Join the Kalamazoo Valley Museum for the 17th Annual Fretboard Festival!
The Fretboard Festival is a celebration of Kalamazoo's stringed-instrument legacy and musical heritage. The 17th Annual Fretboard Festival by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum will be presented virtually on Saturday, March 5. This year's festival will feature four live-streamed musical performances and three live-streamed workshops. These will not be recorded and will only happen once, so plan accordingly! In addition, there will be special performances from the Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra, Kaitlin Rose and the Band of Thorns, and Matt Cosgrove exclusively recorded for the 2022 Fretboard Festival. Viewers can also learn more about the global history of stringed instruments and take a behind-the-scenes look at a local luthier workshop.
Kaitlin Rose and the Band of Thorns' performance has been exclusively recorded for the 2022 Fretboard Festival! Kaitlin Rose has been playing guitar and writing songs for nearly 20 years, with early inspiration from Jewel, Ani Difranco and Neil Young. She has recorded six albums of original material from the Midwest to the West Coast, including her most recent, “Live Enough,” a 20-track project recorded live with a studio audience in April 2019. Her incredible vocal range draws in audiences, and the depth and vulnerability of her universal songwriting keeps them coming back. She deftly picks songs on a full-size Martin dreadnought, underscoring a confident and professional stage presence. Audiences and venues rave about Kaitlin’s performances: solo, duo or with her full band, The Band of Thorns.
The Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra's performance has been exclusively recorded for the 2022 Fretboard Festival! The Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra is a plucked string ensemble of mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos, guitars and bass. The KMGO was founded in 2003 to revive the rich mandolin orchestra tradition in Kalamazoo. The mandolin was an extremely popular instrument in the early 1900s, and mandolin orchestras could be found in nearly every major city in the United States.
Currently, the KMGO is one of only approximately 35 mandolin orchestras in North America. The orchestra enjoys performing an eclectic mix of music, including Classical, world folk, swing, jazz, novelty songs and original compositions for mandolin orchestra. Concerts have featured guest virtuosi from all over North America and Europe. The KMGO is a non-profit, all-volunteer group sponsored by Crescendo Academy of Music.
Matt Cosgrove's performance has been exclusively recorded for the 2022 Fretboard Festival! Matt has been playing the guitar since the summer of 1990. Matt's guitar playing has been nationally televised on the Rejoice Broadcast Network serving in both solo and accompaniment roles. Matt placed first in the annual commencement contest at Pensacola Christian College (PCC) and performed for nearly 5,000 people watching live and by closed circuit television in adjacent auditoriums. Recently, Matt has performed on several occasions with the Kalamazoo Symphony. Matt also has performed with and conducts the Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra.
Festival time: 11 a.m.
The Purple Lemurs will perform a live-streamed set as part of the 17th Annual Fretboard Festival at 11 a.m. Purple Lemurs is an alternative rock band blending together hip hop, rock and funk influences to create a unique sound that captures the wide range of styles found between its members. The group is currently working on their debut album, set to release in mid-to-late 2022.
Festival Time: 1 p.m.
OUT! will perform a live-streamed set as part of the 17th Annual Fretboard Festival at 1 p.m. OUT is Isaac Turner, Chafe Hensley and Mark Larmee – also of the acclaimed Michigan rock/roll band Minutes – joined in this new endeavor by TJ Larmee on the bass guitar. OUT’s music is all about the interplay between seemingly simple lines (vocal blurts/guitar riffs) that come together to make a whole larger than its parts, described as both fist pumping and anthemic.
Festival Time: 3 p.m.
The Out of Favor Boys will perform a live-streamed set as part of the 17th Annual Fretboard Festival at 3 p.m. Since coming together in 2003, the Out of Favor Boys have emerged as one of the most entertaining bands in Michigan. They regularly play festivals from the Lake Michigan shoreline to Detroit and from Grand Rapids to Northern Indiana. They have hosted numerous blues jams in Kalamazoo. In addition to playing with local and regional musicians, hosting the jam session has given the band the opportunity to play with touring acts like Tab Benoit, Larry McCray, Eric Lindell, Watermelon Slim and many more.
Festival Time: 5 p.m.
Schlitz Creek will perform a live-streamed set as part of the 17th Annual Fretboard Festival at 5 p.m. Hailing from the mountains of Kalamazoo, Schlitz Creek features what has become known as "Bluegrass With Some Bite." The group performs a unique variety of bluegrass music that defies classification as strictly traditional or progressive. Their repertoire includes standard bluegrass tunes as well as a collection of refreshing and unusual choices for a bluegrass band. Performing material from such bluegrass legends as the Dillards and Flatt & Scruggs, they also surprise and delight audiences with selections from the Monkees, Bob Seger, the Beatles, Marshall Tucker Band, Guns and Roses, and Cheap Trick. Using the classic single-microphone technique, their high-energy stage show has transformed Schlitz Creek into a crowd favorite on the regional bluegrass circuit.
Facilitator: Tim Brouhard
Festival Time: 12 p.m.
Bass is often thought of as just playing the roots of a chord, but as any guitarist who switched to bass will tell you, there is a lot more going on with bass in electric bands than just providing a foundation for a chord. Learn how the bass can change what chord the band is playing, provide melodic counterpoint, vary the feel of the rhythm, and generally control everything you thought others were in charge of. Presented by renowned local blues bassist (and sometimes guitarist) Tim Brouhard, this workshop will be presented live via Zoom, and preregistration is required.
Facilitator: Rene Meave
Festival Time: 2 p.m.
A presentation and demonstration on ways to use alternative tunings on the fretboard of the guitar to perform songs. A brief oral history of the A440 HZ and its relation to guitar tuning standardization will be given prior to the tuning performance. This workshop will be presented live via Zoom, and preregistration is required.
Facilitator: Rufus Ferguson
Festival Time: 4 p.m.
This workshop will cover tools to help pianists further their skills on guitar. Topics covered will be harmony, reading music and piano/fretboard layouts. This workshop will be presented live via Zoom, and preregistration is required.