12th Annual Saginaw On Stage Showcases Fifteen Bands for $15.00

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 808   By: Robert E Martin

09th April, 2015     0

2015 marks another year of changes for the annual Saginaw On Stage Music Festival, which celebrates its 12th anniversary of showcasing regional musical talent on Saturday, April 25th from 5-10 PM at the Temple Theatre Complex in Downtown Saginaw.

Originally conceived by brothers Dave & Nick Oppermann with a dual objective of showcasing the varied and high-caliber musical artistry of the Great Lakes Bay area while simultaneously raising revenue for worthwhile community organizations, since its inceptions Saginaw On-Stage has evolved into the pivotal fundraising vehicle for the Rotary Club of Saginaw, raising over $150,000 for a myriad of community groups and projects.

Last year Saginaw On Stage moved away from hosting their annual fundraiser at Apple Mountain and hit a zenith by shifting over to Downtown Saginaw, utilizing two new venues through The Temple Theatre and The Saginaw Club, which allowed them to feature a record number of 40 different musical acts.

But this year in addition to moving the date of the event away from Easter weekend to April 25th, Saginaw On Stage is paring their line-up down to one venue and a total of fifteen showcase groups from throughout the region.

According to co-organizer Bill Koepke, the decision was made by fellow organizers Dave Oppermann and Red Hawkins to focus more on quality than quantity.  “Last year things got a little too large,” he reflects. “We decided this year it would make more sense to allow everybody attending Saginaw On Stage the opportunity to experience the talents of all the musicians featured, instead of trying to run around a half dozen rooms in order to see everybody.”

This year the motto is ‘Three Stages with Fifteen Bands and at $15.00 its definitely a bargain. Featured groups this year include:

The Barbarossa Brothers w/ Mike Brush • 8:15 – 9:00 PM (3rd Floor Ballroom) In their second appearance at Saginaw on Stage, Barbarossa Brothers have enlisted one of the area's finest players, Michael Brush, to join them for a one-off collaboration chock full of soul felling and blues power. Genre: Michigan-bred Bayou Folk-Rock Personnel: Mike Brush (Keyboard, Vocals) Drew Pentkowski (Guitar, Vocals) Ryan Fitzgerald (Upright Bass, Vocals) Loren Kranz (Drums, Vocals)

Brush Street with Brass & Strings • 5:00 – 6:00 PM (3rd Floor Ballroom)  This year's incarnation of Brush Street with Brass and Strings includes a talented string complement from the Saginaw Bay Youth Orchestra (SBYO).  Many of these young musicians also performed in the recent "Holiday on Brush Street" concerts at the Temple Theatre.  The "brass & strings" programs are composed/arranges by Michael Brush.  Brush Street's general repertoire is a jazzy/bluesy blend of standards, original songs, and contemporary selections.

Bryan Rombalski & Three Worlds • 9:15 – 10:00 PM (3rd Floor Ballroom) This group delivers an intriguing mix of world music, drawing influences from Afro-Cuban-Brazilian jazz as well as pop and rock.  Their music is at once new and familiar, a pleasing blend of comfort and adventure.  It might take a few minutes to recognize that you are humming along to an afro/swing/reggae re-imagined cover of The Beatles or Led Zeppelin or Joni Mitchell.  But these musicians really shine when they step out of their scripted territory, leaning into fresh frontiers, pushing their boundaries, and bringing their audience with them on a joyful journey through worlds of music.

Cornpone • 6:00 – 6:45 PM (2nd Floor Premier Room) Recipients of numerous Review Music Awards this group specializes in Rockabilly, Swing, Classic Country & Folk, featuring Jon Potrykus (fiddle, dobro, guitar); James Nelson (keys, accordion); and Jeff Schrems (bass).

The Covenant Witch Doctors • 5:00 – 5:45 PM (Leopard Lounge) From Americana/European folk roots and traditional blues, to straight-out rock and roll, the Covenant Which Doctors cover an expansive musical landscape.  Comprised of musicians connected through their work at Covenant HealthCare, the Covenant Which Doctors prescribe the medicine of music to their many audiences.

Donny Brown & the Van Dell-Tones • 9:00 – 10:00 PM (2nd Floor Premier Room) Saginaw born and bred musician and co-founding member of the chart-topping Michigan Alt-Rock band The Verve Pipe will be playing the 2015 Saginaw On Stage Music Festival where he will be performing new original material from his debut solo release, the Hess Street E.P. along with fresh translations of his classic Verve Pipe material.

Eastside Mike & Friends • 5:00 – 5:45 PM (2nd Floor Premier Room) A true Saginaw original and folk-playing philosopher, Mike Smith (Eastside) and Friends interpret all variety of musical forms. Featuring Dan Russell on dobro, Fred Reif on washboard percussion, Chris Cudworth on bass, John Krogman on harmonica and Tommy Dolson on mandolin.

Equinox • 8:00 – 8:45 PM (2nd Floor Premier Room) High-energy Celtic-seasoned music – that's EQUINOX.  Traditional bagpipes, flute, fiddles, whistles, concertina and bodhran accompanied by modern additional of guitar, percussion and bass honor this centuries-old music from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and other Celtic nations.  EQUINOX's fresh and intricate arrangements keep this music alive and relevant for today's audiences.  They bring their music to concert venues, festivals, and celebrations of all kinds throughout Michigan and the Midwest.  Be it song, or tune, jig, reel, or hornpipe, EQUINOX will have your toes tapping and your heart singing.  Slainte!  Slangevar!

Jen Cass & the Lucky Nows • 9:15 – 10:00 PM (Leopard Lounge) Born to unusually hip parents in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, award-winning singer-songwriter Jen Cass was raised on a healthy mix of folk music, homegrown vegetables, spontaneous dancing, black licorice and Motown.  Jen has always remained true to her roots, writing beautifully crafted songs that draw comparisons to everyone from Bob Dylan to Beck to Mary Chapin Carpenter.  Together with The Lucky Nows (her unruly band of Saginaw music legends including Eric Janetsky, Jim Spaulding, Jim Nelson, Jon Potrykus and Tom Dolson), Jen Cass and The Lucky Nows mix contemporary folk, traditional country, classic rock, and dirty blues to create a totally unique sound.

Laurie Middlebrook • 7:00 – 7:45 PM (2nd Floor Premier Room) "We play a nice variety of Country Music, Old & New.  We also mix it with our own original songs."  For nearly 30 years The Laurie Middlebrook Band has played all over Michigan.  Laurie has recorded several albums in Nashville. The Laurie Middlebrook Band has opened shows for several national acts, such as Joe Diffie, Neal McCoy, Diamond Rio, Emerson Drive, Sawyer Brown, Steve Wariner and Ronnie Milsap.  Laurie says "Working with a great band, and wonderful people makes my job fun and easy." 

Marsupial Creampie • 8:15 – 9:00 PM (Leopard Lounge) A highly entertaining blend of popular musicianship featuring Andy Hahn (Vocals, Trumpet, Kazoo); Amelia Jo (Vocals, Guitar); Terry Poirier (Percussion); Jeff Poirier (Bass); Michael McCloskey (Saxophone)

The New Reformation Band • 6:15 – 7:00 PM (3rd Floor Ballroom)  The New Reformation Band has given thousands of performances worldwide in its 45 years playing traditional jazz (Dixieland, ragtime, blues, big band, swing and more) considered by many to be America's only original art form. It is recognized as one of the country's pre-eminent classic jazz groups and has appeared from coast to coast, in Hawaii, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America.

Robert Lee Revue • 7:00 – 8:00 PM • Leopard Lounge Robert Lee Balderrama (Bobby Balderrama) burst onto stage in the 60's with the "Gold Record" 96 Tears.  Now Bobby Balderrama and his cohort Frank Rodriguez have moved from the rock scene onto the Urban Smooth Jazz scene.  With the release of two CD's they have become one of the area's must see smooth jazz groups. Bobby and Frank have joined forces with Jack Weston Nash, Tom Barsheff, Rudy Levario, Amy Lynn Balderrama and Nick Balderrama, to create the area's must see smooth jazz groups.  

The 23 North Band • 7:15 – 8:00 PM (3rd Floor Ballroom) 23 North is a Chicago-Style blues band that blends together the sounds of jazz, funk, rock, and blues to make their own special sound.  The members are veteran blues performers with a horn section gleaned from the area's best jazz bands. Hang on for the ride down 23 North.

Whistlin’ Whiskey • 6:00 – 6:45 PM (Temple Leopard Lounge)  Homegrown fun with funky flavor, courtesy of: Michelle O’Neil on vocals, rhythm & keys; Cody Busch on drums and vocals; JD Wall on bass; Conner Bittner on drums, vocals & guitar; and Matt Nyquist on bass.

All tickets are $15.00 and advance tickets are available from the Temple Theatre Box Office by going to www.templetheatre.info or phoning 989-754-SHOW, Westside Decorating, or Oppermann’s Cork ‘n Ale. For more event info go to www.saginawonstage.com

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