Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


Home · Articles · News · Music · Just Pickin‘ - The Hayloft...
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Just Pickin‘ - The Hayloft Offers an Open Mic with a Hootenanny Flavor

Robert Downes - March 18th, 2004
Open mics in Northern Michigan run the gamut from dismal to exuberant, with audiences to match, ranging from hostile drunks to acoustic aficionados.
One of the most promising open mic venues in the area, however, is one of the region‘s newest: Early this winter, The Hayloft outside Traverse City began hosting an acoustic open mic on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. that has attracted a wide range of solo players and group jams.
“It‘s been going really well -- we‘ve been thrilled with it,“ says veteran host Bill Dungjen. “We had a dozen guys up there picking bluegrass last week.“
Located about five miles west of Traverse City on M-72, The Hayloft has always been a destination for country/western music; but Dungjen‘s Thursday night show changes that dynamic, bringing a melange of blues, folk, bluegrass, old time string music and folk-rock players to the stage.
While Dungjen frequently plays bluegrass and western songs, he encourages diversity as a host and often gives newcomers an assist on guitar, bass or mandolin. “A good open mic has the spirit of ‘anything goes,‘“ he says. “If you‘ve got something to put out there, I‘ll amplify it.“
A resident of Cedar and an employee of Lakeshore Title in Benzie County, Dungjen,32, started playing guitar as a freshman in high school. Four years ago, he inherited the legendary acoustic open mic scene at the Cedar Tavern from Third Coast players Chris Skellenger and Pat Niemisto. That led to hosting another venue at Mackinaw Brewing in downtown TC.
Dungjen‘s present gig seems to be generating the most heat, however, and is beginning to gather an audience following as well as a flock of return musicians.
What makes a good open mic?
“I‘ve been to all of the open mics around the area and the thing I try to do with mine is avoiding that cliquey, in-crowd feel,“ he says. “I make sure that everyone feels welcome to play and encouraged to play.“
The result is often a group jam with half a dozen guitars on stage backing vocalists.
When he‘s not hosting the open mic, chances are you‘ll find Dungjen onstage with Susan Marie and the Cedar Valley Boys, a western band he shares with his wife Susan and brother Brian. The band‘s next performance is this Wednesday, St. Patricks Day, at Sleder‘s in TC at 5:30 p.m.

 
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