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Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith.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 · Features · Turning 30
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Turning 30

Gopherwood Concerts remain local music staple

Rick Coates - September 30th, 2013  

It was 30 years ago this fall that a group of Cadillac area residents got together to bring some “arts and culture” to their community. Now the organizers of Gopherwood Concerts feel they have come full circle as they start their 30th concert season.

“Musicians Rachael Davis, May Erlewine and Seth Bernard will kick off this year’s lineup,” said Tiyi Schippers, president of the Gopherwood Concerts board. “Those three grew up here and performed for us when they were teenagers. Gopherwood helped to launch their careers and all three are doing exceptionally well, so it is fitting they launch our 30th year.”

Gopherwood Concerts typically hosts 10 shows between October and May. Their opening show with Rachael Davis, May Erlewine and Seth Bernard with be this Saturday, October 5, at the Elks Club in Cadillac. But music wasn’t the organization’s original focus.

FROM MOVIES TO MUSIC

“Gopherwood started as a film guild and we brought movies to town,” said Schippers. “But eventually everyone had their own VCR player so we decided to transform it into the Gopherwood Folk Society to bring in music.”

The organization’s first show was the Lost World String Band at a camp outside of Lake City.

“After that first show we took up residence in the basement of the Congregational Church in Cadillac. After a few years we outgrew that venue and bounced around to a couple of township halls,” she continued. “In the mid-‘90s, we made our way to the clubhouse at the Cadillac Country Club, but they sold the building and it was torn down. For the past 12 years we have found home at the Elks Club in downtown Cadillac and that has been a perfect location.”

The Elk’s holds 250 people and most shows over the years have sold out. Gopherwood organizers feel fortunate about the quality of artists they attract.

“Sometimes we get lucky, as one of our members was connected to Mose Allison... to have a legend like him in the old country club was cool,” said Schippers. “Another time one of our members was at a festival and ran into Richie Havens. After telling Richie about Gopherwood he thought it sounded cool and said ‘sure I’ll come there and perform.’ We had Eddie From Ohio for their first Midwest show. We also had artists like Donna the Buffalo and Vance Gilbert as their careers were just taking off.”

KEEPING IT REASONABLE

Schippers also points to the generosity of many of the artists who come to Cadillac.

“We have always tried to keep the shows affordable (most shows $10 in advance $12 at the door) for the people who live here,” she said. “Most artists know that and they charge us a lot less than they would normally get for a show. We also have built a reputation on the quality of our audience and artists see that. Plus our audience buys lots of CD and merchandise from the musicians and they love that.”

The members of the Gopherwood Concerts also feel that their organization has played a major role in the cultural landscape of Cadillac.

“Gopherwood’s importance to the community has been huge over the years. We have brought a lot of great music to the region versus having to drive out of town to see shows.

Plus we have lots of people who come to town and make a weekend out of it,” said Schippers. “Over the years we have built a core audience and a reputation in the community that even if people are not familiar with the band, they will come because they know we always get good, quality performers.”

Most of the original founding members are still involved, volunteering in some capcity. Gopherwood has a board of directors, a set of bylaws and the group falls under the Cadillac Arts Council umbrella. They meet once a year and occasionally a couple more times if needed. As they look to their future, organizing a major weekend music festival doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

“The reality is a lot of us who are active with Gopherwood Concerts are artists and musicians ourselves and we are all busy traveling in the summer participating in various festivals,” said Schippers. “There are tons of festivals and activities all summer long and at least one music festival every weekend. So we felt having one or two big parties a month for eight months made more sense.”

So what is in store for the future of Gopherwood?

“Well, as all of us start closing in on retirement we are looking to the younger generation to carry the torch. There has been a real void here in Cadillac in the past as kids graduate high school and college and they don’t return; but I think that trend is slowly starting to change,” said Schippers. “Our audience is very mixed from an age perspective, and we book bands that are bringing a younger audience. So we are confident that there will be the next generation ready to step in and keep what we started going.”

Gopherwood Concerts opens their 30th season with Rachael Davis, May Erlewine and Seth Bernard this Saturday, October 5, at the Elks Club in Cadillac. Doors open at 7 pm and the show begins at 8 pm. On October 19, Blake Elliot and the Robinson Affair along with the Accidentals perform. Billy Strings and Don Julin take the stage on November 9. For a complete Gopherwood schedule and ticket information check out gopherwoodconcerts.org.

 
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