(Photo: Joshua Nelson, 2013)
In 1998 the Congregation of the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo, Michigan voted to explore the desirability and feasibility of introducing a biennial festival of sacred music into the Kalamazoo Area. With financial support from the Irving S. Gilmore and the Kalamazoo Community Foundations, and with input from a committee made up of area religious and community leaders, the project got under way in January 1999. An opinion survey to determine its desirability concluded that such a festival is both desirable and feasible. In January 2000 and area-wide representative group met to prepare for its introduction and decided to call it the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music.
A Board of Directors was formed with the goal of making the festival a reality in November 2001. The first festival was an overwhelming success, and the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, now an independent organization, has continued planning and presenting the biennial festivals. It is supported by numerous grants and individual contributions, showing the strong support the festival’s goals continue to have. It continues to be led by a Board and Advisory Council made up of community leaders and representatives of many different faiths. In 2004, the MFSM presented its first off-season event, which proved to be a great success. The MFSM plans to continue the presentation of single off-season events.
In 2016, in response to requests from its audience, the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music became an annual event.
The intentional use of the intrinsic power of music reaches across faiths and cultures.
We serve audiences and communities of all faiths and cultures by providing opportunities to connect with each other through music.
The connecting power of music fosters mutual understanding and respect and builds community harmony.
OBJECTIVES OF THE FESTIVAL
The objectives of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music are to:
- bring sacred music and associated cultural tenets to Southwestern Michigan
- promote mutual understanding and respect among persons of different religious persuasions accentuate community harmony
- encourage individual and group participation in program development and attendance throughout all segments of society
STRUCTURE OF THE FESTIVAL
The Michigan Festival of Sacred Music has an Advisory Council, a Board of Directors and a Festival Director. The Advisory Council is made up of religious, educational and civic leaders of Kalamazoo County. Its primary function is to advise the Festival’s Board of Directors on the worth and soundness of the Festival’s program.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
On August 17th, 2004, the Board of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, having no EEO statement in place, reviewed, discussed, and unanimously voted to adopt the EEO statement below:
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The Michigan Festival of Sacred Music follows an Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and employs personnel and provides programs and services without regard to gender (including pregnancy), gender identification, sexual orientation, race, color, ethnic or religious background, descent or nationality, disability (including past, present, or future physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability, learning disorders or disease), marital status, age, height and weight. This EEO policy applies to employment, internal promotions, training, opportunities for advancement, terminations, relationships with outside vendors and customers, use of contractors and consultants and in dealing with the general public.