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Turn it Down: Mid-Winter Singing & Folk Festival


Mid-Winter Singing & Folk Festival returns to the Ten Pound Fiddle

Friday, Feb.1 & Saturday, Feb. 2

Joshua Davis headlines the 17th edition of Ten Pound Fiddle's annual winter event

Friday, Feb. 1 & Saturday, Feb. 2 @ East Lansing Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Rd., East Lansing. www.singingfestival.com

For 17 years, the Ten Pound Fiddle concert series has hosted its communitydriven Mid-Winter Singing & Folk Festival, welcoming hundreds of locals to not only attend concerts by Michigan folk heroes, but also take part in group singalongs and a string of music workshops.

This weekend, the two-day event held at East Lansing’s Hannah Community Center, kicks off with a Friday performance from Joshua Davis. Davis is known locally as a solo Americana artist and the guitarist/lead vocalist of Steppin’ In It, but gained international attention as a 2015 finalist on NBC’s “The Voice.” Opening the show are special guests Jen Sygit and Laura Bates. At the event, Davis releases his latest album, “Live at The Robin” — a stripped-down solo disc recorded at sold-out Robin Theatre shows in REO Town.

“We are excited to be the first show in Josh's CD release tour around Michigan,” said event host Sally Potter. “He recorded the CD at three sold-out shows at Lansing's Robin Theater in early November and turned it around in time to make the Festival the initial stop on his month-long CD release tour.”

The next morning (Saturday), the fest resumes with a free, 11 a.m. Children’s Concert at the Hannah Community Center. The event is presented by Sally Rogers and sponsored by the City of East Lansing. Youth of all ages are encouraged to attend and sing folk songs.

Then, from noon-4 p.m. on Saturday, the festival offers eight workshops related to community singing. “Saturday afternoon provides a rich variety of vocal workshops, plus some ukulele jams,” explained Potter. “Six of the eight workshops will involve singing. It’s community singing, where everyone in the room sings all of the words to all of the songs presented. Lyrics will be found either on a screen or in handouts. Each workshop will host between 30-80 people.” There is no need to pre-register for the workshops, but a $20 workshop wristband is required. Those 18-and-under, and students, can join workshops for free.

Later that night, the massive Community Sing takes place, and will be led by festival songleading favorites, and Michigan folk fixtures: Joel Mabus (who is also releasing a new album, “Time & Truth”), Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers. Lyric sheets are provided. “Saturday night is the big Community Sing—where 500 people will sing great songs together—led by three of the very best song leaders in the business,” Potter said. “To have all three on one night is very special. It's an experience like no other.”

For the festival’s full calendar, visit singingfestival.com or tenpoundfiddle.org. “I’m amazed that this is the 17th year of the Singing Festival,” Potter said. “The community has really embraced the festival and the whole concept that we can get together right in the heart of winter and tap into the warmth and joy of community singing.”


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