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Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith.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...

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Hot Spots

Live music is back in vogue at venues ‘round the region

Ross Boissoneau - June 17th, 2013  

Over the past several years, whether it was the rise of DJs, the shuttering of popular nightspots, or the economic downturn, the result was less live music in the region.

But things are picking up. Established eateries are rediscovering the appeal of live music for their patrons. Bars and nightclubs are expanding their offerings, and new venues are popping up, making the region a more musical place.

Guitarist Ron Getz performs numerous times each week, from outdoor gigs to brunches, from Petoskey to Traverse City.“There’s a resurgence of live music,” he said.

Getz plays or has recently played at Om Cafe and Brew in Traverse City, two of the area’s newer venues. He’s also played at Chandler’s in Petoskey and cava in Bay Harbor, as well as Little Bohemia, the deck at the Holiday Inn, and Poppycock’s in TC.

The various outlets allow him to play in different musical settings with different ensembles.

“That’s what I like about music. It’s nice to mix genres,” he said, noting that his playing with other artists allows him to delve into rock, jazz, blues and world music.

For example, his gigs at Stella’s and Kilkenny’s feature solo guitar; at Om he typically plays with Nancy Stignatta or Laurie Sears on flute; the deck at Holiday Inn finds him with singer/songwriter Mike Moran. At Poppycock’s he often plays with a trio; at venues like Union Street Station he’s part of a quartet with Jack Dryden, Joe Willie and Dave Collini called Cowboy Fusion.

“We play everything from Led Zepelin to Chick Corea,” he said with a laugh.

CAMBRIA SUITES SCENE

Jazz pianist Jeff Haas isn’t playing as many places, but the crowds at Cambria Suites grew all year long for his Thursday night gigs with bassist Jack Dryden, drummer Randy Marsh, and woodwind player Laurie Sears.

“Our setlist features contemporary and fun arrangements of jazz classics from Gershwin, Ellington and Irving Berlin to Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock and Antonio Carolos Jobim,” said Haas. “We also feature selections from my book of over 130 original tunes.”

On June 20 when Haas begins his annual Thursday night residency at Chateau Chantal, the space at Cambria won’t go silent, though the music will switch nights. The “Sundays in the Summer” program will feature a multitude of acts, including singer and pianist Treva Jaffe with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Hunter, vocalist Rose Fraser, classical pianist prodigy ChaoJun Yang and folk-rock duo The Accidentals.

Haas has also performed at the Circuit, the former Traverse City Christian Church and subsequently Just Imagine Creative Arts on 14th Street. The refurbished concert setting has also hosted saxophonist Bill Sears and his Chicago quartet. The venue is home to Building Bridges with Music, the program Haas runs for anti-bullying programs across the country.

“I also use the Bridges performance space for our Teen Mentoring Program with Music,” Haas says. “That is a program for high school music students who are interested in learning more about jazz and are willing to commit to 14 weeks of weekly three-hour rehearsals culminating in three public performances.

OPA UPTOWN

David Chown has similarly experienced an uptick in business. The popular piano player and his musical partner Miriam Pico are part of the roster for summer at Cambria Suites, and has a Thursday residency at Phil’s on Front in Traverse City.

Chown recently performed at the grand opening of Opa Uptown. He says he is pleased at the increased opportunities for performing.

“It’s nice to have some venues for some of the veterans,” said Chown.

Opa Uptown owner Paul Barbas says he intends to continue to provide occasional music at the restaurant, where a grand piano sits invitingly at the end of the bar.

“We’ve had David, a jazz trio – I’ll try anything and see if it works,” he said.

The Good Work Collective on Union Street in Traverse City, a project of Porterhouse Productions, offers numerous programs. They include performances by local and touring musicians, such as The Accidentals and Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys. Sam Porter also books artists for events such as Paella in the Park and the Microbrew festivals, as well as other outlets, such as the California Guitar Trio at Crystal Mountain.

BOYNE & PETOSKEY

Singer/songwriter Robin Lee Berry of Boyne City sees the venues from both sides. She has performed at places like the Inside Out Gallery in Traverse City and Red Mesa in Boyne City, and she and her husband Tony Williams host concerts each year at their Freshwater Studios Gallery in her home town.

“I’m playing Morel’s Bistro in Boyne City, Café Santé and at Oryana with Glenn Wolff,” said Berry. “Patrick Ivory started that (the Oryana shows), which is a really nice gig.”

Meantime, their concert series continues to draw fans from around the area.

“We just finished our fourth season, and all our shows have done really well,” she said.

Johnnie Walker of Petoskey has a long history in the music industry. He’s worked as a roadie for touring groups, booked musicians for different establishments, and currently is working with Petoskey’s Festival on the Bay and Indian River’s Summerfest on their musical needs.

“Back in 1999, there weren’t that many venues,” he said. “Now we’ve got the casino, Northern Lights Recreation. Chandler’s, Petoskey Brewers, Shorts in Bellaire. Twisted Olive is opened up for acoustic music. Boyne Mountain has hosted some concerts like Kid Rock, The Allman Brothers, Randy Travis, the Gin Blossoms.

“There’s potential everywhere. Northern Michigan is a destination spot. I think it’s on the verge of busting loose.”

THE BREW SCENE

Even smaller establishments are hosting music. Brewery Ferment on Eighth Street just south of Union Street and Northern Natural Cider on Front Street host music on a weekly or monthly basis or on special occasions. Brewery Ferment even is hatching plans for a larger-scale event to take place in the parking lot in back.

On the horizon, owner Susan Leone of the Platte River Inn in Honor says once the lounge is open they will be booking live music as well. Harbor 22, at the intersection of M-22 and Cherry Bend Road in Leelanau County, is beginning a series of Wednesday night shows.

The Pavilions next to Munson Medical Center hosts a weekly lawn concert series, including artists such as Claudia Schmidt, The Bay Area Big Band, and Jazz North. The Leelanau Summer Music Festival, Bay View in Petoskey, the Manitou Music Festival, Interlochen Arts Festival and National Cherry Festival add to the fun.

Add to all that the proliferation of house concerts by touring folk and jazz artists and nightspots such as City Park Grill in Petoskey, Kilkenny’s, Little Bohemia, Holiday Inn and Union Street Station in Traverse City. Throw in Southside Hideout in Buckley, the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay, the City Opera House and NMC’s Milliken Auditorium, and it’s almost hard not to hear music.

 
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