By Alan Madlane
Most of us like music. Some like to give the gift of music.
And then there are those who like to give the gift of the ability to make music.
If that’s got your head spinning like a slab of vinyl on a $1,000 turntable, well, think how the Hamtramck Public Schools and their students felt when the Hamtramck Music Fest laid on them some ten-large worth of music equipment and related AV items, as well as art supplies.
(Editor’s translation of the above sentence: There was a $10,000 donation worth of music equipment and art supplies. Out of that donation $5,000 will go toward the purchase of a new public address system for the high school auditorium.)
The Hamtramck Music Festival grew out of the void left when the Metro Times Blowout, once also known as the Hamtramck Blowout, ended its run a few years ago.
The HMF was not only an immediate success, it continues to thrive. The next festival is scheduled for March 7-9.
That the Hamtramck Music Festival has succeeded to the point that it feels secure enough to be making a five-figure donation is a testament to both local ingenuity and local traditionalism.
Plus, well, a love of that gosh-darn ol’ music thang.
A ceremony was held last Friday to bequeath said funds.
This was not an unexpected windfall.
In fact, Hamtramck Public Schools has been working together with festival organizers to create a list of the greatest needs and desires of the schools’ music, audio-visual and art departments.
Some of the listed highlights included AV equipment to support the high school auditorium’s renovation, as well as stage lighting, and orchestra instruments as diverse as congas, xylophones and a large gong.
As you can imagine, the gong was a big hit with the students and music teacher Thomas Course.
For those in the percussion section, forget cymbal crashes for now on.
“I want a big explosion,” Course joked.
Hamtramck High School Principal Chris Vraniak said the donation was not only appreciated, it dovetails with the district’s vision of education.
“What’s really important for our high school is the integration of the arts,” he said.
Music festival co-organizer Colleen Conroy, quoted in their press release, noted that “Hundreds of musicians volunteer their time to make the festival a success. It’s gratifying to think that kids using this equipment might be musicians in HMF 2025 or 2030.”
Their mission statement promotes the festival as “the largest local music festival of its kind,” and notes that they are “Powered by the People.”
Their website is hamtramckmusicfest.com.
And until the next festival? Bang a gong.
Oct. 5, 2018