2016 Featured Artists

Alliance for Bilingual Arts

The Alliance for Bilingual Arts (ABA), a cooperative initiative by Holland Civic Theatre and Hope College Theatre, started in the wake of a 2012 sabbatical project investigating bi-lingual theatre activity around the country. This investigation revealed that bilingual arts activities are happening throughout the country by professional, community organizations and educational institutions in both large cities and small towns. So, the question came up: Why not in Holland, Michigan?

As a continuation of this investigation, the Hope theatre department sponsored a residency by Teatro Milagro of Portland, Oregon the following year. In addition to workshops and discussions, Milagro presented a performance of FRIDA, un retablo (a bilingual play about Frida Kahlo) as part of the 2013 Tulipanes Festival.

At the same time, a group of interested people from both the Holland Community and Hope College came together to start discussions about possible future activities in the community.

While the initial focus of the group was to explore bi-lingual theatre in Spanish and English, it was decided that activities should encompass all the arts and engage all languages that may be appropriate. These discussions led to a mission statement and a name.

During the past year there have been two workshops (one at Holland Civic Theatre, the other on the Hope campus). These workshops focused on exercises, singing songs and rendering poems bilingually. Last spring, Rick Muniz, a member of the ABA discussion group, started writing short bilingual vignettes. Some of these were first presented during a Civic Theatre volunteer’s appreciation gathering in April and several more were presented before films during the Tulipanes Festival this past year.

Orquestra RITMO Project

Untitled-11In the late 70’s and in preparation for the U.S. Bicentennial Celebration, Michael A. Eyia formed RITMO to introduce and educate people in a different style of Latin music. The group at the time consisted of a six piece band, as well as a 24 piece dance troupe. Mike choreographed a number of Cuban pieces including a danzon, a guaracha, cha cha cha and a conga and backed the dance troupe with his live band. The troupe traveled around the Mid West and performed for venues all over Michigan and as far south as Dayton, Ohio. The group earned a number of accolades along the way including a Tribute from the Michigan State Legislature.

In 1984, the group grew to it’s current 11 piece Orchestra. Throughout the years, the group has shared the stage with a number of recording artists such as Los Lobos, Salsa great Oscar D’Leon, and The Bangles among others. Mike Eyia is the director and sole active member from the original 6 piece group. 

Click here to see full bios from all band members and learn more about Orquestra Ritmo.