Posts of interest to local history buffs, written by local history buffs!
[img_assist|nid=226935|title=Opening Night at West Park Bandshell|desc=|link=url|url=http://oldnews.aadl.org/N012_0016_003|align=left|width=100|height=79]
Wednesday, June 19, 2013, marks the opening concert for the [http://www.annarborcivicband.org/|Ann Arbor Civic Band] summer season! All performances will take place in the West Park bandshell. As you can see from [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N012_0016_003|this 1943 photograph of the old bandshell], lounging in the grass before this A2 landmark is a summer tradition that goes back many years. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/features/west_park|Read about the history of West Park] in Oldnews, and catch some of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/15795|recent photographs] we've posted detailing the construction of the original bandshell in 1938.
The [http://aasf.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/29430|Ann Arbor Summer Festival] celebrates its 30th season this year. Amy Nesbitt, the Festival's Associate Director & General Manager joins us in a series of conversations with former and current A2SF staff and volunteers.
We spoke with [http://aasf.aadl.org/node/223503|Alan Brown] who was hired as manager by festival founder Eugene Power in its inaugural year.
[http://aasf.aadl.org/node/223502|Susan Pollay] was hired early on as the Marketing Director, and saw the Festival changed and grew over the years.
[http://aasf.aadl.org/node/223501|Jamie Mistry], a local businessman who started as a volunteer while a UM student, eventually chaired the Festival's Board of Directors. He now makes the annual event a family affair.
In 1984, a very young Alan Brown, (a recent UM grad in Vocal Performance) was stunned to be offered the position of Festival Administrator by Eugene Power, the founder of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival - an opportunity that literally changed the course of his life. We speak to him by phone from San Francisco where he is the principal of WolfBrown, an advisory to foundations, public agencies and charitable organizations.
Alan speaks of his fond memories of Eugene Power, his firm guiding hand and generous support in the early days of the Festival. He remembers a gracious Ella Fitzgerald, a panic moment with Marcel Marceau, and his encounters with other great performers who graced the Festival stage.
Susan Pollay, a former Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival remembers vividly her personal encounters and backstage stories of such entertainment greats such as Tony Bennett and Mel Torme.
Susan also talked about the early years of the Festival when Eugene and Sadye Power were a strong presence; the many roles she played, and changes the Festival has undergone through the years.
A long-time supporter of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Jamie Mistry is proud to help celebrate its 30th season in 2013. He started as a volunteer and through the years, has taken on many roles, including as Chair of the Board of Directors. He remembers the challenges of funding an arts organization during hard times, and the sensitivity necessary in programming to remain sustainable.
These days he remains a community member of the Festival and looks forward to bringing his family to yet another A2SF season.
Author Steve Amick’s second novel [b:1327565|Nothing But a Smile] (2009) is a delightful love story of a man and a woman who choose an unconventional way to redefine themselves during and after World War II.
Called "kinetic and clever slice of 1940s cheesecake" by reviewers, it is set in 1944 Chicago when Wink Dutton, a former illustrator for Yank and Stars and Stripes (newspaper), discharged from the Service with an injury, rented a room above the camera shop run by Sal Chesterton, and became a willing collaborator once he discovered her astonishing secret enterprise.
Recently, Steve sat down with us and discussed why he picked the subject of the pin-up industry for the novel, the person very dear to him who inspired it, and how Argus Camera came to be a prominent element in the story. He also talked about growing up in Ann Arbor and being nurtured by a middle school teacher to write.
He shared his thoughts about living and working in Michigan (and his secret hideaway up north), favorite authors, parenting, and his choices for bedtime stories for his young son. We were surprised to learn that Steve is also a musician. Listen to this interview, and find out more about Steve from his [http://www.steve-amick.com/|website].
One of Ann Arbor’s Heritage Businesses, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/13278|The Caravan Shop] has been an anchor in the historic [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/1683|Nickels Arcade] for over 80 years. Opened in 1927 by [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/13306|Frank] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/13307|Jean Karpp], it is known for its eclectic merchandize with an international flavor.
Recently, its current owner [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/13339|Rhonda Gilpin] talked with us about the history of the shop, how she came to own it and her goal of keeping it a family business. She talked about the pleasures and challenges of doing business in a college town. Rhonda is also the owner of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/13324|Arcadian Antiques and Collectibles] located in the Nickels Arcade. She credits the "Think Local" initiative and the nice mix of new businesses for the improved retail climate in Ann Arbor.
On June 25, 1913, Hill Auditorium was officially opened to the University and the community with the mission to bring the world to Ann Arbor. Grace Shackman's [http://oldnews.aadl.org/hill_auditorium|Old News feature] tells the story of Hill and the thousands of performers, speakers, events and controversies that have made Albert Kahn's gorgeous building so central to Ann Arbor's history. Old News has published hundreds of Ann Arbor News articles and photographs that chronicle the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19320302-winston_churchill_urges_closer|history-makers], the [http://ums.aadl.org/ums_photos_02545|premiere performers], the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19650611-hill_auditorium_filled_for_aahs_graduation|celebrations] and the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19560214-Hypnotist_Slated_For_Friday.jpg|one-of-a-kind.]
In collaboration with the University Musical Society, the complete [http://ums.aadl.org/ums/programs|UMS Concert Program Archives] have been digitized. The [http://ums.aadl.org/ums/programs_19720916e|program notes] offer some of the best music criticism written. In keeping with a long-held Town & Gown tradition, UMS will celebrate Hill's 100th with a big [http://ums.org/performances/summer-sings-verdi-requiem|Community Sing] of Verdi's Requiem on May 14th, one hundred years to the day that they did the Requium in 1913. Come, sing and be a part of the continuing history of Hill Auditorium.
In this episode AADL talks to Cynthia Shevel, owner of [http://shop.middleearthgifts.com/|Middle Earth Gift Shop] on South University. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/22620|Middle Earth] came on the scene in 1967 as the first “head shop” in Ann Arbor. The store began as a one-room, 2nd-floor walk-up on Liberty Street. The motto of Middle Earth is “harming only the humorless.” Long-time TreeTowners will remember the great [http://oldnews.aadl.org/node/199770|ads] Middle Earth ran in [http://oldnews.aadl.org/papers/aa_sun|The Sun], our contribution to the underground newspaper movement. We talked to Cynthia about the move to South U and the changes over time to the merchandise, the customers and the crew at Middle Earth.
AADL sat down with Joe O'Neal, president of O'Neal Construction who, along with Bill Martin, established the [http://www.aadl.org/argus_camera_photos|Argus Museum]. Joe related how the purchase of the Argus buildings from the University of Michigan in the early 1980s led to the acquisition of cameras, photographic equipment, memorabilia and [http://www.aadl.org/argus_camera_publications|company publications] of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/argus_camera_articles|Argus Camera Company]. Many of the ideas and leads for the museum collection came from the pages of the [http://www.aadl.org/argus_eyes|Argus Eyes].
Joe's many stories include names familiar to Argus employees and collectors including [http://www.aadl.org/node/218815|Milt Campbell, Art Dersham], Don Wallis, Sammy Ross and Tony Vicaro.