Live Entertainment North of the 45th
Soul, brass, country, and even a Grease singalong.
By Ross Boissoneau | July 11, 2020
Down but not out. That could be the motto for musicians and concert presenters across the country. Take heart: The slate of performers scheduled to perform in this area has been decimated due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there are still some cultural opportunities to take advantage of in the Little Traverse area.
Bay View Music Festival was forced to cancel its slate of performances, but last month the organization offered a proprietary online show by singer/songwriter (and actor) Jeff Daniels, presented in conjunction with Lakeside Chautauqua. Now it’s presenting two shows outdoors, enabling the audience to safely enjoy live music in person.
On July 18, Jerome Collins will reprise his turn as Sam Cooke. “Change Gonna Come” is a musical biography of the gifted singer, which debuted at Bay View last year. A member of the celebrated a capella group Straight No Chaser, Collins will again front a band, with musical director and Bay View artistic director Chris Ludwa on piano.
Collins demonstrates the appeal of Cooke’s music while sharing the tale of his life. Not only was he a gifted vocalist, his smooth tenor causing the ladies to swoon, Cooke was also a songwriter, a civil rights activist, and an entrepreneur. His music was silenced when he was killed under very cloudy circumstances at the age of 33.
“Jerome and I will lead a conversation on race” following the performance, said Ludwa. “We’ll find some level of personal understanding.”
That show will be followed by a concert by the Spectrum Brass Quintet July 25. The group will feature a variety of music by American composers. The group annually hosts a brass seminar at Bay View, though it will not take place this year due to the pandemic.
Both concerts will take place on the lawn outside Hall Auditorium on the campus of Bay View. There is no charge but a freewill offering will be taken.
That’s not the only time Spectrum will be kicking brass. The group will be performing the previous day, July 24, as part of the Charlotte Ross Lee Concerts in the Park series in downtown Petoskey. The series started July 8, and runs every Wednesday and Friday through Aug. 21, with the exception of Friday, Aug. 14.
The concerts are free and take place from noon to 1pm at Pennsylvania Park. In addition to Spectrum Brass, the slate of local and regional favorites includes Boundary Waters, Pete Jackson, Katherine Ryan and Chris Koury.
Nearby Great Lakes Center for the Arts is still planning to present shows this summer as well. Marketing Director Alex Myers said the venue is operating at the required 25 percent capacity and will continue to adjust as the state moves through reopening phases. “Artists have been very accommodating, as they want to perform in a safe way just as much as we want to be able to safely present events,” she noted.
Next up is a Grease singalong July 18. Tickets for the 8pm showing of the classic film starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta are $8.50. Patrons are encouraged to dress the part, and classic cars are welcome as well.
“It was evident how much the audience (and staff) enjoyed the singalong Sound of Music event in December, and we knew we wanted to present a similar event,” said Myers.
Other shows still scheduled include Laith Al-Saadi July 25, part of the Great Lakes Music Festival; trumpeter Chris Botti Aug. 8; Tony Award-winning Broadway star — and COVID-19 survivor — Brian Stokes Mitchell Aug. 15; and eight-time Grammy-winners (24 times nominated!) Asleep at the Wheel (pictured above) Sept. 6.
Operating at quarter capacity, GLCFA will seat 132. As a new venue, it has excellent air filtration and circulation and, as an added step, the venue is being treated with an electrostatic disinfectant between events. For tickets and additional information, go to www.GreatLakesCFA.org.