Monthly Archives: June 2013

Power2Give campaign helps Oakland arts groups raise needed funds

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Arts and Scraps seeks supplies for Metro Detroit children, through Power2Give. Photo Courtesy/CultureSource

Arts and Scraps seeks supplies for Metro Detroit children, through Power2Give.
Photo Courtesy/CultureSource

Oakland County arts organizations are seeking funding help with the launch of a new Kickstarter campaign through Power2Give.

Arts and culture organization CultureSource will launch the 17th market of national Kickstarter site Power2Give Thursday, June 27. The site matches prospective donors with arts organizations seeking financial assistance.

“We’ve got loads of really cool Oakland County projects seeking funding,” said Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey, CultureSource Director of Communications.

“For example, Cranbrook Art Museum would like new seating for groups coming through its galleries. The Village Fine Arts Association in Milford is in desperate need of updated display screens. The Royal Oak-based Cantata Academy Chorale is trying to raise money to complete a recording session. The Holocaust Memorial Center library (in Farmington Hills) needs funds to bind and preserve its books.

“These and dozens more metro Detroit nonprofits just need a little help to make their projects happen, and Power2Give can help them find new donors.”

FYI: For more information about CultureSource or to visit the local Power2Give kickstarter site, visit or

Unlike other Kickstarter projects, Power2Give pairs donors with specific projects, rather than institutions, to give perspective of what will be done with the money, said CultureSource Executive Maud Lyon.

“(Power2Give’s method) is good because it makes it easier for new donors to understand what the money is going to do and how it’s going to benefit people,” Lyon said. “It’s not just making general statements about how wonderful the organization is. It’s very specifically giving you a tangible idea of what they do, and what they need to do it well or do it better.”

Ramsey outlined the Oakland County projects in detail:

— The Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center needs $10,000 to help launch a new program for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers to inspire creative mind functioning for individuals in early- and mid-stage Alzheimer’s and dementia.

— The Janice Charach Gallery is seeking $10,000 for new pedestals to display artwork at the West Bloomfield gallery inside the Jewish Community Center.

— The Art Experience in Pontiac is seeking $2,661 cover the cost of one year’s worth of supplies to support its open studio program.

— The Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield is looking for $8,016 for new seating for groups that come to explore its galleries.

— The Village Fine Arts Association in Milford needs $5,600 to provide paper, sketching pencils, ink pens, acrylic paints, paintbrushes, clay and other supplies needed to help artists create at the new center.

CultureSource formed in 2007. The provisional association’s job is to help art and culture organizations in Metro Detroit establish stable community assets, Lyon said. 120 organizations have benefited from the site.

Photo Courtesy of Power2Give

Photo Courtesy of Power2Give

Power2Give was started by the Arts and Science Council of North Carolina two years ago, and Lyon said the site brings a new way for art and cultural nonprofits to seek online funding for projects.

Research shows that young donors are more interested in supporting projects than institutions, Lyon said. Bringing this kickstarter site to Detroit gives donors the opportunity to contribute to projects that are important to them, increasing visibility for many lesser-known or smaller groups.

Ramsey said all projects posted on Power2Give are eligible for a 1:1 donation match grant. The Ford Foundation was the first to match, donating $60,000.

“With Power2Give, we are very happy to have the matching price from Ford Foundation to get things started,” Lyon said. “One of the wonderful things about the system is that it is very flexible, and it is set up to do matching funds for anyone that wants to.

“Our mission is to do things that will enable many organizations to connect with new donors in different ways,” she added. “It makes the Detroit arts and culture sector stronger, but it also makes each organization stronger by using the system. It’s great for people in the community because there are many projects that wouldn’t be successful without something like this.”


Royal Hoax band performs benefit concert for Scarab Club

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Oakland County band Royal Hoax will rock the Scarab Club on June 28, bringing music to the art gallery at the Preserve the Arts benefit concert.

Photo courtesy of Royal Hoax

Photo courtesy of Royal Hoax

Brothers Jake and Mark Hoke with Elijah Nelson make up Royal Hoax, a band that plays for causes — this one an effort to support the arts in Detroit and throughout Michigan.

“We believe that art is one of the city’s most valuable assets,” Jake said. “It’s a really important thing for so many reasons, to keep it going.”

FYI: The Preserve the Arts benefit event is at 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 28. Presale tickets are $12 and can be purchased at The show is limited to 75 guests. The Scarab Club is at 217 Farnsworth St., Detroit, across from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Follow the band

With art and music programs being cut in local schools, and rumors of the DIA possibly being forced to sell part of its collection, Royal Hoax wanted to do something to keep art alive in the state.

“In order for Michigan’s future to be successful on a competitive scale, you’ve got to keep the arts intact, because it helps a lot of people think creatively and come up with new ideas to move forward,” Mark Hoke said.

The band from Pontiac became known through its Rock4Hunger Tour, during which Royal Hoax brought its music to schools and mall kiosks, sharing their songs in efforts to end hunger and promote music awareness.

Proceeds from album sales and shows have helped Gleaner’s Food Bank. The band has distributed more than 6,500 albums and provided more than 32,000 meals for people in need, in addition to promoting music education in the schools.

“A big reason we do Rock4Hunger is to help schools’ music programs, if they may be going through budget cuts,” Mark Hoke said. “Many schools are cutting out music and art programs, so we like to bring in those concerts to keep that in the front of the mind and give the students a unique experience, maybe opening their eyes to careers that they might not know exist outside of their normal curriculum.”

This concert is unlike shows the band has done in the past — it will be their first time playing in an art gallery.

Photo/Stephanie Sokol

Royal Hoax promotes their music at mall kiosks. Photo/Stephanie Sokol


The Scarab Club, a venue for art, music and literature, is more interactive, says Jake Hoke. The club hosts exhibits, poetry readings and workshops. Fifty-eight percent of ticket proceeds from the Preserve the Arts show will benefit the Scarab Club.

The band members are most looking forward to furthering their cause in this more intimate concert setting.

“We want it to be a more intimate, exclusive event, where we can play in a really, really unique place … outside of the typical concert situation,” Jake said. “It will be really cool, a little bit different of a vibe.”

Artist Madelyn Hilty will paint live at the club during the set, which will feature two new Royal Hoax songs never publicly performed before. Everyone who buys a ticket will be entered in a raffle to win the finished painting.

Hilty, an artist, illustrator and student at Kendall College of Art and Design, has been creating art since she was 3. She said drawing and oil painting are her favorite media.

“Art is part of our cultural heritage,” she said. “So many things we know about the past, we know because of art. Art is just a part of our everyday society — with advertisements, video games — we are completely surrounded by art on a daily basis.”

Highland Games bring Celtic music, more to Canterbury Village

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Take a journey to Scotland by heading out to Orion Township for the 20th annual Highland Games at Canterbury Olde World Village June 29-30.

Photo courtesy of Frank Dohanyos

Photo courtesy of Franklin Dohanyos

The family-friendly two-day Scottish celebration, presented by Ultimate Fun Productions and The Scottish American Society of Michigan, will be five times larger this year, said Franklin Dohanyos, games chairman for the event and founder of the society.

The new location, on a 5-acre lot adjacent to the village, yields more room for events, which include jousting, re-enactments and band performances.

FYI: The 20th annual Highland Games takes place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 29, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 30 at Canterbury Olde World Village, 2369 Joslyn Ct. in Orion Township. Tickets, available at the event or at, are $10 for adults, $7 for kids 6 to 11, and 5 and younger get in free. Partial proceeds generated by the Scottish American Society of Michigan Scottish Games will be donated to the SE MI chapter of Leader Dogs for the Blind. For more information about the games, visit or

The Scottish American Society of Michigan is a 501(c)(7) nonprofit group whose mission is to carry on Scottish tradition in a fun way. When the society took over the games in 2011, attendance grew from 400 guests to about 2,400.

Proceeds from the group’s events benefit charities, including the Rochester Boys and Girls Club, Leader Dogs for the Blind and Salvation Army.

People who attend the games can find out about their lineage, or just celebrate the culture itself. Dohanyos said his objective in forming the society was to keep the culture alive.

“Our goal is to preserve Scottish heritage in Michigan,” Dohanyos said. “To do that, we have to share our culture with the youth.”

During the games, Highland and Irish dancers will perform onstage, and pipe bands and Celtic groups will provide musical entertainment.

Local Celtic rock band Shamus Whiskey returns to the games this year. Band member Jeff Axelsen compared Celtic rock to country music, because of instrumentation and lyrical story.

The music gets a lot of audience response, Axelsen said.

“It’s all about seeing the bands, going to the games, having fun and hanging out,” he said. “Everyone’s really social and fun. For people who have never been to a Celtic festival, it’s worth the afternoon to go check it out.”

Photo courtesy of Franklin Dohanyos

Photo courtesy of Franklin Dohanyos

Scottish history re-enactments by the 42nd Highlanders Regiment, including musket shooting and an overnight campout, will also be part of the schedule.

While alcohol will be served, Dohanyos said the event is very family-friendly. Activities for children will be incorporated into the day, along with demonstrations and food.

“This is a place that you come with your family, learn about your family history, have fun, listen to the bands, go to the kids’ area, eat and have a good time,” Dohanyos said. “There’s something for everybody at the Highland Games.”

Under the Streetlamp doo-wop show benefits Meadow Brook Theatre

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Under the Streetlamp is bringing doo-wop tunes to Meadow Brook Theatre for two benefit shows July 20.

Photo courtesy of Under the Streetlamp

Photo courtesy of Under the Streetlamp

At this show, a traveling group of young singers will perform a variety of classic doo-wop, Motown and old rock ’n’ roll hits to entertain while bringing in funds for the theater.

Meadow Brook Theatre, founded in 1967, is Michigan’s largest nonprofit producing professional theater. While the theater fundraisers throughout the year, this benefit is something different, says Cheryl Marshall, Meadow Brook Theatre’s managing director.

Marshall said fundraisers like this one are important to maintaining and keeping shows going.

FYI: Under the Streetlamp is playing at 2 and 7:30 p.m. July 20 at Meadow Brook Theatre, 207 Wilson Hall, Rochester, on the campus of Oakland University. Tickets are $98 to $125 can be purchased at or at the box office, 248-377-3300. Proceeds from the concert go to Meadow Brook Theatre.

“Under the Streetlamp usually doesn’t play in smaller venues, but they were willing to help us out — they are fabulous,” Marshall said.

The four young men of Under the Streetlamp, were the original “Jersey Boys” cast. After touring, they formed a vocal group, carrying on the same kind of musical style as in the show.

One of the singers, Shonn Wiley, is a Michigan native who now resides in California. Wiley said he looks forward to returning home for this show.

“I grew up in southeast Michigan and had the opportunity to work with many Michigan actors, and I have friends who are part of the Meadow Brook Theatre,” Wiley said. “Anytime we can help not-for-profits, theaters and arts education raise money to continue, it’s something we take great pride in.”

Unlike “Jersey Boys,” the shows put on by Under the Streetlamp have no script and are more of a concert than a musical.

The group will perform a variety of music from the American radio songbook, including The Beatles and Roy Orbison, Wiley says. The members — Michael Cunio, Michael Ingersoll and Christopher Kale Jones in addition to Wiley — have been on Broadway, and will bring their energy to the Meadow Brook stage, Marshall said.

“Guests can expect to be taken back, through performances of their favorite doo-wop songs,” Marshall says. “It’s two and a half hours of pure fun and delight.”

The group was also featured in a PBS special, and is working on a second one to be filmed in September in Indiana, Wiley says.

“When we were doing Jersey Boys, we loved Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and we loved covering their music and the show,” he says. “But what we found was, there’s all this really wonderful music that was happening at the same time.”

“(Under the Streetlamp) is a chance for us to be ourselves and not only sing music from the Four Seasons catalog, but also tackle music from all throughout that period.”

St. Nick’s Opa! Fest celebrates church’s 77th anniversary

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

The members of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Troy enjoy sharing and celebrating their Greek culture each year at a lively festival, the Opa! Fest.

St. Nicholas’ 20th annual Opa! Fest runs 4-11 p.m. Friday, June 21, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 22, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 23 at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 760 W. Wattles Road, Troy. Admission is $2 per person except for 4-6 p.m. Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, when all admission is free. Military personnel and their families, plus children 12 and younger get in free anytime, and admission is also with donation of three canned food items. Free parking with shuttle service available at Walsh College. For more information, visit, call Nick Phillips at 248-295-7112 or email Photo Courtesy of Souphis

Greek dancing is a big part of St. Nicholas’ 20th annual Opa! Fest, which runs 4-11 p.m. Friday, June 21, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 22, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 23 at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 760 W. Wattles Road, Troy. For more information, visit, call Nick Phillips at 248-295-7112 or email
Photo Courtesy of Tina Souphis

This year’s will be the 20th annual Opa! Fest, June 21-23, also celebrating St. Nicholas’ 77th anniversary.

“(Opa! Fest is) for everybody, a very family-orientated event for sure,” said Nick Phillips, Opa! Fest committee member. “It’s open to the Greek community to enjoy the dancing and culture, but also non-Greek individuals are more than welcome to enjoy the Greek foods, music and dancing.”

FYI: St. Nicholas’ 20th annual Opa! Fest runs 4-11 p.m. Friday, June 21, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 22, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 23 at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 760 W. Wattles Road, Troy. Admission is $2 per person except for 4-6 p.m. Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, when all admission is free. Military personnel and their families, plus children 12 and younger get in free anytime, and admission is also with donation of three canned food items. Free parking with shuttle service available at Walsh College. For more information, visit, call Nick Phillips at 248-295-7112 or email

The event is the largest Greek festival in Metro Detroit, Phillips says. The three-day celebration includes authentic Greek foods and beverages, live entertainment, shopping, a church tour and children’s events. Children can find fun with inflatable rides, games and crafts.

Art and other cultural displays will be shown as guests tour the church. Holding the event there provides an opportunity to connect the parish and community, as well as raise funds to support church programs and activities, Phillips says.

In addition to helping the church, proceeds from the festival also go to Gleaner’s Food Bank and Forgotten Harvest. Three cans of food may be donated in place of admission, to fill the Gleaner’s truck over the weekend.

Food and shopping are a big part of Opa! Fest. Plaka Marketplace in the banquet room will sell artwork, clothing, pastries and other Greek merchandise.

Greek food will be served and prepared on-site. Cooking demonstrations will teach people how to prepare Greek meals. The Three Greek Sisters of Toronto will be at the event on Saturday, making meals from two of their healthy Greek cookbooks, which will be available for sale and signing that day.

The festival will also feature a kafeneio, serving Greek coffee, and a taverna for the 21 and older crowd.

Entertainment at the festival is also another reflection of the culture. Local group Enigma Detroit will play all weekend. Together for 13 years, the seven-piece Greek band has traveled around the country, says leader and founder Michael Livanos of Troy.

Livanos said today’s Greek music is a modern twist on tradition. He described it as a “mix of pop, rock and Middle Eastern flair,” performed with bouzouki, a tradition mandolin-style Greek instrument.

“There is a wide variety of it — so many types of Greek music,” Livanos said. “It’ll definitely get you up to dance. It’s very rhythmical.”

While they’ve performed at weddings, clubs and other local festivals, this is the band’s sixth year playing at St. Nick’s Opa Fest.

“Opa! Fest is the largest Greek festival in Detroit,” Livanos said. “There are several other ones, but it’s probably the most exclusive and highly organized festival. There’s great entertainment. It exhibits culture to the fullest. If you really want to see Greek culture, you go to the Opa! Fest.”

Dancing to the music, nine groups from the church will perform at this year’s event. The groups are made up of 250 first-, fifth- and sixth-generation Greek children and young adults. Dance Director Tina Souphis has been in charge of the groups since Opa! Fest’s beginning.

Practicing starts each year in January for the children, who meet about twice a month to prepare for the festival. Young adults work on their moves all year, rehearsing about three times a month.

Souphis said she loves seeing the dancers’ progress, and they all get excited to dance.

Performers sport authentic Greek costumes, unique to their ancestral region. Dancing helps them learn about and celebrate their culture.

“We love to share a part of our culture, and I think the Greek culture is a very warm and giving community,” Souphis said. “Watching the kids dancing is just beautiful. They’re so graceful in some of their moves and dances.”

Bloomfield natives bring “Les Mis” to Meadow Brook

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

A dreamlike interpretation of “Les Miserables” will be at Meadow Brook Theatre June 30 through July 3.

Katherine Carter talks with  a cast member. Photo/Stephanie Sokol

Katherine Carter talks with a cast member. Photo/Stephanie Sokol

Director Katherine Carter is an alumna of Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills. She now lives in New York City, and through her theater company, The Other Mirror, she adapts stories for the stage.

“Les Mis” was the first musical Carter learned, working in a student production of the play while at Andover. This time, she said, she wanted to take the story in a different direction.

“With the movie still fresh in everyone’s mind and the Broadway tour still running, it was very important to me that this was not your normal ‘Les Mis,’” Carter said. “It’s so tempting just to give over to the piece and let it be a beautiful revival of the ‘Les Mis’ that we all know and love. What I really wanted was to give my audience who knew the piece a new way to fall in love with it.”

FYI: Tickets are $15 and $20 and can be purchased at Meadow Brook Theatre, or Performances are June 30 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and July 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. Visit

She said she is happy to return to Michigan, bridging her out-of-state company with theater people she worked with in the past.

“What’s really exciting about this ‘Les Mis’ and the fact that it’s an outside company coming to Michigan is that it allows a lot of different things,” Carter said. “Michigan’s so wonderful, we have a ton of amazing theaters in the community, like Meadow Brook.”

Justin Spiro, founder of Spiro productions and also from Bloomfield Hills, is a law student with a love for musical theater. “Les Mis” will be the premiere production for his company.

Spiro said his favorite element of “Les Mis” is the story of redemption, forgiveness and second chances. Knowing about Carter’s experience in musical theater, he brought her on as director. He said he wants the music to be the main focus of the show.

“The music (of ‘Les Miserables’) is astounding,” Spiro said. “I’ve probably seen around 30 musicals live throughout the last 10 to 12 years, and the music to me is the best of any show I’ve seen.”

Vocals are the focus of this show, Spiro said, adding the cast is talented both vocally and as actors, though he wants the music to be better than in other productions.

Carter said each of the cast members had a “wow” moment in auditions.

“I think there’s a difference between an actor-singer and a singer-actor,” Spiro said. “You need both, there’s no question they are important elements, but my whole idea going into this was I wanted the absolute best singing talent I could find.”

Part of the cast rehearses a scene from "Les Mis."

Part of the cast rehearses a scene from “Les Mis.” Photo/Stephanie Sokol

The cast includes 40 Michigan actors and singers, with Jim Territo as music director, and former Andover choreographer Roberta Campion as movement director.

Children “get harmony” at Sweet Adelines Day Camp and Benefit Show

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Davison High School Auditorium will fill with the sounds of barbershop harmonies as Sweet Adelines Border Lakes Region 2 hosts the sixth annual Got Harmony Day Camp and Benefit Show on June 22.

Got Harmony Camp and Concert takes place June 22. The show will be at 7 p.m., following the day of rehearsals and vocal clinics.

Got Harmony Camp and Concert takes place June 22. The show will be at 7 p.m., following the day of rehearsals and vocal clinics.           Photo Courtesy/ Sweet Adelines







With schools cutting music programs, this event provides an opportunity for young people ages 11 to 25 to explore music through a day of training and performance, said program marketing coordinator Carole Essenmacher of Vassar.

“Music is a universal language, and for kids who are musical, it’s good for them to be able to express it and have avenues where they can use their music,” Essenmacher said.

FYI: Davison High School Auditorium is at 1250 N. Oak Road, in Davison. Tickets are $12; tickets for seniors, students and groups are $10. Camp costs $22, due by June 11, and provides children with instruction, lunch, dinner, a T-shirt, CDs and performance in the show. For registration or tickets, call 989-823-2036 or 810-240-5947,; or visit for more information.

Sweet Adelines formed in 1945 as a national women’s barbershop quartet society.

Joan Kientz, one of the Got Harmony coordinators, has three generations involved in the camp — her three grandchildren, daughter and herself. After she married the director of a chorus, Kientz, who didn’t see herself as a vocalist, realized her talent and joined as baritone.

Since then, she has worked in administration and marketing for the chapter, in addition to hosting the Got Harmony camp and show for the past three years.

“The music is beautiful and (kids) enjoy barbershop harmony,” she said. “(The audience) loves to see what the campers have learned during the day. We’ve always had wonderful things that have been said about the performances and the concert. ”

Got Harmony was created six years ago by members of a Marine City chorus of Sweet Adelines. Though no vocal experience is required, campers receive music and a recording in the mail beforehand, to learn the songs.

The day starts at 8:30 a.m., with registration and ice-breaker activities. After, the quartet groups warm up and begin rehearsal sessions, working in sectionals with vocal coaches, choreographers and directors until 5:30 p.m. to perfect the performance.

MSU men’s Pioneer District Quartet the G-Fours and YWIH award-winning quartet Artistically Inclined Quartet will work with the children in addition to other Sweet Adeline Faculty.

The benefit starts at the end of that day, 7 p.m. All ticket proceeds go toward the camp.

Maria Christian of Oak Park is the new director of Song of the Lakes Sweet Adelines Chorus of Davison. Christian, an 11-year member of Sweet Adelines, certified director and bass in the Champion Quartet, says barbershop style music is an art itself, making it different from other music.

She said music brings joy to her life, and that all children should be exposed to it. She will direct a song at the concert and work with the kids on their technique.

“(The children) bring such energy to the music — it’s fun to be around that, it’s contagious,” Christian said. “You can’t help but smile, can’t help but be upbeat and want to give back the energy they are giving you.”

Camp clinician Nan Wardin was part of the teaching faculty for two years. A member of Sweet Adelines for 23 years, this year her role at the camp is making sure the day runs smoothly, scheduling and communicating between groups.

She said children are happy at the camp and enjoy the experience, and many have returned multiple times.

“There’s a wide variety of talent that crosses the stage,” Wardin said. “It gives the kids a chance to perform what they’ve learned all day and practiced beforehand with the recordings. Being a performer myself, there’s nothing like getting onstage and performing for family, friends, neighbors and community. It’s just a great way to support the kids — it’s a great show.”