Music Coming to Town at LowellArts

Lowell will be filled with music opportunities this weekend.  LowellArts will be the location of two weekend House Concerts.  Peat in the Creel kicks things off on Saturday and Bill Vits wraps things up on Sunday afternoon with a family concert.

Peat in the Creel during a performance. Photo courtesy of Peat in the Creel.

Saturday House Concert
This Saturday, March 10, Peat in the Creel will bring their music to an audience at LowellArts.   Lead man Toby Bresnahan describes the group’s music as “traditional Irish and Celtic with a nod to old and new world instrumental”.  He also provides vocals and plays guitar and bouzouki. The group was formed six years ago and currently includes Aidan Carry on the fiddle, Alison Myers using her voice and playing the flute and whistle, and Mike Mulder on the bodhran.  Bresnahan and Myers are original members of the group. They also remember Bill Nieusma, who was a founder of the group but is now deceased.

What does Peat in the Creel mean?  We asked, and Bresnahan said, “‘Peat in the Creel’ is referenced in an old Scottish tune as part of the wealth and good fortune given in a wedding dowry.”  As one would expect, the group is in the midst of their busy season with St. Patrick’s Day a week away. Their favorite venue is the Michigan Irish Music Festival but they perform from the lakeshore to the Grand Rapids area.  

Members of the group reside near Lowell, making their appearance at a LowellArts House Concert a nice stop on their tour this year.  Myers works in Lowell as the Administrative Assistant for the North Country Trail Association. There must be something about trails and music as former Director Bruce Matthews is currently enjoying retirement performing with his band (those interested can see him at New Union Brewery March 17 beginning at 7:30pm).  “The Lowell area has become a sanction for art and music appreciation through its venues and festivals.”  The Lowell community being a destination for various forms of art has not gone unnoticed by Bresnahan, who also believes “arts are essential for any community survival”.  

Tickets for this Saturday’s House Concert featuring Peat in the Creel can be purchased online in advance for $10 or at the door for $12.  The concert will be at LowellArts, located at 223 W. Main St. at 7pm.   

Bill Vits bringing music up close to children. Photo courtesy of Bill Vits.

Sunday Family House Concert
The first Sunday House Concert will take place Sunday beginning at 2pm.  This is a family event, sponsored by the Lowell Rotary Club, is free, but reservations are required.  Complimentary family friendly beverages will be available during the event.  

Bill Vits will have a Percussion Discussion explaining and playing instruments from around the world.  Kids will get to see rhythm bones, conga drum, xylophone, and more. Vits has been part of the Grand Rapids Symphony since 1979 and is currently their Principal Percussionist.  He enjoys bringing music to children. He has performed at Frederick Meijer Gardens and can be found these days at Celebration Cinema meeting 3rd grade students to show them instruments up close.  

Vits says the value of live musicians has been declining.  Performers are often put on a pedestal and are out of reach due to high concert ticket prices.  He continues saying, “We used to have live music everywhere in society.” Vits is doing what he can to ensure kids have opportunities to get up close to musicians and instruments.  The Grand Rapids Symphony’s Lollipop Concerts and Family Concerts are other ways music is made available to kids.  Below is a sample of Bill’s Percussion Discussion.

Make it a Musical Weekend
In addition to two House Concerts at LowellArts, the high school musical The Little Mermaid opens this weekend.  Adults and kids have opportunities to enjoy the art of music this weekend.  LowellArts House Concerts will continue into May before warmer weather will move concert opportunities to the Showboat.  

And if the art of music isn’t enough, the art of laughter kicks off this weekend with LaughFest events in the community.  Stop by the Englehardt Library Saturday, March 10 for a 1pm start of kids telling jokes. If you know of a child eager to share a joke with the audience, call 616-735-HAHA.  Kids in 5th grade and younger are invited to tell their jokes. We will have a lineup of upcoming LaughFest events next week.


This article has been updated to remove a reference to a cash bar during the Peat in the Creel concert. No cash bar will be available.

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