Southfield’s Star-Studded Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival

Southfield’s Star-Studded Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival 1200 800 sccadmin

When Kimmie Horne takes the stage, there’s no doubt you’re in the presence of a first-class performer whose unique mix of jazz, pop and rhythm & blues has delighted audiences around the world.

And if you’re one of thousands of Metro Detroiters aware of the Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival, held in Southfield every summer, there’s no doubt you’ve added August 9th and 10th to your calendar for the chance to experience exceptional music by Horne and other talented jazz artists — all free of charge.

But Horne, who exudes positive energy, has more than just performing on her mind as she gears up for the 8th annual festival, held on the lawn of the Southfield Municipal Campus.

For this internationally known performer, the festival requires months of planning every detail — from securing sponsors and lining up top performers, to organizing vendors, meeting with sound engineers, planning her repertoire and more.

She does it all with the help of a well-seasoned team spearheaded by long-time partner Michael Cash, whom she recently wed. It’s a labor of love in many ways.

The beginning of it all

The newlyweds launched the festival in 2016 with the goal of bringing jazz to a small, intimate venue in Lathrup Village. Two years later, the festival moved to Southfield at the request of Mayor Kenson J. Siver and Delores Flagg, chair of the Southfield Public Arts Commission. It has since become one of the city’s premiere events, according to Siver.

The free, outdoor event fills the lawn of the Southfield Municipal Campus along Evergreen Road, where jazz lovers spread blankets or set up lawn chairs in anticipation of hearing well-known performers along with a few talented newcomers.

“The Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival has become Southfield’s signature summer event,” says Siver, noting that approximately 4,000 people filled the front lawn of the municipal campus last August.

“At first I wasn’t prepared to have the Jazz Festival under my name,” says Horne. But Cash saw beyond her hesitation. “He told me, ‘You have a powerful name, you have a legacy.’ And so, when I accepted that, it was the best move I could have made. Michael’s vision is what helped bring this to life,” Horne says, adding, “The festival became our baby.”

Music in her blood

Horne’s love of music began early, inspired by her father, a musician and carpenter, her great aunt, the legendary singer and actress Lena Horne, and her singer/songwriter uncle, Cleveland Horne of the group the Fantastic Four.

One of seven children born and raised in Detroit, Horne’s plans to become a journalist took a dramatic turn when she discovered her musical voice. She says she “fell into singing” with help from her eldest brother, Tony, also a musician.

“I went to the studio and started singing with him. Unbeknownst to me, the sound engineer was Stevie Wonder’s hit-making songwriter Henry R. Cosby. He said, ‘Kimmie, I want to try you on another song.’ I sang the song, and then he played it back. As I sat there in this studio listening to myself, it’s like my whole trajectory changed. I thought, I need to be in the music industry. And I’ve been doing it ever since.

“I truly embrace and carry on my family’s musical connection, and I accept this as my purpose,” Horne says. “As an international performer, I have the great pleasure of engaging audiences around the world.”

Transcending the language barrier

In addition to the love she has for her Southfield audience, Horne admits to being especially fond of performing in Japan, which she describes as her “second home.”

“I just really dove into the culture there, and I found that love transcends the language barrier.” That love was evident when Horne met a group known as the Japanese Supremes and helped them perfect their performance. “I produced and choreographed these talented Japanese singers and helped with their costuming. They were so eager for me to teach them,” she says.

The passion Horne feels extends to all audiences. “I try to engage my audience. I really paying attention to different audiences all around the world.”

One stage, many stars

Closer to home, Horne says the Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival allows her to bring her musical talent as well as the talent of other performers together on one stage.

“I want to be able to offer myself from my own stage, but also to welcome different musicians — my musical peers — to share the stage. It’s like having a musical family reunion,” she says. Past performers have included such recognizable names as Martha Reeves, Freda Payne and Duane Parham.

This year, true to her vision, Horne has invited 10 performers to share the stage to entertain thousands of concertgoers at what she describes as a “boutique festival that offers something for everyone: kids, parents, grandparents, black, white — all races.”

With the backing and support of Southfield Mayor Siver and Flagg, who now also coordinates the festival, Horne says she has seen her vision grow larger each year.

“Southfield is an amazing, groundbreaking place because it truly is the center of it all. It allows me to let my freedom go with not only live entertainment, but with the boutique vendors, food truck vendors, fitness activities and a bike cruise … everything. It’s so creatively rewarding for me.”

Finding inspiration

Horne says she continues to be inspired by jazz greats such as Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald as well as up-and-comers like Samara Joy. But she’s also inspired by the businesses/sponsors she forms partnerships with. “All of it encourages and inspires me.”

Just as important as providing great entertainment is the festival’s philanthropic initiatives, another inspiration for Horne. “We’ve given back to such organizations as Ronald McDonald House and Make A Wish Foundation. This year we’re supporting the John Evan Cash Foundation, an organization that provides mental health education and services to those in need.”

Horne sums up her festival and legacy: “I want people to know that when you come to the Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival, you’re going to get great music and much more. It’s a weekend extravaganza — a fun-filled experience for everyone. It’s just amazing.”

For more details about the Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival, visit

Building Resources through the Defense Hardtech Accelerator

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The Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University was created to enhance the growth of Michigan’s advanced manufacturing, innovative hardware entrepreneurs and small manufacturers. The Centrepolis team of business development and technology experts focus on providing companies with the necessary tools and environment to thrive.

To this end, the Centrepolis Accelerator has collaborated with the U.S. Army to launch the Defense Hardtech Accelerator (DHA) Program. The goal of the program is to help the U.S. Department of Defense identify and assist companies with advanced technologies that bolster domestic product development and manufacturing and reduce supply chain gaps.

The global program’s presence in Michigan was driven by the many companies with applications for both commercial and defense sectors.

“The Defense Hardtech Accelerator is geared toward supply chain resiliency and domestic manufacturing,” says Program Director Chad Darr. “We have a lot of great dual-purpose tech companies here in Michigan that are addressing supply chain resiliency as well as supply chain gaps. These businesses are manufacturing their products here in the states instead of going offshore.”

The program emphasizes domestic design, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing, with a focus on technologies such as mobility, electrification, light weighting, drones and improved logistics for ground vehicle applications.

Vintage Fashion Show a Smashing Success

Vintage Fashion Show a Smashing Success 1200 800 sccadmin

Fashion was on full display at the Art and Vintage Fashion Show on Friday evening, May 31. The extraordinary event attracted an enthusiastic crowd of art and fashion lovers who enjoyed a wine & cheese reception, DJ-inspired music and fashion from bygone eras.

The former Skyline Club at 2000 Town Center was the scene of the event, hosted by The Friends of Southfield Public Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to procuring, transporting, installing and restoring art for public enjoyment.

The event featured a vintage fashion show with models from the Southfield A&T Dance Team displaying authentic vintage clothing from the 1940s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. On loan from Fantoni, a Berkley vintage clothing store, the clothes were previously sold in such iconic Detroit stores as J.L. Hudson’s, B. Siegel, Winkelman’s, Himelhoch’s, Jacobson’s, Bonwit Teller, Claire Pearone and Surwin’s.

“This was a unique experience for attendees to get a glance into yesterday’s fashion world while supporting the local art community,” says Southfield Mayor Kenson J. Siver.

Local artists Priscilla Phifer, Rosemary Summers, Samah Kthar, Reggie Singleton, Lionnel Hurst and Brian Nickson also showcased their work along with several vintage clothing, jewelry and art vendors.

Funds from the show will go toward public art projects, including a signature piece by famed Mexican sculptor Sebastian. His sculpture will be part of the “Nine Mile Greenway Corridor and Placemaking Project,” which represents the corridor extending from I-75 in Hazel Park to I-275 in Farmington Hills.

Pollinator Garden in Bloom

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The Southfield City Centre Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Garden is buzzing right along as summer kicks into high gear.

With plans for this pollinator-friendly demonstration garden finalized last fall, it’s been full speed ahead, says Souzan Hanna, ENV SP, LEED AP, Sustainability Planner with the Southfield Planning Department.

Saving Monarch butterflies from extinction is the inspiration for the garden, which was spearheaded by the Southfield Planning Department, Southfield City Centre and Eaton Corp.

“The first phase began last year with installation of a vibrant Monarch butterfly sculpture, an educational panel, benches and wayfinding signs,” notes Hanna.

Located on the Eaton Corp. campus, adjacent to the Southfield City Centre Trail, the garden was designed by Juno Solutions, LLC, in collaboration with Terry Croad, AICP, ASLA, Director of Planning for the City of Southfield. Phases I and II have been fully installed by Artistic Outdoor Services, Inc., with a phase III planting in the fall.

“Employees, residents, students and visitors are encouraged to watch the progression from the Southfield City Centre Trail as more and more butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects discover the garden,” says Croad.

According to Joane Slusky, landscape architect and owner of Juno Solutions, LLC, much goes into the layout, design and selection of native plants for the garden, including various blooming stages, ample nectar supply, plant height and resistance to the deer and rabbit population. “In addition to nectar, the plants we select provide shelter for the pollinators and the small boulders we incorporate allow butterflies to extract salts and minerals from water that collects on their surfaces and indentations.”

“The pollinator garden project goes hand in hand with our commitment to sustainability and brings awareness to the decline of pollinators,” says Hanna. “We hope to inspire other communities to design similar gardens to attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators to urban areas.”

A Driving Tradition

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The annual Blessing of the Corvettes took place on May 4th as local Corvette owners who’ve had their cars in storage over the winter took to the roads. This yearly “coming out” ceremony is hosted by Roadmasters Vette Club in cooperation with the City of Southfield. In addition to their love of cars, the Roadmasters are passionate about community service, with members showing up to support many community events throughout the year.

Community Feast Focuses on Sustainability

Community Feast Focuses on Sustainability 1200 800 sccadmin

The importance of eliminating food-related waste was the theme during Southfield’s “Community Feast” hosted by Make Food Not Waste. The free educational event, held April 13th at the Southfield Pavilion, was designed to inspire attendees to enjoy food with an awareness of how to reduce waste.

As part of its overall sustainability initiative, the City of Southfield is working to become the first city in the state to eliminate food waste, says Souzan Hanna, ENV SP, LEED AP, sustainability planner with the Southfield Planning Department.

During the event, attendees enjoyed a meal prepared by professional chefs using food that would otherwise go to waste and end up in landfills, while local food vendors and organizations working to reduce food waste in the community provided tips for grocery shopping and simple cooking methods.

Make Food Not Waste is a nonprofit organization working to keep food out of landfills by creating lasting solutions to food waste through education, food upcycling and advocacy.

For more information visit

Mid-Century Modern Architecture Bus Tour – June 9

Mid-Century Modern Architecture Bus Tour – June 9 1200 800 sccadmin

Mid-century modern enthusiasts are invited to join us June 9th as we tour homes, neighborhoods, commercial buildings and religious institutions throughout the Southfield City Centre and citywide.

The 2.5-hour tour begins at 2:00 p.m. at Shaarey Zedek (27375 Bell Rd, Southfield). From there, you’ll be transported by bus to visit other examples of this timeless architecture created by visionary designers and architects.

The event is sponsored by the Southfield Historical Society, Detroit Area Art Deco Society and Friends of Southfield Public Arts.

Pre-sale tickets are $40 available through PayPal at or by check made payable to Friends of Southfield Public Arts. Checks can be mailed to the City of Southfield, c/o Mayor’s Office, 26000 Evergreen Road, Southfield, MI 48037-2055. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets will also be sold at the door, if available, for $50. All ticket purchases are a tax-deductible donation.

Southfield Gets Top Recognition

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When the City of Southfield earned the title, “Top City in the U.S. for Black Women to Flourish Financially,” for the second year by, Sherry Swift and Tina Catron weren’t surprised.

The two Black businesswomen chose to locate Swift Transitions Coaching, Consultation and Training in Southfield eight years ago and are happy they did. The company has since grown to include The Swift Collaboration and Swift Transactions Management, also located in Southfield.

“Southfield has always been an extremely diverse community,” says Swift. “If there’s an area that would be most available for success for African American women, it could be easily Southfield because of the diversity here.”

Southfield Mayor Kenson J. Siver is proud of the recognition. “We are thrilled once again to have the distinction of Southfield being the top city in the U.S. for Black women to flourish financially,” he says. “We support our minority-owned businesses through our involvement with the Southfield Chamber of Commerce, job fairs and our Business Accelerator co-sponsored by Lawrence Technological University, among other initiatives. It should come as no surprise that a number of city departments are led by Black women,” Siver adds.

To determine the best places for Black women to flourish, MoneyGeek looked at 164 cities with populations greater than 65,000 — from the best to the worst. The ranking includes analysis of income, poverty rate, home ownership, educational attainment and health insurance gaps between Black women and the entire population nationally and locally.

Catron notes another important advantage she and Swift have realized with their business location. “Southfield is a great spot for our business because it’s close to downtown and to anywhere you want to maneuver within the state. This is where a lot of businesses intentionally land because no matter where you’re coming from, it’s central to everything.”

As Swift and Catron focus on growing their business, which currently includes a real estate brokerage arm as well as training, coaching and consulting services, their plan is to “100 percent” remain in Southfield.

“It’s easy for people to find us and we can access all of the tools and resources located here,” says Swift.

City Centre Event Recap

City Centre Event Recap 1200 800 sccadmin

Warm Winter Fest 2024

Adults and children enjoyed a warmer-than-normal Winter Fest Sunday, March 3, at the Southfield Sports Arena. With temperatures hovering near 60 degrees, the event drew a crowd of more than 300 for a variety of activities, including indoor ice skating, a high ropes course, a rock-climbing wall with bouncers, carriage rides, electric car rides, marshmallow roasting and nature programs sponsored by Oakland County Naturalists.

Happy Hour and Team Trivia

The Southfield City Centre Happy Hour and Team Trivia Networking event on March 14 drew a sellout crowd of participants from many Southfield-based organizations. The group gathered at Towne Square Food & Spirits from for the chance to show their brain power and network.

“Our area businesses have found that joining us for this event has been a win-win,” says Rochelle Freeman, director of Business & Economic Development for the City of Southfield. “Their employees have an opportunity to bond and build relationships outside of their work environment, and to mix with other companies to develop potential new leads and professional connections.”

Gearing Up for Spring

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With spring in the air and warm weather on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to look in to the many outdoor activities Southfield City Centre has to offer. Whether you’re a resident, employee or visitor, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Get moving on the Southfield City Centre Trail with a walk, jog or bike ride during lunchtime or after work. The trail features nearly 9 miles of non-motorized pathways, including a 3.5-mile “Inner Loop” where you’ll find several outdoor art installations. The Monarch Butterfly Pollinator Garden, Tapestry of a Community and Red Pole Park are just a few.

“We want to make our city more pedestrian friendly and encourage people to engage in heart-healthy activities like biking and walking,” says Terry Croad, AICP, ASLA and director of planning for the City of Southfield. “It’s a great way to enhance your overall health, reduce stress and enjoy nature.”

A Bike Share program (with 9 convenient locations]) makes it easy to ride the trail. For a 3.5 guided tour of 26 public works of art and cultural sites along the trail, download the PocketSights app to your mobile device and search “Southfield, Michigan.”

Get out on the green. If you’re a golfer, don’t miss your chance to tee off at the Evergreen Hills Golf Course, located at the Southfield Municipal Campus, 26000 Evergreen Road, this 9-hole, par 34, 2,954-yard public course features beautifully landscaped grounds and manicured fairways. The course is scheduled to open April 1, weather permitting (check Southfield Parks and Recreation Facebook page).

Grab lunch at one of your favorite Southfield restaurants, find an open bench along Evergreen or Civic Center Drive and enjoy the great outdoors.

For the athlete in you, the Southfield Municipal Campus is home to baseball diamonds, soccer fields and every type of court imaginable, including volleyball, tennis, pickleball, basketball and racquetball.

Eat to the Beat is your chance to take a break in the middle of the day. This Southfield City Centre annual summertime lunchtime food truck and entertainment event offers delicious eats and some of the best live bands in metro Detroit. It all happens the second Thursday, June through September, at the Southfield Municipal Campus, 26000 Evergreen Road.