Copper Harbor announces new outdoor entertainment series

ARTS & HUMANITIES • News Release
The Copper Harbor Improvement Association is excited to announce the new summertime entertainment series: “CHIA Presents Performances in The Park.” The eight-week performance event begins Thursday, July 11, and runs every Thursday through Thursday, Aug. 29.
This family-friendly, free outdoor event will showcase both local talent and entertainers from Southern Wisconsin. The performers are “donating” their talents, but would appreciate audience contributions.
Dollar Bay resident Kevin Blackstone opens the season on Thursday, July 11.
Raised in Escanaba, Blackstone moved to Houghton in 1995 to attend Michigan Tech, and he never left the area. He spent 14 years working at the Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor and is currently working at Rodeo in Houghton.
Specializing in guitar, banjo and baritone ukulele, Blackstone plays covers and original music and can be seen performing at local venues and concert events. “I love life, music and the art of burrito rolling,” Blackstone shares.
On Thursday, July 18, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin-based Tapestry will be traveling to the Harbor.
Tapestry is a collective group of five musicians woven together in a multi-faceted collection of musical styles and flavors. The musically diverse backgrounds of each player combine to form a traditional but unique acoustic sound. On any given performance you can hear music from the 1920s through traditional and current folk music. With a mix of many string instruments and up to five-part vocal harmony, Tapestry creates a wonderful music experience.
On Thursday, July 26, Daily Mining Gazette writer and local historian, Graham Jaehnig, will present a general history of Copper Harbor.
Jaehnig is a historical researcher, mining historian, and freelance writer, and reporter for the Daily Mining Gazette. He was born and raised in a former mining district and has had a fascination with history all his life. He holds a bachelor’s in history from Michigan Technological University and a master’s in English/creative writing nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University.
“They say that people make history,” said Jaehnig. “I disagree. I think history makes people. To that end, my academic studies have always been to reach a deeper understanding of the people who lived in the past; it’s what made me a writer.”
On Thursday, Aug. 8, recent Copper Harbor resident Matt Moll will have a unique performance with an assist from the local Copper Harbor children. Instruments include ukulele, guitar, banjo, and percussion along with a few other surprises.
Thursday, Aug. 15, The Fill Family Trio (Bob, Forrest and Ethan) take the stage. This “Grampa,” father and son band will be “making history” by playing together for the first time.
Bob Fill has been a musician and music instructor for many decades. He has headlined many shows and even opened for the legendary Yoopers. His love for music has been passed down to his son, Forrest, and grandson, Ethan.
The show will consist of many types of music, from rock-and-roll to videogame theme songs. Even some comedy and magic will be in the mix. Bob will be on the guitar, Forrest on the drums and Ethan (age 11) on the keyboard.
“We are excited for this opportunity and look forward to seeing you there!” says Forrest Fill.
Thursday, Aug. 22, Powers of Air will highlight the talents of Copper Harbor residents Amanda Wais, Jim North and Ron Corey performing classic music from the likes of Emerson, Lake and Palmer; Led Zeppelin; Rush, and Genesis.
Amanda Wais moved up to Copper Harbor from Wisconsin in 2005 and has never looked back. Currently, she raises a little superhero named Brady P, coaches mountain biking, writes books, makes wildflower art and homemade wine. She blogs, tries to inspire others, and sings lead vocals while playing percussion in the band.
Jim North was raised in Copper Harbor in a “very musically inclined” family. Though self-taught as a performer, he was formally trained as a luthier stringed instrument maker. “I have chosen to perform more regularly to showcase my own instruments,” says North. “I consider it a stroke of luck to have met and collaborated with Ron and Amanda to discover similar interests in styles of music to share with our community.” North volunteers his spare time as a firefighter in the Copper Harbor Fire department. “I teach ukulele to the children in our special one-room school, where I also assist with special needs for the kids enrolled there,” shares North.
Ron Corey is the self-taught keyboardist for the group. Corey has had a lifelong passion for listening to and playing music, both Pop and Progressive Rock classics from the 1970s and 1980s. He enjoys composing original music and recording. The current Copper Harbor Postmaster is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University.
Performances in the Park will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the pavilion in Copper Harbor’s Grant Township Park. In case of inclement weather, the performances (except for July 11) will move into the Grant Township Community Center Meeting Room.
“Currently, we have two open Thursdays — Aug. 1 and Aug. 29 — to fill and we’re still looking for entertainment for those evenings,” says Kathy Ihde, co-coordinator for CHIA Presents Performances in the Park. “My husband, Jeff, and I think it would be really cool to end our season (Aug. 29) with an ‘Open Mic’ night and invite anyone who’d like to showcase their talents to come up on-stage.
“We’re looking forward to families congregating in our community park, watching some great entertainment and enjoying a picnic at one of the pavilion tables or on their own blankets and lawn chairs.”
Anyone interested in “donating” their talents to a fun new event, or for questions, contact Jeff or Kathy Ihde at (906) 289-4020.

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