DStreet Music Foundation Doubling Down on Parkapalooza by Adding Bay City Date on Saturday, June 20th

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 811   By: Robert E Martin

11th June, 2015     0

With live music, kids games, food, and an entire afternoon of family oriented fun, this entirely FREE festival full of music and family activities will feature live performances by Loose Change, The Swaggering Rogues, The Hit Men, The Josh Ramses Band, Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway, Elements of Funk and Faultr. Family activities will include a rock-climbing wall by the Rock Youth Center, Human Foosball by Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Make & Take Woodcrafts for Kids by Home Depot, Face Painting and the Bounce House by the YMCA, in addition to silent experience auction benefiting the works of DStreet Music Foundation

The original Sanford PARKAPALOOZA festival is held on the Sunday after Labor Day in September at Midland County’s Sanford Lake Park. Over the years this event has hosted an estimated 26,000 visitors, showcased nearly 50 great musical acts, and donated over $10,000 to a number of worthwhile charities.

According to D-Street’s Dennis Beson, the genesis for expanding PARKAPALOOZA into Bay City sprang out of the tremendous success enjoyed with their signature festival at Sanford Lake each September.  “We’ve experienced such a huge success with Parkapalooza and with the notion of regionalism in mind we wanted to spread out more and allow more people throughout the region to find out what D-Street is all about.  Bay City offers the perfect scenario with their riverfront location that we figured let’s give this a try.”

“Additionally, we’ve been reaching maximum capacity with the level of bands that we can feature at Sanford, as we’re now at a point where we have a waiting list of bands wanting to perform.  So now we have seven more bands that we can showcase with some that lean a little more on the Bay City and Saginaw side of things.”

Dennis says similar activities that have become trademarks of their annual Sanford event will be featured at Bay City and that the only element missing is the sand and sand sculpting. But he also adds: “We’ve forged some nice partnerships with some other non-profit groups like Big Brothers & Big Sisters, who will bring their human foosball game to the festivities; and the YMCA is bringing their Bounce House for Kids. Plus Hells Half Mile will also be out there and the Literacy Council will be giving books out to kids.  The whole theme is to have some sort of kid related event at every booth, so we can expand upon the notion of how this is much more than just a music festival.”

As a non-profit association, DStreet Music Foundation has been around since 2007; even though their establishment of Parkapalooza Sanford will be 11 years old this year and pre-dates D-Streets’ activities as a non-profit.

Beson notes how the DStreet Foundation itself has grown, especially with their ability to give out scholarships to deserving students as a non-profit. “We give away anywhere from $500 to $1000 every year as well as supply band instruments to music-minded kids,” he explains. “The recipients can be involved in either their school band or choir, or they can simply be a budding musician with a passion for creating music. They don’t need to have a high academic score to be eligible, and we rely upon a reasonable 2.7 grade point average for applicants.”

The application process is based upon largely what the candidate applying for assistance has done within the community. “We look at their involvement with school and citizenship and usually give the scholarships and assistance to somebody that really likes music, but has also done some work in the community. Awards are largely based on their interest in music and this year’ we’ve been sorting through applications from about seven or eight students.”

A big focus for DStreet in recent years is their ‘Bandwagon Program’, which involves obtaining deserving children the instruments they need to create and express their passion for music.  “We’ve been getting different music directors from the various schools throughout the region involved and the goal is to identify kids with promise and talent that need an instrument, but cannot afford to buy one,” explains Dennis. 

“We would hate to have the next Jimi Hendrix or Beethoven out there not being able to participate because of economics, or not become discovered because Mom & Dad couldn’t afford to buy them an instrument.”

Over the last few years D-Street has given out over 30 instruments to deserving children, which is also tied in with rental programs whereby they will pay for six months of instrument rental to see if the child retains their interest and evolves further upon their musical destination.

With a line-up for their Bay City kick-off that showcases The Josh Ramses Band, blues dynamos Elements of Funk (selected Best Funk Band at the 2014 Review Music Awards); Faultr, this year’s big RMA winners Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway, Loose Change, The Swaggering Rogues and The Hit Men, Beson feels the featured talent at this inaugural line-up represents a divergent cross-section of talent.

“Loose Change is the ‘next generation’ featuring the offspring of some of our area’s finest musicians’, reflects Dennis. “Dave Miller’s son is on drums and they’re basically young kids that are really fun and great to listen to.” 

The Swaggering Rogues feature out-going Bay City Mayor Chris Shannon and have a career spanning three decades, while The Hit Men once were known as 3-Penny Revue, featuring Don Pomranky.

For Beson the biggest satisfaction derived through his commitment and work with DStreet over the years is the satisfaction derived from furthering the organization’s charitable mission throughout the region. “This is my main side project, aside from my daily job; and I like the idea of bringing music to the community and improving the quality of life in this region for no or extremely low cost.”

“With the manufacturing industry you hear so much about STEM as being the buzzword in the schools, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering & Math; but I think we need to add Art into the mix and the new buzzword should become STEAM.”

 “We tend to forget about kids musically inclined that want to create something with it; and the notion of science and math has always been enhanced by people that can play music, because of the complex thinking involved.”

“DStreet is devolved to fostering music and furthering dreams,” concludes Dennis. “Recently the mother of young man only 21 years old contacted us because he’s going through some cancer treatment and had to go in for chemo once per week. He told his Mom that the one thing he wanted was to learn to play guitar, so we were able to get him a guitar and amp. That’s the stuff that makes you feel good.”

“All of us at DStreet hope people come out to support this first annual PARKAPALOOZA at Wenonah Park. It is a free, family oriented musical event; and while we may be competing with the WKCQ Country Music Fest this year, there’s more to D-Street that just country. 

“And the riverfront opportunity in Bay City presents a great opportunity for fun.”


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