Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.
Detroit Music Weekend Gala
The inaugural Detroit Music Weekend began Friday night at the Detroit Opera House where 200 music lovers gathered for the Gala ($750 & $1,000 tickets). They savored cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres in the lobby, pausing for brief welcoming remarks delivered from the top of the grand staircase by founding director, Music Hall’s Vince Paul. A soaring operatic selection sung by soprano Nicole James signaled it was time for dinner, which was served at dramatically decorated tables set on the stage. There were interruptions to thank sponsors, board members and event coordinator Laura Raisch, and to salute Michigan Opera Theatre founder David DiChiera. His pancreatic cancer diagnosis has dictated his retirement but has not affected his good humor nor his bearing.
oakland confidential HORSE RACES: Democratic aspirations of taking a majority hold on Congress after the 2018 General Election will hinge on the party’s ability to take two dozen congressional seats, which may include upsets in Michigan’s 8th and 11th Districts, according to recent rankings of 82 districts by The New York Times. The piece split the districts into eight groups to watch, based on competitiveness ...more»
09/29/2010 - The adage that great artists need to suffer is not lost on Marina Arsenijevic. She left war-torn Yugoslavia as a young woman, coming to the United States for both personal and artistic freedom. She is now a world-renowned pianist, recently nominated for an Emmy award as a composer for "Marina at West Point: Unity through Diversity," a concert recorded with a 120-member ensemble which was broadcast across the country on local PBS stations.
Arsenijevic has composed music blending the melodies of diverse cultures as a way of promoting the unification of countries and ideals around the world.
"I mix diverse melodies and it reflects the message of unity and the meaning of strength and diversity," she said. Through her experiences as a witness to war, Arsenijevic has brought light to these issues and been able to use her own talent as a means to help others.
"We had wars and conflicts for centuries and every generation was affected by world war or civil war," she said. "I was a national artist in Europe, but we were not free to express ourselves, during the war especially."
In 1999, when Arsenijevic was in her 20s, she immigrated to the U.S., where she began a new life that would allow her to fully develop her craft. While she initially experienced culture shock, she has found the U.S. to be an inviting home of opportunity and an ideal place to cultivate her career.
"There is a different attitude that people have here," she said. "People are much more open and want you to succeed in this environment. That's what has made America so great." Her experiences with war and feelings of unity in her new home inspired her to create music reflecting that sentiment.
"Always when you have some talent, you want to give back to the community," she said. "I felt a need to help children who lost parents during the war and an obligation to donate my time." Arsenijevic performed charity concerts in 2004 and 2005 to raise awareness and humanitarian funds for needy children through the Yugoslavian Lifeline Humanitarian Organization and the Russian Children's Welfare Society.
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Arsenijevic spends four to five hours practicing each day in the Bloomfield Hills home she shares with her husband. She said she finds it to be an asset to her artistry.
"It's very peaceful here, and it's very easy for me to create," she said. "I never envisioned myself living in the suburbs, but now I couldn't envision living in a crowded city."
With the support and love of her husband, Arsenijevic continues to perform and now has five recorded CDs to her name. Though she's made quite a journey, she has never lost sight of the importance of giving back and the self-determination needed to continue to flourish in her profession and her life.
Bloomfield Hills City Commission
Rochester Hills City Council Meeting
Rochester City Council Meeting
Rochester City Planning Commission