Ready, set, act!
Calling all aspiring actors who would like to prepare for the upcoming Franke Center Children’s Theater fall production of Honk! Jr., directed by Sarah Noah. Come join us for a weekend camp August 24th and 25th filled with theater games, audition techniques and Honk! Jr. dialogue, blocking and choreography! Jocelyn France will work with students on building self-confidence, how to prepare for an audition, and material from the show. Please note that camp attendance is not required to audition for Honk! Jr., and attendance does not guarantee a role in the cast. The cost is $45 for students entering kindergarten, and $55 for students entering grades one through five. Kindergartners will meet from 11am to 12pm, grades one through three from 1pm to 3pm, and grades four and five from 4pm to 6pm. Please wear close-toed shoes, comfortable clothes and bring a water bottle.
All workshops take place at The Franke Center for the Arts, 214 E. Mansion Street in Marshall
Printable form below:
Enjoy the classic sound of the Hammond B3 organ as the Tony Monaco Trio presents an evening of Jazz and Blues classics and original compositions in the Downstage Club. Mentored by the legendary Jimmy Smith in what is considered the more classic style, Monaco does not swing, smolder or smoke. “Tony Monaco burns!” (CriticalJazz Review2012).
Tony Monaco may be the best organ player you have never heard of, flying stealth while playing arguably some of the hottest B-3 around. Monaco has made DownBeat magazine’s Critics’ Polls and Readers’ Polls every year since 2003, and has also been voted into the JazzTimes Readers’ Poll since 2003. With eight critically-acclaimed CD releases to his credit and a growing list of national and international gigs, Monaco’s star continues to burn brightly, solidifying his reputation as a major force on the Hammond B-3.
Tony Monaco began his keyboard life at age eight. When he was twelve, his destiny as a jazz organist was sealed when he first heard Jimmy Smith. An enthusiastic student, Tony began working in Jazz clubs as a teenager in his native Columbus, Ohio, guided by local organ gurus Hank Marr and Don Patterson. Four years later, Jimmy Smith invited Tony to come play at his club in California, a peak lifetime experience for Tony.
In April 2000, Tony met fellow jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, who offered to produce a debut CD for him. This collaboration resulted in the critically acclaimed “Burnin Grooves”. The international success of the recording served as the catalyst for regional and national tours. Tony has since released 8 International releases and toured around the globe many times.
As an ardent student of the organ, it’s no surprise that Tony is an accomplished teacher as well. His passion for teaching allowed him to secure his “Artist in Residence” status at Hope College in Holland Michigan where he teaches students both online as well as regular workshops, groups, and one-on-ones at the College.
“Heywood’s act is a visual bombardment. Heywood Banks is a geek. One part science lab, one part ‘The Day After’. The man is a walking, talking computer error.”
Heywood Banks is simply one-of-a-kind, almost impossible to describe, with a style his very own. Equal parts genius and buffoon, this songwriter-comic-singer-poet-musician has become a cult hero and a pop icon, with a show that appeals to college students, stoners, businessmen, yuppies, rednecks, punks, kids or your grandmother. Heywood intersperses his humorous observations of life with twisted, inventive, bizarre songs, sung and played in a variety of styles, from folk, to country to rock to pop, and way beyond.
“His comedy is musical. He’s in the tradition of Weird Al, I suppose. But he’s more insane and funnier. He writes and plays full-band full-on crazy songs about absolutely everything. “Wiper Blades” is playing right now. He has a great Michigan attitude—and I can only blame his genius on growing up around here, among the vacant lots, drainage ditches and mini malls. Lots of songs about “if I only had a bulldozer then everyone would be polite” or “be friendly to the crabby little old lady because you never know…who’s got a gun”…or “She’s the one-eye love”—the puns start picking up speed, like the one that says “I want to get you a loan.” There’s a song about “It’s Just the Television” about a guy overlooking scary sounds until it’s too late.”
An internationally known veteran of the comedy circuit, Heywood Banks has appeared on A&E’s “Evening at the Improv,” MTV’s “1/2 Hour Comedy Hour,” CNN’s “Hollywood Minute,” “Caroline’s Comedy Hour,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Showtime Comedy Club Network,” “Dr. Demento Show,” “12th Annual HBO Young Comedians Special with Paul Rodriguez” and is a frequent guest on the national Bob and Tom radio show.TICKETS
Jimmy Thackery is one of the few blues guitarists still performing who learned firsthand from the masters of the blues. Early in his career, he played several years with the legendary Muddy Waters Band. Later, he helped found the well-known band The Nighthawks, and he recorded three albums with his all-star R&B and funk band, The Assassins.
In 1992, Thackery put together a three-piece band called The Drivers to highlight his explosive guitar, and together they hit the blues highway. Since then, he has recorded eight discs on the Blind Pig label, and he continues a busy schedule of live performances.
Whether Jimmy headlines a festival in South Dakota or jams for hours in one of the numerous blues bars that dot the musical landscape, he’ll always unleash an intense volley of rockin’ blues guitar guaranteed to leave crowds emotionally spent. His double-edged guitar dynamics allow him to fire off tracer missiles, bend a note so it will fit under a limbo bar, run off dive bomber riffs, and find space within the trembling of one stinging note. As Thackery puts it, “I put all my senses on hold and find the zone and follow what’s inside. There’s an electricity from your mind to your heart to your fingers. You just try and remember to breathe!”
Doors Open at 7 PM
Susan Werner has cultivated a reputation as a daring and innovative songwriter, infusing traditional music styles and methods with her unmistakable contemporary worldview. Her engaging live shows keep audiences guessing and laughing simultaneously.
Opening on the Main Stage will be Michigan’s own Joel Mabus. One of contemporary folk music’s most eclectic performers, this talented multi instrumentalist has produced 27 solo albums through his career, and is well known for his entertaining live shows.
We are very excited to again be able to present Laith Al-Saadi and his Power Trio on the main stage to close out 2019! One of The Franke’s favorite performers, this is a show we always look forward to.
“Al-Saadi surges mighty musical squalls of electric blues, with a bit of soul and some rock ‘n’ roll mixed in. With precise command of his voice and the frets along his fender, he’s an alchemist of emotional blues ballads, twanged-out toe-tapping rockers, face-melting solos, and everything in between.”
After years of playing numerous venues on the local scene in Ann Arbor, Laith Al-Saadi won America’s hearts and a spot in the finale of the 2016 season of NBC’s The Voice. His love of classic Rock and searing guitar work brought a different genre of music and performance to the show which typically features modern pop music, featuring Blues/Rock classics such as “Born Under a Bad Sign”, “The Thrill Is Gone”, “White Room”, and the classic Dylan tune “All Along the Watchtower”. Laith is well known for his ability to make a Telecaster sing, filling every performance with stunning improvisations woven into a wide range of music including classic rock covers, jazz standards, soul, blues, and original compositions.
A graduate of the University of Michigan school of music with degrees in Jazz and Bass guitar, Laith spent years on local stages in Ann Arbor and across the country working with legends like Taj Mahal, Luther Allison, Buddy Guy, Son Seals, Gregg Allman and B.B. King. One of the hardest working musicians in Michigan, he played upwards of 300 gigs a year and endeared himself to legions of local fans. Entertainment Weekly called Laith Al-Saadi “a power performer who is so legitimate and memorable.”
This will be a great way to close out 2019 – Make your plans now to be at The Franke for what promises to be a fantastic night of music in The Franke’s intimate theater with a performer that is truly a Michigan treasure!
Now a Franke Center January tradition, this year’s event features the award winning six-piece Celtic band Kennedy’s Kitchen from South Bend, Indiana. Enjoy an evening of music and storytelling with traditional Irish instruments, outstanding vocals, and good cheer!
“Irish Kitchen Music from the home, the hearth, and the heart”
“Kennedy’s Kitchen is all things Irish from pub songs and sing-a-longs, stories, recitation, to ripping dance tunes; from pounding on the tables to crying in your beer. It is voices raised in song, rich harmonies, fiddle, flute, whistle, mandolin, tenor banjo, bouzouki, guitar, and bass . . when we are being serious we can bring you to tears; and every now and again, a kazoo or two. We sing and play from the deep tradition while also composing our own tunes, songs, and recitations.”
Kennedy’s Kitchen has been making Irish music together since 1998, averaging about 80 shows per year playing everything from backyard parties and weddings to pubs, concert halls, and national festivals. From their home in South Bend, Indiana, they have travelled as far as New York and Naples, Florida, recording five CDs along the way (they are working on their sixth).
They are family and friends, gathering every Thursday evening for dinner, laughter, and music rooted in traditional Irish Music, jigs, reels, hornpipes, aires, recitations, stories, and songs adding their own compositions along the way. They play traditional instruments including fiddle, flutes, whistles, mandolin, bouzouki, guitar, tenor banjo, harmonica, bodhran, and bass. It’s a mix of all things Irish from traditional to pub songs, from toe-tapping to deeply moving….and it’s always fun!
The band is led by joHn Kennedy, award winning singer and guitar player. Joining in is joHn’s nephew Liam Ladewski, then Theresa Kubiak, Chris O’Brien, and Jacob Turner. Liam, Theresa, and Jacob are award winners themselves having competed in the All-Ireland Fleadh on their respective instruments.
Here is a link to the Kennedy’s Kitchen Ireland Tours page, with the full brochure.TICKETS
One of the Franke’s favorite wintertime events, the annual Winter Blues Fest will feature Chicago’s Wayne Baker Brooks on the Main Stage. Preshow entertainment begins at 6 PM with The Fat Animals Bands in the Downstage Club. During this time, a barbecue dinner will be available for purchase, along with beer, wine, and soft drinks. The Main Stage show starts at 8 PM.
Hailing from Battle Creek, Michigan, the five-piece Fat Animals Band blends the elements of raw soul and blissful improvisation to produce interesting twists on modern and classic music, while remaining true to their Blues roots. Band Members include Don Daniel on Vocals, Phil Wiswell and Alvin Lautzenheiser on guitar, Shawn Kelly on Bass, and Colin McKernan on Drums.
“The Fat Animals are a super cool new band that bring joy to your body, soul, ear and feet. This Rock/Soul/Blues band is not to be missed.” -Walk the Beat, Albion, MI
Taking to the Main Stage at 8 PM will be the Wayne Baker Brooks Band. Born and Raised in Chicago, Wayne Baker Brooks is considered one of today’s top guitarists whose signature style combines powerful vocals with liquid fire guitar playing that honors his rich blues heritage yet effortlessly expands the boundaries of the genre. Son of Blues legend Lonnie Brooks, he was literally born into the Blues and spent his childhood regularly visiting such historic places as Chess Studios, Checkerboard Lounge, Wisefools, and many other Blues landmarks at which he witnessed many live performances by blues masters like Buddy Guy, Jr. Wells, Luther Allison, KoKo Taylor, the great Muddy Waters, & his father.
He has toured worldwide with his band for over 20 years including performances on national TV programs (including CNN’s “Showbiz”), as well as endless national radio programs, performing at the 2003 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Chicago, and even performing for First Lady Hilary Rodham Clinton at Chess Studios (Willie Dixon Blues Heaven Foundation) with legends Bo Diddley, KoKo Taylor, & Lonnie Brooks.
“”Down and Dirty, from the-gut-blues” ”
— – Chicago Tribune
“”A Must See” ”
— – Chicago SunTimes
Visit Wayne Baker Brooks Website: https://www.waynebakerbrooks.com/home
We are very excited to bring the Wayne Baker Brooks Band’s legendary live show to the intimate Franke Center for an evening of great Blues! Make your plans now to BE THERE on February 1, 2020.
Visit The Fat Animal Band Website: https://thefatanimals.wordpress.comTICKETS
Joe Louis Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner, celebrates a career that exceeds a half a century. Within the Blues world he is described as a “living legend” and has performed at many of the world’s most renowned music festivals.
“A legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern Blues” (NPR Music)
A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, he has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world’s most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans. Walker’s 1986 debut album Cold Is the Night on HighTone announced his arrival in stunning fashion, and his subsequent output has only served to further establish Walker as one of the leading bluesmen on the scene.
Born on December 25, 1949 in San Francisco, at age 14, he took up the guitar. Just two years later, he was a known quantity on the Bay Area music scene, playing blues with an occasional foray into psychedelic rock. For a while, he roomed with Mike Bloomfield, who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. Walker even made a brief pilgrimage to Chicago to check out the blues scene there. In 1975, burned out on blues, Walker turned to God, singing for the next decade with a gospel group, the Spiritual Corinthians. When the Corinthians played the 1985 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Walker was inspired to embrace his blues roots again. He assembled the Boss Talkers, and throughout the 1990s merged many of his gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock influences with his trademark blues. Through the years Walker has collaborated with a diverse group of first-rate artists including Branford Marsalis, James Cotton, Tower of Power, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Ike Turner and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. He has released twenty five albums since 1986, including his most recent effort “Journeys to the Heart of the Blues” in 2018.
Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, “I’d like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues. Sometimes I feel I’ve learned more from my failures, than from my success. But that’s made me stronger and more adventurous. And helped me create my own style. I’d like to think that when someone puts on one of my records they would know from the first notes, ‘That’s Joe Louis Walker.’”
Make your plans now to be at The Franke for an evening of great Blues with this legendary performer!TICKETS