Coffee concerts to return each Wednesday in February

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published January 31, 2018

 Madison Heights volunteer Martha Kehoe was at the 2015 series representing the GFWC Madison Heights Women’s Club, which served refreshments. The club will once again be serving light snacks and drinks, including coffee, at this year’s concerts.

Madison Heights volunteer Martha Kehoe was at the 2015 series representing the GFWC Madison Heights Women’s Club, which served refreshments. The club will once again be serving light snacks and drinks, including coffee, at this year’s concerts.

File photo by Deb Jacques

 During the 2015 coffee concerts, Blackthorn performed songs celebrating Irish culture. There were five band members, including Gary McMullen, Richard McMullan and Dennis Green, seen here. Blackthorn will be returning for the 2018 coffee concerts in February.

During the 2015 coffee concerts, Blackthorn performed songs celebrating Irish culture. There were five band members, including Gary McMullen, Richard McMullan and Dennis Green, seen here. Blackthorn will be returning for the 2018 coffee concerts in February.

File photo by Deb Jacques

MADISON HEIGHTS — Delicious drinks, a cozy atmosphere and talented musicians will help cure the winter blues each Wednesday in February during the coffee concerts.

The venue is the Madison Heights Senior Center, 29448 John R Road. There is a $5 charge, cash only. Each show starts at 7 p.m., and doors open at 6:30 p.m. The GFWC Madison Heights Women’s Club will be serving light snacks and refreshments, including coffee.

This year’s lineup includes:

• Feb. 7: Whistle Stop Revue: a progressive/bluegrass/Americana band from the Detroit area with an eclectic style fusing elements of many forms of music. The band has been touring throughout Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Illinois. 

• Feb. 14: 2resound: a brother-sister duo who’ve been studying music for more than 10 years. They do covers of today’s hits and yesterday’s classics. Their style is described by organizers as “easy listening,” flowing from acoustic to jazz. Francesca is a talented vocalist, while Matteo performs creative chord progressions and stylistic variations on guitar.

• Feb. 21: Matt Watroba: a folk musician and recurring performer at the coffee concerts. He plays guitar and has a mellow voice. He’s described as a skillful musician and storyteller with a great sense of humor.

• Feb. 28: Blackthorn: Perhaps the biggest draw at the coffee concerts, Blackthorn combine traditional songs of emigration, sea shanties, lively jigs and reels, and ancient airs with some of Ireland’s best contemporary songs. Organizers say Blackthorn captures the history and legends of Ireland and its people with a variety of tunes, tempos and textures.

“The coffee concerts are an extremely popular event in Madison Heights. One of the main appeals of the concerts continues to be that people are seeing quality entertainment in an intimate venue for a minimal fee — much less than they would pay to see these artists elsewhere,” said Roslyn Yerman, director of the Madison Heights Public Library. 

Yerman noted that the setup will be similar to past years. Concertgoers will be seated around tables with battery-operated candles providing ambiance. The setup for Blackthorn will be different, with theater-style seating to accommodate the crowd.

“Matt Watroba and Blackthorn are staples of the coffee concert series, and deservedly so. They’re wonderful performers who engage completely with the audience. People look forward to their performances each year,” Yerman said. “I became a fan of each through this series. I can’t say enough good things about them.”

The other two acts are new additions for the 2018 series. 

“Whistle Stop Revue was found by doing a quick internet search for Detroit-area folk (music),” said Kirby Rochester, recreation coordinator for Madison Heights. “Once I saw that Jesse Manna was a part of the act, I knew they would be good. Some may remember Jesse from last year’s act Wendy Smith & Blue Velvet. The band fuses traditional blues and folk with more progressive folk and rock.”

As for 2resound, they were recommended by recreation intern Brooke Heisler. The duo are worship leaders at her church. 

“She (Heisler) approached them about performing in our series, and they were more than happy to share their talents,” Rochester said. “Unlike some acts that may put a new spin on old classics, they put an old spin on new music, making it sound like classic folk and jazz music.

“These shows are a great deal for anyone to come in from the cold and warm their hearts,” he added. “All of the acts play music that is enjoyable to all ages and interests.”

For more information about the coffee concerts, call (248) 589-2294 or (248) 588-7763.