Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

June 17, 2013

Empire event to celebrate beloved soundman

TRAVERSE CITY — The northern Michigan musical community will pay homage to one of its own during the Summer Solstice Celebration of Music and Community on June 23 from noon to 9 p.m. at Johnson Park in Empire.

More than 25 performers are expected to participate in the event hosted by the Empire Area Community Emergency Fund that will honor the memory of the late, longtime sound engineer Jan Waling, who died Nov. 29. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit the relief fund.

Many considered Waling to be the “sound of music” for the 10-plus years he spent stringing cables and adjusting microphones for many local performers and venues.

Pat Niemisto, a local musician, music teacher and Waling’s friend, said the call for musicians to perform at the concert brought an overwhelming response.

“Everyone knew him and loved working with him. Jan was very reserved, very humble and very smart,” Niemisto said. “And he was unflappable. He never got shook, and that made musicians feel relaxed and comfortable.”

Paul Koss, a part-time musician and soundman from Empire, said Waling’s expertise could help dispel any stage fright.

“He was probably the best and most proficient soundman in the region,” Koss said. “If you walked in and saw he was running the sound system, you would let out an inaudible sigh of relief.”

Koss said Waling’s quiet, reassuring presence and his commitment to the music community had local musicians searching for a fitting tribute.

“We though it appropriate to honor him through music,” Koss said. “This celebration of friendship and community is what Jan would have wanted.”

“The event is meant to be cathartic,” said Gerry Shiffman, president and treasurer of the Empire Area Community Emergency Fund, a nonprofit founded in 2011 to assist members of the community who have fallen on hard times. “The proceeds will benefit a cause that was close to Jan’s heart.”

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted