Letters

Letters 8-18-2014

The Climate Clarified

Climate change isn’t an easy subject. A class I’m taking compared it to medicine in a way that was helpful for me: Climate scientists are like planetary physicians. Our understanding of medicine is incomplete, but what we know is useful...

Beware Non-Locally Grown

The article “Farm Fresh?” couldn’t be any more true than exactly stated. As an avid shopper at the local farm markets I want to know “exactly” what I am buying, from GMO free to organic or not organic, sprayed or not sprayed and with what...

Media Bias Must End

I wish to thank Joel Weberman for his letter “Seeking Balanced Israel Coverage.” The pro-Palestinian bias includes TV news coverage...

Proud of My President

The world is a mess. According to many conservative voices, it would not be in such a mess if Obama was not the president. I am finally understanding that the problem with our president is that he is too thoughtful, too rational, too realistic, too inclined to see things differently and change his mind, too compassionate to be the leader of a free world...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Just Pickin‘ - The Hayloft...
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Just Pickin‘ - The Hayloft Offers an Open Mic with a Hootenanny Flavor

Robert Downes - March 18th, 2004
Open mics in Northern Michigan run the gamut from dismal to exuberant, with audiences to match, ranging from hostile drunks to acoustic aficionados.
One of the most promising open mic venues in the area, however, is one of the region‘s newest: Early this winter, The Hayloft outside Traverse City began hosting an acoustic open mic on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. that has attracted a wide range of solo players and group jams.
“It‘s been going really well -- we‘ve been thrilled with it,“ says veteran host Bill Dungjen. “We had a dozen guys up there picking bluegrass last week.“
Located about five miles west of Traverse City on M-72, The Hayloft has always been a destination for country/western music; but Dungjen‘s Thursday night show changes that dynamic, bringing a melange of blues, folk, bluegrass, old time string music and folk-rock players to the stage.
While Dungjen frequently plays bluegrass and western songs, he encourages diversity as a host and often gives newcomers an assist on guitar, bass or mandolin. “A good open mic has the spirit of ‘anything goes,‘“ he says. “If you‘ve got something to put out there, I‘ll amplify it.“
A resident of Cedar and an employee of Lakeshore Title in Benzie County, Dungjen,32, started playing guitar as a freshman in high school. Four years ago, he inherited the legendary acoustic open mic scene at the Cedar Tavern from Third Coast players Chris Skellenger and Pat Niemisto. That led to hosting another venue at Mackinaw Brewing in downtown TC.
Dungjen‘s present gig seems to be generating the most heat, however, and is beginning to gather an audience following as well as a flock of return musicians.
What makes a good open mic?
“I‘ve been to all of the open mics around the area and the thing I try to do with mine is avoiding that cliquey, in-crowd feel,“ he says. “I make sure that everyone feels welcome to play and encouraged to play.“
The result is often a group jam with half a dozen guitars on stage backing vocalists.
When he‘s not hosting the open mic, chances are you‘ll find Dungjen onstage with Susan Marie and the Cedar Valley Boys, a western band he shares with his wife Susan and brother Brian. The band‘s next performance is this Wednesday, St. Patricks Day, at Sleder‘s in TC at 5:30 p.m.

 
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