Assembly 2016: Artists


Our hosts at the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs have assembled a rich and varied roster of talented artists to inspire us in Grand Rapids. Check out the outstanding lineup below!

Welcome & Roll Call

Thursday, September 15

1:00–2:30 p.m.

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit
“Excellence on Stage and in Life”

Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit seeks to empower young people to create positive changes in their lives and communities. Mosaic helps them develop patterns of cooperation, disciplined work habits and effective problem-solving skills through the creation of high-quality, professional level performances of theatre and music. Mosaic’s critically acclaimed student-driven performances and national and international tours have spotlighted the area’s talented young people and created new and diverse audiences for the performing arts. Founded by Rick Sperling in 1992 to address gaps in Detroit’s arts education, Mosaic involves hundreds of youth from more than 50 schools every year in its First, Second and Main Stage programs. These innovative programs provide expert training, mentoring and opportunity to the area’s young actors, singers and stage technicians, while fostering a culture of high expectations, active participation and acceptance that serves them beyond the stage. Mosaic Youth Theatre is a recipient of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, which are managed by NASAA.

Kinetic Affect
Spoken Word Duo

Kinetic Affect

Kinetic Affect is a dynamic spoken word duo based in Kalamazoo composed of two very different men. Kirk Latimer, a survivor of his own destructive past, and Gabriel Giron, a survivor of cancer, combine their voices to give life to their difficult past experiences. Together they are able to show audiences the common humanity we all share. Having been featured on television shows, such as America’s Got Talent, and on the Apollo stage, Kinetic Affect’s international reach combines entertainment with deeply moving and emotional personal struggles and triumphs. This work has driven them to cofound a nonprofit organization called Speak It Forward Inc., which brings the power of their work and personal experiences to those individuals, vulnerable children and organizations that need it the most.

NASAA Assembly 2016 Reception

Thursday, September 15

6:30–8:30 p.m.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle
Vaudevillian Variety Show


Featuring handmade costumes, dancers and over-the-top stage antics, the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle (the LUVS) combines a vaudevillian variety show with a unique, gypsy-jazz-meets-Americana musical spectacular. The band started as a one-man street act created by Dylan Rogers. Inspired by the historic loft he was living in at the time, Rogers began to make music reminiscent of what was popular 100 years ago. Now, with a dozen band members playing everything from the ukulele to the marimba, the group creates songs inspired by Lansing and its history, borrowing from many different traditional genres of music to create a sound all its own.

Plenary Session

Friday, September 16

11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Naomi Yamaguchi

Naomi Yamaguchi

Paul Hitz

Naomi Yamaguchi is 12 years old and is a seventh grader at West Middle School in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In 2011, at the age of seven, she made her Carnegie Hall debut, playing twice in one week. She made her orchestral debut playing Mozart Piano Concerto K. 488 at the age of nine. Naomi has performed at the Consulate of Japan at the national event, Young Artist World Piano Festival in Minnesota, Port Huron Musicale, Detroit Pro Musica Luncheon concert, Detroit Institute of Art “Friday Night Live,” where she performed a full recital, and Music Fest Perugia in Italy. Naomi received the Doreen Wessell Taylor Piano Award from Tuesday Musicale of Detroit and the Betty Brewster Scholarship from Cranbrook Music Guild after her successful benefit solo concert in November 2015. She has been selected annually since 2013 as the James Tatum Foundation’s Millennium Prodigy Scholar, which features performances, including an appearance at Detroit Symphony’s Orchestra Hall each year. Naomi loves sharing her talent with the community. She has performed at senior centers and museums and was recognized by the City of Rochester Hills for her volunteer work and for the inspiration and joy she has brought to people through her piano performances.

Assembly Closing Session

Saturday, September 17

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Wild Swan Theater
Accessible Family Theatre

Wild Swan Theater

Leisa Thompson Photography

Wild Swan Theater is dedicated to producing professional theatre of the highest artistic quality for families, and to making that theatre accessible to everyone, including low income, minority and disabled children, through low ticket prices and innovative outreach programs. Wild Swan Theater has been delighting family audiences since 1980 with performances that blend storytelling, movement and music into magical, accessible experiences. Wild Swan Theater is nationally known for its ingenious artistry, its innovative audience accessibility program and its projects for participants with disabilities. The original musical Rosie the Riveter explores the lives of women who helped establish southeast Michigan as the “arsenal of democracy” during World War II. Written by Jeff Duncan, with music by Brian E. Buckner, it tells the remarkable story of the women who filled thousands of factory jobs left empty by men suddenly called to war during a momentous era in Michigan and American history. Created for upper elementary, middle, high school and family audiences, Rosie the Riveter is based on interviews with a group of original Rosies, now in their 90s, who worked at the Ford Motor Company Bomber Plant at Willow Run.