Ten Pound Fiddle Branches Out for 2018-19 Concert Series

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Friday, September 7, 2018, 9:09 am
Christopher A. Wardell

Above: May Erlewine, who performs October 26 at the MSU Community Music School as a part of the Ten Pound Fiddle’s 44th Season.

When you think of tradition and music in East Lansing, the Ten Pound Fiddle Concert Series may be the first thing that comes to mind. The Ten Pound’s Booking Agent, Sally Potter, is well aware of this tradition, and does not take it for granted when she sits down to hash out the acts for a new season.

Now in its 44th season, the Ten Pound Fiddle recently unveiled their schedule for 2018-19. Highlights include returning favorites such as Josh Davis, Jen Sygit, Joel Mabus, May Erlewine, and Mustard’s Retreat, along with other favorites such as Christine Lavin, Laura Love, and Matthew Byrne.

The Fiddle’s new season kicks off September 21 with Ukes and Steel, which is a make-up show from last February when the original date was cancelled due to a snowstorm. Ukes and Steel features members of The Springtails, Steppin’ In It, and other local bands.

Most shows on the Fiddle’s schedule are set to take place at the MSU Community Music School, the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, or Edgewood United Church.

New this year, however, is that seven out of the 28 Ten Pound shows are set to take place at The Robin Theatre in Lansing -- a move that’s necessary to accommodate certain acts’ touring schedules. Plus, it’s a cozier environment, according to Potter.

“It’s smaller and intimate,” Potter said. “If we want these acts, we're not always going to get them on a Friday or Saturday night, but we might get them on a Sunday night, and the show will take place at the Robin Theatre.”

The Robin Theatre’s co-owner and director, Dylan Rogers, is ready to welcome the Fiddle’s acts with open arms.

“I'm really excited to work more with Sally and the other folks at the Fiddle. Sally Potter has been an important person in my life, especially when it comes to my relationship with the Lansing performing arts community,” Rogers said. “She's been a mentor to me, and a big supporter of what we do since we met around 2012. We've partnered with the Fiddle a few times, and it's always great for us. You can always be sure that whatever the Fiddle is presenting, it's going to be world class. I think The Robin provides Fiddle shows with a more intimate vibe, as well as a room to experiment in.”

Some of the artists set to perform at the Robin Theatre as part of the Ten Pound’s 2018-19 series include an evening with The Matchsellers and Red Tail Ring on April 5, the instrumental folk band The Fretless on March 31, and singer-songwriter Crys Matthews on March 22.

“The Robin holds itself to a high standard with the musical acts we present, and we can rest easy knowing that the Fiddle is behind this series of shows. We really look forward to working with them,” Rogers said.

Josh Davis will perform as a part of the Fiddle’s annual Mid-Winter Singing Festival, which is set to take place February 1-2 at the Hannah Community Center. Joining Davis at the show will be singer and multi-instrumentalist Laura Bates, as well as local singer-songwriter Jen Sygit.

Jen Sygit will host her own CD release show October 12 in celebration of her fourth album, “It’s About Time,” which was produced by Jack White’s bassist and Steppin’ In It member, Dominic John Davis. ‘Time’ features a rotating cast of local musicians including Geoff Lewis, Drew Howard, and Mike Lynch.

May Erlewine returns again to the Fiddle with a show October 26, while the well-established folk-trio Mustard’s Retreat perform September 28.

Two special shows that are set to take place in January include what’s being described as American Experiences with the Heartland Klezmorim: The Musical Journey from the Shtetl. On January 18, Matt Watroba and Robert Jones Present: From Roots to Rap, a Musical Celebration of History and Diversity.

“The Heartland Klezmorim are presenting a program talking about the Jewish Experience in America,” Potter said. “I believe it will be chronological or touch on certain fence posts. This will not be just a regular concert. The Heartland Klezmorim, along with Matt and Robert, are presenting music that will help amplify the Jewish and African American experiences.”

Another presentation this year will be Music of the 60s: Two Audio and Visual presentations by Flat, Black, and Circular Co-Founder Dick Rosemont, who now resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The presentations will take place on October 7 at the Robin Theatre.

“This is so East Lansing,” Potter said. “Of course, Dick knows everything about music, and he has all this great knowledge. Dick is coming back for his high school reunion, so he’s going to stop by and talk about everything from psychedelic rock to Motown. You get to hang out with Dick Rosemont on a Sunday afternoon and learn about all this cool music.”

More information on the upcoming 2018-19 Ten Pound Fiddle Concert Series is available here.

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