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 · Moonbeam
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Kelsey Lauer - July 13th, 2009
Moonbeam Sunrising Star
A Musician on the Rise
By Kelsey Lauer 7/13/09

Moonbeam Sunrising Star only moved to Traverse City in November, but she is already shining brightly on the local music scene.
“I’ve been singing and playing music since I was five years old. My mother would wake us up on Sunday mornings blaring gospel music,” she says. “I was always the one who pursued music, did all the choirs when I was in high school—show choir, jazz choir and concert choir.”
Moonbeam, who now performs regularly at Serenity Tea Bar & Café, Oryana Natural Food Market and Phil’s on Front, considers her music to be neo soul, with a definite folk influence.
“Vocally, it’s R&B and soul. It’s a good expression of my voice, but there’s also classical music in there too. It comes out as a really clean R&B,” she says. “The songs in and of themselves are, definitely ,lyrically folk music. Lyrically, it’s my feelings and experiences and the places that I’ve gone and the stories that you tell.”

It all started with a guitar, given to Moonbeam at the age of 18 by her mother.
“I couldn’t play it, so it kind of just sat on the window in my dorm room,” she says. “One night, I remember I was just trying to play the guitar, my next-door neighbors started pounding on the door. ‘Shut up! We’re trying to sleep!’”
In 2000 in Bloomington, Ind., while in college, Moonbeam founded the seven-piece folk-funk-rock Utopia Blue Band.
“If I wanted to start a band; I had to write some songs,” she says. “I just started playing. I looked at some chord books and was like, oh, I can make that shape. The songs just started coming, and once the band started, the songs just wouldn’t stop coming. I always had a new song.”
The band played at bars and restaurants around the area for two years until the members graduated and went their separate ways, according to Moonbeam.

“I went (to Chicago) and auditioned for a couple of bands, sang in some festivals,” she says. “There were two record producers offering me $10,000 to do a project, and I was wary of it all. It turned out to be a con. It wasn’t like a blatant con; it was more like, “‘I want to do this for you but I don’t have the means.”’
When making ends meet proved to be difficult, Moonbeam decided to try acupuncture school, which lasts four-five years, and then later a year-long massage program. While she did not complete either program, the experience was valuable, according to Moonbeam.
“That’s when I got on a path of learning how to meditate and learning how to deal with my emotional psychoses and learning how to yield to the universe and learning how to give up what I want so I can learn these other things first,” she says.
From there, she returned to her music, ending up with a job at Old Town School of Folk Music the same time that she was enrolled in the massage program.
“I always stayed because I was just learning so much (at the Old Town School),” she says. “You were able to take breaks and sit and play these thousands and thousands of dollar instruments that you could never afford in your whole life. I got to learn to play the banjo and the mandolin and the ukulele.”
After working there for a year and a half, Moonbeam says that she left due to a disagreement with her boss. She moved from residence to residence, even staying in a homeless shelter called The Singer Residence for about a month.
She came to Traverse City and stayed after Joey Callahan of Radius Recording in Traverse City heard Moonbeam’s music on her MySpace page and invited up to the studio to do recording at a musician’s retreat that was happening at Neatawana.
“Now, I’ve opened for Soulpatch; I’ve opened for Rootstand. Rootstand is going to let me play with them,” she says. “Jack, who owns Serenity, is also part of The Fundubmentals, and I play at Serenity every other Wednesday. Things all of a sudden just went, ‘whoosh.’”

Moonbeam changed her name—originally Teresa—while she was still in Chicago because she felt that it didn’t necessarily reflect the person who she had become.
“Well, it was a lot about slander, and just realizing that it’s a poison,” she says. “What matters is that a person can use your name to get their point across in every single instance. No matter how much you change, or how much they change, or how much the situation changes, that person never changes their mind about your name.”
The decision to pick “Moonbeam” specifically was rather spur of the moment, she says. One night, while at an open mic night, someone asked Moonbeam her name and then-Teresa replied, Moonbeam.
“She wrote my name down as Moonbeam; she couldn’t dispute it. Then she looked over at me and said, “Hey, Moonbeam,” Moonbeam says. “I swear to God, a white light appeared in my third eye—it was really sparkling and pretty—and it was just like ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. That’s my name!”
But that was the easiest part.
“It was really interesting to go through the process of undoing Teresa as a name, because no one wanted to accept that I changed,” she says. “It took months and months and months of me correcting people. People think you’re going against their cultural reality, and it’s really interesting to watch.”

Visit www.myspace.com/moonbeamsunrisingstar for more information. Moonbeam performs at Serenity Tea Bar & Café on the first and third Wednesday of every month; at Oryana on Saturday at 4 p.m.; and at Phil’s on Front on Fridays, 8-10 p.m.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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