And the 1st National Chapman Stick Festival
July 13-16, 2006
Ann Arbor, MI
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If we were to nickname our events, what would we call the behemoth that
was the 2006 Midwest Stick Seminar and 1st National Chapman Stick Festival?
The best Stick event to occur in Michigan? The coup de grace
Stick events? The Stick event that almost wasn't? How about ... all of the
Preparation for this event turned out to be a fairly monumental task and
bordered on being a nightmare on several occasions. Between the endless
red tape that came from dealing with the various entities involved and the
disagreements that occurred along the way, there were many times where it
seemed the only humane thing to do was to put the event out of it's misery.
Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and we pushed on.
When all was said and done, the schedule for the event went as follows:
- Thursday, July 13th - Day #1 of the 2006 Midwest Stick Seminar
- Friday, July 14th - Day #2 of the 2006 Midwest Stick Seminar
- Saturday, July 15th - All day National Chapman Stick Festival
- Sunday, July 16th - Seminar teachers perform at the Ark
The seminar was held at the Go Like
Montessori school in Dixboro just outside of Ann Arbor. With
his daughter attending school there, Steve Osburn arranged for us to use
their facilities. With school out for the summer, the activity level there
was minimal and it turned out to be the ideal location for the event.
The festival was held in downtown Ann Arbor. We arranged with the city
to close off a block of Liberty Street between Main and Ashley right in
the middle of town. We ran a solid lineup of music performed by Stick
players and their bands from about 1:00pm until 10:30 at night.
To wrap up on Sunday, a concert was held at the Ark. The Ark is one of
Ann Arbor's premier live music clubs and they gave us a two hour slot on
Sunday afternoon to present our teachers Greg Howard, Bob Culbertson,
Steve Adelson, Tom Griesgraber and Emmett Chapman.
The attendees of the seminar were as follows:
Emmett Chapman - California
Greg Howard - Virginia
Bob Culbertson - California
Steve Adelson - New York
Tom Griesgraber - California
Steve Osburn - Michigan
Glenn Poorman - Michigan
Brian Shubbe - Illinois
James Storm - Illinois
Tim Longfellow - Ohio
Japhlet Bire Attias - Minnesota
Dave Tipton - Ohio
Pete Gilbert - Michigan
Bob Pizzuteillo - New York
Daniel Gitlin - New York
Jeff Wheeler - Iowa
Jeff Brown - California
Timothy Fitzgerald - Wisconsin
Darrell Havard - Mississippi
Vijith Assar - Virginia
Jason Brock - Ontario
Gary Garner - Missouri
Ben Weber - Minnesota
Robert Schrum - Michigan
John McBride - Michigan
Vance Gloster - California
Duke Sexton - Illinois
Dave Brosky - Pennsylvania
Aaron Wolf - Michigan
Morgan Phelps - Ohio
Reed Porter - Ohio
Pre-Seminar (A Little History)
It was the last night of the 2005 Midwest Stick Seminar. We had our usual
performance at Oz's Music featuring both teachers and
students. Afterward, a friend of Oz's and an Ann Arbor writer and
photographer by the name of PT Quinn pulled us aside. He had attended the
performance and liked what he heard. He came up with the idea right then to
close a block of downtown Ann Arbor and do a street festival featuring
nothing but Stick players. Honestly, neither Oz nor I warmed up to the idea
right away but, after a few meetings, decided that it could work provided
that we held this event in conjunction with the next Stick Seminar. With
that, the three of us set about making this event happen.
Initially we put together an unrealistically long list of teachers and
performers and then began scaling back. That scaling was pretty much dictated
by hours in the day and rising air fares. Almost everybody I did contact were
pretty enthused about coming though and then, with a good chunk of our lineup
set, the unthinkable happened. Emmett Chapman agreed to come to our event.
We've extended an invitation to Emmett just about every year that we've had
a seminar and just got used to the idea that Emmett didn't really travel much.
After a recent trip to France though, I detected a bit more willingness than
usual and so both Steve and I hit him with the sales pitch. After much
deliberation, he accepted our invitation and, for Steve and I, this added a
certain credibility to the event that it would have never had otherwise.
All we had to do now was actually plan the event. Quinn took care of much of
the red tape work with the city. He was also key in getting us press which
included a full page article in the Ann Arbor News as well as an interview
with Emmett in Ann Arbor's "Current" magazine (which also featured a nice
photo of yours truly on the cover). My job in all this was to book the
performers and make the fest schedule as well as take care of seminar
logistics. Steve Oz worked on seminar logistics as well as working with
various venues which included the school where the seminar was held,
additional performance venues and places for everybody to eat. I can't say
the planning wasn't rocky. Sometimes the obstacles seemed insurmountable.
In the end and after several permutations, the event happened pretty close
to how we'd imagined it in the first place.
So when did things officially kick off? For me, it started on Wednesday
afternoon. I had taken Thursday and Friday off. At about 3:00 on Wednesday,
I left work to pickup both Tom Griesgraber and Steve Adelson at the airport.
They were both coming in within 20 minutes of each other. Steve's plane
actually ended up coming in about a half hour late which turned out to be
a good thing as the kind folks at Detroit Metro Airport moved Delta Airlines
to a different terminal and I didn't know that until I found myself standing
at the wrong place. No matter though, Steve arrived and the three of us headed
back to my place.
Rasa and I cooked up some dinner. Greg Howard arrived via rental car pretty
close to 7:00pm and Vijith Assar had made the trip out with him. After dinner,
Steve Oz picked up Bob Culbertson at the airport and stopped by my place as
well. We had a meeting to discuss how to proceed with the teaching at the
seminar. With a plan in place. Steve Oz took Steve Adelson and Bob back to
his place while Greg and I stayed up typing and printing itineraries.
We were ready.
Welcome to the Poorman household. Few people, if any, have managed to spend
a night at our house without being rudely awakened by at least one dog on at
least one occasion. Rasa was up early to feed animals and Aspen the
Newfoundland made a quick break over to where Vijith was sleeping on our
couch and gave him a face wash.
We were up and out at a pretty reasonable time. Tom would turn out to be
the responsible guy who would be up on time every morning with no prodding.
The rest of us started the weekend with good intentions but dragged just a
little more with each passing day.
We arrived at the school at about 9:30am with the intention of being there
early and setting up. The itinerary we'd come up with the night before called
for the student body to split up into two groups. At any given time, two
teachers would be teaching a group class and the other two would be doing
We kicked off shortly after 10:00am. After a brief introduction, we went
about the day's business. Greg Howard took all of the beginner players and
did a class with them. He's been putting a lot of emphasis on the physical
nature of Stick playing and so, to start things off, he took the group
outside without instruments to do some exercises. In another room, Tom
Griesgraber did a class on rhythm and timing while, at the other end of
the building, Steve Adelson and Bob Culbertson taught private lessons.
This was about the time where I'd realized that I left my camera at home
which was completely unacceptable. I borrowed Pete Gilbert's camera to
snap a few shots of the instruction going on and then piled in my car and
headed home to grab my camera and let the dogs out.
I got back to the school just in time for lunch. Steve had passed around
menus from Big 10 Burrito earlier and had gotten everyone's choices before
heading off to pick up the mass quantities of food. He returned just in
time and we all headed for the gym for a mass group lunch. So far, everything
was going very well.
After lunch both Greg and Tom took over the private lesson duties at the
other end of the school. We had a pretty tight schedule of private lessons
over the two day seminar and finding your way to where the those lessons
were taking place wasn't an easy task so I took it upon myself at this
point to be the guy who would make sure that the next students would leave
their group lessons on time and make it to their private lessons. So with
Greg and Tom at the private end, Bob took the more beginning students and
did a class in chord chemistry while Steve took the more advanced students
and did a class in improvisation.
An important thing to note here ... even though we started the seminar off
separating the students into two groups, no group was etched in stone. In
other words, anybody was free to change groups if they were more interested
in what the other group was doing.
The afternoon continued up until about 3:45pm at which point we took a
short break and then switched again. Bob and Steve took on another round
of private lessons while Greg and Tom headed back to the classrooms with
Greg doing a class in right hand melodic techniques and Tom doing a class
in song writing on the Stick.
Things wrapped up pretty close to 6:00pm and the next order of business
was dinner. Emmett was due to fly in at about 6:40pm and Rasa had taken
on the task of picking him up from the airport and meeting us at an
Ethopian restaurant in Ann Arbor called the Blue Nile. I was driving by
myself with Greg and Tom following in another vehicle. I was on the phone
with Rasa trying to get a handle on where they were. Just then I saw a
parking spot open up very close to the restaurant and right before I could
get to it, Rasa and Emmett appeared and stole it. The nerve!
We had an excellent dinner. Most of the seminar students were there and we
had a whole back room. The food was excellent and it was a good way for
Emmett to meet everybody and vice versa. At the close of the evening, we all
headed out. Tom, Greg and Emmett came back to our place. We sat up talking
for quite a while and then finally turned in.
Welcome to the Poorman household. Few people, if any, have managed to spend
a night at our house without being rudely awakened by at least one dog on at
least one occasion. I pushed open the door to where Emmett was sleeping and,
before I knew what had happened, Dakota the Labrador Retriever had pushed
through my legs and launched himself onto the bed. I've found that Dakota
makes an excellent alarm clock.
On Friday, we ran just a little behind and arrived at the school at around
10:15am. The plan for the morning was to have one more session of two teachers
doing private lessons with the other two doing classes. Greg and Tom were up
to take on the private students. Bob used the morning to take the more
advanced students through a class in ear training and harmony while Steve
did another class in improvisation this time tailoring his talks to the more
beginning students. After lunch, Emmett would be doing a lecture and playing
music for the entire group. With nothing on his schedule for the first part
of the day, Emmett opted to sit in as student in Steve's class.
While the morning sessions were going on, I began unpacking the boxes of
merchandise that had arrived at my house from Stick Enterprises the day
before. By lunch time, I was setup in the gym and ready to sell. Steve Oz
had ordered a truck full of pizzas that were also delivered to the gym and
so this made for a nice lunch hour of pizza and souvenirs.
After lunch, we all gathered in one of the large classrooms. Emmett got up
in front with instrument in hand. He plugged in and spent the rest of the
afternoon playing songs, lecturing and taking questions. The room was pretty
much spellbound at this point. This was a rare treat for most if not all of
the people in the room. A chance to listen to Emmett play in a small quiet
setting and get a glimpse into the world of the Stick and where it came from.
After Emmett's lecture, we took a short break and did our group shot out in
the lobby area outside the classroom. Our original intention was to do this
outside but, shortly before the lecture ended, the skies opened up and it
began to rain like noboby's business. All we could think was "better today
To wrap up Friday, we returned to the large classroom and Emmett returned to
the front of the room along with Greg, Bob, Steve Adelson, and Tom for a
panel discussion and Q&A session. Steve Oz had come prepared with a list
of questions and really got it all rolling with others joining in with him.
The questions ranged from asking Emmett about his life as a child and before
inventing the Stick to asking everyone to play their favorite licks and
snippets from the first songs they ever wrote. It really was a blast and a
great way to wrap it all up.
With the panel discussion finished, we cleaned up the school, packed our cars
and headed for Ann Arbor and the Friday night student performances. Emmett
and I met Greg, Tom, Steve Adelson, Bob Culbertson and Bob Pizzuteillo at
Shalimar for some Indian food. Rasa joined us there and then we all headed
over to a club called Gotham City where Steve Oz had secured time for student
performances. This year, the evening belonged only to the students. There
would be no teachers performing. Neither Oz or I performed. They put their
own schedule together and ran the night (although Greg took over stage manager
duties plugging everyone in). The order of performers for the evening were
The Garner Family Trio
The evening was a blast. Everybody played really well and had a great time.
It was a much looser environment than the recital style night we usually
have for the students and several of them commented to me that they prefer
the looser atmosphere.
Once the last student finished, we broke for the evening and headed home.
Saturday was poised to be a very very long day.
Fest day! I was convinced that the day was going to be torture. I was
fairly certain at this point that we were going to avoid being rained on.
Seriously ... planning an event in Michigan contingent on not having rain
in July? It's like suicide but we went and did it anyway. With the promise
of a dry day though, it was looking like we would also be having temperatures
in the 90s and humidity levels equally as high. Going against all reports
though, the humidity stayed pretty reasonable and temperatures never hit 90.
Plus we had a nice shady spot all day. It's like nature conspired to finally
give us a break.
Leading up to the fest, I'd published a schedule for the day that included
two slots simply labeled "students." By Saturday morning, I had my volunteers
for those sets and everything was set. The schedule was to go as follows
(keeping in mind that once we got started, you could add at least one hour
to each of the times listed):
Noon-12:15 - Glenn Poorman
12:20-12:40 - Garner Family, Vijith Assar, Jason Brock
12:45-1:00 - Emmett Chapman
1:05-1:35 - Coup Detroit
2:00-2:35 - Steve Osburn
2:40-3:00 - Vance Gloster, Dave Brosky, Darrel Havard
3:05-3:40 - Bob Culbertson
3:45-4:10 - Co_conspirator
4:20-4:45 - Pan-Metropolitan Trio
4:50-5:25 - Tom Griesbraber
5:30-6:05 - Steve Adelson
6:10-6:45 - Gary Jibilian
7:10-7:45 - Greg Howard
7:50-8:30 - Emmett Chapman
8:35-9:10 - Darktown Saints
We arrived in Ann Arbor around 10:45am. By that time, the block of Liberty
that we would be using was already closed off. The stage was setup and the
sound guy John Wildcat was just beginning his setup. When we pulled in,
Co_conspirator were already at the scene as well as John Turnage the
illustrious drummer for Coup Detroit. It was apparent pretty quickly that
we were running behind. By the time we started it was pushing 1:00pm and we
would spend the rest of the day trying to catch up to no avail.
Both my short solo set and my set with Coup Detroit were scheduled early.
I'd like to say that it was a strategic move on my part so that I could
spend the rest of the day focusing on managing the fest but, the truth is,
our guitarist had to work that day. I started the fest doing a 15 minute
set of three tunes. I wrapped it up with a rendition of "A Thousand Words"
on my Alto Stick. I hadn't originally intended to play the tune but just
a couple of days earlier, Emmett had asked if I was going to play it and
it struck me that this was one of those requests that you simply don't
say no to.
From there we went into our first 20 minute slot of student performances.
Gary Garner opened up this set playing with his wife on French Horn and
his daughter on drums. He was followed up by Vijith Assar who was then
followed by Jason Brock. All of the performances in this slot were excellent
and it was quickly becoming apparent that a good day was in store. We had
a nice size crowed and the skies were still blue.
The next set was a short set from Emmett. Oz had commented early on that he
was worried about people who couldn't attend in the evening missing out on
seeing Emmett so we scheduled him to appear twice. The early set would be
15 minutes. I found Emmett's first set to be particularly strong. He started
with a couple of cover tunes and, in typical Emmett fashion, took the original
tunes as more of a suggestion and twisted them around into his own creations.
This was a real treat and I was immediately taken by what a powerful player
Emmett is. His sound is very strong and loud and, when I say loud, I mean
it's coming from his fingers and not from the gear.
After a short set from Emmett, my own band Coup Detroit wrapped up the first
grouping. This was the first Stick seminar we'd appeared in since 2000 when
we went under the name CD3. It was a blast doing the outdoor fest style gig
and we delivered a good strong 30 minute set. From there, we took a short
break and setup for the next grouping.
By now, Rasa had already taken over the merchandise table. She was pretty
much our lucky star that day. I had sold some of the S.E. merchandise at the
seminar on Friday and had this crazy notion that I could do sales at the fest.
I can safely say that I would have never made it. Rasa took over right away.
Tom Griesgraber (a guy with tons of experience in this area) helped her get
started and filled in several times during the course of the day. The two of
them pretty much saved us here and did a fantastic job.
The next set started with Steve Oz. Steve did his set with an ensemble and
it was superb. Along with Steve, there was guitarist Mickey Richard and
percussionists Maruga and John Churchville. I always enjoy hearing Steve's
stuff but hearing him accompanied was exceptionally cool.
After Steve wrapped up, we did another 20 minute student set. This one
started with StickWire founder Vance Gloster playing along with rhythm tracks
programmed into his Mac. This was followed by Dave Brosky. Dave is a repeat
offender to our seminars and always fun to see. The set wrapped up with
Darrell Havard. Darrel has a real intangible about him. A serious groove.
He was one of my highlights during last year's Stick Night and proved to
still be on top of his game this year.
Next up was Bob Culbertson. Bob, as usual, just killed. He's such a natural
in this type of setting and really showed what's possible. As an added treat,
he called Steve Adelson up and they did a couple of duets that really
brought the house down. One of the highlights for sure.
The second set wrapped up with Co_conspirator from Akron. Morgan Phelps had
contacted me quite a while back about playing at the fest and, at the time,
I wasn't taking requests to play too seriously. I checked out their stuff
though and decided that they were just what the doctor ordered to spice things
up in the middle of the day. Nice and heavy. A real departure from everything
we'd heard so far. The band was made up of Morgan on Stick, Tom McCain on
guitar, and Ken Kimmel on drums.
The third grouping started with the Pan-Metropolitan Trio consisting of
Japhlet Bire Attias on Stick, Stefan Kac on Tuba and Owen Weaver on Drums.
This was another request to play from a seminar student. Japhlet had attended
last year as well so I was planning on giving him one of the student set
slots. With his whole band coming out though and also with me wanting to
add some variety to the fest that people hadn't heard yet, I opted to give
them a full slot and they performed really well.
Next up was Tom Griesgraber. Tom has become one of my favorite players over
the years mainly because, to me, he excels at the one thing that should be
the most important to all of us. That is ... making great music. Tom does
beautiful tunes and generally executes flawlessly. Fest day was no exception.
From there we kicked over to Steve Adelson. Steve did an insane set. I've
been wanting to see him here in Michigan for quite some time and we finally
got him here this year. Steve performed a variety of tunes but really killed
the musicians in the house when he and drummer Maruga launched into some full
The last set of this group was Gary Jibilian. It was a real pleasure to get
Gary back in town for this. He's a great player and just a good guy. He not
only represents the NS/Stick well but, being a former Detroiter, he's a known
entity around here so he drew some audience that really got into what he was
doing. He did a killer set with local area drummer Dave Taylor.
The last grouping started at around 8:20pm beginning with a set from Greg
Howard. Greg has taught and performed at all but one of the seven Michigan
seminars and has become a staple here. It's almost like his second home town.
I think he'd originally planned a pure improv night but Rasa talked him into
mixing in a couple of tunes so he opened with his medly of Beatles tunes and
followed that up with Goya's Dream. He wrapped up his set with an improv. The
performance was excellent and would be a great primer for what was next.
Emmett was up to do his extended set. Like earlier in the day, he opened with
a set of cover tunes done in a style that only Emmett could do. Then Maruga
joined him on stage and they launched into an extended improv. By this time,
we had our biggest crowd of the night and Liberty was packed. The sun was
starting to go down and Emmett delivered a performance that almost suggested
he was possessed. The music was killer and the guys on stage were obviously
enjoying it as much as the crowd. This was the moment of the fest. My personal
Last up for the night was the Darktown Saints. This is the band of Stick
player Aaron Wolf, pianist Drew De Four, electric violinist Jay Golden and
drummer Phil Bossenberger. These guys are pretty much a straight up pop band
and are all excellent musicians and entertainers which proved to be a great
way to wrap up the evening. They delivered an excellent set and, in typical
fashion, wrapped up the night with some barbershop quartet.
By now it was 10:30pm and we had more than overstayed are welcome with the
stage. We began the cleanup task which went along pretty quickly. At one
point, Greg and I were over talking to Rasa as she packed up the merchandise
table when we saw Stefan Kac on Owen Weaver (the tuba player and drummer
from the Pan-Metropolitan Trio) running across the street toward us with a
tuba and hand drum in tow. They pointed at Greg, said "we play one of your
tunes", opened up a folding chair and proceeded to play a rendition of Greg's
"Blues for Ayman." Furthermore, the rendition they did was excellent. So
Greg invited them to play the tune with him at the Ark the next day.
By the time we finished packing up, most of the performers had retired to
an outdoor table at a restaurant right there on Liberty. I still hadn't
eaten since lunch but, at that point, I just wanted to go home. So Tom,
Greg and I pulled Emmett from the crowd and headed back. Once we got back,
we sat up talking and had a celebratory drink to commemorate a day well done.
I did get word that, on the other side of town, Steve Oz along with Steve
Adelson and Bob Culbertson opted to go out for a night of bowling. I don't
know where they found the energy but ... hat's off to them.
Sunday was our last day of activity and that would be the final teacher's
show at the Ark. We didn't have to leave as early on Sunday as we'd left on
previous days. That made for a much mellower vibe that started right when
we woke up in the morning and would continue on through the day. By about
11:00am, we were all up and en route to Ann Arbor. We arrived at the Ark
pretty close to 11:30am and immediately hauled all the gear up the freight
elevator and started setting up. More specifically, the performers setup
while I hovered and went for coffee (I was pleased that most of my
responsibilities actually ended with the fest the day before). Rasa
volunteered to continue her role as merchandise vendor (thankfully) and
was in place ready to go when the show kicked off right at 1:00pm.
The vibe during this show was considerably more laid back. Unlike the day
before, we were inside, sitting in comfortable chairs and enjoying the air
conditioning. Steve Adelson and Bob Culbertson had the early flights and so
they went first. Steve opened up the show with some solo material and then
brought Bob up to do a couple of duos. From there, Steve stepped off and Bob
ran some solo tunes.
While Steve and Bob began thier final pack for the aiport, Tom took the
stage. Tom is no stranger to the Ark having opened up for the California
Guitar Trio there on a couple of occasions. He did a nice set of solo tunes
and then brought Greg up (along with my Alto Stick) and they did a duet of
Greg's "Charmed Life." From there, Greg took over. Greg did an excellent
solo set and wrapped up by bringing Stefan an Owen up for their rendition
of "Blues for Ayman." The performance was practically flawless.
Emmett wrapped up the day with an extended set. He was very comfortable on
the Ark stage and played beautifully. At the end of his set, he brought Greg
back out and the two of them closed out the day with an improvised duet.
With the Ark show finished, we packed up. Steve Adelson and Bob were already
well on their way to the airport thanks to Tom Osburn. Tom and Emmett had a
little time to kill and Greg and Vijith were driving home so we all grabbed
a bite to eat. From there Greg and Vijith headed home while I took Tom and
Emmett to the airport. After a successful airport dropoff, I went home,
breathed a huge sigh of relief and sat down on the couch for the first time
in several days. The event was officially completed.
Rasa and I both took Monday off anticipating that we might still have house
guests. Everyone had left, however, so we took the opportunity to simply
have a day to unwind by ourselves. We took care of some book keeping, did a
little ice skating and then just mellowed.
Believe it or not, this was the seventh Midwest Stick Seminar. It's also
possible it was the best one so far. That is really hard to call though just
because we've had so many really special events. This one really rates way
up there though. Between the amazing teachers we had, the fact that Emmett
came and the festival, there was a whirlwind of constant Stick activity for
four straight days.
All in all, the seminar itself was wonderful. The facilities were fantastic
and the student to teacher ratio was really nice. Personally, it was the first
seminar where I didn't get any seminar time for myself at all. That was kind
of a negative from my own viewpoint but, there's always a danger of that for
both Oz and myself so you might say I've been lucky so far. The festival was
actually a bit of a surprise. It's not that I didn't have faith that it would
turn out but I didn't expect it to go as well as it did and I didn't expect
it to be that well attended. And with mother nature smiling on us with the
weather that day, you really couldn't have asked for a better event.
So will there be a next year? Hard to say. Something in some form will happen.
Whether or not there will be another Stickfest is a topic that will generate
much discussion in the coming months. A seminar of some sort is almost sure
to happen though and what else happens around it is yet to be determined.
Back to this year though ... there were several people who were very very
instrumental in the success of this event and I'll make an honest attempt
to hit them all.
PT Quinn and Steve Osburn. Some sort of event would have happened this year
regardless but PT threw the Stickfest idea out there. In addition to dreaming
it up in the first place, he also dealt with the red tape that is the city
of Ann Arbor as well as getting the event a ton of press in various print
publications as well as radio. The long and short of it is that the festival
wouldn't have happened without him. Steve Oz was tireless this year. First
you have to realize that the whole notion of a Midwest Stick Seminar wouldn't
even be if Oz hadn't started the ball rolling back in 1998. He put in a ton
of extra time this year though and almost single handedly saved the event
when it was in danger of dying pre-maturely. Oz really is the center of all
things Stick in southeast Michigan.
Greg Howard has taught at six of the seven seminars we've had here and always
brings something new. What people don't know, however, is how much effort he
puts into organizing behind the scenes. Especially this year. Greg did a ton
of stuff that was way beyond the call of duty including designing posters,
designing t-shirts and putting together the teaching itinerary for the seminar
itself. I'll be the first to admit that we bit off a bit much for this year
and, when he saw some holes, Greg jumped in and made sure they got filled. A
real life saver.
The rest of the teachers. Bob Culbertson, Tom Griesgraber and Steve Adelson.
What an amazing bunch of guys! These guys came in and didn't just teach but
truly inspired. They tirelessly gave of their vast experience and left the
student body wanting to play. And of course, their performances were just
incredible. Bob has been to four of these events now and is always a big
draw. For Tom and Steve, this was their second event each. Tom always manages
to touch on something I've always wondered how to convey and that is the
notion of making your music ready to perform. Not just learning the music
but making it larger than the sum of it's parts. These are things covered
by timing, confidence, etc. Steve is just an incredible player and brings
an encyclopedic knowledge of music to the table. During the seminar, he did
two excellent workshops on improvisation as well as being the most sought
after private instructor at this year's event.
Gary Jibilian. While I've always had it in the back of my mind to add some
NS/Stick instruction to our seminars and have Gary teach, we've simply never
had enough players of this instrument willing to come out. Even with that
though, Gary took time out of his new life out in LA to return home to Detroit
and play at the fest. We were very forunate to have him.
Of course, the thing that set this event apart from all the others we've had
was the appearance of Emmett Chapman. I've extended invitations to Emmett
almost every year just figuring that if I keep it up, he's bound to accept
one year. Well ... this was the year. It was a true honor and pleasure to
have him here. Emmett really gave a lot to us. Between his lecturing and
discussions of his experiences, his historical perspective and (of course)
his playing, the students at this year's seminar really took something unique
away with them. Perhaps one of the highlights for me was watching Emmett
discuss the student's performances with them at the Gotham City show on Friday
night. Maybe for others it was his lectures or his performances. Regardless,
he poured himself into the event and really made it something special. For
that, we are all truly grateful.
The staff at the Go Like the Wind
school were amazing. Not only did they allow us to take over much of their
facility but they were very accomodating on top of that providing support
and beverages and such. Even with other activities going on in the school.
They were all a true pleasure and I hope we can hold future events there.
Mark Ziemba at Current magazine, Roger Lelievre at the Ann Arbor News,
Mickey Alvarado at the Tecumseh Herald, Lucy Ann Lance at WAAM Talk Radio,
and Martin Bandyke at 107.1. These people all went to great lengths to
promote and stand behind our event and we thank them. An extra thanks
to WAAM radio as well for allowing us to use their tent for our sound guys.
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and the Ann Arbor City Council not only
accepted the festival idea but embraced it and helped us put on a truly
Tom Osburn did a bunch of graphics work for us and designed the logo we
used for the fest on the website, in print, and on the t-shirts. Tom also
video taped several of the performers at the fest and ran airport duty
My wife Rasa essentially gave up her home and a good portion of her time
for several days while this event was happening. She also stepped in
un-asked and took over the merchandising during the festival and the Sunday
show at the Ark. The table would have been a disaster without her.
Leslie and Rose, Steve's wife and daughter. Leslie is almost always one
of the unsung glues that keeps these events together managing the finances
and registrations behind the scenes. Rose took on some organizational
duties during the fest this year as well and the two of them really saved us.
Ken Kozora, Mickey Richard, John Churchville and Maruga. All of these guys
loaned their talents to the event. Micky and John accompanied Oz for his
set and Maruga accompanied Oz as well as Steve Adelson, Bob and Emmett.
Mickey, John and Ken also went down to the Crazy Wisdom Tea Room on about
an hour and a half's notice and played music to make up for the fact that
we'd forgotten to call them and cancel our evening plans there.
Dave Sieglan at the Ark. Dave agreed to host our Sunday afternoon show
even after learning that all of the same performers would be playing for
free out on Liberty just one day before.
John Wildcat, Atticus Sumner and Jim Griffin. These guys were the backbone.
John did our sound and never strayed from his board for the entirety of the
event. A real trooper. Atticus provided the wonderful stage we used. Jim
is affiliated with AnnArborAlive.com, did an interview about the event with
Oz, and provided us loft space to change and cool off in just across the
street from the event.
After so many years, I still find that Stick players are a great bunch
of people. Friendly, giving, enthusiastic and even a little nuts (in a good
way). Each and every year, I genuinely have a blast with the people who pay
to come to these events. Truth be told ... THAT is why I keep doing this.
Chiz at Stick Enterprises who took a call very late in the game for a whole
bunch of merchandise to be sent to Michigan. She kicked into action and put
together two very large boxes of stuff complete with invoice and got it to
us on time.
Of course, the biggest thanks is always reserved for Stick Enterprises
and specifically Emmett and Yuta for starting us all down this musical
road. We really are better people for it.