Ralston Bowles orchestrated a rousing Grand Rapids variety show of talent for the summer-ending show, including Maurice Townsend, Channing & Quinn, Eric Engblade and more.
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All good things must come to an end, and sometimes, that end is a glorious thing indeed.
That certainly was the case on Tuesday night at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park when Ralston & Friends rolled out the final Tuesday Evening Music Club show of summer 2016, an ultra-collaborative and upbeat showcase of local and regional artists led by singer-songwriter and host Ralston Bowles.
The popular weekly series which takes places on Tuesdays in July and August every year often attracts large, family-friendly crowds and the 2016 finale was no exception with upwards of 2,000 people reveling in sets by gospel/R&B artist Maurice Townsend (with his positive-vibes band and choir, aka Mo & The Fam), indie folk duo Channing & Quinn, Andy Holtgreive, Michael Crittenden, and the Eric Engblade Band, which backed Bowles for a poignant show-ending set.
The night started with Holtgreive, Crittenden and Channing & Quinn performing Holtgreive’s “Remember Love,” while Bowles and children passed out Hospice of Michigan fans to audience members.
Bowles was in rare form and clearly in his element all night, dancing and hoofing it up on stage with Townsend, selling artist CDs in the crowd, dancing with children in front of the stage and generally thrilled with the evening and the audience turnout – even joking that Local Spins would blackmail him for images of his exuberant dance steps, especially during Mo & The Fam’s fan-pleasing renditions of “Happy” and “Oh Happy Day.”
“I don’t care,” he exclaimed. “I had a lot of fun tonight.”
So did much of the audience and all of the musicians who took part in the genre-blending spectacle that unfurled on a pleasant, if muggy, overcast evening at the outdoor amphitheater.
“This is so awesome,” singer Channing Lee of Channing & Quinn said backstage, acknowledging the turnout of fans for a diverse mix of musicians. At one point, the duo even wandered deep into the amphitheater to perform a final song, surrounded by children and happy fans.
Townsend, of Grand Rapids, a former “American Idol” contestant, put it this way during his uplifting, exhilarating sets with his band on stage: “There are a lot of beautiful people in here today.”
Indeed, there were, making the ending to the 2016 edition of Tuesday Evening Music Club a truly memorable one.
Check out the photo gallery and some video highlights from Tuesday’s show below.
VIDEO: Ralston Romps at Tuesday Evening Music Club
PHOTO GALLERY: Tuesday Evening Music Club (8/30/16)
Photos by Taylor Mansen