Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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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