Kellogg Community College

KCC team raises $5,588 for Special Olympics Michigan through Polar Plunge

January 30, 2015

Kellogg Community College’s Battle Creek Polar Plunge team raised $5,588 to benefit Special Olympics Michigan earlier this month, more than five times the amount of the second-highest fundraising organization who participated at the Jan. 17 event and nearly 70 percent of the total $8,008 raised.

More than 200 supporters lifted the College to the No. 1 spot among donor organizations, while more than a dozen KCC students and employees — including many cadets from the KCC Police Academy — took the plunge. See several photos from the event in the College’s 2015 Battle Creek Polar Plunge Facebook gallery.

The Battle Creek Polar Plunge is affiliated with the grassroots Law Enforcement Torch Run event, through which law enforcement and corrections officers raise funds for and create awareness of Special Olympics Michigan year round. KCC has fielded a Battle Creek Polar Plunge team each winter and hosted Law Enforcement Torch Runs starting from campus each fall for several years, led by the College’s Police Academy Manager Rob Miller.

For more information, to register as a fundraiser or to join KCC’s team online, visit

KCC hires new head coach for women’s volleyball team

Kellogg Community College has hired a new head coach to lead the women’s volleyball team in 2015.

Tom VanWienen, of Battle Creek, began his tenure as head KCC volleyball coach earlier this month to prepare for spring practices and recruiting for the 2015 volleyball season that begins practices on Aug. 1.

“It’s a great program,” VanWienen said. “I’m excited to be a part of the KCC volleyball program and look forward to being a part of campus life in Battle Creek.”

VanWienen will be a familiar face to volleyball fans in the Battle Creek area, where he works as a product specialist for Comcast and resides with wife Jonna and daughters Allison and Kate. He led the varsity team at Pennfield High School from 2008 to 2013, was assistant varsity coach and head JV coach at Olivet College from 2006 to 2008, and coached the varsity team at Climax-Scotts High School from 2001 to 2006.

VanWienen currently serves as director of volleyball regional programming at Battle Creek’sWeCan Volleyball, which runs winter and spring teams that play on an AAU-based schedule throughout Southwest Michigan, and is a coach for the nonprofit Redline Volleyball Club, also located in the Battle Creek area.

KCC Athletic Director Tom Shaw said VanWienen has the experience and desire to bring KCC volleyball back into the picture as a historically successful program, with the new coach’s area ties assisting in securing local talent to consider playing for the College.

“KCC is very excited to have a coach with so much volleyball experience in the head coaching position,” Shaw said. “I anticipate KCC quickly returning to our historic success in collegiate volleyball.”

For more information, contact the Athletics Department at 269-965-4151 or email Athletic Director Tom Shaw at

About KCC Volleyball

Kellogg Community College’s Volleyball Program prides itself on continuing a strong tradition of excellence both on and off the court. The team boasts nearly three dozen championships since the 1970s, including three national championships, two state championships and nearly a dozen regional championships. For more information about KCC’s women’s volleyball team, including links to past results and standings, visit

For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest news releases online at

Branch County Community Chorus accepting new members Feb. 3

Kellogg Community College’s Branch County Community Chorus is accepting new members for the Spring 2015 concert season.

An open call for the choir will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 27 E. Chicago St., Coldwater. There is no formal audition process and no need to prepare music in advance, though prospective choir members must register for the ensemble at KCC’s Grahl Center, 125 Seeley St., Coldwater.

The open call process for those interested in joining the BCCC will include a brief vocal placement assessment and interview with Dr. Gerald Blanchard, vocal music director and music coordinator at KCC. Blanchard said anyone interested in singing — with or without previous experience — is invited to join.

“The 22-plus member ensemble is made up of community members and students performing choral works from various periods and genres,” Blanchard said. “Members have a variety of musical backgrounds, which range from having very little formal music training to those who have degrees in music.”

For the upcoming season, Blanchard said the ensemble is in particular need of lower voices — basses and tenors — but that openings are available in all vocal areas.

“Come lend your talents to this fine group of dedicated community singers,” Blanchard said. “There is place for you in the Branch County Community Chorus!”

The choir’s Spring 2015 season — the BCCC’s 14th season and Blanchard’s 10th as the choir’s director — will include performances of Haydn’s “Missa in Angustiis” (“Mass for Troubled Times”), also known as “Lord Nelson Mass,” on April 11 in Coldwater and April 12 in Battle Creek. In addition to being a popular selection of classical repertoire, the work holds personal significance for Blanchard, as “Lord Nelson Mass” was the first major choral composition he programmed for the KCC choirs during his first year as their artistic director in 2004.

For more information about registering for the BCCC, contact KCC’s Grahl Center at 517-278-3300. Individuals with questions about the BCCC or who are interested in financial assistance to cover the cost of registration can contact Blanchard at

About the Branch County Community Chorus

The Branch County Community Chorus, established in 2001, is the community arm of choral programming at Kellogg Community College. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to sing with the group. The College offers three residential choir opportunities in addition to the BCCC, including the Concentus Vocal Ensemble; the Kellogg Singers; and the Choral Union Touring Choir, which includes members from across the other KCC choirs and has traveled on international concert tours to Ireland and Italy. The vocal arts area at KCC also offers a yearly opera workshop, individualized voice lessons, master classes and student recitals. For more information, visit or call 269-965-3931 ext. 2566.

For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest news releases online at

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