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Concert series brings music to library

By: Nico Rubello | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published January 26, 2012

 Sheila Landis and guitarist Rick Matle treat the audience gathered at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch to a number of jazz favorites from Ella Fitzgerald.

Sheila Landis and guitarist Rick Matle treat the audience gathered at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch to a number of jazz favorites from Ella Fitzgerald.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Visiting a public library doesn’t usually bring the prospect of hearing live music to mind.

Since 2003, however, the Clinton-Macomb Public Library in Clinton Township has been treating its patrons to a one-Sunday-a-month concert series during the winter and spring months. The concert series, named Music at Main for its location at the library system’s Main Branch on Romeo Plank Road, regularly attracts around 150 people.

“We like to think of ourselves as more than books. We like to think of ourselves as a community meeting place,” said Jamie Morris, the library’s community relations specialist. “It goes hand in hand with what we do. We circulate music, and we want to give people opportunities to hear all different types of music.”

In the past, Music at Main has featured a range of genres, including classical, Latin, jazz, folk, woodwind instruments and Motown.

The concerts run from 2-3 p.m. on a varying Sunday — depending on the musicians’ schedules — in November through March, and then again in May. No concert is held in April because of the library’s massive used book sale that consumes the auditorium.

At the most recent concert, on Jan. 22, about 160 people came to hear a metro Detroit jazz group, the Sheila Landis Trio, perform a tribute to jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald. The library’s 2,400-square-foot auditorium and parking lot were full.

Sheila Landis, sporting a pink beret and a silky voice, entertained the crowd for roughly an hour with jazz-lounge standards, from the soulful, spine-tingling and dreamy to the toe-tapping, fun and flirty — backed by Rick Matle on the seven-string guitar and David Taylor on drums.

Like the Sheila Landis Trio, the acts usually come from Southeast Michigan. The audience is mostly library patrons from Clinton and Macomb townships, though new faces aren’t uncommon, Morris said.

For Clinton Township resident Nina DiGaetano, 76, Music at Main evokes pleasant memories. During the Ella Fitzgerald tribute, for instance, she couldn’t help but remember the four times she saw the legendary jazz singer perform in person.

Now she comes to the library for live music, enjoying all genres but especially jazz — a fan favorite in general among the Music at Main regulars.

“I can’t sing, but I love the sounds,” DiGaetano said. “It’s nice because it’s free, too.”

Janis Adams, 67, of Macomb Township, also frequents the concerts. She tries to attend every month, not only for the music, but also to support the library, she said.

Enticed by the prospect of live music, Jessica Sitek, 28, and her brother Matt Sitek, 31, attended their first Music at Main concert on Jan. 22.

The fact that there was a full house in attendance added to the ambience of the show, Matt Sitek said.

“(The concert) was entertaining and culturally enriching,” Jessica Sitek added.

Upcoming Music at Main concerts will include Matthew Ball, a blues and boogie-woogie pianist, on Feb. 12, and Finvarra’s Wren, an Irish band playing Celtic-American folk music, on March 25. For more information, call (586) 226-5050.