Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

March 8, 2013

Bacchus and Bach theme of new open mic event

TRAVERSE CITY — Two years ago, a Russian violaist performed at Left Foot Charley Winery in Traverse City and the audience was in awe.

“He played six Bach pieces and it was just stunning. People had goose bumps,” recalled owner/winemaker Bryan Ulbrich.

It dawned on him then that there were little to no opportunities for classical musicians to play in such a laid-back environment, so Ulbrich has decided to start the first and only monthly open mic night for classical musicians.

“Classical music, like wine, has typically been a formal event, but why not have it be more relaxed?” he said. Open mic night is typically part of the culture for folk singers, he added.

Cristina McGinnis Widman, sales manager at the winery, said they looked around town to see if anyone was doing a similar event and came up empty handed. Ulbrich said he couldn’t even find one in his cross-country search.

Now they are looking for classical musicians of any age to come play at the winery Sunday, March 10, for the first “Bacchus and Bach” classical open mic.

“Classically trained musicians, whether they’re 7 and learning the violin or 70 and a classically trained pianist, are welcome to come,” said McGinnis Widman. “We’re really hoping to branch out.”

The space has naturally good acoustics and should lend itself nicely to the music, she added.

“The room is great for it,” said Ulbrich. “What a nice way to spend a mellow Sunday afternoon listening to classical music and having a glass of wine.”

Left Foot Charley, which is located in the Village at The Grand Traverse Commons, currently hosts a popular open mic night on Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m. hosted by Blake Elliot.

Bacchus and Bach is free and open to the public and will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Musicians can sign up ahead of time for a 15-minute slot or drop in.

“We have a few people already signed up but we would love lots more,” said McGinnis Widman.

For more information or to sign up for a slot contact the winery at 995-0500.

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