The Rapidian

St. Cecilia Music Center’s Fresh Folk Series Features Six Popular Michigan based Musicians for an Evening of Storytelling and Original Music on January 9, 2014




St. Cecilia Music Center will present the second Fresh Folk Series Concert for the 2013 / 2014 season on January 9 at 7:30 p.m. The contemporary folk musicians who will be performing include Drew Nelson, Jen Sygit, Jimmie Stagger, Josh Rose, Mark Sala and May Erlewine. All of these performers are well-known in Michigan and throughout the region and the evening is expected to include some poignet and humorous moments of storytelling as well as great original music. The performers will appear on stage together recalling stories and singing one by one in a round robin setting, making the evening very personal and engaging.


Tickets for the concert are $20 for general seating. A cash bar will be offered prior to the concert and during intermission where all guests can meet the artists and obtain signed CD’s.


Tickets for the January 9 Fresh Folk Series concert can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online with no additional service fees at or


The Fresh Folk series brings Michigan’s celebrated folk musicians to the unique setting of Royce Auditorium, giving these musicians the opportunity to perform in an intimate venue and their fans the chance to hear them in an acoustic concert setting.  According to Cathy Holbrook, Executive Director of St. Cecilia Music Center, “We wanted to showcase the great regional talent that exists in Michigan and the Fresh Folk series does just that. We are pleased to have found a new audience at SCMC who appreciates the talent and quality of our local and regional musical artists.”  St. Cecilia Music Center also hosts the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center series and the Jazz series that brings world-renown performers to the Royce Auditorium Stage.



The Fresh Folk Series includes one more concert in 2014 featuring Ralston Bowles and Friends and The Northern Skies on April 3, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.


Bios of Musicians for January 9, 2014 Concert

Drew Nelson

Michigan-born Navy veteran Drew Nelson is a storytelling songwriter and multiinstrumentalist. A fly fisherman and world traveler, he writes as a witness to the lives and journeys of those he has met along the way, mixing Americana and roots-rock with traditional folk styles. Drew has toured across North America and Europe, performing solo and opening for popular rock artists like Melissa Etheridge and Edwin McCain as well as esteemed folk singers like Josh White Jr. and John Gorka.



Jen Sygit

Jen has three albums under her belt with her latest release "So Long Pollyanna" named as album of the year by both John Bommarito (107.1 fm Ann Arbor, MI) and The Progressive Torch & Twang (88.9 fm East Lansing, MI). "So Long Pollyanna" was also nominated for two Jammie Awards (WYCE Grand Rapids, MI) including Best Song for "Sugar High". Her previous release "Leaving Marshall St." was nominated for a Detroit Music Award for BEST ACOUSTIC/FOLK ALBUM in 2007 and made it to number 9 on the independent roots music charts that year. Now, besides regionally touring and playing shows, Jen can also be found hosting the popular weekly open mic at Dagwood Tavern in Lansing, MI. She has been host of the thriving scene for nine years.

Jimmie Stagger

Late in 1972, Jimmie formed a musical partnership with the legendary guitarist and songwriter Frank Salamone. It was during this time that Jimmie met the string band blues master Carl Martin. Carl encouraged Jimmie to develop his talents on the mandolin, fiddle and bottleneck guitar. Carl so enjoyed Jimmie's playing that he invited him on stage at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan and at the National Folk Festival in Washington, DC in 1976. After returning to his original love of the electric guitar and honing his chops in local bar bands, Jimmie said, "enough is enough" and established the "Jimmie Stagger" Band in 1980.  Since then there has been no turning back! With a big, rich voice reminiscent of Jimmy Thackery, but with an elasticity that makes it far more expressive, Stagger is a compelling storyteller who makes you feel his pain and share his joy.


Josh Rose

Josh Rose wishes he knew exactly where his music comes from. Growing up in the sparsely populated U.P., it would be hard for him to draw any specific conclusion. When you spend your formative years with little access to any musical events, with modest surroundings, and with the only radio station in town hawking hair bands to the end of time, it might have been tough to grow as a writer and musician. But since he decided to put his mind to all this singer songwriter stuff, Josh has realized that his songs speak to the person who feels that there still are things left to say in music, that a new song is an awesome use of space, and that the singer songwriter did not die with Jim Croce. Whether his songs are plucked from the air like lightning bugs held in an old Mason jar or whether his songs are polished like the ancient stones in the Flat River, the point is the songs are what they are, moments of passing beauty in the air between us.


Mark Sala

Coming from an upbringing surrounded by music, this Grand Rapids, MI based Singer/Songwriter knew that there was only one real path for him to follow in life, and that was Music. Singing songs written from a very personal and real perspective, with Mark you get a feeling that he’s sitting there singing directly to you and/or saying exactly what you want to say. If you have the opportunity to see Mark perform, no matter what the venue (small or large) you’re going to get a show that’s going to stick with you long after the show ends and you’re going to hear music that you’re going to be singing the whole way home and for a long time after.


May Erlewine

May Erlewine is a contemporary folk singer and songwriter based in Michigan whose pastoral, socially conscious music has won a sizable and growing following throughout the Midwest and beyond. Erlewine was educated at home, and she began playing guitar, violin, and piano as a child; she also absorbed a rich variety of musical influences, including blues, traditional folk, R&B, bluegrass, rock & roll and more, all of which were recognizable elements when she began writing her own songs. In her teens, Erlewine developed a passion for travel and started hitching rides from one end of the country to another, sharing songs with the people she met along the way, and honing her skills as a singer and performer. In 2003, Erlewine met Samuel Seth Bernard at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, and they discovered they were both musically and personally compatible. Since then, Samuel Seth Bernard and and May Erlewine are well-known, well-loved folk performers who have recorded and performed extensively both as a duo and as solo artists.

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