What, When, Where & Why -
Founder Sally Potter answers
some common questions about the Mid-Winter Singing Festival
Were you surprised about the tremendous success
of the first four Singing Festivals?
I knew that people loved to sing, but I had no idea they would
continue to pack every Community Sing and workshop. People seemed
so excited to have the opportunity to participate, to literally
join the choir.
What’s new for the fifth Singing Festival?
On Friday night, Feb. 2, Tom Paxton will
give a full-length concert at the Hannah Community Center Auditorium.
Singing Festival favorite Pat Madden will
be the opening act. Lyric books will not be distributed
for this Friday concert. We have scheduled this concert
to provide the opportunity for those ("I'm not singing in public")
Paxton fans to be able to see him and hear his music. During the
show, there might very well be some singing by folks in the audience,
but the evening's format will be that of a concert.
What activities are being offered for kids?
There will be a FREE children’s show at 11
am. Also, children are invited to particiapte in all of the workshops.
All of the literature about the Festival calls the musicians song
leaders rather than performers. Is that deliberate?
Yes. All of these musicians spend most of their musical lives performing,
but at this Singing Festival, they are hired to lead people in singing
Song leading sounds easy, but it’s not. Song leaders at this
Festival do a great job choosing interesting songs, presenting them
enthusiastically and efficiently, and then giving the energy away
to the room full of singers. These singers love and respect the
power of song.
Is that why many of last year’s song leaders are returning?
Yes! Song leading is a skill. The more times musicians lead songs
to large groups of people, the more song leading experience we have
in our collective musical community.
Most of these song leaders live in Michigan. We know them. We love
to sing with them. Each year, they share both new songs and old
favorites with us. We look forward to sharing this music with them.
Who produces this Festival?
I have a lot of help from co-producers
the Ten Pound Fiddle Coffeehouse and The City of East Lansing.
How is the City of East Lansing involved?
We are very lucky to have the City’s support. The City operates
the Hannah Community Center, home to the Festival. The staff and
facilities at Hannah are marvelous to work with.
The City has scheduled its first 2007 Children’s Concert
within the structure of the Festival. Held at Hannah, kids and
their families can attend that FREE show and continue to participate
in the Festival’s
other workshops all afternoon.
How is the Ten Pound Fiddle Coffeehouse involved?
The Fiddle really makes this Festival possible. For each Community
Sing, Fiddle volunteers sell the tickets, sell song leaders’
CDs, and provide refreshments. During the day on Saturday they
provide sound and recording capabilities for all 12 workshops,
and sell CDs and Saturday Community Sing tickets in the banquet
room. Prior to February, they use their extensive publicity channels
to promote the Festival.
Recognizing the enthusiasm generated by the first two Singing Festivals,
the Fiddle has scheduled two nights of singing within their Friday
evening concert line-up. On Friday, Dec. 8, 2006 Mark Dvorak
will lead Holiday and Winter songs. On March 23, 2007, Pat Madden
will share some of her favorite selections.
How else is the Festival being promoted?
Kate Peterson, a wonderful singer and a Web
shark, has continued to expand the Festival’s colorful
and informative Web site.
Kate is also putting together the Festival program. Locally, copies
of the program will be distributed to schools, churches, and arts
organizations all over Lansing and Mid-Michigan.
Copies are also mailed to producers and directors of acoustic music
events all over the country.
Can you see singing events all over the country?
I can see them, and I can hear them. My message to potential producers
is that once people in your community discover that they are the
ones singing and that their voices make the sound, they will come
to this type of event in droves.
People want to sing together. They want to create and sustain shared
experiences. At this Festival, folks feel connected, and that feels