TRAVERSE CITY — Move over, “Michigan, My Michigan.” Traverse City soon will have its own official song.
Traverse City Tourism officials launched a contest for the original song that best captures the flavor of the region. The song will be unveiled during the National Cherry Festival and used in promotional pieces, from travel videos to radio and TV commercials.
The idea for a theme song germinated for a few years, said Traverse City Tourism marketing manager Mary Winowiecki. It stemmed from a series of radio spots the agency put together to promote the area and grew after the bureau hired a company to produce a destination video.
“The hardest part of a radio spot is finding that darn music that reflects your area,” Winowiecki said. “You want it upbeat but not schmaltzy. The song we used in the video was OK, but it didn’t seem to really reflect our personality and the Traverse City area.”
She said local tourism officials finally decided to seek an area song after seeing a video for Brand USA at March’s Pure Michigan tourism conference in Traverse City. The video, which promotes international travel to the U.S., features Rosanne Cash performing a song called “Land of Dreams” to imagery of life in America.
“It was a feel-good, authentic song,” Winowiecki said.
The contest is open to full-time residents in the five-county region and runs through May 15. Songs must be no longer than two-and-a-half minutes and must include a 30-second portion that can be extracted for shorter advertisements. Lyrics must be family friendly and should appeal to a wide audience.
Finalists will be required to perform their songs before a panel of judges, all community leaders selected by Traverse City Tourism. The winner will perform the song July 12 on the bureau's float in the National Cherry Festival Cherry Royale Parade. The song also will be promoted on the Pure Michigan Facebook page.