MSU Bebop Spartans Return to WSCC Performing Arts Series | Community

TWP VICTORY. – West Shore Community College’s Performing Arts Series will feature Michigan State University’s Bebop Spartans, plus special guest Grammy-nominated jazz singer Carmen Bradford, on Saturday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Center Stage Theater.

The next generation of great American jazz musicians are represented in this spectacular ensemble from MSU. Improv, bebop, swing, blues and soul are just a few of the genres of this American art form that the Bebop Spartans will present.

Michigan State University has become the national powerhouse for jazz education. Under the direction of Professor Rodney Whitaker, MSU has recruited some of the best young jazz musicians in the world. The Bebop Spartans, MSU’s jazz big band, is the culmination of Whitaker’s talent.

The guest artist this year comes from a long line of great jazzmen. It was only natural that Bradford would follow in the footsteps of her great family heritage, being the daughter of legendary trumpeter/composer Bobby Bradford and world-renowned singer/songwriter Melba Joyce. Her grandfather Melvin Moore sang with Lucky Millender and Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band in the 1940s, and sang with the Ink Spots, making Carmen the third generation of incredible musicians. It has carved out a place for itself in the history of music and plays an essential role in the world of jazz.

She has performed and/or recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Shelly Berg and John Clayton, Nancy Wilson, Doc Severinsen, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Patti Austin, Byron Stripling, Dori Caymmi, George Benson, Lena Horne and Frank Sinatra, just to name -in a few. Carmen performed on two Grammy-winning albums with the band Basie in the 1980s and later collaborated on a third Grammy-winning album, “Big Boss Band”, with guitarist George Benson in 1991.

On occasion, Bradford has lent his talented voice to stage productions and the music of Hollywood films. She sang on the soundtrack to Oprah Winfrey’s “Beloved” and recently performed the title role in Duke Ellington’s folk opera “Queenie Pie” at the University of Texas Butler School of Music.

Bradford is currently the chair of the jazz vocal department and a faculty member of Roots, Jazz and American Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Thanks to a generous $1 million donation to the MSU School of Music Jazz Department at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, the MSU Bebop Spartans can travel to three Michigan locations accompanied by world-class guest artists and the college is one of MSU. three annual performance venues.

“I am very proud of the partnership the college has developed with Michigan State University’s jazz department. Time and time again, our audience gives MSU artists a warm welcome, keeping them coming back,” said Ted Malt, WSCC Director of Performing Arts and Music Teacher.

“This evening is extra special as our audience witness a true musical spectacle featuring 19 of the nation’s finest young jazz musicians, an incredible guest artist, and the entire jazz faculty at MSU.”

An Afterglow jam session will be held at the Jamesport Brewing Company, 410 S. James St. in Ludington, beginning at approximately 10:30 p.m.

For information on all performances and to purchase tickets, visit the college’s website at

Customers can also call (231) 843-5506 or stop by the ticket office located at the Schoenherr Campus Center. Visa, Mastercard and Discover credit cards are accepted.