News and Events

Spring 2019 Newsletter


Big Water Creative Arts, Inc. May 1, 2019


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 the new folks, a little background....

BWCA was an outgrowth of the Mackinac Island Songwriters Workshop. The MISW was a wonderful experience for 3 years, but it was also a lot of time and effort on our part (*we DO hope to ressurrect the MISW in 2019, so keep an ear out), and never made a profit, even though we were close. We stepped back, regrouped, and finally decided that, if we were going to continue to spread the “gospel” of songwriting and music creation to the world at large, we should really make it count....and we needed to do the MOST GOOD for the most people possible.

Thus, on April 7, 2016, Big Water Creative Arts, Inc. (a 501c3 not for profit corporation) was born. BWCA’s initial programs were songwriting classes for elementary and middle school students (through the Petoskey Montessori School, at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, and in Mancelona Public Schools), and we’ve continuing on that path and have branched out into doing more varied programs (see below) with both middle and high school students, special ed students, seniors, and developmentally challenged adults.

Since November 2017:

—BWCA broadened its scope to provide 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 being pitched as year-round programs at both facilities, pending funding. 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.

—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.

—BWCA partnered in November 2018 with the new Great Lakes Center For The Arts in Bay Harbor, Michigan, to bring a free Songwriting 101 class to Petoskey High School band students. The 4-day after school program was graciously hosted by the GLCFA and enjoyed by an enthusiastic group of students, who by the end of the course, had written their first songs.

—BWCA also partnered in the fall of 2018 with Blissfest Music Organization and VSA Michigan to offer a music exploration class to a group of special education students at Gaylord High School.

What we have on the calendar so far for 2019:

—A continuation of our music exploration and ukulele classes for the seniors at

Independence Village in Petoskey, resuming in June 2019.

—Our 2nd Annual Big Water Creative Arts Fundraiser, to be held on June 8, 2019, this time at the Country Club of Boyne. The fundraiser will again feature Velvet Jones (Michelle Chenard and Pete Kehoe), and will also feature the Big Water Jazz Trio to open the show (Chris Bickley on sax, Owen James on guitar and Howard Richards on piano)!! Tickets are $75 per person (in advance only), and seating is limited. Cocktails/hors d’oeuvres will be served at 5:30, show starts at 6:30. More details will be forthcoming shortly.

—A week-long adult songwriting class to be offered in August 2019 as part of the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey’s Bay View Association.

—A two-day adult songwriting workshop co-sponsored by the Mackinac Arts Council on Mackinac Island, also in August of 2019.

Our goals before the end of 2019:

—To launch a series of music performances and music exploration classes for the residents at Pineview Cottage, a new assisted living and memory care facility in Harbor Springs (several of our board members have already performed there since their opening this past winter).

—To provide more music classes for special education students in northern Michigan, and a continued and ongoing partnership with Blissfest Music Organization and VSA Michigan.

—To create and implement a continuing, year round music program at the Bergmann Center in Charlevoix.

—To create a “community sing” program in the Petoskey area, a regular get-together for people of all walks of life (and any or no musical experience or skill) to join their voices in song together.

We’re also looking ahead and doing research into a variety of other community outreach programs; for people in drug/alcohol recovery programs, prison parole rehabilitation programs, music programs for PTSD affected veterans, and other areas where music can uniquely help heal and transform peoples’ lives.

But, we still need your help. We need operating capital. We need to pay for web hosting, design and maintenance. We need graphic design, new brochures & course materials. We need money to fund local music lesson scholarships, social media marketing and promotion, a grant writer....we much. We badly need a facility to host all of this. We need your help.

Here’s just a few examples of what your contributions can pay for:

—$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 (badly needed) 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 and musical torch to the next generation, as well as to others who don’t have the opportunity to experience it otherwise.

Make a difference. With your help, we can.

Big Water Creative Arts.

Making the world a better place one song at a time.

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