thielman; 5th House Ensemble, and much more.

We desire to present exceptional music, to educate, thrill, and delight a growing audience of all ages and reach more people with the timeless treasures of classical music!


A personal note: 2017 was the last year my folks attended the White Lake Chamber Music Festival. I remember it well. They were both so excited to see the Fifth House Ensemble whose members harness the collaborative spirit of chamber music to reach beyond the traditionally-perceived limits of classical music. In 2018 my father passed and in 2019 I moved my mother to an assisted senior living in Bel Air MD nearby to where I live. I initially panicked when I realized I would need to place my mother in a home for seniors, but her mental and physical health had deteriorated quickly after my father died. I finally chose Hart Heritage Estates since they are licensed dementia care facilities. Fortunately my mother was able to move into the assisted living wing, but it was reassuring if she were to deteriorate further, she could just be transfered to a different section of this home for seniors. The transition had a few glitches but she is now quite enjoying herself and has recovered her health. I recently bought her a new flat scrren Apple computer for her single room that over looks the 6.5 acres of park-like grounds and showed her YouTube. She now can listen to Youtube videos of the Fifth House Ensemble, as well as other music artists that she enjoys. Although I couldn't find her a video of the 2017 White Lake Chamber Music Festival with the Fifth House Ensemble, I was able to to show her a video of the 2017 preformance of the Fifth House Ensemble playing Journey, an interactive parable of an anonymous online adventure of a person's life passage experience and their intersections with others. My Mom loved it! Her renewed enthusiasm for life is encouraging. I feel convendent that I made the right decision in moving her into an elder care facility



Fifth House Ensemble to Perform!


The Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble is a versatile and dynamic group praised by the New York Times for its “conviction, authority, and finesse.” Defined by limitless imagination, the ensemble engages curiosity to create unexpected connections with artistic collaborators and audiences of all types, breathing life into repertoire both established and emerging.

Folias Duo


Backyard Concert  at the
Cocoa Cottage
Bed & Breakfast

Thursday, August 3
7:30 p.m.

Tickets $30

Includes wine, hors d`oeuvres, coffee, and desserts. 
A limited number of tickets are available in advance at the Book Nook & Java Shop, 8744 Ferry St., Montague the Arts Council’s Nuveen Center, 106 E. Colby St., Whitehall; or on-line at artswhitelake.org.


Tracy Watson, mezzo-soprano
​"Music with Friends"

August 4

​The White Lake Chamber Music Festival kicks off it’s 8th season with a "Music with Friends" concert on Friday, August 4 at the beautiful Lake Michigan home of Gary & Linda VanderHagen! Musicians William Watson, tenor; Tracy Watson, mezzo-soprano; and Teresa Kang, piano, will delight you. 

This concert will be the perfect opening to the Arts Council of White Lake’s 8th annual White Lake Chamber Music Festival, running August 3 – 13. The in-home concerts are always among festival favorites, providing an intimate and up close experience for the concert goer. Food and drink are also an important part of the evening. Home concerts are all open to the public.

Tickets for this event are $40 and include wine, hor d`oeuvres, coffee and desserts. Click here for tickets.

​Tickets go on sale June 1.

  • ​​Exquisite hors d'oeuvres
  • Fine wines and desserts
  • Proceeds benefit the Festival




All events are free unless otherwise marked

Friday, June 23
7:30 pm Concert: "Friends of the Festival" Home at the Wheatons, David Hall, marimba $40
Saturday, July 15
7:30 pm Concert: Jazz at the Swan: Tom Hagen Trio - White Swan Inn $15

Thursday, August 3
7:30 pm Backyard Concert: Folias Duo - Carmen Maret, flute; Andrew Bergeron, guitar - Cocoa Cottage B & B $30  


Folias Duo - Escualo - Astor Piazzolla
Recorded at First Presbyterian Church
Santa Fe, NM / June 3, 2016


Friday, August 4  
7:30 pm Home Concert: William Watson, tenor; Tracy Watson, mezzo-soprano; Teresa Kang, piano - Home of the VanderHagens $40
Saturday, August 5
4:30 pm  Festival Highlights Presentation: Robert Swan - Book Nook & Java Shop
7:30 pm  Concert: Avalon String Quartet - Lebanon Lutheran $10 
Sunday, August 6
7:30 pm  Concert: Walvoord Trio - Jenny Walvoord, violin; Alicia Eppinga, cello; Andrew Le, piano - Ferry Memorial
Monday, August 7 
4:30 pm Salon Concert: Cello Duos - Anna Sanders Lee & Cheng Hou Lee - Book Nook & Java Shop  
7:30 pm Concert: Thomas Wikman, organ; Barbara Butler & Charlie Geyer, trumpet - Central United Methodist, Muskegon $20
Tuesday, August 8
11:00 am Children’s Concert: Bill Vits, percussion - White Lake Community Library
4:30 pm  Salon Concert: Solo Competition Finalists - Book Nook & Java Shop
5:30 pm  Recital: Area Young Musicians - Book Nook & Java Shop
7:00 pm  Montague Bandshell Concert: West Michigan Concert Winds
Wednesday, August 9  
4:30 pm  Salon Concert: Vireo Piano Trio - Michelle Vallier, violin; Erin Wang, cello; Bryan Uecker, piano - Book Nook & Java Shop
7:30 pm  Concert: Avalon String Quartet - Lebanon Lutheran $10


Avalon Quartet - Beethoven - String Quartet in B-Flat Major, Op. 18 No. 6 - I - Allegro con brio

Thursday, August 10
11:00 am Children’s Concert: Erin Wang, cellist & music educator - ACWL/Gallery
4:30 pm  Salon Concert: 4 Hand Piano - Bryan Uecker & Steve Thielman - Book Nook & Java Shop
7:30 pm  Concert: 5th House Ensemble - Grace Hong, oboe; ​Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, clarinet; Eric Heidbreder, bassoon - UMC Montague  

Friday, August 11
4:30 pm  Salon Concert: 5th House Ensemble - Grace Hong, oboe; ​Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, clarinet; Eric Heidbreder, bassoon - Book Nook & Java Shop
7:30 pm  Concert: Baroque Festival Orchestra - UMC Montague
Saturday, August 12
1:00 pm  Recital: Jeremy Verwys, classical guitar - ACWL/Gallery
4:30 pm  Salon Concert: William Watson, tenor; Tracy Watson, mezzo-soprano; Teresa Kang, piano - Book Nook & Java Shop
7:30 pm  Concert: Avalon String Quartet with Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, clarinet - Lebanon Lutheran $10
Sunday, August 13
6 pm  Gala Dinner Party – French Theme: Michael Schaeffer, accordion - Book Nook & Java Shop $50


Some of our Festival Venues

Book Nook & Java Shop, 8744 Ferry St.
Ferry Memorial, 8637 Old Channel Trail
United Methodist Church, 8555 Cook 

ACWL/White River Gallery, 106 E. Colby
Lebanon Lutheran Church, 110 S. Mears
White Lake Library, 3900 White Lake Dr
Cocoa Cottage Bed & Breakfast, 223 S. Mears
​White Swan Inn, 303 S. Mears

Central United Methodist, 1011 2nd St, Muskegon ​


Ferry Memorial
8637 Old Channel Trail

The oldest church edifice in the White Lake area is our brick sanctuary, now known as Heritage Hall, erected in 1874 in memory of Major Noah H. Ferry, who died in the Civil War battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 3, 1863. 

Noah H. Ferry, the son of Rev. William Montague and Amanda Ferry, was born on Mackinac Island, April 30, 1831. The family moved to Grand Haven in 1834, and in 1854, Noah and his brother Edward took over the family's lumber mill in White River Township. They prospered and gave much to the community, including building the first schoolhouse in the area in 1856. 

When the Civil War broke out, Noah became the captain of a 102 men company known as the "White River Guard." In early 1863, he became a Major. He was killed in battle against Robert E. Lee's forces at Gettysburg.

When Noah died, his property reverted to his father. In March 1866, Rev. Ferry built the Red Lumber Mill on his son's property. At the same time, Rev. Ferry loaned money to Mr. E. R. Burrows to erect a two-story building at the corner of Dowling and Ferry Streets, with the stipulation that the second story be used for church services rent-free. 

Thus began the First Presbyterian Church of Montague in 1868. Unfortunately, Burrow's Hall burned down in 1871. 

At that time, Edward Ferry, Noah's brother, told church officials that his mother, who died in 1870, had left a bequest of $1500 toward the construction of a church in Montague, to be supervised by Edward and Mr. George Dowling. Edward then offered to pay for the entire construction of the church building, as a memorial to his deceased brother Noah. The building (which cost $12,000 to finish) and a parsonage were constructed on two lots donated by Edward. The buildings were finished in 1874, but finally dedicated on January 9, 1877. 

For many years a thriving church, membership plunged in the 1930's, and the church dissolved by 1942. A number of Reformed Church in America people had regularly attended Ferry Presbyterian Church while summering in the area. Thus, when the Presbyterian Church closed, a group of Reformed folk decided to form a new congregation in the area. The Presbyterians gladly leased the building to them for five years, with an understanding that if the congregation thrived, the property would be deeded to them for $1. 

Thus, Ferry Memorial Reformed Church was organized on October 28, 1942 with 15 families. The church grew and on October 1, 1947, the property was deeded to the Reformed Church. 

In the late 1970's, the church faced difficult decisions regarding its future. Particularly the church debated whether to build a new sanctuary, and if built, what should the sanctuary look like. A sanctuary was built and on November 1, 1981, the new sanctuary was dedicated. 

Someone observing the upward rise of the old sanctuary steeple, contrasted with the new sanctuary roof lines sloping down toward the earth, remarked: "It looks like Ferry Memorial is reaching up to God; and reaching out to people." That became our church's vision statement. 

The stained glass windows, depicting Old and New Testament scenes, were dedicated July 20, 1997.
In late 1999, major sanctuary renovations added new seating, a new stained-glass window cross, a new sound system, new carpet, and a new ventilation system. 

A stainless steel full-size anchor was handcrafted by Mr. Wayne Vogel in memory of his friend, Rev. Lloyd Arnoldink. It was dedicated on September 1, 2002 during worship. "The Anchor Holds" became the church's theme for the year, emphasizing that in the sometimes smooth, sometimes turbulent seas of life, Christ is our steady security and hope. 

On September 21, 2008 we gathered to celebrated 138 years as a church on this site, 70 of those years as a Reformed Church in America congregation. praise God for his many blessings and share stories of the founding of Ferry Church. 


Lebanon Lutheran Church
1101 S. Mears Ave

A strong faith in God sustained the Swedish immigrants who brought from Sweden their Lutheran church background. In Sweden the state directed the clergy to teach their congregant's children to read well enough to memorize Luther’s little catechism. Religion was a deeply felt need among the immigrants and one of their first concerns after settling was to organize a church congregation. 

​In 1868 the Scandinavian Lutheran Church was organized in Whitehall. Family records show that Anders Johansson (Ryd) was confirmed in Whitehall in 1870. In 1872 Swedish members formed the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Lebanon Church of Whitehall. A gothic style church was built using lumber cut from the surrounding woods and milled in a local sawmill. Services were conducted in Swedish until the early 1930’s. Today the neighborhood around the church is still known as Swedentown.

In 1877, Carl and Johanna Johnson, grandparents of Chuck Svensson and Eleanor Carlson, donated land on which the church is built.

The WELCA Windows – 1988
The windows were given in memory of Russell and Dorothy Johnson. Created by local artist Sharon Brown of Montague, the windows honor all of the women of Lebanon Lutheran who have served, or will serve sometime in the future, the needs of this congregation and the community at large.



United Methodist Church
8555 Cook St

The Montague Methodist Church is the oldest Methodist congregation in Muskegon county. It traces its birth to Abner Bennett, an African-American  lay preacher, who organized Methodist Sunday School classes at the Mouth of White Lake in the late 1840s. Sanctioned by the Methodist conference in 1853, the original class had nine members. 

From his farm near the Old Channel of White Lake, Bennett  was an itinerant minister who spread the gospel throughout the pioneer settlements of western Michigan and created the White River Circuit, in 1855, which included small congregations from as far north as Little Point Sable, as far south as Muskegon, and possibly as far east as Newaygo.

For the first dozen years or so the center of the White River Circuit remained at the Mouth. The first ordained minister was the Rev. Lorin M. Bennett (no relation to Abner) who built the first parsonage at the Mouth in 1855. After the Civil War, population shifted to the twin villages of Montague and Whitehall at the head of White Lake. Whitehall became the new center of the circuit, which included preaching locations in Montague and several other places further north.

In 1880, Whitehall became a one-point charge and the head of the circuit was transferred to Montague, with Claybanks being a secondary preaching location. The Montague-Claybanks circuit continued as a two-point charge until 1926 when an overall decrease in membership and difficult economic times prompted the West Michigan Conference to return the Whitehall church to the circuit, with Montague as the principal church.  

Over the years the Montague congregation has worshiped in four different buildings. The congregation originally worshiped in the parsonage at the mouth of White Lake. The second structure was a two-story wooden church built at the corner of Church and Meade streets in Montague, where the Montague Museum is now located. After that church burned down in 1898, the congregation built a brick structure on the same location. When the congregation outgrew that building in the early 1960s, they built a modern-looking new church at the corner of Cook and Hancock streets, where services have been held since the building’s first service in 1969.  The hexagon shaped sanctuary has a beautiful high-sweeping roof, described by some as a graceful bird in flight and by others as a ski ramp. The sanctuary was designed to seat between 300 and 350 people. The original educational wing contained offices for church personnel, a kitchen, seven class rooms, two bathrooms, a choir room, and a multi-purpose room. It is connected to the sanctuary by a narthex. A building program in 1988 added four more classrooms, additional bathrooms, and a small kitchen for the youth program.





The White Lake area is made up of the neighboring cities of Whitehall and Montague, 
located on beautiful White Lake, west of Grand Rapids Michigan, along magnificent Lake Michigan and 20 minutes north of Muskegon.

7th Annual
White Lake Chamber Music Festival 

August 5-14, 2016

The White Lake Chamber Music Festival has a successful six year history of bringing in exceptional talent and great music to the White Lake area of Montague and Whitehall and has grown in such a short time to be one of Michigan's preeminent chamber music festivals.

From August 5th through 14th our area will host artists both local, national, and international. The Chicago based Avalon String Quartet, will return for a 2nd incredible season, the Thoreau Trio, a four-hands piano recital featuring Italian pianist Aldo deVero, Thomas Wikman, world renowned organist born and raised in Muskegon, a concert of baroque music, and much more will be presented.

Children's events include a concert geared to young people and an instrument petting zoo at the White Lake Community Library. Young musicians will perform at what is usually a packed house of parents, grandparents, and community members at the Book Nook and Java Shop for the Festival's Children's Recital. One concert will feature past winners of our Young Artists Solo Competition which attracts players statewide.

Unique to the White Lake Chamber Music Festival are the many local churches and businesses that kindly open their doors to host performances.  In just five years approximately 150 concerts, recitals, master classes, youth concerts, and open rehearsals have been held, typically at no charge. Audiences, both young and mature, continue to grow and come from greater distances, making the Festival and our area a vacation destination, a further economic boon to the local economy.

We desire to present exceptional music, to educate, thrill, and delight a growing audience, and reach more people with the timeless treasures of classical music.



The 2016 White Lake Chamber Music Festival
Solo Performance Competition
Saturday,  April 16, 2016

Announcing the Winners of the 2016 Preliminary Round!


Sarah Amos, piano, Western Michigan University
Morgan Mitteer, trumpet, Whitehall High School  
Aaron Wright, trombone, Michigan State University
Anna Nordmoe, violin, Loy Norrix High School
Francesca Leo, flute, Bowling Green State University
Emily Henley, Harp, Michigan State University
BethAnne Kunert, Alto sax, Central Michigan University    Dylan Ward, Alto sax, Michigan State University
Andrew Plaisier, cello, Calvin College
Ryan Avila, double bass, Interlochen Arts Academy
Natalie Bloss, violin, Black River Public School
Katherine Rieger, French horn          


White Lake Young Artists Solo Competition 2015 Winners


Ten outstanding finalists, representing music schools across the state, performed for an appreciative audience and professional judges at Ferry Memorial Church, on May 2, 2015, at the popular Solo Competition for college age music majors. $1000 was awarded to the top three winners. The audience also voted and an additional $125 was awarded to the audience favorite.

Elizabeth Schubkegel, flute, from Western Michigan University, took first place. 
Soprano saxophonist Sean Bradley from Central Michigan University took second place. 
In third place was clarinetist Katsuya Yuasa from the Boston Conservatory of Music. 
The audience favorite was Alexandria Midcalf, violin, from Central Michigan University.
Schools represented were Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Bowling Green State University, and the Boston  Conservatory of Music. Judges were Robert Swan, Chicago Symphony Orchestra violist, Jenny Jones, St. Loius Symphony violinist, and music professor/saxophonist Ted Malt
Arts Council of White Lake has near 30-year history of high-quality artistic achievement and programming. The Arts Council serves to encourage, initiate and facilitate an enriched artistic, cultural and creative environment throughout the White Lake community. 



The Avalon String Quartet

Blaise Magniere, violin
Marie Wang, violin
Anthony Devroye, viola
Cheng-Hou Lee, cello

Described by the Chicago Tribune as "an ensemble that invites you-ears, mind, and spirit- into its music", the Avalon String Quartet has established itself as one of the country's leading chamber music ensembles.

In the 2011-2012 season the Avalon performed the complete Beethoven quartet cycle at the Art Institute of Chicago in historic Fullerton Hall. During the 2013-2014 season, the quartet will be embarking on the complete Bartok cycle at the Art Institute of Chicago. In each of the six concerts a different Bartok quartet will be paired with another masterpiece from the string quartet repertoire.They have performed in many major venues including Alice Tully Hall, 92nd St Y, Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington DC; Wigmore Hall in London and Herculessaal in Munich. Other performances include appearances at the Caramoor Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, NPR's St Paul Sunday, Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Bargemusic, Dame Myra Hess Series and the Ravinia Festival. The quartet captured the top prize at the ARD Competition in Munich (2000) as well as the First Prize at Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York (1999).

The Avalon is quartet-in-residence at the Northern Illinois University School of Music, a position formerly held by the distinguished Vermeer Quartet. As a part of their residency, they perform an annual concert series in Chicago and DeKalb, and the quartet members teach individual studios and coach chamber music at the school. This follows previous residencies at the Juilliard School and at Indiana University South Bend. Additional teaching activities have included the Interlochen Advanced Quartet Program, Madeline Island Music Camp, Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute and the Britten-Pears School in England.

In 2010 the quartet released a CD of contemporary American works on the Albany label to much critical acclaim. The Avalon Quartet's debut CD, Dawn to Dusk, including the Ravel and the Janacek Second Quartets, was honored with the 2002 Chamber Music America/WQXR Record Award for best chamber music recording.

The Quartet's live performances and conversation are frequently featured on Chicago's WFMT-FM, including a recent nationally syndicated live broadcast of Exploring Music with Bill MacGlaughlin. They have also been heard on New York's WQXR-FM and WNYC-FM, National Public Radio's Performance Today, Canada's CBC, Australia's ABC, the ARD of Germany and France Musique.