The Rotary Club of Saginaw's Premier Musical Fundraising Extravaganza

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 822   By: Robert E Martin

04th February, 2016     0

Several significant changes are in store for the annual Saginaw On Stage Music Festival, which embarks upon its 13th anniversary of showcasing top-notch regional musical talent and will be held this year on Friday, February 26th for its third year at The Temple Theatre in Downtown Saginaw.

Conceived as a major fundraising vehicle for the Rotary Club of Saginaw to simultaneously showcase top-caliber musical talent populating the Great Lakes Bay while also raising revenue for local community organizations, since its inception Saginaw On Stage has raised over $160,000 for myriad of community projects.

Traditionally held the Saturday before Easter and at one point featuring up to 40 bands performing on several different stages, last year organizers pared the musical offerings down to 15 acts in order to afford more attention to the contributions of each artist; and this year they are moving the event weeks ahead of the Easter holiday. 

Explains organizer Bill Koepke: “We started feeling that as the warmer weather hits two things happen. When it’s a nice day people want to be outside; and also, with holding it around the Easter holiday, too many people were out of town for Spring Break. Our board thought by moving it up to February this year and holding it on a Friday in the dead of winter, people could come earlier, enjoy some food and music, and have some fun before getting settled in for the weekend.”

Adds co-organizer Red Hawkins: “By pairing the show down from 30 or 40 bands to 15 acts, logistically its made things easier. And while years ago many artists were performing on Friday evenings and weren’t able to schedule a fundraising event such as this, we didn’t have anybody turn down our invitation this year by moving it to a Friday.”

When asked about this year’s musical line-up, which features many familiar & returning faces to the Saginaw On Stage retinue, Red cites several artists that have consistently stepped to the forefront. “Laurie Middlebrook is always gracious to help out and Equinox has performed at every one of our events, so many of these artists have ‘standing invitations’,” he explains. “In fact, I believe this is the only charity event that Equinox performs at; and The Robert Lee Revue have only missed a few years. Mike Brush is always willing to do something for us in some configuration; and Donny Brown was happy to make it up for a return engagement.”

“The 23 North Blues Band is an 11-piece newer band, with former members from The Baytones,”  continues Red. “What’s nice about them is they have an old rock ‘n’ roll brass section and a very punchy sound.  Marsupial Creampie stole the house last year; and Eastside Mike & Friends have performed almost every year.  And this year The Robertson Brothers Band will be making their first appearance, which excites us tremendously.”

But of course apart from the fun and musical merriment, comes the charitable work; which as Bill Koepke rightly notes, is the true purpose for this showcase. “The entire premise is to raise money for the Rotary and every year we sponsor local youth to go to Leadership Camp at Camp Rotary. We focus on city kids and this is important because some of them have never been to camp before. We also will continue with our Dictionary Project and deliver free dictionaries to 3rd graders throughout Saginaw County.”

“Plus, this year we’ve partnered up with an Indian Doctor setting up a clinic. The Rotary Eye Hospital was founded by Dr. R. Gaddam, who is currently a beneficiary of an expansion project of the 3 Saginaw Rotary Clubs, with many patients from surrounding Indian villages seeking their services.”

Tickets for the 13th Annual Saginaw On Stage Music Festival are $30.00; and includes a Horizons Dinner Buffet. Saginaw Onstage will run from 5 PM to 11 PM on Friday, February 26th; and tickets can be purchased at Westside Decorating, Oppermann’s Cork & Ale; and the Temple Theatre Box Office at templetheatre.com or by phoning 877-754-SHOW.  For more event info go to www.saginawonstage.com


Itinerary of Performing Artists

First Floor Temple Annex • Leopard Lounge • ‘The Acoustic Stage’

Joe Balbaugh – Solo Variety. Joe has performed with many bands throughout the region; and has a broad body of work to draw upon.

The Melshell Tones – Variety • A talented group previously performing as various duo groups that recently formed a 4-piece group consisting of Melissa Curry (lead vocals, harmony); Michelle O’Neil (lead vocals, harmony, guitar); Cody Busch (lead guitar); and Wesley Knust (keys, trumpet).

Honesty & Michael – (Honesty & the Liars Acoustic). Excellent folk blues duo consisting of talented vocalist Honesty Elliott and the guitar virtuosity of Michael Robertson.

Jim Pagel Jazz Trio – Gypsy jazz started in France in the 1930's, originated by Django Reinhardt.  The Jim Pagel Jazz Trio plays traditional Gypsy Jazz as well as some Jazz standards. Additionally, the Trio likes to put a gypsy spin on more modern music. Winners of ‘Best Jazz Combo’ at the 29th Annual Review Music Awards.

The Lucky Nows – Americana. A who's who of Saginaw musicians blended together into a folky mix of blues, rock, and Americana that has helped them win a diverse audience all over the country. Featuring Jen Cass (guitar, vocals); Eric Janetsky (guitar); Jim Nelson (keyboards, harps, accordion) & Jon Potrykus (fiddle, dobro).


Second Floor Temple Annex • Premier Room • ‘The Electric Eclectic Stage’

The Robertson Brothers Band – Americana. The members of The Robertson Bros. Band (RBB) have been playing music for a long, long time. RBB combines rich harmony vocals with accomplished musicianship to craft songs that mix humor, heartbreak, and hard earned humility. Labels can be misleading, but 'Americana' is a blend of folk, blues, roots rock, and country, and it comes as close to describing the sound of RBB as any label can.

Eastside Mike & Friends – A group of friends interpreting American musical forms and consisting of Eastside Mike (guitar, vocals); Chris Cudworth (bass); Fred Reif (percussion); Andy Rogers (violin, fiddle); Dan Russell (dobro); and Tommy Dolson (mandolin, vocals).

Marsupial Creampie – Electric / Acoustic/ Reggae/ Pop. Hailing from all corners of the musical globe, Marsupial Creampie bring elements of a variety musical genres together, throw them in the pouch, and end up with creamy jams sure to get you hoppin'.. Consisting of Andy Hahn (vocals, trumpet, kazoo); Amelia Jo (vocals, acoustic guitar); Terry Poirier (percussion); Jeff Poirier (bass); and Lennard Zimmermann (electric guitar).

23 North – Blues & Jazz - This 11-piece band with a rockin' rhythm section, horn section, and several vocalists has been compared to The Commitments in both their style and instrumental composition. You'll hear songs from Chicago and Detroit-style Blues to Soul, a little Motown, some Classic Rock, and even a little Funk and Jazz.

Laurie Middlebrook Band – Country/Variety. 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.".


Third Floor Temple Annex Ballroom
'The Jazz & Variety Stage’

Mike Brush with Julie Mulady – Jazz. Mike Brush & Julie Mulady have been a significant fixture on the regional musical creative circuit for many decades. They will be joined by Terry Newman & Jordon Edwards.

New Reformation Band – Classic Jazz. 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  - Smooth Jazz. Legendary, award-winning guitarist/songwriter, Robert Lee Balderrama, and renowned keyboardist, Frank Rodriguez of the Robert Lee Revue bring their JazDude Tour to Saginaw, MI. Enjoy passionate, highly-flavored, well-seasoned smooth Jazz that leaves you feeling kissed by a warm ray of sunshine and cooled by a wet splash of salty air breeze from the seashore. JazDude is an original and imaginative work that has its very own unique vibe, while setting that eternal 'smooth' mood and groove, inspired by those great pioneering artists who have gone before.

Equinox – Celtic. Equinox brings you the music of Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, and Galacia. Honoring the traditions of Celtic music: The lively rhythms and melodies that have survived the passage of time. Making it relevant to music lovers of today: The intricate arrangements, the mix of traditional flute, fiddle, whistles, and bagpipes with new harmonies, fresh accompaniment of guitars, bass, bodhran, percussion, and other modern influences. Keeping it alive:  At concert halls, festivals, bandshells, theatres and celebrations of every kind throughout Michigan.

Donny Brown & the VanDell Tones – Original Rock. Saginaw born and bred musician and co-founding member of the chart-topping Michigan Alt-Rock band The Verve Pipe will be performing new original material from his two solo releases. along with fresh translations of his classic Verve Pipe material.  Known for his strong drumming, songwriting and vocal abilities, Brown is taking center stage and trading the drums for his guitar and a backing band consisting of Andy Reed on bass & vocals, Scott Van Dell on guitars, Chris Zehnder on guitar & vocals, Jake Bartlett on drums & percussion, and the Verve Pipe’s Randy Sly on keyboards to showcase his incredible catalog of new original compositions and crowd favorites for this return to his hometown.






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