News and Events

2021 Year End Newsletter


And just like that....another year has flown by! And while 2020 was a very challenging year for us (with virtually no music programs because of the ongoing pandemic), 2021 has kept us going full bore, and we’ve finally been able to bring back face to face instruction to local public schools!

As the kids went back to in-class learning this past May, we kicked off two new programs, starting with a program for the middle schoolers at Wolverine Public Schools. Our amazing Robin Lee Berry taught a class in Music Exploration, and the kids learned about different stringed instruments, different rhythms using percussion instruments, call and answer, and beginning ukulele skills. They even learned several songs on the ukulele and ended up performing for the year-end school talent show!

And in September, we launched our new Rock Jam program at Pellston Middle School. One of our generous donors recently gifted us with most of the instruments we needed for the Pellston rock program; guitars and guitar amps, keyboards, percussion pads and so much more. The students have been really excited and enthusiastic about the program, and their instructor (the very talented Chris Michels) has taught them basic skills on drums, guitar and bass, and even taught them to play “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes in only three days!! We are so proud of these kids!

The 2021/2022 school programs also included co-founder Pete Kehoe picking up where he left off, and continuing with Music Exploration classes for the special needs students at Gaylord and Cheboygan High Schools. Pete has done an incredible job with these kids, and they were so excited to have him back in the classroom in person, as he had been doing classes only virtually the previous school year.

BWCA also formed a new partnership this year with the Good Hart Artist Residency, to help them bring their visiting songwriters and composers in contact with some of our students, and to help provide the artists with musical and technical assistance during their residencies. Each artist spends a 2-week residency in a small cabin in Good Hart, creating new works and eventually sharing their creations with our local communities. Kate Eberstadt, a songwriter and composer from New York City, worked with middle school students from our Pellston program this past November to compose an original song. The song will then be given to the Crooked Tree Ballet School to choreograph a dance to, and the collaboration will be performed at Crooked Tree Arts Center on Friday, April 22, 2002. We are beyond excited!

We’re very, very much looking forward to 2022, and we plan to continue all of these programs (with your help), as well as develop new programming to bring to more schools in northern Michigan. Here are just a few of the additions we’re planning for the coming year:

  • adult music exploration for special needs adults at the Bergmann Center in Charlevoix

  • adult songwriting classes as part of the Bayview Music Festival in Petoskey

  • middle/high school songwriting classes for students in Petoskey

  • adult songwriting classes on Mackinac Island in partnership with the Mackinac Arts


  • a return to our community sing programs at Independence Village in Petoskey

  • songwriting & beginning ukulele classes for people in recovery programs in the Petoskey &

    Harbor Springs areas

We’re also in the process of planning our annual summer fundraiser for 2022 and as soon as details are available, we’ll be posting them on our website and on social media. Our fundraisers (we miss them!) not only provide BWCA with much needed financial support to keep our programs going (thanks to people like you!), but also give us the opportunity to share the magic of music and live performance with you, our supporters and donors, and remind us all why we’re doing this. Through your generous donations and support, you make it possible for us to bring that magic to kids, adults, seniors and special needs folks in our area who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to experience it. That, is a privilege for us, and we thank you!!

If you haven’t yet, please consider a year-end donation. We’ve done so much in the last five and a half years, but there’s so much more to do. And we need your help to do it. As always, you can visit our website to learn more and donate or volunteer, or look for us on Facebook and Instagram.

In bidding 2021 farewell, we at Big Water Creative Arts wish you all the very happiest of holidays, good health and good cheer, and we look forward to seeing you in the coming year!!

Thank you!!

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Good Hart Artist Residency partners with Big Water...
2020 Year End Newsletter


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