Five local organizations have joined forces to bring one creative endeavor to life.
The Good Hart Artist Residency (GHAR) hosted composer Kate Eberstadt for a two week residency this past December. During her residency, Eberstadt planned on tackling both a personal project as well as a community based project.
“There were two projects on the docket for my residency: my debut solo EP and our community collaboration,” Eberstadt said. “For both projects there was a loose plan that was flexible enough to adapt once I arrived.”
In the weeks leading up to her residency, Eberstadt focused on her personal compositions laying the groundwork for her EP. Once she arrived, she continued to build on the themes she discovered beforehand but let inspiration guide her.
“Once my proposal was accepted, I wrote demos for the months leading up to the residency,” she said. “Some general themes started to emerge. That said, I had no idea what I would write when I got there, and let inspiration lead during the two weeks in residence. A lot of the music that came through really surprised me.”
The community project also led to happy surprises.
Originally there was a general plan.
“For the community collaboration, all parties agreed to a general plan,” Eberstadt explained. “I would facilitate a songwriting workshop with participants from Pellston Middle/High school with the help from Big Water Creative Arts. Then, that song would be given to a guest choreographer from The Croft Residency, who would work with local students at the Crooked Tree Arts Center’s School of Ballet. This creation would be performed in the spring of 2022 to the public.”
But what if no one showed up?This fear became a reality when snowdays and basketball team pictures clashed with the planned in-school songwriting days.
“Our community collaboration has been a journey,” Eberstadt said. “In December, we faced a few obstacles — our first day at Pellston Middle/High School, no one came (our after school time slot happened to compete with basketball photos). Our second date on the calendar was a snow day. Introducing a new project can be so challenging! There was a moment we feared it may not pan out as planned.”
But on the final day, one student did show up.
“On our third and last date possible, we arrived and set up a makeshift recording studio in the school library,” Eberstadt explained about not giving up on the collaboration. “There we met Blaze (Beairl), the über talented, multi-instrumentalist 11-year-old songwriter. We brainstormed, and Blaze opened up to us about his life, including sharing his favorite animal — the wolf. Inspired, he wrote and recorded a verse and chorus to an original song, comparing himself to a lone wolf. Blaze played his own guitar and drum parts. Everyone in the room was blown away by his talent and moved by the experience.”
The collaboration has continued virtually.
“Recently, we had a recording session via Zoom with Blaze, as well as Chris Michels, super talented musician and teacher from Big Water Creative Arts who has been essential to the project,” Eberstadt said. “Blaze laid down vocals for the rest of the song, and recorded new guitar riffs and electronic drum parts – all virtually.”
The next step is for this composition to be passed along to The Croft choreographer-inresidence, Jesse Jason, who will work with the CTAC ballet students to choreograph an original composition.
Benjamin Cheney, Artistic Director at The Croft Residency said that he was excited by this potential collaboration idea from the start.
“I was thrilled to be able to say yes, and dream into this work,” he said after being approached by Sue Klco, the Executive Director of the Good Hart Artist Residency (GHAR) and the brain behind this multi-organization community collaboration.
“This project is the reason Jesse is coming,” Cheney explained. “Her focus will be on the choreography and collaboration with the kids. She will be in residence for one week. She will be collaborating with the CTAC students during the evenings to build the collaboration composition.”
It has taken a lot of hard work along with a lot of schedule juggling in order to make this all happen.
“It is always a challenge to get different collaborators scheduled together,” Michelle Chenard, one of Big Water Creative Arts board of directors, said. “Sue and Bill from the Good Hart Artist Residency, Kate Eberstadt, Chris Michels (the instructor for our Rock Jams program), and Pellston principal, Enos Bacon were so helpful in making this all happen.When scheduling with Crooked Tree Ballet School, it all fell into place and we are all so pleased to see this project come to fruition.”
Everyone that has been, and continues to be, a part of this collaboration is buzzing with excitement and looks forward to sharing it with the larger community. After all the hard work, how can they not be?
“What an exciting collaboration to have several local arts organizations working together to bring professional artists from afar to work with our local student dancers and musicians,” Heather Raue, Artistic Director at CTAC School of Ballet, said.
This was the dream Sue and Bill Klco had when they started the Good Hart Artist Residency. In fact it is their very mission “to nurture artists, writers, and composers from various backgrounds and artistic disciplines and to connect them with the local community in enriching experiences that empower people through the arts in the natural beauty of Northern Michigan.”
But dreaming about doing something and making it happen are very different things.
For Sue, this collaboration coming to fruition is a true celebration of the arts.
“It is wonderful to see the artists, writers, and composers connect with the community in such unique ways, and we enjoy facilitating these events,” Sue said. “Especially when we can spark creativity and enjoyment of the arts in youth, we know what we and the visiting artists/writers/ composers are doing is worthwhile. In this collaboration, students are experiencing first hand how cooperation and collaboration among artists can result in a creative and effective public performance. They will also have the inspiring experience of seeing their own creative work performed. What a joy that will be to see!”
The joy and the creative fun this project has inspired in all those who have participated is something everyone has touched on when explaining what this has meant to them.
“This project has been a dream,” Eberstadt said.“From Bill, Sue, and Joanne at Good Hart Artist Residency, to Michelle, Pete, and Chris at Big Water Creative Arts; Blaze and his mom, Amy at Pellston, Benjamin Cheney and Jesse Jason at The Croft, Enos Bacon at Pellston Middle/ High school, Heather Raue at CTAC, and local expert Jane Cardinal–everyone I have met in this community has been so kind, generous, and talented.”
But most of all Eberstadt is looking forward to sharing the finished piece of this project in the collaboration that will come together on stage this April.
“Blaze’s song means a lot to me. It is wonderfully astute.” Eberstadt said. “I think there are moments we have all felt like lone wolves, especially these past few years. Sometimes I feel like all I can do is howl at the moon. This performance gives us an opportunity to howl at the moon together.”
This impressive collaboration will take the stage April, 22, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
For more information contact www.crookedtree.org
For more information on some of the other creative organizations involved in this collaboration check out their websites:
The Good Hart Artist Residency www.goodhartartistresidency.org
Big Water Creative Arts www.bigwatercreativearts.org
The Croft Residency www.croftresidency.org
Crooked Tree Arts Center www.crookedtree.org