Rusk Memorial Service—February 18th at 10:00am
Ken Medema is one of the most creative and authentic artists performing today. For five decades, he has used music as a vehicle for creating conversation through storytelling and reflection. Ken's vocal and piano artistry and imagination have reached audiences of 50 to 50,000 people in 49 states and in more than 15 countries on four continents. He has recorded over 40 albums which can be purchased on CD or downloaded from his website.
From the time he was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ken has been visually impaired. His sight has been limited to distinguishing between light and darkness and seeing fuzzy outlines of large objects. “I spent a lot of time by myself as a kid. Because I lived with some degree of being an outsider all my life, I identify with people who have been disenfranchised, whether they have been isolated, disabled, or oppressed. Music made all the difference. I started banging on the piano when I was five years old, making up crazy little pieces on my mom’s piano. When I was eight years old my parents got me a wonderful teacher who taught me the classics with Braille music and encouraged me to play by ear. Music became a second language”
Ken worked as therapist at the State Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana, then in 1973, he left his work as a therapist and began a career as a performing and recording artist. In 1985 he founded Brier Patch Music. It is named after Br’er Rabbit’s home in the legendary Uncle Remus stories. “Br’er Rabbit lived in a place not comfortable for anyone else,” Ken says, “and we decided to follow him there.”
Ken Medema and his wife, Jane, have been married since 1965 and live in the San Francisco Bay area of California, close to their two grown married children and four grandchildren. He is on the road about 50% of the year. They remain active in a local church, and are invested in good food, good books, good movies, and good friends.
Rusk Special Music Events
"I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly, I will sing your praises." Psalm 22:22
2015 - Joseph Martin
2016 - Mary McDonald
2017 - Benjamin Harlan
2018 - Pepper Choplin
2019 - Barry Talley & the Talley Brothers
2020 - Heather Sorenson
2022 - Foto Sisters
2023 - Haynes Sisters
2024 - Ken Medema