Mandy Barnett will perform on Friday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Dogwood Center.
Spend an enchanting night of timeless music with one of today’s premier vocalists with her “Nashville Songbook” show that appeals to music fans of all types—who will undoubtedly want to sing along to some of the best-loved tunes of all time!
Barnett has built a reputation for her commanding voice and unwavering devotion to classic country and popular standards. Barnett has enchanted listeners around the globe with her world-class vocals and musical chameleon qualities.
We caught up with Ms. Barnett to pose a few questions
N3-When did you begin performing?
I started singing when I was about five and began performing not long after that. I grew up around music, mostly on my mother’s side. My Mom, grandmother, grandfather, aunts, and uncles…many of them sang and played instruments, especially in church. And I’d join in. Later on, my mother would take me to local country fairs and venues to sing. I was known as the little girl with the big voice!
N3-What was on your playlist as a 14 year old?
Oh, gosh, my playlist was all over the place--country, rock, gospel, pop standards... And I had already started recording country music at that age, so some of the emerging country artists at that time were on my radar.
N3-Who have been your mentors and influences along the way?
I've had such diverse influences. As a child, I spent a lot of time with adults, like my relatives, who had eclectic tastes in music. They listened to classic country, traditional pop, gospel, and R&B; and I listened along with them. Probably, though, my biggest influences were female stylists like Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan. The way they sang--their phrasings and emotions--resonated with me. And Linda Ronstadt has always been someone I’ve admired. Like her, I enjoy musical variety and exploration.
My list of mentors is also pretty eclectic. Owen Bradley--producer of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Brenda Lee, and producer of my I've Got A Right To Cry album--and his brother Harold Bradley, who was an amazing guitarist, certainly come to mind. Both Country Music Hall of Fame members. The wonderful Seymour Stein, the founder of Sire Records, was another mentor. And when I started recording and touring, certainly many of the other female artists I met always shared good advice.
N3-You’ve performed at the Opry many times and last year received the honor of becoming a member. Can you tell us what it was like the first time you were on that iconic stage?
Even as a young child, the Opry seemed so magical. I had been backstage a bit when other, older artists invited me. And my first real performance on the Opry was during the initial run of the musical Always...Patsy Cline at the Ryman Auditorium, when I portrayed Patsy. I was a teenager and was nervous, but also felt at home. Performing on the Opry is a huge honor that I’ve never taken for granted. Every time I walk onto the Opry stage, I feel so privileged to be there. Even after more than 500 performances, it never gets old. Becoming a Grand Ole Opry member was a lifelong dream come true!
N3-You’re hosting a dinner party for any five people (living or dead) from the music industry.
Who’s occupying the chairs?
I don't think I could limit it to just five guests! All of these names are swirling around in my head as possibilities! But I do have to say that Patsy Cline would be there. I'd like to think that she and I would have a grand time together. I'd thank her for allowing me to honor her music so much.
N3-What should people expect when they come to your concert?
I'll be performing my "Nashville Songbook" show, which features songs and artists that made Nashville famous. We'll be doing plenty of country songs, honoring the great classic country songwriters and artists, but also some of the amazing, enduring pop classics that were written or recorded in Nashville. So, the set list generally includes songs by the likes of Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, and Brenda Lee, etc., but also Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, and other non-country icons.
N3-Your role as Patsy Cline at the Ryman production of “Always…Patsy Cline'' was lauded by critics and fans alike. Will we be hearing any Patsy music at the Dogwood this Friday?
Yes, we'll be doing some Patsy music for sure. "Crazy" and more!
Tickets are $35.00 with reserved seating for this 7:30 p.m. main stage performance. Tickets are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or just click here. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Photo and Story by Jewel Brink
Publisher’s note: My decades of being perpetually perplexed by the orphaned shoes found along the road (with remarkable frequency I might add) has led to folks occasionally sending me photos of various shoe situations they’ve encountered. One such missive arrived this past week from N3 reader Jewell Brink. After confirming that even N3 Editor Alexis Mercer,who has long spent hours running the trails in our region, was unaware of the locale we pressed upon Ms. Brink to supply us with a bit of backstory.
Here is her reply.
That Sunday was raining off and on and we waited til late in the afternoon to start. We started hiking the NCT on Sunday afternoons during Covid to get out of the house and explore a bit. That turned into a goal of hiking all of the NCT in Newaygo County. We finished that and are now going back to favorite NCT sections or in this case a section that's a spur off of the regular trail.
White Cloud Campground has a spur trail connecting to the main NCT and we wanted to do that portion. The XC shoe tree is on the spur closer to the High School where the White Cloud XC team trains and has a course for their meets. If you park at the High School you can pick up the NCT spur just beyond the front parking lot and the cemetery. The XC course is marked by yellow flags that loop around on the NCT and a power line. We stayed on the NCT and found the tree about a mile from where we started.
I wonder if the White Cloud XC team appreciates what a great trail they have to train on right next to their school. Some high school teams have to drive to get to such nice running trails and spend more time running along a paved road for practices. Having raised high school XC runners we found the shoe tree amusing and could definitely relate to kids throwing the old torn and smelly training shoes and racing spikes up in the branches when done for the season.
There's also a 2-seater outhouse near the shoe tree, although 2 seats and no door puzzles me as to usefulness.
What's your home course?
After a lengthy winter and a stalled and sputtering spring the golf season is about to go into full swing.
Unless, of course, you’re chipping or putting when a bit less than a full swing is the optimal stroke.
Anyway, to celebrate the arrival of the links season we want to hear from you.
Whether you're a Hacker or a 4 Handicapper, tell us your favorite place to grab a quick 9, enjoy league play or walk/ride 18.
More importantly, tell us why. Is it the layout, the location, the amenities, the customer service, the selections in the refreshment cart?
We’ll compile your answers and share them later this week.
By Megan Wirts
When the stage comes calling, you answer.
I am a performer at heart. Some of my first memories are of me standing on a chair belting out “Over the Rainbow” to anyone within earshot. I fell in love with musical theater when I was in middle school. My first show was “A Christmas Carol” where I played Mrs. Cratchit with my very own solo! I vividly remember the aching nerves and the rush of being on stage. I remembered my lines, but I did spill sparkling apple juice all over the Cratchit’s table. I’m pretty sure nobody noticed, I hope. All throughout high school and into adulthood I found my way to the stage. I performed in various shows over the years when my life would allow it. Then it all came to a screeching halt when I was diagnosed with a neurological movement disorder and I couldn’t do the things I did before. I would go to shows only to feel an emptiness and longing to be in the lights again. The grief of losing that part of my life was too much to bear for quite some time.
I dabbled with stand up comedy for a couple of years, but nothing compared to being in a musical or play. I never thought I would be on stage again until I was doing my daily nosey scroll through Facebook and I saw an audition notice from my old theater stomping grounds LionHeart Productions. It said “Lionheart Productions is hosting auditions for Motherhood the Musical. This musical shows the humorous struggle of motherhood that all mothers will understand.” My interest was piqued. A humorous musical about motherhood set for mother’s day weekend? I had to know more.
It had been eight years and one brain surgery since my last show and I wasn’t sure if I could actually be part of one again. Would I be able to learn the lines? Hit the notes? Not trip and fall on my face? My body isn’t the same as it once was. My brain and my muscles don’t always communicate well with each other and I’m a bit dizzy and wobbly on my feet. I also haven’t danced in years. Not that I was a great dancer before, but I could follow simple choreography and shake my booty when necessary. I figured if this show involved just a little shimmy shimmy now and then, I could handle it. I messaged the director, “So, how much dancing does this show involve?”. When she told me that it wasn’t going to be too much and encouraged me to audition, I decided to give it a try. Despite my nerves and anxiety, I was offered the role of Tina in the Motherhood the Musical. I was thrilled!
The first night of rehearsals was filled with so much laughter, my face literally hurt the next day. The cast clicked immediately and it has been a dream to work with each and every one of them. I had not forgotten how it felt to form a bond through the theater. It’s unlike any other. When you are in a show this small and intimate you will get to know each other in ways you never thought you would. You eventually start showing up to rehearsal dressed a like, you will randomly bust out into song or dance if you run in to each other at the grocery store, you will know each other. I missed that part of theater so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love being on the stage, with the spot light on me, the heat, the butterflies in my guts, the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I missed who I was when I was on stage. I am me, but bigger, brighter and more alive. I missed all of it, but the relationships made behind the scenes are what makes the theater worth loving.
This role has been one of my favorites. Tina is a compassionate, newly divorced mother who loves chocolate cheesecake and her kids, but also cannot wait for them to go to sleep or learn how to clean up after themselves. The entire show is made up of sassy, funny and caring moms. The content is relatable, funny and will leave you wanting to see it again. Every single night we rehearse, we laugh or cry or laugh and cry. You would think that you would get tired of hearing the same songs and saying the same lines agian and again, but not with this show. From songs about leaking, going on strike and a love letter to all things bulk, the laughter is non stop! There are more emotional moments too with ballads like, “Danny’s Mom”, “Every Other Weekend” and “Now I Know”, the tears will flow. It also doesn’t help that two of us in the show have daughters about to graduate high school in just a few short weeks. When you sing a song called, “When The Kids Are Grown”, it hits a little different this year and you need to have tissues stuffed in your bra just in case. Motherhood is an emotional rollercoaster and this show captures all of it.
I don’t know when the next show will come around for me, but I am so happy that I answered the call from the stage this time.
You can catch Motherhood the Musical on May 6th and 7th at 7:30pm at the Grant Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $10 and available for pre order online at https://grantfac.booktix.com/ or at the door the night of the shows.
GRS returns to the Dogwood
By Ken DeLaat
After a one year pandemic-driven sabbatical from their annual trek to the Near North the Grand Rapids Symphony made a triumphant return to the Dogwood Main Stage with an epic performance led by their uber-talented guest conductor Nicholas Hersh.
With an appreciative audience tuned in with rapt attention Hersh led the talented trove of gifted musicians through an intriguing selection of pieces highlighted by a tribute to health care workers.
Beginning with the Overture from The Creatures of Prometheus the symphony set the stage for the evening, capturing the crowd with its vigorous take on the Beethoven piece. Conductor Hersh is a dynamic and spirited director of sound and his podium presence seems to energize the musicians he faced on this night.
The Suite No.1 from Carmen proved to put on display the versatility of the GRS with a number of memorable moments featuring some powerful solo work.
Then came the salute.
Hersh told the story of how the selection 7 O’Clock Shout came to be, relating the tribute to the outpouring of appreciation residents of New York City delivered each night during the height of the pandemic. For weeks folks opened their windows at 7pm to produce a cacophony of noise by shouting, clapping and banging together pots and pans. All to honor their health care workers who were putting their lives on the line every day.
And on Thursday the GRS shared a lively version of the Valerie Coleman composition inspired by those heartfelt expressions of admiration and followed it up with a collective shout from the musicians, the conductor and several from the audience.
Meanwhile in the background a series of photos ran across the screen featuring the staff of SHGM a fitting recognition of the dedication shown by our own health care worker during trying times.
Following intermission we learned about the origins of Charleston, and while the tune is familiar to any who have seen a 1920’s dance scene from an old movie the version provided by the orchestra put on display the deep roots of early jazz composer James P Johnson brought to the table. As Conductor Hersh related in his intro, the sound was “Gershwin before Gershwin.”
The finale gave us the suite from The Firebird, a Stravinsky ballet based on an old Russian fairy tale. Hersh gave a synopsis of the story and the symphony followed with a dramatic, soulful and uplifting musical telling of the classic battle between good v. evil.
The GRS and Conductor Hersh received a well deserved and rather raucous standing ovation from the crowd at concert’s end in appreciation for once again being treated to the world class musical experience that is the Grand Rapids Symphony.
And should you ever get the opportunity to see Mr. Hersh take to the podium, do yourself a favor and snare a seat. His work with the baton and his obvious appreciation for the talent around him translates exceptionally well to his audience.
Kudos to the GRS and the Dogwood staff for bringing this early Easter gift to the community and also to the Fremont Area Community Foundation for their support of this most welcoming musical encounter.
Once a year we set aside a day to celebrate our mothers and that day will be here before we know it! Mother’s Day is less than a month away! Don’t procrastinate and make plans today. Luckily for you, we here at N3 have the solution to your mother’s day gift slump. Instead of the usual flower baskets and Sunday brunch, take Mom out to a show! On May 6th and 7th at 7:30pm, LionHeart Productions presents Motherhood The Musical by Sue Fabisch at the Grant Fine Arts Center. This hilarious show will have you rolling with laughter!
Directed by Dana McKnight and music direction by Cali Flock, this small show is filled with big voices. The cast is made up of LionHeart alumni, Gabby Kasnowicz as Amy, Mandy Casebolt as Barb, Cammie Hollinger as Brooke and Megan Wirts as Tina. The former three were all in the smash hit Mama Mia in 2019, the last musical that LionHeart was able to produce for us before the pandemic happened. While Megan Wirts hasn’t been on the stage since 2014, she is thrilled to be back! Each cast member is fantastic on their own, but together they make the highs and lows of motherhood sound incredible. Not only are they excellent vocalists, their comedic timing and touching tender moments are on point.
Motherhood the Musical is one of those shows that you will want to see again and again. The songs are catchy, the content relatable and the characters are hilarious and real. If you are a mother, have a mother, or know a mother, this show is for you. There are songs about shopping, leaking and the ways our bodies can change after becoming a mother. There are also sweet moments that may require tissues, like when the cast sings about what it will be like when their little ones leave the nest. This show is rated PG-13 and may not be suitable for children under the age of 12. Parental discretion is advised. This show gets real about motherhood and we all know that it’s not always for the faint of heart.
With only two nights of shows offered, you will want to make sure you don’t miss your chance to see this amazing production. Friday May 6th and Saturday May 7th at 7:30pm.
Tickets are $10. Tickets will be available at the Grant Fine Arts Center Box Office later this month.
Meijer Gardens Series kicks off June 12th. Here's the skinny on tickets
2022 Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts at Meijer Gardens Lineup
Gate and show start times vary. Check MeijerGardens.org/concerts for details. All information is subject to change. All shows will take place rain or shine, and weather delays are possible.
Members may buy tickets during the members-only presale beginning 9 am, April 23, through midnight, May 6. Members save $5 per ticket during the presale. After May 7, members save $2 per ticket. There is a limit of 8 tickets per show, per transaction.
Sales to the public begin at 9 am, May 7. There is a limit of 8 tickets per show, per transaction. The preferred method to purchase tickets is online, but multiple options are available.
Dogwood surges back with an array of Springtime offerings
There’s nothing we like better than to see a comeback.
And after a couple years of uncertainty, canceled tours, and juggling show dates the Dogwood Center, the crown jewel of entertainment here in the Near North, has been making just such a resurgence as they celebrate their 20th birthday.
Yes, two decades of providing top level and wide ranging entertainment to the denizens of our slice of this bipeninsular paradise. One fifth of a century delivering an eclectic array of performers aimed at reaching the diverse entertainment inclinations of the community that supports them.
And speaking of diversity…
How about this week’s welcome return of the world class GR Symphony on Thursday https://www.nearnorthnow.com/features-and-fun/music-that-moves-the-human-soul
followed by the Black Box appearance of the Alt Rock group known as Harborcoat later this month.
Granted not everyone is a fan of the hard driving sound Harborcoat brings to the table but hey, not everyone likes the symphonic sound either, right?
More of an aficionado of country music?
May brings not only the return of the smooth sounding vocals of Mandy Barnett who can channel up some serious Patsy Cline among her repertoire, but also Shawna and Keifer Thompson who fans know better as Thompson Square, a couple who have delivered hits like “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?”
Sandwiched between these country oriented acts we will be getting the high energy Japanese Tailko drumming group Raion Taiko and, take it from the staff of N3 World Headquarters and Plant Starting Emporium, you will not regret taking a chance on this one. In fact if you’ve seen them before you are likely already planning on going and have told friends it's a must-see.
Yes. That good.
And this is the heart of the Dogwood organization that strives to bring us a variety of shows one might not be able to see without a good deal of driving time, parking concerns, and elevated ticket prices other venues might present.
Free parking, cheap tickets, friendly staff and the likelihood of running into friends and neighbors in a most welcoming and accessible setting.
During some shows there are even adult refreshments available.
We are truly fortunate.
New Newaygo County center against child abuse to host Roaring 20s casino fundraiser
WHITE CLOUD, Mich. – The new Center for Hope and Healing serving children and families in Newaygo, Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties is holding a “Roaring 20s Casino Royale Fundraiser” on Saturday, May 21, to support programs against child abuse and neglect. The fun-filled event will be held at the center, located just north of White Cloud on M-37, at 601 N. Evergreen Dr., White Cloud. Participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite 1920s characters.
Attendees can enjoy games such as blackjack, roulette, Texas hold ‘em, craps, Caribbean stud and Let it Ride with professional dealers between 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. A silent auction and dinner are scheduled at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m., with cocktails and a tour of the new facility, where renovations are expected to be completed in April. The 23,000-square-foot center is a joint project of Open Arms Child Advocacy Center and Newaygo County Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
“The Center for Hope and Healing’s Roaring 20s fundraiser will be a ton of fun for a great cause and we invite everyone in Newaygo, Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties to join us and help fight child abuse and neglect,” said OACAC executive director Amy Taylor. “Rolling some dice can go a long way toward giving children and families in our communities the resources and support to be safer and more secure.”
“The Center for Hope and Healing represents a new chapter in our fight against child abuse in Newaygo, Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties,” said NCPCAN executive director Tara Nelson. “By supporting local community events like our Roaring 20s casino fundraiser, we can help children who face challenges draw more aces in life so they can succeed.”
Tickets are $50 and include dinner and two drinks. They can be purchased online by clicking here or by following links on either agency’s websites. If you have questions, please call 231-225-2015.
The newly renovated Center for Hope and Healing provides a welcoming, safe and private environment for families in Newaygo, Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties. The center features dedicated spaces for a range of services to prevent abuse and neglect, including:
Harborcoat at the Dogwood Center on April 22
Harborcoat will perform in the Dogwood Center's Black Box on Friday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. Join us and you will experience fresh, alt rock at the Dogwood!
Harborcoat, a Lansing based band, specialize in short stories with chords. The lyrics are novelistic and almost standalone pieces rife with emotive and well-crafted narratives. The band name is pulled from an early R.E.M. gem, and the music brims with nods to the band member's heroes. The songs recall the crunchy power pop and harmonies of Teenage Fanclub; the introspection and melodic storytelling of Billy Bragg; and sprinkled in are moments of 80’s esque Brit-Pop or working-class anthems. These influences, however, do not define their music, but are they are merely a strand of DNA in Harborcoat’s collective musical helix.
Check out their website by clicking here for a taste of their music! Tickets are $12.50 and are available online at www.dogwoodcenter.com, at the Dogwood Box Office, or at NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or make it easy and click here!
The Dogwood Center Box Office is open Tuesday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. For information, phone 231.924.8885.
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