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       In 1985 Ken Medema launched Brier Patch Music, a small independent recording, publishing, and performance-booking company named after Brer Rabbit's home in the legendary Uncle Remus stories.
      "Brer Rabbit lived in a place not comfortable for anyone else," Medema says, "and we have decided to follow him there."
      In 2001, the company was advised to adopt the title Ken Medema Music in order to achieve better name recognition on the internet.  Brier Patch Music is retained as the publishing entity of the company, whereas, Ken Medema Music is the performance part of the business.
Ken still maintains the focus of the company, namely to use music and storytelling to help build communities of compassion while specifically using his skills as a music therapist in order to communicate with the unique needs of his diverse audiences. 

Photo of Ken
Ken Medema   

Singing our stories, inspiring hearts


For four decades, Ken Medema has inspired people through storytelling and music. Though blind from birth, Ken sees and hears with heart and mind.  His ability to capture spirit in word and song is unparalleled.


One of the most creative and authentic artists performing today, Ken custom designs every musical moment of his performance with brilliant improvisation that defies description. With an ever-growing circle of friends around the world, Ken's vocal and piano artistry and imagination have reached audiences of 50 to 50,000 people in 49 United States and in more than 15 countries on four continents.


From the time he was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1943, Ken has been unable to see with his physical eyes. His sight is limited to distinguishing between light and darkness and seeing fuzzy outlines of major objects. “As a kid I was not widely accepted,” he says, “and I spent a lot of time by myself. Because I have lived with some degree of being different all my life, I have some sympathy for people who have been disenfranchised, whether they have been disabled or politically oppressed or whatever.”


Music early became a major component of Medema’s life. “I started banging on the piano when I was five years old,” he says, “making up crazy little fantasies 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 taught me to play by ear.” His teacher also taught him to improvise. “Every time I learned a piece my teacher would tell me, ‘Now, you improvise in that style.’ So music became a second language.”


After graduating from high school Medema studied music therapy at Michigan State University in Lansing, where he concentrated heavily on performance skills in piano and voice. He worked as a music therapist in Fort Wayne, Indiana, returned to Michigan State for a master’s degree (1969), then worked for four years as a music therapist at Essex County Hospital in New Jersey. It was while employed there that he began writing and performing his own songs.


In 1973, Medema left his work as a therapist and began a career as a performing and recording artist. He recorded albums for Word and Shawnee Press; then, in 1985 founded Brier Patch Music. Brier Patch is an independent recording, publishing, and performance-booking company with headquarters in Grandville, Michigan. Brier Patch is named after Brer Rabbit’s home in the legendary Uncle Remus stories. “Brer Rabbit lived in a place not comfortable for anyone else,” Medema says, “and we decided to follow him there.” Brier Patch creates musical expressions that celebrate all aspects of the human experience, with an emphasis on spirituality and such universal concerns as peace, justice, and the environment.


Today, Medema performs in a widely variety of venues, from local congregations to charity fund-raisers, to high school and university campuses, to denominational youth gatherings, to universally televised religious programs, to corporate conventions, to annual assemblies of national organizations. He is co-founder of Interlude Retreat Corporation, which gifts retreat experiences for music directors, runs conferences and workshops and visits small but mighty churches to explore the musical possibilities for that congregation.

He has recorded over 40 albums and his latest, Nothing Like the Rain has just been released in CD and USB format.


Ken Medema and his wife, Jane, have been married since 1965 and live in the San Francisco Bay area of California. They have two grown married children and four grandchildren, Aaron and Sonya Medema (Charlotte and Henry) and Rachel and Dennis Gilchrist (Logan James and Fiona Lee).



Photo of Beverly
Beverly Vander Molen

      Beverly is the traveling companion, sound person and visual navigator with Ken almost 175 days a year. Her background as a producer, music director and event planner comes in handy for the various types of venues in which she finds herself now. Although she is a trained organist, the sound board has become her instrument of choice. 
     When home with Dave, they enjoy quiet evenings catching up and enjoying their home in Grandville, Michigan.

Photo of Dave
Dave Vander Molen
      Dave, the backbone of Ken Medema Music, spends much of his time designing graphics. Dave is also responsible for designing and producing all the publicity, graphics, and web information to keep Ken visible.
      In 2012, Dave made a conscious decision to move out of the Booking Agent aspect of his job while maintaining his other duties, in order to pursue his work as an artist and in particular, wood sculpturing.
Dave carves out moments with the grandchildren who visit the office and is the friendly caring voice you hear when you call the office.

Photo of Janel
Janel Joppie
       Janel's first love is Interior Design.  Janel owns her own business, Integrity by Design.  She enjoys hours of time as a decorator, designer and mom of 4 children (Beverly and Dave's grandchildren)
       Janel has spent the last bunch of years volunteering as the bookkeeper, and positive thinker of the crew. She always says, "Everything happens for a reason---so adjust" When confronted with a difficulty, she always reminds us to be thankful, that we have our health! 


Photo of Josh
Joshua Joppie
Joshua is the webmaster, keeping the site up to date. He has a great eye and a fast mind and happens to be the
grandson of Dave and Beverly Vander Molen.
Josh has single-handedly constructed our new website.
Need a website constructed? Email Joshua


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