By Kristi Kates
The SoBo Arts District in Boyne City continues to boom, not the least of which is via the musical offerings of a new concert series.
Singer-songwriter Michael Lee Seiler has amped-up his participation in the Sobo scene as entertainment director for the BAC (Boyne Arts Collective), bringing live performances to the artsy little towns roster of activities.
Begun at the end of August with a fundraiser that helped revamp the BACs South Gallery room that serves as the music venue, Seiler is offering concerts on the second and fourth Sunday of each month from 4-6 p.m., usually in conjunction with an art exhibit in the BACs gallery.
Focusing on original and public domain music, Seiler has lined up a roster of local, regional, national, and international artists; mostly featuring music, but with a little spoken-word and dance thrown in for good measure.
THE MAN FOR THE JOB
The focus of the BAC has been to offer a supportive place where local artists could show their work, network with other artists, and grow in the arts, offering the area artistic enrichment, Seiler explains. Music is artistic and creative as well, and BAC has been seeking someone to help add that layer to the mix.
Seiler is involved in a variety of musical happenings, both as a performer and a promoter, including Blissfest, of which he is a member and coordinator; Farmhouse Music, of which he is president; and the Big Ticket Festival, for which he is a stage coordinator. He definitely has the qualifications for the job at BAC, and is enthused about the possibilities.
The work I perform varies, he points out, but the main thread is that Im helping artists provide their music to others. Ive attended and hosted open mics before and held musician gatherings in my home, and thrive on the opportunity to share music on so many levels. Im hoping to offer a glimpse into the wonderful music that is being generated right here locally.
GETTING A START
Local is definitely the focus for the BAC Concert Series. Seiler has already booked a number of acts that are ubiquitous around Northern Michigan, as he feels those performers deserve to be seen and heard in their own back yard, where familiar faces fill the audience.
He also says that the concert series presents its performers in a more focused way, as opposed to the venues they might usually work in, which could be loud clubs or dinner establishments that take away from the music. The BAC stage is a small venue, with a maximum of 50 seats, and that allows us to target a smaller demographic that looks to appreciate that setting.
In addition to the locals, Seiler will be bringing in acts from beyond the region. We already have the duo of Zig Zeitler and Siusan ORourke of Saginaw coming in March for an Irish concert, he says. They are award winning singer-songwriters.
A DIVERSE SPECTRUM
Folk is the primary focus at the new concert series, as our region is so blessed with a high concentration of those artists, Seiler says. But he adds that he doesnt want the series to be thought of as a folk venue.
It will be much more than that, he says. Kelly Shively will be offering Celtic and mountain styles, and Kirby brings the whole regional and roots styles to the table. Other performers will be offering rock and contemporary styles, and this is just the beginning. Certain types of music may not work in this small venue, so you wont see many trios and bands; the small room isnt conducive to heavy electric-driven music, so some things just wont fit. But Im always seeking new forms and styles, and would be open to suggestions that will fit the room and offer that something different.
The series also aims to compliment gallery exhibitions, hopefully drawing music fans toward the artwork, and vice-versa.
The BAC runs monthly showings in the North Gallery -- all juried work -- and also bi-monthly showings in the South Gallery where the concerts are held, Seiler says. The South Gallery showings follow a theme or specific artists work, and whenever possible we hold a meet and greet after the concert, with the artists as well as the performers. The showings in the gallery offer a distinct backdrop to the concert as well.
Already booked into the middle of May, Seiler plans for the BAC Concert Series to continue on a year-round basis.
We hope the summer months will draw more out-of-town folks into the gallery, and that the off-months will target the local enthusiasts, he explains. It is our hope to establish a core following that will support our local artists.
Upcoming concerts include Kelly Snively (11/14), Kirby (11/28) and Peacemeal with John Richey (12/12.) Note: showtimes have been moved back to 4 p.m.
The Boyne Arts Collective (BAC) is located at 210 Water Street in the SoBo District of downtown Boyne City. For more information, visit www.boynearts.org or phone 231-675-7071.