The Ongoing Evolution of The Rotary Club of Saginaw’s Premier Musical Fundraising Extravaganza

    icon Feb 02, 2017
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Things continue to evolve and improve as the annual Saginaw On Stage Music Festival prepares to embark upon its 14th year of showcasing top-notch regional musical talent, which will be held again for its fourth year at The Temple Theatre Complex in Downtown Saginaw on Friday, February 24th.

Conceived as a major fundraising vehicle for the Rotary Club of Saginaw as a means to showcase top-caliber regional musical talent while also raising revenue for local community organizations, since its inception Saginaw On Stage has raised over $170,000 for a myriad of community projects.

Last year Saginaw On Stage was moved from the Easter weekend to the month of February, and according to organizer Bill Koepke, the transition did not affect attendance. “We thought it drew about the same crowd and the reasoning behind it is good,” he explains.  “Holding it on a Friday when people are still out and about instead of a Saturday, when if the weather is a bit dicey you tend to lose people, makes sense; plus, at this time of the year in February we aren’t up against as much competition with other events.”

Featuring fifteen bands on three stages, perhaps the biggest evolution for this year’s Saginaw On Stage was enlisting singer Honesty Elliott to handle booking for the third floor Ballroom stage. “Last summer the night of the Chicago concert at First Merit Event Park, Honesty invited my wife and I over to her place and we watched the show from the vantage point of her downtown apartment,” explains Koepke. “Mike Brush was there, Aaron Johnson was there, Mike Robertson was there – it was a ‘who’s who’ of local musicians, so we got to thinking about having a block of time where we could feature a collage of performers.  She knows them all, so I approached Honesty about doing this and she loved the idea, so we’ll be featuring an all-start line-up segment this year entitled Honesty Hosts the Saginaw All-Star Band.”

According to Honesty, she focused upon designing a broad flow to the third floor entertainment. “We’ll be featuring the quieter stuff earlier and using Michael Robertson & the Broken Hearted Saviors as the core band, along with Donny Brown, and build upon that throughout the evening.  For the finale while my band is performing, we’ll shorten up our set and then change out performers, so it will be more like a structured jam. That way if Mike Brush or Noel Howland want to come up and play keys, or if Tommy D is around and wants to play drums, we’ll be able to incorporate some things that aren’t planned or predictable. Everybody I’ve spoken to has jumped on the opportunity to perform, and basically I just reached out to everybody I knew to participate.”

Admission this year will be $35.00 in advance and $40.00 at the door, which includes the Horizons Buffet served from 5:30 – 8:00 pm; and after 8 pm admission will be only $20.00 and a cash bar will be available all evening.  Tickets can be purchased online by going to www.SaginawOnStage.com and also purchased locally at West Side Decorating, Saginaw Medical Federal C.U., Oppermann’s Cork ‘n Ale in Midland & Saginaw, and Herter Music Center in Bay City.

According to co-organizer Dave Oppermann, fundraising recipients this year will include the Leadership Camp at Camp Rotary and will also be adding the Girl Scouts of the Great Lakes Bay Region as one of the key recipients.

Oppermann also encourages the public to come out early in order to absorb and enjoy every minute of the musical brilliance that will be showcased.  “Our band took a survey and found out most of our fans need to be in bed by 7 PM, consequently we’ll be kicking things off at 5 PM and the doors open at 4:30 PM, so be sure to get there early.  All seven members of The New Reformation Band are actually going to stand up, just to show you we can do it,” he jokingly adds.

Here’s the entire Itinerary & performance schedule for the 2017 Saginaw On Stage Music Festival:



5 – 6 PM • New Reformation Band (Classic Jazz)

6:15 – 7:10 • Robert Lee Revue (Smooth Jazz)

7:25 – 8:20 • Equinox (Celtic)

8:35 – 9:30 • Eastside, Tommy & Chris (Americana, Blues, Folk Swing & Originals)

9:45 – 10:40 • Continuum (World Dance Music)



5:10 – 6:05 PM • The Fabulous Retreads w/Julie Mulady (Blues Boogie & Stuff)

6:20 – 7:15 • Steve Armstrong & the 25 Cent Beer Band (country)

7:30 – 8:25 • Marsupial Creampie (ElectroAcoustic Reggae- Pop

8:40 – 9:35 • The Mongrels (Post-Punk)

9:50 – 10:45 • The Monique Ella Rose Band (Jazz, Soul, Blues, Funk & more)



5:00 - 6:00 PM • Straight Eights (Funk, Jazz, Soul, Blues, Rock)

6:10 – 7:10 • Avenue Five (Funk, Motown, Dance & Current)

7:20 – 8:20 • Michael Robertson & the Broken Hearted Saviors (Americana)

8:30 – 9:30 • Donny Brown & the Van Dell Tones (original Rock)

9:40 – 11:00 • Honesty & The Liars (Classic & Modern Rock

followed by the Grand Finale with Honesty hosts The Saginaw All Star Band

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