Sounds of the Forest series starts next week

BALDWIN — Starting next week, downtown Baldwin will be filled with the sound of live music twice a week throughout summer.

The 22nd annual Sounds of the Forest concert series in Baldwin kicks off on June 22. The series offers a variety of jazz, blues, R&B and bluegrass musical styles every Wednesday and Saturday at Wenger Pavilion until the end of August.

“(The series has) a variety of music that is always marvelous,” said Lee Ann Russell, a member of the concert committee. “There is so much talent out there that, for me, it is very hard to miss.”

The concerts started shortly after the pavilion was built. The pavilion was named after Emil H. Wenger and it was originally designed to host community events,

“The business people (in Baldwin) thought, ‘You have a pavilion, you need to have a use for it,’” said Karen Petersen, also a committee member.

The pavilion started to host concerts during the summer and the committee enlisted the help of Tim Scully, current concert coordinator/producer, to book the acts. It was Scully’s idea to turn the concerts into a series.

The series originally hosted more jazz concerts as a nod to Lake County’s jazz history, Petersen said. But as the concerts’ audience expanded, so did the variety of music being offered.

“It’s more of a variety series now than it has ever been,” Scully said.

The concerts draw talents from nearby, but also have featured acts from New York, Chicago and California.

Each concert starts at 7 p.m. and is held rain or shine. The nice thing about the series, however, is the audience has a variety of ways to enjoy each concert, Petersen said.

“You have a choice of bringing your own lawn chair, sitting on chairs under the pavilion roof or sitting in your car with your windows down and enjoying the concert,” Petersen said.

The concerts are free to the public, but are supported by community donations. The series has a number of corporate sponsors and has received donations from individuals at different sponsorship levels. A collection plate also is passed around at each concert for those who wish to make a donation.

“We thank our sponsors,” Scully said. “We couldn’t do it without them. There have been people with us all through the years.”

The committee also hopes the concerts give back to businesses in Baldwin. Although some are closed during the time of the concerts, the ones that are open likely benefit from the concerts, Russell and Petersen said.

Concessions will be sold at the concerts, but Russell suggests bringing a picnic to enhance the experience.

Each band that plays on Saturday is part of a larger tour, which allows individuals to preview their music before Saturday or catch an encore performance on Sunday.

The bands play in Manistee on Tuesdays, Pentwater on Wednesdays, Cadillac on Thursdays, Reed City on Fridays, Baldwin on Saturdays and Pentwater again on Sundays.

In addition to donations, concert organizers are looking to provide the musicians with a place to stay while they are in town.

“That is one of the ongoing problems we’ve had because motels are usually full in summer on Friday and Saturday nights,” Scully said.

For more information on the concert series, to make a donation or to contact the concert organizers, visit baldwinsummerconcerts.org.

Sounds of the Forest, Saturday nights

The follow is the complete schedule for the 22nd annual Sounds of the Forest concert series in Baldwin. All shows start at 7 p.m. and are held at Wenger Pavilion.

  • June 22 — Tom Hagen/Cherie Lynn with Mary Rademacher
  • June 29 — Arno Marsh with the Robin Connell/Paul Brewer Quartet
  • July 6 — Kathy LaMar
  • July 13 — Benny Reeves with The Soul Sensations
  • July 20 — Madcat’s “Midnight” Blues Journey
  • July 27 — Paul Keller Quartet featuring Sarah D’Angelo
  • Aug. 3 — The Planet D Nonet
  • Aug. 10 — Jeanie Lambert & Russ Philipps with the Steve Sandner Band
  • Aug. 17 — Bill Heid Trio featuring Perry Hughes
  • Aug. 24 — Mary Rademacher with the Mark Kahny Bank
  • Aug. 31 — General Assembly Big Band

Echoes Through the Timber, Wednesday nights

  • June 27 — Ray Kamalay and His Red Hot Peppers
  • July 3 — The Root Doctor with Freddie Cunningham
  • July 10 — Key West Perma Frost Blues Band
  • July 17 — Circle of Sound
  • July 24 — Lou Thunder
  • July 31 — Boogie Woogie Babies
  • Aug. 7 — Greg Nagy Blues Band
  • Aug. 14 — Drive South
  • Aug. 21 — 13th Hour