Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Sean Ryan
. . . .

Sean Ryan

Kristi Kates - March 7th, 2011
Petoskey’s Own Irish Troubadour Sean Ryan
By Kristi Kates
Anyone who has spent any time at all vacationing Up North has likely at least heard of local performer Sean Ryan.
Ryan, who has spent the better part of the last two decades as a regular at Petoskey’s Noggin Room in the Perry Hotel, is a big part of many folks’ summer memories - carefully walking down the stone steps to the subterranean Noggin Room; settling in at dark wood tables set with icy drinks and baskets of popcorn; laughter and singalongs floating through the air to compliment Ryan’s own Irish-inflected folk singing; good-natured banter and deft guitar work.
It’s a story that started in Ireland, and ends - happily, thank you - in Petoskey.

PUB BEGINNINGS
Ryan’s family emigrated to the U.S. from County Cork, Ireland, when he was just 13 years old.
“We lived in San Francisco at first,” Ryan explains, “we stayed there for two years, and then moved to Chicago.”
Ryan attended high school in the Chicago suburbs, went on to attend Illinois State University, and after college, taught English in the Chicago area for a while.
Soon, though, arrived an opportunity to promote his music up in Michigan. Ryan moved North, began playing at Duffy’s (now Teddy Griffin’s Roadhouse) in Harbor Springs, and quickly became a popular draw. But the real turning point in his Northern Michigan career would be when he began playing at the Noggin Room in the early ‘90s.
“I remember at the very beginning, when I first joined Stafford’s, walking in and seeing this little tiny room that seated maybe 50 people,” Ryan remembers, “I met with Dudley Marvin and Shawn Gray, and we came up with the idea of creating this wonderful, pub-like atmosphere. It took some work, and it took a while to catch on, but it turned out great.”

FAMED FANS
‘Catching on’ is an understatement when talking about Ryan’s Noggin Room performances. He became a must-see, something of a local legend, and even drew other well-accomplished musicians to watch him play.
“One evening, Jonathan Edwards (Minnesota folk singer famed for singles Sunshine and Shanty) walked into the Noggin Room and sat at the back,” Ryan recollects, “I decided to do a favorite song, The Last Thing on My Mind. Jonathan got up, walked over to the stage, and gave me the look - you know, that look that asks, ‘is it okay if I sit in?’ And I looked back saying it was fine to approach. My son, Patrick, was performing with me that night, and Patrick looked over at him like, ‘hey, who’s this guy on my microphone?’”
“Then, Jonathan chimed in with Patrick on a harmony, and Patrick about fell off of his stool. Patrick’s been listening to that kind of folk music all his life, so when he heard Jonathan sing, he immediately recognized his voice. That was a treat,” Ryan laughs.

FATHER TO SON
A talented performer in his own right, Patrick Ryan, who Ryan explains is band director at Petoskey High School, works with the Steel Drum Band, and also started a jazz pep band at the school, has been singing and playing guitar for years, joining his father for live shows as frequently as his schedule will allow.
“Patrick is very well founded in the older music, as well as his own picks, the Dave Matthews-John Mayer-type stuff,” Ryan explains. “He sings the newer songs, and I sing harmony for him, and he chimes in harmonies on the songs I sing. He likes performing the new songs with me because I add 12-string to his 6-string, and it adds so much to these newer songs and makes them our own.”
Ryan says that he occasionally gets a bemused eye-roll or two from his son whenever the elder Ryan pulls out a particularly vintage - aka “corny” - folk song, but for the most part, the two performers get along very well, both as musicians and as father and son.
“It’s such a treat to actually be doing what I love, and sharing it with Patrick,” Ryan says, “he’s not just my son, but also a great guy, a great teacher, and a great musician.”

NOGGIN TO SANTE
Speaking of teaching, patrons of the Noggin Room might have noticed Ryan’s absence lately. There are a couple of reasons for that. While the younger Ryan is teaching music, the elder Ryan is currently teaching language arts and history as a teaching assistant at the Orion School in Boyne Falls. And he’s taken a break from the Noggin Room to pursue another new musical venture.
So where is Sean Ryan now?
At the new Café Sante in Boyne City.
“Well, I’ve been 20 years at the Noggin Room, and we both thought it was time to freshen things up a little,” he explains, “I’ve known the guys at Magnum Hospitality (owners of Café Sante as well as the Red Mesa Grill) since 1974 or so - we all talked about the brand new venture they’d be opening in Boyne City, and we thought the music would be a great addition.”
While his regular gig may have moved a couple of towns over - he’ll be playing Thursdays and Fridays at Café Sante - Ryan explains that he didn’t cut ties with the Noggin Room entirely.
“I’ll be returning in the summer, after Memorial Day,” he says, “playing Wednesdays at the Noggin Room.”

THREE GENERATIONS
But while he’ll always have fond memories of his times at Stafford’s and all the folks he’s met there, he’s equally enthused about the possibilities that his new Café Sante gig will bring.
“I love that it’s fresh,” he says, “the management, the staff, the menu at Cafe Sante are all just unbelievable. It’s a brand new atmosphere with a brand new sound system - it’s nice to go in there and hear other people performing, too. It’s wired so well, there are no dead spots inside or outside, so it’s easy to play and chat with people during our shows.”
And there should be plenty of those folks to chat with. Ryan is now performing to a remarkable range of people, some of whom first saw him perform when they were still in grade school.
“We’re in the third generation of people coming to see us now,” he says, “people are bringing in their grandchildren, remembering when they used to watch me sing in the summers years ago.”
So just how many more summers does Ryan think he’ll be performing on the Northern Michigan circuit?
“Well, this is home,” he smiles, “and I’ve always said I’ll keep playing until they pry that guitar out of my hands. There’s always music to be made.”

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
 

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close