News and Events

Fall Newsletter 2018

Big Water Creative Arts


To those of you who are already in the know about Big Water Creative Arts and what we’re all about, this quarterly newsletter will keep you up to speed on our programs, our progress, and our fundraising events and concerts/performances. To those of you who are new to BWCA, you’re receiving this newsletter because you were a participant or supporter of the Mackinac Island Songwriters Workshop in years past. To you, we extend an invitation to join us in bringing music to the masses and supporting music education for all ages and all walks of life!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with how BWCA started and what we’ve done so far, click on OUR HISTORY and PROGRAMS for a little background on where we came from, and what we’ve accomplished so far.

BWCA has broadened its scope in the past year, providing music programs for developmentally challenged adults at the Bergmann Center in Charlevoix, as well as senior programs for music exploration and group instrumental instruction at Independence Village (an assisted care and independent living facility in Petoskey). Both were huge successes, and these programs are slated to become year-round programs starting in fall/winter 2018/2019. We’re also currently working with Independence Village on a plan to eventually provide these programs to all 17 of Independence Village’s facilities state-wide.

In other news, BWCA hosted a house party/fundraiser in April 2018 at the residence of Georgia Abbott and David Emmel in Harbor Springs. A private, invitation-only crowd of about 40 supporters enjoyed a 2 hour performance by “Velvet Jones”, aka Michelle Chenard and Pete Kehoe. The duo performed a grand piano-based set of classics and originals, as well as a guitar set later in the night. Our generous sponsors for the night were Boyne Highlands, Gypsy Vodka, and Petoskey Brewing Company, each donating food and drink for our guests. And, our generous attendees donated over $4,000 to our cause, a much needed shot in the arm to help cover our accounting fees, administrative costs, office supplies, instructor fees, course materials, and SO much more.

A brand new development; we’ve just started discussions with Pineview Cottage, a brand new memory care facility in Harbor Springs, to work with them in bringing music performances and possibly a long-term music program to residents there starting in 2019. And finally, we’ll be offering a FREE Songwriting 101 class to Petoskey area high school band students this fall in October and November. We’ll be providing more details on all of these programs as they develop, and as always, if you ever have any questions about any of our programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re always happy to inform people about what it is we’re doing and what the next chapter in our “book will be.

But, we still need your financial help. Our April fundraiser helped immensely, but we need operating capital. We need to pay for web hosting, design and maintenance. We need graphic design, brochures & course materials. We need to pay our teachers. We need money to fund scholarships for kids that can’t afford music education, so that income isn’t a barrier to the joy of music. We need social media marketing and promotion. We need to hire a grant writer. We much. We need your help. Just to give you an idea of what your financial gift can do:

—$10 pays for 20 stamps

—$32 pays for 10 reams of paper

—$100 pays almost half our accounting fees for the year

—$150 pays for 2 sets of percussion instruments

—$200 pays for 5 hours of vocal or instrument lessons

—$350 pays for 1000 glossy, bi-fold brochures

—$500 pays for two 2-hour songwriting workshops with 2 instructors for a class of 12

students, including classroom materials

—$1000 pays for 7 quality baritone ukuleles

—$2000 provides a one-hour lesson each week for a year for an at risk or financially

disadvantaged kid

—$2500 pays for a high-powered laptop, a printer/scanner, and a GoPro camera for us

to document and share our workshops on YouTube and on social media

—$2500 pays for a year’s lease on an office space in Harbor Plaza

—$5000 pays for 50 hours of quality professional grant writing to solicit funding

—$10,000 pays for 8 months rental for a music lesson studio and/or rehearsal space

Our goal is this: to raise $250,000 for BWCA, Inc. in the next 3-5 years. This will not only fund operating costs and a facility in which to host our classes, lessons & workshops, but will also enable us to offer individual scholarships, fund programs for disadvantaged youth in poor communities, continue expanding our reach geographically, purchase musical instruments and computers, and continue to increase our program offerings to include education in music production, group performance, music theory & arrangement, and a host of other fields of musical study. 

Why do we all love music? Because it moves us. Because it lifts us up. Because it soothes us. Because it makes our lives better. Because it makes EVERYTHING better. Think of how powerful a gift it is to pass that on to someone. Think of how different our world would be if we could pass that on to ALL human beings. To everyone. THAT’s what we want to do. The impact of these programs is life-changing, for everyone involved. To see a 10 year old light up after he’s written a clever line to a song co-authored by his class mates? To see an autistic man literally jumping up and down in excitement over a creative thought of his that was accepted and praised by his peers? To watch a 91 year-old woman learn to play her first 3 chords on the ukulele and learn her first song? All priceless.

The positive impact made? Immeasurable. So, please help us do the MOST GOOD. Help us pass a creative musical torch to the next generation, as well as to others who don’t have the opportunity to experience it otherwise. It’s not happening in many of our schools any longer. It’s not happening in most homes any longer. And if not, then where? Our new website ( is up and running. We’ll have a donation page, and we hope you’ll seriously consider donating to our cause. We’re rapidly expanding our reach, both in scope and in geographic area, and we need funding to continue that expansion.

 If you have any questions, suggestions, or know of any groups or individuals that would be interested in or positively impacted by utilizing our workshops, please feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or on our Facebook page (bigwatercreativearts).

Help us share the magic that is music with everyone, regardless of age, income or ability, and help us make the world a better place….one song at a time.


Click here to see our stage at the Festival On The Bay 2018

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