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(This photo is courtesy of Chad Boorsma, Photo Editor of the OHS Pipe Organ Database at: http://database.organsociety.org/ )

(This photo is courtesy of Chad Boorsma, Photo Editor of the OHS Pipe Organ Database at: http://database.organsociety.org/ )




The Carolyn Heines’ Fountain Street Church Concert Era; 1966-1973


Written by Kim Rush


”My grandmothers were both talented pianists and my parents loved listening to music. My older sisters liked big bands and Frank Sinatra. I just took it from there.  I enjoyed Nat King Cole and Anita O’Day when I was in junior high.

By the time I entered high school in the early 1950s, two of my best friends were jazz fans. We listened to Randy’s Record Shop (WLAC from Nashville) and ‘Symphony Sid’ Torin (WJZ in New York City and WCOP in Boston) at night.” 1 These radio announcers provided great exposure to blues, rhythm and blues, and jazz music , which was rarely heard on Grand Rapids stations.

In the 1950s some of the local radio stations other than WLAV, WJEF and WOOD were licensed to broadcast only during daylight hours. As a result, in the evening, the signal of distant stations with strong signals could be received as far away as Grand Rapids.

“While I was in college, someone asked me how I got into jazz, and I responded by stating that I assumed that everyone liked jazz.  I co-hosted a jazz radio show while I was attending Smith College.”

Carolyn explains her passion for jazz in this manner: “Jazz is a spiritual thing for me. I am the most ‘blissed out’ and focused while listening to jazz. Going into jazz nightclubs and hearing people talk louder than the music is upsetting for me, because I am in church at that time. Musicians convey the sacred.”

Carolyn also openly admits that she idolized jazz musicians at that time, and generally assumed that they were intelligent and enlightened people.

“My involvement with Fountain Street Church probably began in 1955, just before I was married to Dan Heines, a Grand Rapids native, whom I met while I was a student at the University of Michigan. We were married in 1957 and began to attend this church, where we were attracted to the teachings of Duncan Littlefair.” He served as the preacher at Fountain Street Church from 1944 to 1980.

One place where you could hear big name jazz performers was the Fruitport Pavilion, located on the east end of Spring Lake. “I certainly did go to Fruitport, but can’t remember all of the bands I saw there. There was the Brubeck Quartet and Stan Kenton, whom I interviewed in July of 1956 while I was working for the Grand Rapids Herald. There were other bands….Woody Herman and Duke Ellington.  It was a great dancing place and I was heartbroken when it burned down in 1962. There was a fancy chandelier there with colored lights that rotated.”







Stan Kenton appeared at Fruitport Pavilion on July 20, 1956.  2


Carolyn felt that the jazz music being performed around town was too scarce, and even more so as it pertained to ‘big name’ jazz concerts coming to Grand Rapids. In an effort to help remedy this shortage of jazz concerts in Grand Rapids, Carolyn began by promoting two jazz shows in the early 1960s. She met Paul Desmond on November 11, 1960 while he was playing at the Civic Auditorium with Dave Brubeck. This show was divided into two parts. The first portion featured Brubeck’s band playing with the Grand Rapids Symphony. 3 After intermission the symphony performed Ravel’s Bolero without Brubeck’s band. Carol asked Desmond if he would rather have a drink with her family at the Pantlind Hotel or stay to listen to the symphony, and Desmond chose the first option.

In the early 1960s, she booked Dave Brubeck at the Boat and Canoe Club in North Park for a private party. In February of 1962 Carolyn presented the Modern Jazz Quartet to 400 people at Center Theatre, located at 240-242 Monroe. Her husband Dan was working as an actor for the Civic Theatre group at that time. This acting company was using the Center Theatre stage for their plays. This building, which was located on the east side of Monroe, was torn down in 1964, during urban renewal.

Local jazz drummer Evans DeVries recalls that there were Saturday afternoon jazz concerts in 1960 or 1961 at the Center Theatre, as well. At least one of these concerts was recorded, which featured the talents of Gay Whitney, Sammy Fletcher, Lee Lockwood, Frank Steed and Dick Harris.

3 FSC1940s photo of Center Theatre, formerly the Isis Theatre, located at 240-242 Monroe N.E. 4





Modern Jazz Quartet—May 11, 1965



4 FSCThe Modern Jazz Quartet concert was Carolyn Heines’ first production at Fountain Street Church. 5


Carolyn proceeded to put together a group named Fountain Street Concerts “ to promote jazz entertainment while raising funds for worthy community enterprises.” Profits from this show were to be provided for GAP, a church-sponsored recreation and education program. GAP stands for growth, achievement and progress. 6

Her first production featured The Modern Jazz Quartet featuring John Lewis on piano, Percy Heath on bass, Connie Kay on drums and Milt Jackson on vibraphone. Fountain Street Church audio archivist Dick Wood recalls that Beverly Howerton, the church choir director and organist, recorded this concert with microphones which were suspended above the group while they played.



Duke Ellington – April 17, 1966


Less than a year later, Carolyn approached the church leadership with the idea of presenting a Duke Ellington concert there. She knew that Duke Ellington and his orchestra had recently performed his ‘concert of sacred music’ premiere at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco on September 16, 1965. In December Ellington presented a similar recital in New York City at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. “I don’t remember who I first approached about having these concerts. Perhaps it was Duncan Littlefair or the choir director and church organist, Mr. Beverly Howerton. However, I was required to acquire a church sponsor in order to hold any event there. Duke’s sacred concert required a choir, and our choir was eager to participate. It worked out perfectly.  Everyone at Fountain Street Church was in favor of it.” The concert was scheduled for April 17, 1966. The proceeds from the concert were to be used to help send the choir to England where they would perform at several churches.

A review of this concert, written by Gerald Elliot of the Grand Rapids Press, cited that the dancer for this performance was Buster Brown and the singers were Esther Morrow, Jimmy McPhail and Tony Watkins. Elliot asserted that Ellington “isn’t the first composer to bring jazz music into the church. There have been numerous experiments of this kind.” {Ed note: In this specific situation, Elliot was referring to “the church” in general terms.} He also added that a standing ovation was offered to Ellington and his entourage at the end of the concert. 7

Ellington’s ‘concerts of sacred music’ were partially based on compositions he had written previously; namely Black, Brown and Beige, New World a Comin’ and My People. “However, his sacred concerts generally began with a new and vital piece, In the Beginning God, with lyrics written by Ellington.” 8

“Ellington’s first sacred concert got generally positive notices, and articles about sacred jazz began to appear in non-jazz, mainstream media magazines. Some performances were broadcast on TV as well. A lavish April 1966 feature (in Ebony magazine) was devoted to the emerging jazz-goes-to-church movement.” 9

A recording of Ellington’s December 1965 Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church concert was released on RCA records in 1966. As expected, Ellington’s blending of ‘sacred’ themes with jazz, in addition to the presentation of this music in church sanctuaries generated some controversy. Numerous Christian clergy and liturgists insisted that the sacred and the secular should not be combined, especially in a church environment.

In December of 1966, Ellington encountered an attempted boycott of his sacred concert by a group of Baptist ministers who were attending a convention in Washington D.C. Many of these preachers were opposed to him combining sacred themes with jazz. They displayed their disapproval by attempting to block ticket sales for his concert which was scheduled that same week at Constitution Hall, but their efforts failed. Ellington held a news conference during the afternoon of this concert. He responded to his opposition by explaining that “what it takes to make music sacred is a matter of sincerity. Worship is a matter of profound intent. It’s easy to misunderstand. Every man prays in his own language, and there is no language that God does not understand.” 10

Over a decade earlier, Ray Charles was accused of a similar offense. Although he was not attempting to bring his music to a church audience or even trying to compose sacred music, he was certainly criticized for what was perceived as combining gospel music with secular lyrics. Charles’ 1954 popular record titled I Got A Woman is derivative of “It Must Be Jesus,” recorded during the same year by the Southern Tones gospel group:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDoEhA6jh6I  11

Although mixing of Christian or Biblical themes with jazz and ushering this amalgam into the church setting seemed controversial to some people and some churches, it can be said that it was not generally problematic for Fountain Street Church members in 1966. As Carolyn explains, “we saw no difference between the sacred and the secular.”

“However, I should mention that the choir paid to fly me to New York City to ask Duke Ellington to play Satin Doll in the middle of his sacred service. He agreed to play this tune after intermission, once the sacred concert was completed.” He was not offended by Carolyn’s request, but Ellington did indeed acknowledge the difference between sacred and secular, which is why he conceded to playing Satin Doll after his sacred program was finished.

5 FSCProgram cover for the Duke Ellington concert at Fountain Street Church. (Fountain Street Church archives)



Program notes for Duke Ellington concert, page one and two. (Fountain Street Church archives) 7 FSC

Program notes for Duke Ellington concert, pages three and four (Fountain Street Church archives)
In a Grand Rapids Press article written a few days before Ellington’s concert at Fountain Street Church, the writer predicted a sell-out concert, stating that only 70 tickets of 1800 were left. He also proposed that the sounds of jazz “would be unusual for any church except Fountain Street Church.” 12

After the concert, Duke Ellington and his band went to Carolyn and Dan’s house for a reception.




 Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington — October 19, 1966





This view of Fountain Street Church is from the rear of the sanctuary looking toward the front.

This photo is courtesy of Chad Boorsma, Photo Editor of the OHS Pipe Organ Database at: http://database.organsociety.org/  


This ‘sensitivity’ concerning the performance of secular music in a church environment did not suddenly vanish after the Ellington concert. Ella Fitzgerald appeared on a billing with Duke Ellington during October of 1966. When Fitzgerald arrived at Fountain Street Church and realized that she was being asked to perform in a church sanctuary she informed Carolyn that “there is no way I can sing the blues in a church.” Heines tried to console her by explaining that “most people do not consider this to be a church.” Fortunately, with no time to spare, Duke Ellington convinced Ella that it was alright to perform there. That night, she began her show with her own version of Nancy Sinatra’s hit from that same year, ‘These Boots are Made for Walking,’ which Ella also recorded.























Concert poster (Fountain Street Church archives)


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This advertisement appeared in the October 19, 1966 Grand Rapids Press entertainment section.

“The tickets were not selling very well for Ella’s concert. I found out that Duke was playing in Albion, Michigan the night before her gig, so I asked him if he would come to perform with Ella on the 19th. 13  He graciously agreed. Always the charming gentleman, Duke gave roses to Carolyn and her mother, as well as the choir director’s wife.”

Ellington arrived without his band. “Ella sang solo and was accompanied by the Jimmy Jones Trio for the first half of the concert, then Duke played solo piano after intermission.” Duke and Ella were performing together frequently in 1966, and they both use the same manager, Norman Granz.

“After the concert, we flew Duke back to Chicago in a private plane owned by one of the choir members. I was aboard this flight. It was a little four-seater.”




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Program for the Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington concert  (Fountain Street Church Archive)




Dave Brubeck Quartet – February 5, 1967



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Grand Rapids Press entertainment advertisement from Saturday February 4, 1967

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Poster for the Dave Brubeck Quartet concert  (Fountain Street Church Archive)


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Program for the Dave Brubeck concert on February 5, 1967  (Fountain Street Church Archive)

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Page 2 of the 1967 Dave Brubeck concert program  (Fountain Street Church Archives)


Page 3 of the Dave Brubeck 1967 concert program  (Fountain Street Church Archives)


An article written by Gerald Elliot appeared in the Grand Rapids Press on the same day as this concert. 14 Elliot explained that Brubeck and his wife had previously co-written their first piece of sacred music for a Louis Armstrong concert at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival.

Mr. and Mrs. Brubeck’s latest sacred scores, entitled This is the Day, Forty Days, The Great Commandment and Praise Ye the Lord were all parts of a collection originally called The Temptations and Teachings of Christ. It was also known as the Sacred Service for Chorus, Organ and Jazz Quartet.

This music was premiered at Fountain Street Church on Sunday, February 5, 1967. The day before the concert, Brubeck heard the Fountain Street Church choir rehearse his music for the first time. It was composed of nine separate movements, and it took forty minutes to perform. These compositions were actually just a portion of what was to ultimately become a larger piece which Brubeck presented as Light in the Wilderness at Fountain Street Church in 1969. In 1967 Brubeck agreed that he would return to the church to present this entire finished work, and he kept his promise.

In 2007, Shan Sutton asked Brubeck and his wife Iola why there had been various names for this work:

Shan Sutton: “….you two have continued to collaborate on a lot of these large scale choral works.”

Dave Brubeck: “….. the first title was The Temptations and Teachings of Christ, and for reasons I can’t remember, publishers didn’t think that was a good title. We changed it to The Light in the Wilderness.”

Iola Brubeck: “…. As the oratorio expanded, it went beyond just the temptations and teachings and went into some other areas. So I think they wanted a title that covered everything.” 15

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Dave Brubeck rehearses his sacred music oratorio with the Fountain Street Choir in 1967. 16



Grateful Dead – March 24, 1968


Carolyn’s next concert project was perhaps even more controversial. The Adult Education Committee and Carolyn decided to bring the Grateful Dead rock group to the church on Sunday, March 24, 1968. An article in the Interpreter newspaper explained that the concert was part of the church’s three part series designed to provide a “better understanding of the hippie culture and today’s youth.” 17

By 1968, she figured that she had exhausted the possibilities for bringing in jazz shows which would draw a good crowd. She also came to the conclusion that there was very little being offered by other venues in town in terms of quality rock shows, so she decided to try a rock concert at Fountain Street Church. Carolyn maintains that rock bands were relatively inexpensive to hire at that time.

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Handbill for the Grateful Dead concert (Brehm Ryspstra collection)


The two dollar general admission tickets for this concert did not guarantee reserved seating, according to a three paragraph article from the Grand Rapids Press, which appeared on the day of the concert. This same article stated that the Grateful Dead had requested that a hearse was to be delivered to the airport by mid- afternoon to transport their equipment and the band.

They were scheduled to perform that evening at 7:30 PM, with the doors opening at 6:45. But this concert was not to happen. Posters and handbills were produced for this show and all of the tickets had been sold. Articles that advertised this event had appeared in The Grand Rapids Press.

The creation of posters and handbills for this event was handled differently than most of the concerts at Fountain Street Church. James Carrico, a Sacramento artist, supplied the artwork for the poster. It appears that Grateful Dead’s management wanted to maintain control of the advertising image and identity for the band, so they had the posters printed and shipped to Fountain Street Church.

Carolyn recalls getting a phone call from the band on the same day as the concert. The band’s spokesperson told her that a snow storm was preventing the band from traveling from Detroit to Grand Rapids. He suggested that she pass out the posters and handbills created for the event to placate the disappointed ticket holders who showed up at the church expecting to see the Grateful Dead.

The Grateful Dead was scheduled to perform in Detroit on the 22nd and 23rd for two concerts at the Detroit State Fairgrounds Coliseum. Due to poor attendance for the first night’s show, the second night’s concert was moved to the Grande Ballroom in downtown Detroit. But the Grateful Dead did not play at the Grande on Saturday the 23rd, and reportedly headed back to their home base in San Francisco that same day.

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Poster for the March 22 and 23 Grateful Dead concerts at the State Fairgrounds in Detroit 18


Carolyn had a connection for acquiring bands with Russ Gibb, the owner of the Grande Ballroom in Detroit. Gibb began staging rock shows at the Grande by October of 1966. He became aware that Carolyn was staging rock concerts in Grand Rapids. Most likely, when a nationally renowned band was coming to play at the Grande, he reached out to Carolyn to see if he could also book this band at Fountain Street Church during the same week. This served as an enticement for the bands, as an expanded Michigan tour thereby became more profitable, and Gibb most likely could get a better deal with the bands he was negotiating with.

Russ Gibb: “Some of the English bands {editor’s note: four English bands performed at the Fountain Street Church rock concerts} would get on a bus back in those days; start in New York, go to Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis. So Detroit was a logical stop from Cleveland or Buffalo. It really started as a matter of convenience for the English bands. Once they played the Grande and saw that the sound was great, they spread the word. And once the word got out in England that there was a great place where the people were cool, and the sound was cool and the city was cool, the Grande became a legend.” 19


Stan Kenton – March 31, 1968


Carolyn had no choice but to adjust quickly to this disappointment, as only a week later, on March 31, Stan Kenton was scheduled to perform at the church. She had written to Kenton to ask him if he was going to play any new or religious music for this concert. He responded by saying that he would not be playing any religious pieces, but that “he will be playing new music… that will be in keeping with modern philosophy….that is becoming so much a part of modern religion.” 20 Kenton kept his word by including two new compositions written by his percussionist Dee Barton, namely Woman and Elegy.

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The Stan Kenton concert was sponsored by the Fountain Street Church Choir  21

David Nicolette provided a review of this concert for the Grand Rapids Press. He wrote that there were cameramen at the church who recorded the band’s performance. During the concert, Kenton explained that this film footage was going to be used for an hour long television special attempting to illustrate what it is like for a jazz band to be on the road constantly; doing numerous ‘one night stands.’ The cameramen and Kenton both expressed that they were pleasantly surprised that the concert was held in the church sanctuary.   22





Fountain Club and Recording the Concerts


Fountain Club members Brad Fay and Keith Oberfeld served in active roles for the rock concerts. Brad was President of Fountain Club in 1970 during his senior year in high school, yet clearly recalls the Grateful Dead concert cancellation in March of 1968.

Brad explains that “Fountain Club members worked hard to ‘get the word out’ concerning these concerts.” Their efforts included selling tickets previous to the shows and dropping off posters to music stores, record shops or ‘head shops’ like Posteria at 722 Wealthy S.E. or Painted Caravan at 1350 Plainfield N.E.  Head shops generally sold items such as music posters and smoking paraphernalia, as well as literature pertaining to the counterculture.


“Profit from the concerts was used for tours by Fountain Club members, which took place every two years. I went to New York City twice on these trips. Fountain Club members served as ushers and an informal security team during the shows. But it seemed that the main function for Fountain Club members was to ask people attending the shows to put out their cigarettes.”


Keith Oberfeld had recently relocated to East Grand Rapids during his junior year in high school. He was very interested in recording. He was also part of a ‘music group’ at Fountain Street, run by the choir director, Beverley Howerton, and Carolyn Heines. “On Sunday night the high school kids would get together and listen to music. “


“Jack Bowers got me involved with taping the rock concerts. Dick Woods recorded the jazz concerts. Steve Crandal and other kids helped me with these recordings. There was a booth near the pulpit that was equipped with a reel- to -reel recorder. We used microphones to record everything back then. Many Fountain Club members worked at the rock concerts. Carolyn gave directions to all of us. Another thing we had to do was cater to the needs of the band members and their entourage.”



Procol Harum – October 13, 1968


After seven months of trying to put the Grateful Dead concert fiasco behind her, Carolyn and the Fountain Club high school group presented an October 13 rock concert featuring Procol Harum and a local group called the Patterns.

According to a January 1st article from the Grand Rapids Times, The Patterns began as a strictly vocal group in 1968, and eventually performed with instrumentalists. 23

During 1970 Brad Fay served as president of Fountain Club. At that time he was a high school senior. He recalls that during his high school years, Fountain Street Church sponsored an escrow talent show, “which was an attempt to help racially integrate Grand Rapids. We alternated between black and white acts at these talent shows, and there were prizes.  I’d bet that the Patterns, who performed at the Procol Harum show, were one of the black bands who performed for the escrow talent shows.”

Carolyn Heines maintains that “there were about 120 members and that proceeds from Fountain Club sponsored concerts were used for projects and trips, study groups, music, theater and art, and social action groups. One time we went to see Herbie Hancock play at the Village Vanguard in New York City. The following day, Hancock came to the hotel where the Fountain Club members were staying and spoke to them about music.”

Two other people who were active with the church’s youth programs at that time were Jack Bowers, the minister of education, and Randy Lunsford, an advisor to the Fountain Club.

FSC 21


Procol Harum and the Patterns at Fountain Street Church. An entertainment ad from the Grand Rapids Press  




Fountain Street Church continued to present their concerts on Sunday night. Electric Wallpaper provided the light show for the Procol Harum concert. The band had already been touring the United States for five weeks when they arrived in Grand Rapids. An interview with the band members revealed that they felt disappointed because the audience was somewhat unresponsive. 24

Carolyn wrote an article for the Interpreter after the concert which described what occurred during the day of the show. 25 She had spent twelve hours with the band members that day, including an after-show party at her home. Carol and her husband Dan hosted receptions for the bands after many of the Fountain Street concerts.

At four P.M. the band appeared at Fountain Street Church to set up their equipment and rehearse. After the band’s practice session, they ate dinner and then Procol Harum changed into their stage attire.

The band had never played in a church before. They were thrilled with the church pipe organ and the sound and beauty of the church sanctuary. They also mentioned that they would like to record there.

After the concert, Procol Harum attended Carolyn’s party, and listened to a tape of their performance from that evening.


Procol Harum poster (Fountain Street Church archives)










The Iron Butterfly – December 19, 1968


About two months later, on December 19, the Iron Butterfly and Smoke came to Fountain Street Church for two shows, at 6 and 8:30 P.M. Electric Wallpaper Light Show worked at this concert, again. On December 11th, a column in the Interpreter revealed that Russ Gibb, the owner of the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, had personally contacted the Iron Butterfly on behalf of the Fountain Club, concerning a potential engagement at the church. The article states that the band agreed to play there if they were allowed to perform in the church sanctuary. 27



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This view of Fountain Street Church is from the front of the sanctuary looking toward the rear.

This photo is courtesy of Chad Boorsma, Photo Editor of the OHS Pipe Organ Database at: http://database.organsociety.org/  

Carolyn’s son Danny Heines, who is a professional guitarist, took lessons from Jeff Boughner and Dave Pryce while Danny was a teenager. Jeff and Dave played in bands with Aris Hampers in the 1960s, and this is how Aris was introduced to Carolyn.

Although Aris was not a Fountain Club member, he helped Carolyn pick out the rock bands that played for the rock concerts at Fountain Street Church.

“Carolyn’s passion was jazz and she was not into the rock music scene. Before booking any rock band, she asked me who they should book. Recently she told me that she never once went against my advice. And since nearly every show sold out, I feel pretty good about that. “I was her right-hand man at all the rock shows. I helped in any capacity that I could.”

Iron Butterfly’s most successful and recognizable recording, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, was released June 14, of 1968. The song was legendary for its unusually long solos by the guitarist, organist and drummer.

While he was in Grand Rapids, Ron Ingle, the organist for the group, was interviewed. Though the band was doing very well in 1968, he recalled that only one year earlier, the band’s economic situation was “desperate.” They were collecting and turning in pop bottles for food. They were rehearsing 12 hours per day, but “could find no jobs.” 28

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Partial ticket stub for the Iron Butterfly concert  (courtesy of Brehm Rypstra)



The December 21st Grand Rapids Press ‘Youth Page’ was dominated by three articles about the Iron Butterfly. Writer Anne Wilford reported that Ron Bushy, their drummer, remarked that the experience of playing in the church “was wild. You could hear the drums echoing.” 29

For visual effect, the band positioned ‘fire pots’ on both ends of the stage, which projected flames shooting upward toward the ceiling.

Carolyn recalls that many musicians who played at Fountain Street Church were deeply moved by the experience of playing in a church setting. “The young guitarist (Erik Brann) of the Iron Butterfly actually collapsed back stage after their performance.”

Kalamazoo’s Smoke, previously known as the Mussies, provided the opening act for the Iron Butterfly.

During the following two evenings, the Iron Butterfly performed at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit.


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 Iron Butterfly concert poster (Fountain Street Church archives)
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Grand Rapids Press entertainment advertisement 30



Steppenwolf – February 27, 1969


The first Fountain Street Church rock concert in 1969 was held on February 27, featuring Steppenwolf as well as Ann Arbor’s Brownsville Station, featuring Cub Koda. At that time, Brownsville Station was just getting started. In 1973 they recorded their popular song entitled Smokin’ in the Boys Room.

A new enterprise named Phantasmagoria, run by Ken Knowles, took over the job of providing the light show for this presentation. Phantasmagoria was also hired for the Country Joe and the Fish concert at Grand Valley State College on March 6, 1970 and the Savage Grace concert on August 20, 1971 at the 44th Street Armory.
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 Ticket for Steppenwolf’s late show  (Brehm Rypstra collection)


According to a Grand Rapids Press concert review written by Steve Hensch, Steppenwolf’s arrival in Grand Rapids was delayed for two hours as a result of a breakdown of their tour bus during a snow storm. They were driving toward Grand Rapids from Omaha, Nebraska when this occurred. 31

Brownsville Station went on as scheduled, around 6 P.M. Steppenwolf had phoned Carolyn and told her that they would, at best, arrive at Fountain Street church around 6:30 P.M. When they didn’t meet their estimated arrival time, Brownsville Station compensated by playing a very long set while everyone waited for Steppenwolf to arrive.

Local musician Keith Robb was there, and recalls that “there was supposed to be both an early and late show. I was at the early show. There was a long delay after Brownsville Station played. Among other things, Steppenwolf could not get their keyboard to work. They ended up using the church’s organ! Then they let everyone who was waiting outside the church for the second show come in from outdoors, and Steppenwolf just did one combined show for a packed house. At some point during this show, they got Steppenwolf’s keyboard working, and after a brief changeover, the show resumed, and singer John Kay sang the unsavory lyrics to The Pusher. “ Carolyn remembers that “putting on these concerts was always stressful…. particularly in the rock era.”

Carolyn took Steppenwolf to Duck’s Restaurant on Michigan N.E. for dinner after the show, but the band was refused service ‘because of their appearance.

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The Town House Motel, located at 525 Monroe N.W., provided accommodations for many of the musicians who played at Fountain Street Church concerts.

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This advertisement, which appeared in the Grand Press on February 24, 26 and 27, 1969, displayed a ludicrous typographical / spelling error. (The headliner band named Steppenwolf was spelled Steppenwols.)  32



Dave Brubeck—April 27, 1969

On April 27 of 1969, Dave Brubeck returned to present his completed sacred music oratorio, “Light in the Wilderness.” The actual premiere of this work was performed in January of 1968 at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Both Gerald Elliot and David Nicolette provided articles pertaining to Brubeck’s work and his career as well as covering details of his concert at the church. Elliot’s article mentioned that Brubeck’s singer, William Justus, had recently ‘disappeared’ nor had he been in contact with his wife or Brubeck for weeks. He was replaced by baritone Peter Schuetz. Brubeck arrived in Grand Rapids on Thursday, April 24 to rehearse with the Fountain Street Church choir. Brubeck’s trio consisted of Allen Dawson on drums and Jack Six on bass, with Brubeck on piano.   33

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Dave Brubeck’s completed Oratorio comes to Fountain Street Church 34

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This is the cover of the program for The Light in the Wilderness concert which included an almost 2000-word essay written by Dave Brubeck. (Carolyn Heines collection)






The Moody Blues – November 27, 1969




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Ticket for the late Moody Blues show 35






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Tickets were sold out for both Moody Blues shows 36




The Moody Blues and Humble Pie helped everyone celebrate Thanksgiving Day at Fountain Street Church on November 27, 1969.

Before the concert, Aris Hampers recorded an interview with the Moody Blues at the church.

Mike Grant’s article in the Grand Rapids Press explained that Humble Pie’s equipment arrived too late for them to begin the show as planned, so the Moody Blues went onstage first. 37 Grant complained that it took more than a half hour for Humble Pie to set up their equipment and begin their show. Carolyn remembers that Humble Pie did play first for the second show that night, however. The Moody Blues were curious to see what an American Thanksgiving celebration was like, so they arrived in Grand Rapids a few days before the show. The stage manager and members of the band enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with the Heines’ and other church families.





Dave Brubeck with Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan– February 19, 1970







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Entertainment ad from the Interpreter announces the return of Dave Brubeck’s group 38










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Poster for the Dave Brubeck concert (Fountain Street Archives)

















Dave Brubeck returned to Fountain Street Church on Thursday, February 19, 1970 for a jazz concert with sax players Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. Jack Six was on bass, with Alan Dawson on drums. The concert was sponsored by the Adult Choir.

David Nicolette reported that there was a ‘packed’ church for this concert which again included a few segments of Brubeck’s “The Light in the Wilderness.” 39

It was the first reunion for Brubeck and Desmond since the original quartet disbanded in 1967, as well as the only concert ever which featured Brubeck, Mulligan and Desmond together. 40






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Grand Rapids Press advertisement for the Brubeck ‘reunion’ concert 41




The Byrds- March 29, 1970


In late March, a popular local rock band called Phlegethon performed previous to the headline act, the Byrds.

The advertising referred to this event as “A Celebration of Peace,” held on Easter Sunday, March 29.

As a high school senior and first year college student I wrote a few articles for the Youth Page of the Grand Rapids Press. On April 4, 1970, I provided a review of the Byrd’s 10 P.M. show. Before the concert began, I spoke with the band members who at that time included guitarists Roger McGuinn and Clarence White, Gene Parsons on drums, and John York on bass. Their Fountain Street Church show was part of a forty engagement tour.

In 1970, The Byrds were presenting a country music- influenced approach to their music. We discussed the band’s change in musical direction since the era of the original Byrds, which at that time included David Crosby, Gene Clarke and Chris Hillman. One thing which had not changed was their emphasis on vocal harmony. They performed at least three of their popular recordings that evening, although McGuinn was the only original member present. They also played a few songs together on acoustic guitar. The Byrds received a few standing ovations during their show. The concert was not finished until 1:20 A.M., and was reportedly enhanced by a “brilliant” light show. 42

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Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, on stage at Fountain Street Church  (Aris Hampers collection)










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The 1970 Byrds:  From left to right are White, York, Parsons, and McGuinn 43







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Randy Marsh with Phlegethon at Fountain Street Church  (Tommy Davis photo collection)


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Phlegethon performing at Fountain Street Church stage on March 29, 1970  (From the extreme left are the bass guitar neck and hands of L.C. Davis. Seated behind the drums is Randy Marsh. Dave Pryce is playing guitar at the middle of this photo, and Jeff Boughner is positioned at far right. Aris Hampers, the band’s keyboard player, was not captured in this photo.)     {Aris Hampers collection}

FSC 41Aris Hampers, keyboard player and singer for the Phelegthon, onstage during their performance at Fountain Street Church.  (Aris Hampers collection)

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Phlegethon bass player L.C. Davis at Fountain Street Church (Aris Hampers collection)

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Phlegethon’s  Jeff Boughner at Fountain Street Church  (Aris Hampers collection)

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Byrds concert poster  (Fountain Street Church Archive)


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Festival of Peace advertisement from the Grand Rapids Press 44




Richie Havens — May 29, 1970


Two months later, a concert featuring Woodstock Festival opener Richie Havens was scheduled for May 29. Ticket sales were very slow and the show was eventually cancelled, although there was a poster generated for this event.


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Richie Havens concert poster (Fountain Street Church archive)



Spirit — October 18, 1970



On October 18, Spirit and a rock group from East Lansing named Ormandy appeared for two shows at Fountain Street Church. Dan LeBaron offered a review of this concert for the Grand Rapids Press. He reported that many people walked out during the first show and that there were quite a few empty seats during the 10 P.M. show. However, the audience was nevertheless responsive when Spirit played their hit recording, I Got A Line at the end of each set, and they were rewarded with standing ovations after each show. Ormandy was well received, as well. 45

Most of the reviews for Fountain Street rock concerts reflected that there were chronic problems with the sound equipment, and this show was no exception.
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Spirit concert poster (Fountain Street Church archives)


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Grand Rapids Press advertisement for the Spirit show 46



Frank Zappa—November 19, 1970


One month later, Frank Zappa came to Fountain Street church with the featured singers “Flo and Eddie,” formerly the vocalists for the Turtles. When the Turtles broke up in 1970, Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan became part of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention group, eventually contributing to four albums with Zappa’s band.

Frank Zappa requested that a string quartet perform before his band. His request was granted by the Grand Rapids Youth Quartet, composed of John Sullivan, Leo Najar, David Burhenn and Kristine Mulder.


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Frank Zappa concert ticket stub (Brehm Ryspstra collection)


After Zappa’s first set Carolyn asked him to refrain from repeating a song with sexual lyrics during the next show, and he complied by playing a completely instrumental set for the late concert.

Carolyn recalls that Zappa was reluctant to attend a reception at her home after the concert, but he complied when she offered to play the recordings of his concert for him.

Pianist and singer Kathi Swets, who is a friend of Carolyn Heines, also attended the party at Carolyn’s home. She had just finished her club date for that evening. A Zappa tune named King Kong was on the stereo, and Kathi recognized the tune by name. Frank Zappa was surprised that she knew his music that well.

Keith Oberfeld, a member of Fountain Club, recorded most of the Fountain Street Church rock concerts. He recalls that there were other teenagers who helped him, including Steve Crandal. It was typical for musicians who performed at these concerts to come to Carolyn’s home after the shows to listen to these tapes.

A review of this Thursday night concert appeared in the Grand Rapids Press on Saturday, November 21. 47


B.B. King – March 27, 1971



On March 27, 1971, B.B. King brought his legendary blues band to Fountain Street Church for another Thursday night show. Local jazz musician Glenn Lewis and his quartet also performed that evening. Anne Wilford wrote an article about B.B. King for the Grand Rapids Press which appeared a week after the show. 48

This was not King’s first show in Grand Rapids, as he had played at both Roma Hall at 746 South Division S.E. and the Rose Room at 814 South Division S.E. in the 1950s. 49

By 1971, B.B. King was becoming well known to white audiences, partially through television appearances on the Johnny Carson show and other high-profile engagements. In 1970 he finally experienced substantial success with his recording, The Thrill is Gone, which won a Grammy award.

Even though jazz concerts were rare in Grand Rapids, blues shows were even more uncommon.
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Ticket for the B.B. King show at Fountain Street Church  (courtesy Gant family collection)



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Grand Rapids Press advertisement for two B.B King shows at Fountain Street Church 50 Tickets for this show were made available from businesses located within the black community, such as Jobe’s Barber Shop, House of Styles, and Lowery’s Record Shop.B.B. King concert poster, which advertises the wrong date for this concert. (Fountain Street Church archives)

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B.B. King concert poster, which advertises the wrong date for this concert. (Fountain Street Church archives)





Livingston Taylor—May 17, 1971



Two months later, James Taylor’s brother Livingston Taylor and David Ray appeared at Fountain Street Church on Thursday evening, May 27, 1971. Livingston had recorded his first album in 1970.

Although this is conjecture, David Ray could have been either a poet named David Ray or blues musician Dave ‘Snaker’ Ray, who recorded with Koerner, Ray, and Glover.
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Livingston Taylor poster (Fountain Street Church Archive)
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Grand Rapids Press entertainment ad for the Livingston Taylor and David Ray concert 51



John Mayall’s Jazz-Blues Fusion—November 23, 1971



Near Thanksgiving Day, on Tuesday, November 23, John Mayall’s band brought their show to Fountain Street Church. Also on the roster was Frank Salamone, a Grand Rapids-based country blues musician.

During the months of November and December, Mayall was recording concerts with his new jazz-oriented band. In 1972, he culled the best music from these tapes to create an album entitled Jazz Blues Fusion. The same group of musicians who played on this album also appeared at the Fountain Street Church concert.

Mayall experimented with various blues music formats for a few years, and was known for hiring some of the best young musicians available, including Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor. During 1969 he released another live album called Turning Point, but this time without a drummer or lead electric guitarist. On this album, Mayall imitated drum and symbol sounds with his mouth, as best evidenced by the song Room to Move:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLp0AsKXMEs  52

The band members of John Mayall’s band came to Carolyn’s home after the concert for a reception. Alice Cooper’s band was aboard the same flight arriving in Grand Rapids as Mayall’s band, and showed up at Carolyn’s home that same night, as well.

Although Alice Cooper had been touring England during November of 1971, the band was back in the United States by November 20, working in Saginaw, Michigan.  53
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Ticket for John Mayall’s late show at Fountain Street Church

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John Mayall concert poster (Fountain Street Church archives)




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Scan of a clipping from the Grand Rapids Press entertainment section 54


Frank Salamone received a much-deserved write up in the Grand Rapids Press just prior to this concert. 55    He introduced numerous local musicians to country blues music, and was deeply involved with playing the blues long before it eventually became somewhat fashionable in Grand Rapids. At the time of this concert he was 24 and a student at Grand Valley State College. In the 1970s Frank worked as a solo act or with Jimmy Steigmeyer (a.k.a. Stagger), often as an opening act for various blues and folk music presentations including Bukka White, Leo Kottke, Otis Rush, and Johnny Young.

Salamone and Steigmeyer, often using the moniker of Suitcase, also appeared at Fountain Street Church for a 7 P.M. concert on November 1, 1974.

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The ‘voice’ of country blues music in Grand Rapids, Frank Salamone




King Crimson — December 9, 1971


A few weeks after the Mayall/ Salamone show, British progressive rock band King Crimson came to Fountain Street for an 8:30 show on Thursday, December 9, 1971. They had arrived in the United States by November 2, and continued to tour steadily in America and Canada until April of 1972. No back-up band was advertised, and there appears to be no recollection on the part of people who were there concerning the presence of another act appearing at this show.

Even though she was primarily a jazz fan, Carolyn enjoyed this concert so much that she travelled to Detroit at a later date to see King Crimson again.

FSC 59King Crimson concert poster (Fountain Street Church archives)

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Grand Rapids Press entertainment advertisement for the King Crimson concert 56










Edgar Winter’s White Trash – March 19, 1972




Edgar Winter’s White Trash appeared at Fountain Street Church on Sunday, March 19, 1972, at 8:30 P.M. Local rock band, Cablerock, were the opening act for this show.
Edgar Winter’s first album was released in 1970, and he followed up with another in 1971, using the name of Edgar Winter’s White Trash.  Winter is a very talented vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. He is the brother of the late Johnny Winter, the blues guitarist. Edgar enjoyed his greatest popularity from 1971 through 1973, with the release of four well received albums. He has continued to tour and record to this date.
At the time of this concert at Fountain Street Church, Cablerock was the most recent version of a band which originated as The Dimensions, who had won a battle of the bands at Eastbrook Mall in 1968. The musicians from Cablerock who most likely played at Fountain Street Church were Tom Chamberlain on piano,  John Georgecakes, on organ,  Paul Georgecakes on bass,  Jeff Boughner on guitar,  and George Purdy on drums.

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Poster for the Edgar Winter concert (Fountain Street Church archives)



Brewer and Shipley—April 16, 1972




FSC 62Less than one month later, the folk rock duo, Brewer and Shipley, performed at Fountain Street Church on Sunday April 16, 1972.

In 1971 they recorded their memorable tune, One Toke Over the Line, which was included on their third album titled Tarkio.

“Just as it was peaking on the charts, the Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew, labeled Brewer & Shipley subversive to America’s youth and then strong-armed the FCC to pull “One Toke Over The Line” from the airwaves. They made Nixon’s infamous “Enemies List,” a badge of honor which they continue to wear proudly today.  They couldn’t have paid for that kind of publicity.” 57


B.B. King – March 22, 1973



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1973 B.B. King concert poster (Fountain Street Church archives)


B.B. King and his band was always a sure bet for an entertaining blues performance, so Fountain Street Church welcomed him back on March 22, 1973. They were the only major rock or blues act to return to Fountain Street Church, although Carolyn did have some jazz artists, especially Dave Brubeck, come back.

By March of 1973, 47 year old B.B. King had become a successful ‘cross-over’ artist. He has been described as the ‘ambassador of the blues’ and the ‘hardest working man in show business.’ It is arguable that King has done more to popularize blues music than any other blues musician. Also, he is reported to have worked an average of at least 250 engagements per year.

Although B.B. King had been recording influential ‘race’ records since 1949 and was a major fixture on the chitlin’ circuit’ for nearly twenty years, it was not until the 1960s that he became known to the masses. “In 1968, he played at the Newport Folk Festival and at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West on bills with the hottest contemporary rock artists of the day who idolized B.B. and helped introduce him to a young white audience. In 1969, he was chosen by the Rolling Stones to open eighteen American concerts for them.” 58


Dave Brubeck Quartet Silver Anniversary Concert with Two Generations of Brubeck – March 6, 1976


Carolyn summarizes: “I had moved on to other interests and was working full time by 1974 so I didn’t have the time to produce concerts any longer. Also, some of the later concerts I promoted were not as successful as the earlier ones were.”

However, three years after the 1973 B.B. King concert, Carolyn once again brought Dave Brubeck’s group back to Fountain Street Church as part of his national Silver Anniversary tour which was to feature his original quartet. The Fountain Street Church show was supposed to include alto sax legend Paul Desmond, but he was ill and could not play. He succumbed to lung cancer on May 30, 1977.

There were no newspaper ads to advertise this concert, but Jim McFarlin wrote a fine summary of the concert for the Grand Rapids Press. 59 He recalled that this was the eleventh concert that Brubeck had performed in Grand Rapids.

Brubeck’s Saturday night ‘standing room only’ concert was presented in two parts. The first set included Dave Brubeck on piano, bass player Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello on drums. Morello appeared onstage attired with a red Fountain Street Church choir robe.

The second part of the concert featured the talents of Brubeck’s sons. Darius, at age 30, played electric keyboards and synthesizer. Danny Brubeck served as the drummer, with Rick Kilburn on bass. They played 40 Days from the The Light in the Wilderness suite. Brubeck’s son’s group was plagued with sound equipment problems, but both groups were well received and they obtained standing ovations and requests for encores.

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Poster for the March 6, 1976 Brubeck concert (Fountain Street Church Archives)











Carolyn’s Last Concerts


“My involvement with the Fountain Street Church concerts basically ended by 1974, with a few exceptions. I was still doing this at the time of the Edgar Winter, Brewer and Shipley and the second B.B. King concert.  I was also instrumental in bringing John McLaughlin and Shakti to the church on May 5, 1976. That was a fund raiser for the Advisory Center for Teens.   It was a cooperative effort with a friend named Mary Harrington, who had previously been in Fountain Club and was a member of Fountain Street Church.”  In the following years, Carolyn also promoted concerts for her son, Danny, a talented jazz guitarist. These shows took place at Gibson’s, the Ladies Literary Club, the B.O.B., UICA, and Fountain Street Church.  Danny Heines has since relocated to San Francisco.


These are copyrighted materials;  @ 2014 by Kim Rush;  All rights reserved




  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_Sid
  2. Grand Rapids Herald, September, 19, 1956, page 8
  3. Billboard; April 25, 1960; page 165
  4. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/31464
  5. Grand Rapids Press, May 9, 1965, page 37
  6. Grand Rapids Press, May 9, 1965 page 34
  7. Grand Rapids Press; April 18, 1966
  8. “Duke Ellington’s Music for the Theatre,” John C. Franceschina, pp. 115-116
  9. Sacred Blue: Jazz Goes To Church In the 1960s;  DAVID BRENT JOHNSON http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/sacred-blue-jazz-church-1960s/
  10. Jet magazine; December 22, 1966; pages 46-47
  11. You Tube
  12. Grand Rapids Press; April 17, 1966
  13. Duke Ellington was playing in Cincinnati the week prior to his engagement with Ella Fitzgerald at Fountain Street Church. Ken Vail, Duke’s Diary: The Life of Duke Ellington, 1950-1974, Part 2, page 287
  14. Grand Rapids Press, February 5, 1967


  1. Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library, 2007. http://digitalcollections.pacific.edu/cdm/ref/collection/brubeckoral/id/31


  1. Grand Rapids Press, 2.9.1969 Wonderland West Michigan Magazine


  1. Interpreter, 3.17. 1968. The Grand Rapids Press (Sunday, March 10, 1968 page 34) also posted an article which contained information about this same three part series that Fountain Street Church was presenting to help the congregation better understand the youth culture.


  1. http://jerrygarcia.com/show/1968-03-22-state-fair-coliseum-detriot-mi-usa/


  1. Grande Ballroom, by Dan Austin of HistoricDetroit.org   http://www.historicdetroit.org/building/grande-ballroom/


  1. Grand Rapids Press, March 24, 1968, page 45


  1. Grand Rapids Times, March 30, 1968, page 7


  1. Grand Rapids Press, April 1, 1968


  1. Grand Rapids Times, 1.1.1972, page 12


  1. Grand Rapids Press, Saturday October 19, 1968, page16


  1. Interpreter, October 23, 1968, page 16


  1. Grand Rapids Press, October 13, 1968


  1. Interpreter, December 11, 1968, page 13


  1. Iron Butterfly to Play, Grand Rapids Press, December 1, 1968


  1. Grand Rapids Press, December 21, 1968 , page 32


  1. Grand Rapids Press, December 17, 1968, page 53


  1. Grand Rapids Press, March 8, 1969, page 16


  1. Grand Rapids Press, February 24, 1969, page 31


  1. Grand Rapids Press, Saturday April 26, 1969, section B (Gerald Elliot article) and Grand Rapids Press, April 28, 1969, page 9-C (David Nicolette article)


  1. Grand Rapids Press, April 22, 1969, page 9-B


  1. http://www.ebay.com/itm/ULTRA-RARE-1969-MOODY-BLUES-AND-HUMBLE-PIE-GRAND-RAPIDS-MICHIGAN-CONCERT-TICKET/321480237003?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D24192%26meid%3D33102e506224485796d3429b024d2b9f%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D10284%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D371073749864


  1. Grand Rapids Press, Wednesday, November 26, 1969, page 16 A


  1. Grand Rapids Press, Saturday, November 29, 1969, page A-8.


  1. Interpreter, February 1970


  1. Grand Rapids Press, Friday, February 20, 1970, page 9-C


  1. Grand Rapids Press, February 13, 1970, page 9-C


  1. Grand Rapids Press, February 17, 1970, page 9-C


  1. Grand Rapids Press, April 4, 1970, page 12-A


  1. This picture of the 1970 edition of the Byrds is located at:   http://blues.gr/profiles/blogs/talking-with-folk-rock-artist-john-york-a-member-of-the-byrds-his


  1. Grand Rapids Press, Sunday March 22, 1970, page 5-C


  1. Grand Rapids Press, October 24, 1970, 12-A


  1. Grand Rapids Press, October 16, 1970, page 16- B


  1. Grand Rapids Press, Saturday, November 21, 1970, page 12-A


  1. Grand Rapids Press, April 3, 1971, page 7-B.


  1. http://www.historygrandrapids.org/article/4073/chitlin-circuit-performers-com


  1. Grand Rapids Press, Wednesday, March 24, 1971, page 10-F


  1. Grand Rapids Press, Friday May 21, 1971, page 16-B


  1. From You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLp0AsKXMEs


  1. http://www.alicecooperechive.com/tourdates/index.php?date=love



  1. Grand Rapids Press, Wednesday, November 17, 1971, page 20-E
  2. Grand Rapids Press, November 20, 1971, page 11A
  3. Grand Rapids Press, December 2, 1971, page 19-C
  4. http://www.brewerandshipley.com/Bios&Liners/Bio_B&S.htm
  5. http://www.bbking.com/bio/
  6. Grand Rapids Press, March 8, 1976, page 11-B






I am extremely grateful to Carolyn Heines who has supplied a huge share of the information found in this article.  Her patience with my endless questions is deeply appreciated.

Special thanks to Phyl Penny and Mary Lou Smith of the Fountain Street Church History Archives.

Thanks to Aris Hampers for recollections and photos, Keith Robb, Brad Fay, Keith Oberfeld and Dick Wood for their memories of these concerts and for offering their wonderful stories.

Other contributors of information and memorabilia include Kirk Zillmer, Greg Williams (of the Patterns), Tom Shannon, Evans DeVries, Stephen Rush, Stephen Smith, Matt Weber and Tom Olejniczak.

The stunning photos of Fountain Street Church were supplied by Chad Boorsma, Photo Editor of the OHS Pipe Organ Database at: http://database.organsociety.org/

The Grand Rapids Public Library History Collection librarians and staff are always ready to help anyone who has a question about local history. Their help is appreciated.


This article is dedicated to the memory of late 1960s Fountain Club member Brehm Rypstra, my high school buddy who loved attending concerts, including the Fountain Street Church rock and blues concerts.  Anyone who knew him will testify that he took advantage of every opportunity to talk about music as well as collecting records and music memorabilia.









































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