Canada’s Brass Transit plays Bay View outside Petoskey on Saturday, kicking off a hectic month of concerts across northern Michigan. Learn more about this band and view a full schedule of “up north” shows.
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After the summer of silence, live music has returned to Michigan’s northland.
Visitors to northern Michigan will find much to choose from: A flurry of concerts returns in earnest to the region at a variety of venues in July.
And in August, Interlochen Center for the Arts — which has booked a limited run of a half-dozen shows following more than a year of COVID shutdowns — kicks off its season with the legendary Chicago on Aug. 3.
Speaking of Chicago and a group inspired by this horn band, Canada’s Brass Transit on Saturday will fire up a full slate of July concerts at Bay View, the community just north of Petoskey proper.
The group faithfully brings to life the music of Chicago with gusto and affection. Trumpeter and bandleader Tony Carlucci said he grew up on the music of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tower of Power and especially, Chicago.
“All those horn bands struck me,” he said in a recent interview. “I was beginning to get into pop and jazz and was a horn player. When I first heard Chicago, I was blown away by the sound of three guys: It was a huge, huge sound. That turned me on and propelled me into the pop world.”
Carlucci formed the band in 2008 for his own personal enjoyment and booked a few gigs, the first of which came after just eight rehearsals. Since then, the group’s popularity swelled as it toured steadily across North America. It’s even released its own recording of well-known songs from the period, arranged in the style of Chicago.
Today, Carlucci is a fixture in the Toronto studio scene, as are most of his bandmates. One exception is keyboardist Don Breithaupt, who decamped to Los Angeles several years ago. He leads the jazzy pop band Monkey House, with which Carlucci has collaborated. Breithaupt also co-wrote music for Chicago with vocalist Neil Donnell, who actually left Brass Transit to join Chicago.
So there are plenty of connections with the iconic band, as well as those other jazz-rock outfits.
“I’ve seen Chicago at least 20 times. I’ve worked with David Clayton-Thomas,” he said. Clayton-Thomas is the Canadian singer who was lead vocalist for Blood, Sweat and Tears during its heyday. Brass Transit has also opened for today’s version of Blood, Sweat and Tears.
Carlucci said the band has a repertoire of 50 to 60 Chicago songs it draws from, though the big hits are a given: “Saturday in the Park,” “Beginnings,” “If You Leave Me Now,” “Hard Habit to Break” invariably find their way into their sets. “It (the set list) varies year to year. We leave room in certain sections to rotate songs,” he said.
The group also has arranged the music to perform with orchestras. “Don did a lot of those arrangements,” said Carlucci.
Brass Transit performed a successful outdoor show at Bay View in 2014. Bay View Artistic Director Chris Ludwa said this year’s show will take place on stage in John M. Hall Auditorium, which he said will provide greater production values. Tickets remain available; for more information, go to BayViewAssociation.org/pop-concerts.
That’s just the tip of the musical iceberg.
While it’s true the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may still force changes to schedules or, heaven forbid, a complete cessation of activities once again, the availability of vaccines has brought both musicians and audiences out of the woodwork. Different venues and events may opt to continue requiring such things as masking and social distancing.
Here are upcoming shows taking place north of Grand Rapids this summer:
Charlevoix Live on the Lake
Thursdays 7-9p.m. at East Park Odmark Pavilion. Charlevoix City Band plays Tuesdays in July and August at 8 p.m.
July 1 Tracy Kash
July 8 Hurricane
July 15 Charlie Millard Band
July 29 Dags Und Timmah
Aug. 5 Matt Gabriel
Aug. 12 Enemy Line
Aug. 19 Brett Newski
Aug. 26 Distant Stars
Lavender Hill Farm
Live music concert series held in a renovated, multi-use barn outside Boyne City. Enjoy a picnic on the lawn overlooking fields of lavender.
July 10 Cousin Curtiss
July 17 Morgan Myles
July 31 Horton Creek Bluegrass
Aug. 7 Gaines & Wagoner
Aug. 14 Stella!
Sept. 4 Horton Creek Bluegrass
The Evenings at the Gazebo Concert Series has moved to the pavilion in Veterans Park for the 2021 summer season. Concerts will take place each Wednesday evening.
July 7 Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra
July 14 Pete “Big Dog” Fetters
July 21 Full Circle
July 28 Billie McAllister
August 4 Nelson Olstrom
August 11 The Real Ingredients
August 18 Matt Gabriel
August 25 Full Moon Jam Band
Grand Traverse Pavilions
The Concerts on the Lawn have grown into one of the summer’s most popular musical events. Performances are Thursday evenings from 7-8 p m. These free events celebrate and support local artists in the community.
July 1 Elvis Tribute
July 15 Remembering Patsy Cline
July 22 Petoskey Steel Drum Band
July 29 Peter, Paul and Mary Remembered
Aug. 5 Bay Area Big Band
Aug. 12 K. Jones & The Benzie Playboys
Aug. 19 The Backroom Gang
Aug. 26 Miriam Pico & Friends
Hosted by the Northport Performing Arts Center. Socialize, picnic, and mingle while enjoying live music and views of Northport Bay at G.M. Dame Marina Park. Music begins at 7 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m.
July 2 Soul Patch
July 9 Mulebone
July 16 Time Machine
July 23 Jeff Tucker Band
July 30 Thunderwude
Aug. 6 New Third Coast
Aug. 13 Ben Daniels Band
Aug. 20 Ol’ Microtones
Aug. 27 Don Julin/Ron Getz Quartet
Sept. 3 Dune Brothers
7 p.m., downtown (not in the park)
July 1 Jazz North
July 8 Jake Allen
July 15 Standing Hamptons
July 22 TBA
July 29 The Way Outs
Aug. 5 TBA
Aug. 12 The Ole Microtones
Aug. 19 Dig A Pony
Aug. 26 The Accidentals
Coyote Crossing Music Series
Coyote Crossing, 8593 S. 13 Rd., Cadillac
July 10 Drew Hale Band
July 17 Rachael David & Luke Winslow-King
July 24 Adam Joynt Band
July 31 Myron Elks & Dying Breed
Aug. 7 Michigan Rattlers
Aug. 21 Drew Hale Band
Aug. 28 Matt Sayles w/special guests
Sept. 4 The Insiders
Rotary Arts Pavilion, Cadillac, 7 p.m.
July 1 Holly McGuire
July 8 Tell Yo Mama
July 15 Nick Moss Band
July 22 Serita’s Black Rose
July 29 Greg Nagy’s Men of Leisure
Aug. 5 Rodney Whitaker Quartet
Aug. 12 Planet D Nonet
Aug. 17 Chris Foreman’s Soul Message Band
Aug. 26 U’Neek Soul
Ovation Hall, Petoskey
July 2 The Buckinghams
July 30 The Box Tops
Portage Lake Association Concerts in the Park
Monday nights, 7 p.m., Onekama Village Park
July 5 Shrock Brothers Band, featuring Madcat
July 12 Elvis Tribute by Jake Slater
July 19 Benzie Playboys
July 26 Ben Traverse
Aug. 2 Peter, Paul & Mary Remembered
Aug. 9 Michael Trixx
Aug. 16 Wally Pleasant
Aug. 23 Awesome Distraction
Manistee ShoreLine Showcase 2021
First Street Beach Rotary Gazebo, Douglas Park, 7 p.m.
July 6 Tell Yo Mama
July 13 Nick Moss Blues Band
July 20 Serita’s Black Rose
July 27 Greg Nagy’s Men of Leisure
Aug. 3 Rodney Whitaker Quartet
Aug. 10 Planet D None
Aug. 17 Chris Foreman’s Soul Message Band
Aug. 24 U’Neek Soul
Aug. 31 Headwinds Blues Project
Manistee Roots on the River
July 8 Harper and the Midwest Kind
Other shows TBA
Old Town Playhouse Theatre Under the Tent
Old Town Playhouse offers a variety of shows in its parking lot on Union Street in Traverse City. OldTownPlayhouse.com
July 2 Comedy With Marti Johnson
July 3, 17 East Bay Blue
July 7 ReBooted
July 8 Cherry Blossom Ramblers
July 14 Top of the Pop
July 16 Pico, Chown & Sears
July 21 Big Fun
July 22 The Old Town Playhouse Radio Hour
July 23, 24, 29, Aug. 6 I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
July 28 East Bay Drive
July 30 , 31, Aug. 1 Showstoppers
Aug. 4 Strum
Aug. 5, 7, 14 Hate Mail
Aug. 11 Beach ’N’ Buffet
Aug. 13 Toma’s Mime Time
Aug. 18 Jeff Haas Quartet
Aug. 20 Let’s Sing Again
Aug. 21, 26, 27 Love, Loss & What I Wore
Sept. 1 Around the World
Pit Spitters Stadium
Home of the Traverse City Pit Spitters baseball team.
Sept. 17 Old Dominion
Music On Bear Lake
Shows take place at 1 p.m. Saturdays on a boat on the lake.
July 24 Straits Shooter
Aug. 28 The Real Ingredients
Elk Rapids Evening On River Street
Taking place at 6pm Wednesdays in downtown Elk Rapids on River Street, of course.
July 7 Brotha James
July 14 Dags Und Timmah
July 21 Matt Mansfield
July 28 Leanna Collins
Aug. 4 Sweetwater Blues Band
Aug. 11 TBD
Elk Rapids Summer Concert Series @ The Harbor
At 7 p.m. Saturdays (except as noted) at the Harbor on Cedar Street.
July 4 On the Sun (Sunday)
July 17 Nathan Walton
Aug. 1 1000 Watt Prophets (Sunday)
Aug. 7 Delilah DeWylde w/Harbor Days and Fireworks
Aug. 21 Gasoline Gypsies
Bay View, Petoskey
The summer community on the north side of Petoskey was founded as an educational and cultural community by Michigan Methodists “for intellectual and scientific culture and the promotion of the cause of religion and morality.” It’s since expanded to include and feature the arts, including music and theatre. Concerts on Sundays through Aug. 8 Vespers concerts with guest artists at 8 p.m. BayViewAssociation.org
July 3 Brass Transit
July 14 Bay View String Quartet
July 21-24 La Traviata
July 30 The Accidentals
Great Lakes Center for the Arts, Bay Harbor
The performance hall is located at Bay Harbor south of Petoskey.
July 2 Naturally 7
July 10 Gladys Knight gala
July 17 Vanessa Williams
July 22 Ryan Hamilton
July 24 Kurt Elling
July 30/31 Pink Martini
Aug. 6 Brian Stokes Mitchell
Aug. 13-15 Musical: Always, Patsy Cline
Aug. 17 ChaoJun Yang
Aug. 21 Michael Feinstein
Aug. 28 Paul Taylor Dance Company
Sept. 5 Tanya Tucker
Sept. 12 Denyce Graves
Oct. 2 Thompson Square
Oct. 9 BB King Blues Band
Lake Street Music Festival
Performances at the Studio Stage in Glen Arbor behind the Glen Arbor Arts Center, taking the place of the Manitou Music Festival. Performances start at 8 p.m. Tickets available at Lake Street Studio or Oryana or at the door if available.
July 14 Mulebone
July 21 Cameron Blake Trio
Aug. 4 Drew Nelson
Aug. 11 Mustard’s Retreat
Ramsdell Theatre, Manistee
Performances at the historic Ramsdell Regional Centre for the Arts.
July 9 Tom Petty Tribute
July 23 Resurrection, a Journey tribute
Aug. 20 Mercury: Featuring Terry Barber (Queen tribute)
Aug. 27 S’Wonderful, An Evening of Gershwin
LivelyLands Music Festival
Aug. 20-22 at Backyard Burdickville (formerly known as the Eagles Campground) on M-72 east of Empire. Headliners include Joshua Davis, Laura Rain & The Caesars and Michigan supergroup the Stovetop Bernard Lavengood Trio.
Dunesville Music Festival
July 23-25 at Harmony Pines Campground, 4846 N Hulbert Rd., Lake Ann. The festival will feature a variety of artists performing folk, funk, rock and other genres.
The Big Ticket Festival
July 9-11 at the Otsego County Fairgrounds in Gaylord, featuring a variety of Christian performers and speakers.
Aug. 12-15 at 1865 Roby Road, Johannesburg. With two separate performance stages, the festival offers a variety of genres and activities. Performers will include The Blue Water Ramblers, bugs Beddow & The Good Stuff, Drew Nelson, Madcats’s C.A.R.Ma. Quartet, Oh Brother Big Sister, Luke Winslow-King, Seth Bernard and many others. Plus fun for the family at the Kids’ Area.
Hoxeyville Music Festival
Aug. 13-15 at the Hoxeyville festival grounds, 150 acres of farmland surrounded by the Manistee National Forest in Wellston. Headliners include Billy Strings, the Allman Betts Band, the Sam Bush Band, Yonder Mountain String Band with Luke Winslow-King, Seth Bernard and many others.
Big Fam Music and Arts Festival
Aug. 27-29 at Harmony Pines, 4846 N Hulbert Rd., Lake Ann. This first iteration of the festival will feature a variety of artists, from rock, folk and funk to bluegrass, jam and electronic.
Cedar Polka Festival
Aug. 26-29 at the tennis courts in downtown Cedar. Polka bands from across the Midwest, including Duane Malinowski, Kowalski Brothers The Polka Brothers, Jimmy K, and the Scottville Clown Band.
Beaver Island Music Fest
July 15-17. Artists scheduled to perform include Brother Crowe, Gasoline Gypsies, Roma Ransom, Snack & Five, The Hacky Turtles, Drew Hale Band, and more. Festival Grounds, 28599 Hideaway Trail, Beaver Island.
Baroque on Beaver
Performances by a variety of ensembles (mostly classical, but not all) at various locations on the island. All concerts at 7:30 p.m. except as noted.
July 30 Opening Night Gala
July 31 Gala Recital
Aug. 1 What’s New, Baroque?
Aug. 2 Brass on the Grass 4pm
Aug. 3 Chamber Music Café
Aug. 4 The Founders Concert
Aug. 5 Chamber Music al fresco 2pm
Aug. 5 Celebrations and Fantasies
Aug. 6 Kids in Koncert 2pm
Aug. 6 Music of Remembrance
Aug.7 Baroque South of the Border
Depot Music Festival
July 31, 3-9pm, at Cadillac Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion, downtown Cadillac.
Featuring Landing Dance Academy, Craig Walworth, Once Upon a Bison, Feeding Grizzlies, Speedball Tucker, Adam Joynt, American Hotel System.
For more listings of summer concerts at venues: SUMMER CONCERTS @ VENUES
For listings of free community concerts across Michigan: FREE OUTDOOR COMMUNITY CONCERTS
For a comprehensive listing of Michigan music festivals: MICHIGAN MUSIC FESTIVALS 2021
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