Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Angelo Meli
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Angelo Meli

Jack Pine - March 23rd, 2009
Angelo Meli
Jack Pine 3/23/09

When guitarist Angelo Meli was asked if someone could become a better musician after 50 years and beyond, he pretty much scoffs at the question.
“Oh yeah, unless you have some physical impairment,” Meli says emphatically, after finishing his weekly Tuesday solo gig at Oryana Food Co-op in Traverse City. “I’m sure I am a better guitar player than I was a week ago.”
His response wasn’t anything like a boast. Meli, 58, knows that practice and focus brings positive results. He has been playing guitar most of his life and is currently playing more than ever. In addition to Tuesday’s at Oryana from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., he gigs regularly with the Neptune Quartet and the Rhythm Kings and he now has over 20 guitar students. He is one of a handful of local musicians that run around town with their equipment, from lessons to gigs, just like in the big city.
Meli began playing guitar in his teens and started to get serious about it when he worked for renowned guitar maker and player Dan Erlewine in Ann Arbor. Meli also had a job working maintenance at the University of Michigan Medical School.
“My boss would say ‘If you get your work done, you can bring your guitar here and practice,’” Meli says. “I would get my work done in four hours and practice four hours in a little janitor’s closet.”

From there Meli went to the well-known Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he learned how to read music. He then toured with a rhythm and blues band that played Holiday Inns. He eventually landed in Florida, where the financial realities of life on the road as musician were becoming apparent and he went back to school and got a degree in accounting.
Citing the discomfort of wearing a suit and tie in Florida in the summer time, Meli turned his thoughts northward. In 1981, he was able to get a job with a firm in Traverse City. He has been there ever since, working as an accountant until last July when, as he says, he was able to “hang up his calculator.”
Meli never stopped playing guitar though, and has spent many of his weekends at outlying bars in Fife Lake, Thompsonville and Frankfort. He has played in blues bands, variety bands and a Tex-Mex outfit that played a little bit of everything. For several years he was in the house band that hosted open mic nights on Mondays at the Union Street Street Station.
In ’01, Meli’s evolution as musician took another step forward when he joined up with Don Julin, Glenn Wolff and Crispin Campbell to form the Neptune Quartet. Neptune plays a blend of jazz, classical, folk and a bit of Frank Zappa for good measure. It is structured and studied music, but also creative and free flowing and includes lots of space for improvisation - both of which are Meli’s strong suits.
“I owe a lot to Don Julin, in so far as being a musical mentor,” Meli says. “He’s a great band leader. He’s disciplined and demanding in a good way and is also a
great player.”

Meli and Julin also play as a duo at Scott’s Harbor Grill in the summer and the Neptune Quartet stays busy playing summer festivals, private parties and at Poppycock’s, located in downtown Traverse City, about twice a month. Neptune has recorded four CDs together and their music is often featured as interlude music on Interlochen Public Radio’s news station.
At Oryana, Meli plays what he calls experimental guitar. He stands in the middle of about a half a dozen effects boxes. He creates and layers bass, rhythm and percussion tracks and plays the song on top of it all on his shimmering sounding and looking Carvin electric guitar. The songs include jazz standards such as “My Favorite Things,” and “All Blues” and then he’ll throw in Hank Williams “Cold, Cold, Heart” as well as several Beatles covers. On this Tuesday, Meli played a beautiful version of John Lennon’s “Julia.”
“I never played solo before this,” Meli says. “I wanted to see if I could get it all happening, not have it sound like karaoke and make it sound musical. I don’t know if I have succeeded or not, but it’s getting better all the time.”
Getting better is a persistent theme with Meli. Practice, study and discipline is his approach and is what he teaches his students, but for him it doesn’t stop there.
“Guitar is my instrument,” Meli says. “But it is the music that has the meaning. To me, music is a spiritual language that can transcend everything else. I am always trying to read better and play more
precisely. It is like learning a language. The more words you know, the more articulate you can be, the better you can communicate the music.”

Angelo can be contacted for lessons and gigs at: angelomeli@ymail.com or at Zamar Guitar: 231-929-0097.

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