The 3rd Annual BAND ROULETTE

A Uniquely Random Rock & Improv Show to Benefit The D-Street Music Foundation

    icon Jan 10, 2019
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They say the third one is a charm and for musician Jeff Poirier all signs are positive as he busily pulls together the numerous details involved with staging the 3rd Annual Band Roulette - an ambitious and potentially unpredictable musical showcases that since its inception has raised over $4,000 for the admirable efforts of the D-Street Music Foundation - a unique non-profit entity focused upon fostering the talents of young musicians through scholarship and instrument acquisition programs , while also showcasing the artistry of our musical scene to divergent audiences  in the Great Lakes Bay Region through various showcase performance festivals held throughout the year.

This year the inventive and unpredictable magic of Band Roulette will be happening on Sunday, January 27th at The State Theatre in Bay City and start at 5:00 PM, with doors opening at 4 PM. Featuring the biggest names of our regional music scene, musicians and songs will be drawn from a hat and performed on the spot. Admission is only $10.00.

According to Poirier, the concept for Band Roulette is similar to a variation of ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway’, consisting of a musical pool of 30-plus musicians whose names are drawn from a hat to form a five-piece band that will then spin a wheel containing the titles of contemporary songs to determine what specific song the newly formed band will need to perform on the spot for audiences with no rehearsals. Moreover, the list of songs is a secret, even to the musicians!

“The musical line-up is always changing from year-to-year,” explains Jeff. We have several performers returning for a second year, but have nobody returning for a third year, except for me and I’m only doing one song this year.” 

Featured musicians will consist of Danny Ardouin, Rob Atha, Joe Balbaugh, Amanda Beson, Jen Cass, Jim Davies, Matt deHeus, JD Dominowski, Sean Drysdale, Rob Dutcher, Mick Furlo, Brad Graham, Steve Gould, Andy Hahn, Noel Howland, Jeff Hoyt, Aaron Johnson, Kamm Skeels, Loren Krantz, Dave Miller, Elliot Miller, Nikki Nikkilynn, Helen O’Keefe, Drew Pentkowski, Jeff Poirier, Andy Scott, Mark Shelley, Bill Silverthorn, Drew Slavik, Scott VanDell, Carrie Westbay, Arlyn Willett and Jeff Zimmerman.

According to Poirier, the idea for Band Roulette all started at a musical gathering that he attended when different musicians came to the stage and started jamming together on various songs.  “One day I thought to myself, ‘What if we got a bunch of guys together in a bar and had names filled in a hat for every position – bass players in one hat, drummers in another, guitarists in another – and drew a line-up together from the hat, along with a song that was selected by spinning a wheel,” he explains.

The format for Band Roulette will stay the same as last year and consist of two 45-minute sets with an intermission separating the two sets; and Jeff anticipates that it will take about 8 minutes to draw the band names, call the song, take a few minutes to talk it over, and then perform the song and get off the stage so the next group can be featured.

One of the big changes this year is the addition of a ‘Singers’ group. “In the past we’ve always selected musicians that could also sing when pulling the talent pool together,” explains Jeff, “but this year we’ve selected a separate pool of vocalists. Plus, this year we wanted to get the ladies involved so have a pool of female musicians to draw upon.  We have six men and six women involved with the Singer’s pool, so when the song is pulled the singers will meet amongst themselves as a team and decide who will handle performing whatever song is called.  The other singers will handle the back-up vocals, so this year the musicians aren’t required to sing at all, but will rely upon the singers in the pool group.”

No rehearsing is involved with this event and to add even more drama to the evening, Jeff is the only person that knows the song and set list. “I sent a Facebook message to each person involved and asked them to give me five songs everyone involved could make their way through, so the material needed to be centered around standards,” he adds. “We’re playing it pretty safe and am going to throw a couple tunes into the mix that might be tricky, so everybody has had input in developing the song list, but nobody knows the exact list.”

“It’s definitely a challenge and struggle coming up with different songs every year,” reflects Jeff. “You’ve got to keep the material somewhat simple because musicians will laugh at a Train Wreck, but audience members won’t.  I’ve got a lot of new songs selected and have been good with my records, so whatever we selected last year, but didn’t get to instantly got into the song selection pool for this year. Plus, it’s been a challenge coming up with female vocal songs for a bunch of musicians that never have performed with a female vocalist.”

“We’ve come up with approximately 20 some song titles and there’s a lot of logistics to work out, so we should have time to do anywhere from ten to a dozen different songs and band configurations.  We’ll keep drawing names out of the hat until the hat is empty, so no artists will be called to the stage twice.”

“I’m honestly floored and humbled that so many people signed up to become a part of this unique musical experience and that attendance has been so strong,” concludes Jeff. “It’s a great experience for both the musicians and audience and an excellent avenue for funding the admirable work of D-Street.”

Tickets for the 3rd Annual Band Roulette are only $10.00 and available at The State Theatre, 913 Washington Ave. in Bay City by visiting or calling 989.892.2660. D-Street Music Foundation is an organization that helps kids acquire musical instrument and musical scholarships.




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