Merriam Webster defines a native (n.) as: one born or reared in a particular place.
I have resided in Flint, Omer, East Lansing, Troy, Grand Rapids and Traverse City. I am a Michigan native.
Over my career I have covered areas from Battle Creek to Mackinaw, Grosse Pointe to Grand Rapids. I am never more than 6 miles from a body of water in Michigan. I hold up my hand to describe where I live. I work, play and vacation here — by choice. I am a Michiganian.
I gift a lot of Michigan apparel and am a willing participant in the popularity of Michigan lifestyle brands. I sent Traverse City items to Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina and New York this holiday. I ooze Michigan pride or, should I say, “I wear it on my sleeve” (ba dum bump ching). I am a Michigander.
Accordingly, I get extra pleasure out of showcasing performers at the City Opera House whose backstory includes Michigan. It is remarkable how many Michigan natives have crossed the COH stage: Sutton Foster, DeeDee Bridgewater, The Accidentals, etc.
I might sometimes … possibly ... work extra hard to give those from Michigan additional attention if the opportunities arise.
The Urban Dictionary defines “Midwesterners” as friendly, trusting and hardworking. It is likely these regional qualities helped them achieve their mastery and earn fans.
Look at New York Times best-selling author, Doug Stanton. He is a talented, hardworking, friendly Traverse City (and Midwestern) native who always resonates pride for his town. In fact, this season his National Writers Series will present Michigan authors Keith Gave, Steve Hamilton and Bryan Gruley on the COH stage.
In February, City Opera House itself will present two Michigan natives. I am shamelessly inviting you to see these stand-out musicians from Michigan.
Detroit native Regina Carter is arguably the foremost jazz musician of her generation. Playing on the fact that the violin was designed to mimic the human voice and that Regina Carter is one of the best in her field, Simply Ella (Feb. 23) at City Opera House is one concert not to miss.
In Carter’s words, “Growing up in Detroit, there was always music playing in our home … To this very day, whenever I hear an Ella Fitzgerald recording it grabs me at my core. I’m entranced by her voice, her melodic improvisations and the passion and artfulness with which Ella sings a song. She helps me understand a song … I’m so excited to celebrate Ella Fitzgerald, an artist who has meant so much to all the notes in my musical life.”
Ann Arbor’s own Laith Al-Saadi won America’s hearts and a spot in the finale of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2016. You can catch his authentic blend of blues, soul and classic rock Feb. 15 at COH. Al-Saadi has the perfect combination of Midwestern hustle and incredible musical chops — honed at the University of Michigan School of Music. Guitar Center, a major musical instruments retailer and influential voice in the guitar community, crowned him one of the top four blues guitarists in the United States.
Native, local or fan, there is a lot to be proud of in Michigan. Pop on your Michigan swag and hit a show at City Opera House. We’d love to be a part of your Michigan story.