Palmer Woods Music in Homes June 20 2014. Dolce Checkler with Orquesta La Inspiracion. – PHOTO: Barbara Barefield

GET OUT YOUR DANCIN SHOES! Palmer Woods Music in Homes annual World Music concert with Orquesta La Inspiracion will be held onSaturday, May 20 at 8 pm. The Garden concert (in a tent) includes a look inside a historic home prior to the music and a meal during intermission. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 313-891-2514.

Founded by Puerto Rican congera Ozzie Rivera and under the musical direction of pianist Bill Meyer, La Inspiracion is a large ensemble of some of the Detroit area’s most talented and knowledgeable Latin musicians, featuring a hot horn section led by saxophonist Chris Kaercher, with Steve Hunter on trombone and Ken Ferry on trumpet; percussions with Bobby Guzman, Enrique Hernandez and Miguel Gutierrez; rhythmic bassist Eduardo Caraballo; and soulful vocals with the dynamic Dulce Checkler, Bobby Guzman and guests Carter Collins and Audrey Northington. The beats of salsa, merengue, cumbia and Afro-Caribbean jazz entice swaying in seats and dancing in the garden.

Festivities are held in a spacious tent in a Palmer Woods ­garden, with a very tasty Mexican-style meal — prepared by community leader and one of President Obama’s Champion of Change honorees, Eva Garza Dewaelsche — served during intermission.

Prior to the concert, tour a portion of an amazing historic home designed by C. Howard Crane, Detroit’s greatest theater architect (his masterpieces are among the city’s most jaw-dropping movie palaces, such as Orchestra Hall, Fox Theatre, Fillmore Detroit, Michigan Opera Theatre and many more). Palmer Woods is an elegant historic neighborhood founded more than a century ago and filled with some of our region’s most unique homes, mansions and gardens.

La Inspiracion’s band director and pianist Bill Meyer is a Detroit treasure. The former music director, conductor and pianist for Motown’s Martha Reeves, he toured and recorded with jazz great Marcus Belgrave, and has worked with such acts as Smokey Robinson, Cab Calloway, Natalie Cole, Savion Glover, and many others.

Each month, Palmer Woods Music in Homes presents jazz, classical or world music concerts in historic homes and gardens through mid-June.

Tickets for concerts, $50 – $70, with discounts for groups of 10 or more, can be purchased at or by calling 313-891-2514. The address of the concert home in Palmer Woods is revealed when tickets are purchased. All concerts include receptions with delicious cuisine that reflect the musical themes.

Concerts are produced by the Creative Arts Collective with the Palmer Woods Association with the support of Be Well Medical Center in Berkley, Barefield DesignWorks, Blossoms in Birmingham, City Living Detroit, the Michigan Chronicle,, WRCJ 90.9FM. Music in Homes works to strengthen the Palmer Woods neighborhood and Detroit’s image, support the arts, showcase Palmer Woods as a wonderful place to live and visit, and enrich the quality of life and cultural environment in our city. 


Upcoming concerts: 

Friday, June 16, 8 pm


Garden Concert  (tour home prior to concert)

International saxophone sensation James Carter fills enormous festivals and concert halls around the world, so it is a rare treat to hear him in a more intimate setting. Extraordinarily virtuosic, Carter soloed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Neeme Järvi in 2002 and 2003, performing a saxophone concerto written for him and commissioned by the DSO, which he since has performed with major orchestras worldwide.

Carter has the soul of Lesster Young, the grit of Eddie Haarris and the technical proficiency of John Coltran” according to Blogcritics Magazine Music.

Joining him is composer/guitarist A. Spencer Barefield, who describes Carter as “the John Coltrane of our era.” Carter, Hayden, and Barefield can be heard on the Blue Note Records release “Detroit Jazz City” with other legendary Detroit artists. In the 1980s-’90s, Barefield and Carter toured the world with jazz great Lester Bowie and others. Bassist Marion Hayden and drummer Djallo Djakate Keita will keep the sound solid and swinging. +

Saturday, June 17, 8 pm


Garden Concert (tour home prior to concert)

David Alan Grier, who was scheduled to perform on June 17, will be filming a new TV show and will not be able to join us in Detroit. We are thrilled to announce that Miche Braden will replace Grier. 

An extraordinary Diva who’s well known for her portrayals of Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey, Valaida Snow and other legends, Miche Braden is famous for her role as blues giant Bessie Smith in the award-winning sensation “The Devil’s Music, The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith.” The musical, which premiered off-Broadway at St. Luke’s Theatre in 2011, has won high praises from the New York Post to The New York Times for Braden’s portrayal of the “Empress of the Blues.”

The musical continues to thrill audiences across the country. In a recent performance, The LA Times raves, “Bessie Smith’s outsized talents — and personality — are vividly channeled through a powerhouse performance by Miche Braden.”

The New York Times describes Miche as “A big voice full of blues, bawdy and unapologetic… she knows when to let it soar and when to keep it at an insinuatingly low simmer.” Detroit-raised Braden returns home for the Palmer Woods Music in Homes grand finale concert to share her bold and brilliant talents, from devilish to angelic.

A versatile artist, actress, singer, poet and songwriter, Braden was mentored by Motown’s Thomas “Beans” Bowles, and Funk Brother Earl Van Dyke, in addition to Jazz Master Harold McKinney. She has sung with Milt Hinton, Lionel Hampton, Regina Carter, and James Carter. She is featured on the James Carter release “Gardenia for Lady Day” (Sony/Columbia), and appeared with him at Carnegie Hall. Braden is featured on CDs to be released this year by Regina Carter and Gayelynn McKinney, with whom she shared the stage in the ensemble Straight Ahead.

This will be an exciting night of music from the great divas of jazz and blues, not to mention Braden’s own fabulous compositions. Braden’s Detroit band includes virtuoso musicians: guitarist A. Spencer Barefield, pianist Buddy Budson, bassist Marion Hayden and drummer Djallo Djakate KeitaTickets: $60; VIP seating in front rows with additional leg room: $70.

* All concerts include a delicious light dinner, beverages and dessert during intermission. Concerts in May and June are held in spacious tents set in the lawns and gardens of homes. Ticketholders may tour a ­portion of the home prior to the concerts in May and June. In the case of severe weather, Palmer Woods Music in Homes (MIH) will move the concert to the beautiful art deco Detroit Unity Temple or other appropriate nearby venue. Tickets are not refundable. MIH reserves the right to make program changes if necessary.

Long considered to be one of Michigan’s premiere communities, Palmer Woods actively works to preserve and enrich the quality of life in Detroit. The concerts help raise funds for neighborhood preservation and improvements, as well as support the arts and project a positive and creative image about Detroit. Performances are held in different historic Palmer Woods mansions and cool homes. The “concert halls” have included homes designed by legendary architects Minoru Yamasaki, Albert Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Marr and others. The Palmer Woods Association and the Creative Arts Collective (a Detroit-based arts organization directed by Palmer Woods residents Spencer and Barbara Barefield) join hands to present Palmer Woods Music in Homes.


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