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20th Annual Holiday Sing, hosted by Sally Potter wsg Doug Austin, Doug Berch, Ruelaine Stokes and special guest Cruz Villarreal

Friday, December 8, 2023 @ 7:30 pm


Friday, December 8, 2023 @ 10:00 pm


University United Methodist Church (UUMC)

20th Annual Holiday Sing, hosted by Sally Potter wsg Doug Austin, Doug Berch and Ruelaine Stokes

For 20 years, song leader and banjoist Sally Potter has invited the community to sing holiday songs - together. With familiar faces Doug Austin on the grand piano and Doug Berch on hammered dulcimer, and spoken word artist Ruelaine Stokes, Potter leads familiar selections surrounding winter, Solstice, peace, Christmas, and beyond. Lyric sheets provided.

For 20 years, hundreds of people who love to sing attend this annual community Holiday Sing to share seasonal songs with friends, new and old.
You are invited!
Bring family and friends to the Holiday Sing in the gorgeous sanctuary at the University United Methodist Church and add your voice to a few hundred other voices of people who love to sing this wonderful music – together.
No official music to read; lyric sheets for all songs are passed out – in case some third verses are a little rusty…
Song leader Sally Potter will guide singers through a wide variety of selections surrounding themes of  Winter, Solstice, Peace, Home, Christmas, and the New Year.
Acclaimed pianist Doug Austin will accompany most songs and help fill that gorgeous room with many octaves of beautiful sound.
Doug Berch will add the seasonal sounds of the hammered dulcimer to many pieces.
Spoken word artists Ruelaine Stokes and Cruz Villarreal will present a few poignant poems and stories.
This is an opportunity to kick off your holiday season in a very personal, musical way.
Hope to see you at The 20th Holiday Sing! – SP

Watch the New York Times video about community singing in Lansing:

Read the New York Times article.

Learn more about community singing at www.singingfestival.com.

Sally Potter

When Sally Potter isn’t directing the Mid-Winter Singing Festival, the annual Holiday Sing, monthly Community Sings, or singing special music at The Mayflower Church, she is managing the newly revived ELFCO, now the Eastside Lansing Food Co-Op in Lansing.

Sally’s grandmother, Lillian Paulson Potter was an opera singer, and later, a church choir director, producing countless community events over a fifty-year span. Her uncle, Brian Shanley, played jazz clarinet with Bob Scoby’s band in Chicago in the 50’s. Yet it was when her brother Tom taught her Old-Time tunes on his back-up banjo that Sally settled into the folk music world.

A mainstay in the Mid-Michigan folk music community since 1984, Sally was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from FARM, Folk Alliance Region Mid-West. From 1989 – 2001, Sally, Betsy Clinton and Pat Madden were members of the very popular folk trio, Second Opinion. In 2005, Sally released her fifth CD, this one together with Madden, entitled, “it’s about time.” This past year, Sally released her first solo CD, “Summer’s Child.”

In 2003, Sally organized the first Mid-Winter Singing Festival, now an annual event where hundreds of people get together on the first weekend in February – just to sing. (www.singingfestival.com) Since then, she has continued to perform, song lead, and help produce numerous music events, including this annual Holiday Sing. She is also the volunteer concert booking manager for the 48 year-old Ten Pound Fiddle Concert and Dance Series.

Doug Berch

By day, luthier Doug Berch makes mountain dulcimers in Haslett, Michigan.

By night, multi-instrumentalist Doug Berch can be found on stage and in the studio, playing a wide variety of styles. He has been performing, teaching and making dulcimers since the mid 1970’s. During the 1980’s, he toured throughout the United States and performed at many folk festivals, dulcimer festivals and concert venues. He recorded two solo recordings for Kicking Mule Records.

In 1983, Doug took first place in both the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship and the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in Winfield, Kansas.

In the early 1990’s, he recorded a tune he composed on hammered dulcimer called, “Ocean of Wisdom” that has been performed and recorded by several other hammered dulcimer players. His work appears on dozens of albums and soundtracks as a support musician. For ten years, he performed, recorded and toured with the Celtic ensemble, Colcannon, and taught at The Swallow Hill School of Music in Denver. “Musically I am inspired by the traditional music of the world, the rock and roll I grew up with and anything else that comes along,” Doug says.

Doug has added hammered dulcimer pieces, stories and inspired commentary to the annual Holiday Sing for 10 years.

Ruelaine Stokes


Ruelaine Stokes is a spoken word artist, writer and teacher based in Lansing, Michigan. She gives poetry readings, lectures, and workshops on poetry, spoken word, and creative writing. Her goal is to bring poetry to life and to bring people to poetry.


Online ticket sales will stop at 5pm the day of the show. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door, starting at 6:30 pm.
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Friday, December 8, 2023
7:30 pm 10:00 pm
$20 Public; $18 Fiddle Members; $5 Students. Available online or at the box office at 6:30 PM
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University United Methodist Church (UUMC)
1120 S. Harrison
East Lansing, MI 48823 United States
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(517) 337-7744

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