An evening of music and magic in the moonlight is in store Saturday evening, July 30 as Northern Michigan’s Dark Sky Coast Association celebrates the rich heritage and dark skies along nearly 25 miles of Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Emmet County.
The public is invited to the evening program “Fairy Tales in the Musical Moonlight” from 8:30 to 10 pm under the festival tent at Heritage Village, directly across the street from the Headlands entrance. The program is free and will feature the Patterson Piano Duo together with Headlands Program Director Mary Stewart Adams. Guests will experience a night of magical music and storytelling linked to the stars, brought together as a celebration of the mission of Dark Sky Coast Association in order to raise membership in the association, friends, funds, and awareness.
The DSCA is a non-profit friends group that was formed in 2014 to help steward the natural beauty of the area, following the success of Emmet County achieving the rare distinction of International Dark Sky Park designation for its Headlands property. The designation was followed closely by State of Michigan legislation passing a bill to protect the natural darkness over an additional 20,000 acres of land, also in Emmet County, known as Michigan’s Dark Sky Coast.
“There is a rich heritage of cultural arts and stewardship in northwest lower Michigan that serves as the perfect foundation for this evening of entertainment,” said Adams, “and I am particularly excited to work with Tony and Casey, the Patterson Piano Duo. They’re really fun and talented folks, so it’s a terrific way to have a community celebration of the natural resources that are so vital to our area, and to introduce the initiative of the Dark Sky Coast Association. So many people are thrilled with our efforts and have wondered how they can get involved and show their financial support, so now we have a vessel for that.”
The Pattersons are known to play with a lot of spontaneity, beauty, and depth, and are well known in the local community from their performances at the Bay View Music Festival, Adams said. “But that’s not all! The Duo has also played with orchestras, pit bands, rock bands, pick-up bands, smooth jazz groups, and gospel choirs. Now, we’ll link them to the stars!” said Adams.
Anthony Patterson enjoys a multi-faceted career as solo pianist, composer, arranger, collaborative pianist and chamber musician. After beginning formal piano study at age three, Tony made his debut with the Lima Symphony when he was eight, playing Mozart’s Concerto no. 28. Casey Robards is a collaborative pianist and vocal coach known for her versatility, imagination, and sensitive musicality. She has given recitals with singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States, as well as France, Brazil and Costa Rica. A committed coach and pedagogue, Dr. Robards is currently on the faculty at Central Michigan University and serves as faculty artist at the Bay View Music Festival.
“Tony and Casey share a commitment to musical expressiveness and communication, and when they play together as a piano duo, audiences note that that their sound travels with a single-minded heart and soul that both relaxes and inspires. This is the perfect set up for reaching into the starry night skies that we’ve protected over the northwest tip of Michigan’s mitt, and for raising awareness about why organizations like the Dark Sky Coast Association are essential to sustaining the natural beauty of our area,” said Adams.
In addition to her role as Headlands Program Director, Adams is also host of the weekly Interlochen Public Radio segment “The Storyteller’s Night Sky” and throughout the summer months she narrates night sky cruises along the Straits of Mackinac with Shepler’s Ferry service.
Guests are encouraged to arrive at least half an hour before the program begins at 8:30 p.m., to allow for parking and settling in before the show begins. The evening will include live music, storytelling, and guided tours of the night sky, as well as information sharing about the mission of the non-profit Dark Sky Coast Association. Light refreshments will be available.
“Bring family, friends, and bring enthusiasm for the wonder and beauty of it all,” said Adams.
The program will take place from 8:30 to 10 pm under the festival tent at Heritage Village, Mackinaw City, directly across the street from the entrance from the Headlands International Dark Sky Park. The Headlands entrance is located at 15675 Headlands Road, Mackinaw City. There is no charge to attend this program, though donations will be gladly accepted.
If you have questions, please contact Adams at (231) 838-8181. The DSCA is an independently run non-profit not affiliated with Emmet County.