NCCA-Artsplace West Michigan Luthier Concert – SOLD OUT

Tickets for this event are SOLD OUT. The NCCA-Artsplace West Michigan Luthier Concert is the ultimate combination of music and visual arts. On Saturday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Dogwood Center’s Black Box, this concert will combine the beautiful artistry of local luthiers, stringed instrument makers, from throughout West Michigan with the talents of gifted musicians.

This great evening will begin with TW Felty, Don Bremmer and Fred Kacos of Great Lakes Academy of Guitar Building. Felty and Bremmer have decades of experience building custom guitars and are now passing on their years of experience to their students. Luthier Keith Caldwell, accompanied by Gene Calkins, Ian Tronsen and Jerry Roberts, will be performing with Caldwell’s handmade instruments. Mark Swanson, of Swanson Stringed Instruments, will round out the first half of the concert. Following Mark will be Don Benson accompanied by the vocals of Megan Wirts and Benson’s 11 year old granddaughter, Cyanne, who will be playing a ukulele that she built herself. Chester Winowiecki and the “Bearded Ladies Men” (Adrian Schuster, Carl and Lisa Ziemelis) will entertain the audience while playing Chester’s homemade instruments including cigar box guitars and a washtub bass.  Ending the set will be Katie Springer and popular past performer, fiddle player Isaac Smith, both who will be performing on violins made by Elon Howe.

The live performance will also include a chance to meet the artists. The meet and greet reception will be from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. in the lobby of the Dogwood Center. This is your opportunity to learn about the instrument building process and view the instruments. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., with Black Box doors opening at 7:00 p.m. for seating.

To complement the concert, an exhibit of photographs of handmade instruments made by these local luthiers is on display in the Dogwood Lobby Gallery now through February 28. The photographs include ukuleles, mandolins, violins, and acoustic guitars.

Come out and enjoy this popular concert by regional musicians performing on hand-made instruments from West Michigan luthiers. Tickets are SOLD OUT. Black Box. 7:30 p.m. Doors for exhibit and reception open at 6:30 p.m.

Dogwood Box Office hours are Tuesday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and two hours prior to an event. For information, phone 231.924.8885.

NCCA-Artsplace hours are Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Thursdays 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. For information, phone 231.924.4022.

Don Benson – “Late Bloomer” – CD Release Party

A CD release party for Don Benson’s “Late Bloomer” will be on Friday, March 7 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at NCCA-Artsplace.  Don will be playing his hand built instruments, singing his original songs and telling the stories behind them.  The event is free and CD’s will be available for purchase.

Benson, of Grant, is multi-talented and well-known in the area as a singer/songwriter, luthier, musician, entrepreneur, and jewelry artist.  His CD “Late Bloomer” includes a ukulele and guitar featured in the songs that are handmade by him in his studio.

“Late Bloomer” features 12 original works with each telling its own story.  About the song “Tapestry of You”, Benson states “When my wife Cheryl and I travel, we often listen to book tapes.  We listened to one set in the Middle Ages about the making of tapestries.  It is a highly complex production all the way from the very fibers they are made of to the families and the craftsman who created these wonderful pieces of art.  Although only royalty and the very rich could afford them, thousands made their living making them. Using this analogy I reflected upon my lovely wife of 45 years and how we are all a tapestry of many lives woven together.  I wrote this song to honor Cheryl and it is my tribute to her.”

When asked about how his interest in music started, Benson stated, “Even though I came from a non-musical family, I was moved by the music I heard on the 45 rpm records my brothers bought and played.  A friend of mine showed me some chords on his guitar. I still recall the awesome feeling of playing a chord correctly.  After many years of playing cover songs, a friend, who wrote and sang his songs, would hand me lyrics and say, come up with the music for this.  He also encouraged me to write my own songs.”

The CD was produced by Jay Round and Benson at Circle Sonics Studio in Grand Rapids.  Round also plays upright bass, guitar and background vocals; Nelson Wood joins in with pedal steel and dobro; and Bill Vits plays drums and rhythm bones with Benson on the CD.  Additional vocals are provided by Benson’s granddaughters Cyanne Schuitema, Cora Schuitema, and Iris Reploge.

Come out and enjoy Benson’s CD release party on March 7 at NCCA-Artsplace, 13 East Main Street in downtown Fremont.  The event is free and CD’s will be available for $15.  Call 231.924.4022 for more information.