Shows are returning in force to Newaygo County’s premier venue
The Dogwood Center has been providing a vast array of sparkling entertainment to a grateful community for nearly 20 years. From symphony sounds, country and bluegrass bands and folk singers to plays, musicals, dance, and so much more the D-wood has always made an effort to appeal to a wide variety of interests. All this while delivering the goods at a bargain price with tickets a fraction of what the same acts get in Grand Rapids or Muskegon. Whether taking in a Main Stage extravaganza or enjoying an adult beverage or two in the Black Box while experiencing the bands up close and personal, the Dogwood scene never seemed to disappoint those seeking an evening of quality entertainment and diversion.
Then of course came the pandemic last March and like all similar venues the Dogwood fell silent. It was a bit eerie driving by the building as it sat awaiting the return of some action and seeing the NC RESA neon sign in front, devoid of upcoming shows.
But now The Dogwood is back and we are among the throngs of entertainment seekers ready to fill the building once again.
We caught up with Executive Director Marianne Boerigter and she graciously answered a few questions we posed.
Can you share what the past 15 months have been like for the Dogwood Center?
As I am sure everyone would agree, the last 15 months have been a long haul. The Dogwood Center, which is considered an "entertainment venue" and as you read about Covid-19 limitations and restrictions, we were a part of the group that drew a huge sigh of relief when the capacity limits were able to be dropped. As we did our part in trying to keep staff, volunteers and community members as safe as possible during the pandemic, it was still tough. But, as of June 22, the capacity limits were lifted and we are so pleased to be able to welcome everyone back to the Dogwood!
Now that restrictions have been lifted, what can we look for at the venue? What changes might we see when we attend a show?
Right now it would mostly be encouraging everyone to use hand sanitizer when they walk in the door, people can wear masks if they chose but not required, you will probably notice staff wiping surfaces down more, and that kind of thing. The summer performances are all on the main stage (as opposed to some in the Black Box) since that is where we booked the groups when we thought we would still be under capacity limitations this summer. And that works great... the sound in the main stage is amazing.
Is the Black Box open?
Yes, as of June 22 the capacity limits lifted, but we already had summer performances booked for main stage so we are keeping them in that part of the venue.
Is the Dogwood Center available for private parties, weddings, etc.?
Yes, we are starting to take quite a few calls and giving tours of the facility as people start to think about renting a facility for wedding receptions, meetings, etc. in the coming months. It is a beautiful facility and it is great that community members and organizations can utilize the fantastic space.
We heard there’s a new ticket system? Any changes when I order online?
Yes, during the shutdown we upgraded our ticketing system. It is going smoothly and probably the only thing for buying tickets online will be you need to set up an account the first time you use it, but after that it is easy peasy.
Can you tell us a little about the shows coming up?
On July 9 we have The Red Clay Strays performing. They are a blend of country and southern rock and sound great. A recent claim to fame for them is their song "Good Godly Woman" was featured in the movie "Doctor Sleep" which is based on Stephen King's novel. On July 16 we have a free outdoor concert on the lawn east of the Dogwood with Grand Rapids Symphony's Brass Quintet. The Dogwood Summer Youth Theater are busy rehearsing right now for their performances of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors" coming up on July 30 and 31. Then we have Ralston Bowles on August 13 and Marshall Crenshaw on August 27.
How does it feel to be back?
It is awesome to have people coming back in through the Dogwood doors! Come on out and join us this summer...we can't wait to see your smiling faces!