Hive of activity will continue

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published October 6, 2015

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WARREN — Since 2004, the Hive Colony has been a buzzing honeycomb for musicians looking to perfect their craft, and now even more music will raise the decibels.

Last month, the 10,000-square-foot one-stop rehearsal studio, equipped with 30 rehearsal spaces for seasoned musicians and those just starting out, was named a recipient of the 20 Mission Main Street grants from Chase Bank.

The Hive Colony, located at 22727 Nagel St., near Nine Mile and Hoover roads, and owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Marlo and Gordon Carver, will receive a $100,000 grant from Chase to help build a 7,000-square-foot sound stage expansion onto the facility.

“We are so pleased to have had a hometown company chosen for what could be a life-changing grant from Chase,” Bob Rummel, who leads Chase for Business in Michigan, said in a prepared statement. “The Hive Colony is a great representative of our small business community in metro Detroit, and the company really fits the spirit of the Mission Main Street grants program.”

The Hive Colony’s studios are soundproof and come with control rooms, on-site security, audio and video recording services, tech services, backline equipment and more. There’s even a vending machine that sells guitar strings and guitar picks.

The grant will pave the way to construct the 7,000-square-foot addition, which will allow for more practice space, music clinics, seminars, music videos and recordings. The Carvers expect to meet with architects this week.

“We would like to start breaking ground in May,” said Gordon, who grew up in Sterling Heights. “The whole Hive has been about the musicians themselves.”

Funds also will be allocated for a new live show that connects the sounds of symphonic music with the sophistication and musical interludes of progressive rock. The Carvers will recruit talented teenagers to join the group.

“We are developing a show. We are bringing in a full orchestra behind a progressive rock band with kids,” Gordon said. “I have some key individuals that are going to be helping me with the music. We are going to be setting up some auditions here in November.”

Gordon said the writing will focus on what youth experience during their teenage years. The goal is to perform the show for a 2,000-capacity venue. The prog band will have about 16 kids, and there will be between 10 and 16 students in the orchestra.

“Basically, we are writing a musical. We’re doing a complete family show. This will be a show that will be rewritten on a yearly basis,” Gordon said. “The story will be based upon kids growing up and having difficulties, and they resort to their music.”

Gordon said writing the music will begin in March, and then choreography for the show will begin soon after. The new show will likely debut in a year’s time.

“Hopefully, we’ll be ready by September or October of next year,” Gordon said. “I’m looking forward to doing a project with the kids and to get back into songwriting. This is just a portion of what the grant is about.”

Local bands, as well as national acts on tour, rehearse at the Hive Colony. Ace Frehley, Mayday Parade and Allee Willis are among those artists that have found a sanctuary in the facility.

On the afternoon of Sept. 29, Alan Cassidy — drummer for the melodic death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder — was holed up in one of the rehearsal studios practicing. The band was gearing up to leave for a one-month tour of Canada. The Hive provides the ideal studio space for musicians like Cassidy.

“We have one of the best rooms, I think, here. It’s pretty safe and secure,” Cassidy said. “I’m really impressed by all the features that are offered. Everybody is really cool that’s here. Everybody gets along and is friendly.”

As the premier sponser of the Mission Main Street grants program, LinkedIn will fly two representatives from each of the grant recipient businesses to Mountain View, California, for a small business boot camp at its headquarters later this year.

Attendees will learn more about several topics, such as leveraging LinkedIn and other digital content strategies to grow their business.

More than 30,000 business owners from all 50 states submitted applications for this year’s Mission Main Street grants program, and more than 1.7 million votes were cast for participating small businesses. A diverse team of small business experts selected the grant recipients from eligible businesses that received at least 250 votes.

The Carvers also are behind the Musicians Community Center & Rock Academy, located in the same building as the Hive. The MCC & Rock Academy’s mission is to educate, empower and encourage local musicians through festivals, music conferences and training opportunities. It also offers low-cost private music lessons in guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals, along with songwriting classes, audio recording, video production and more. Students — ranging from ages 5 to 80 — also perform locally.

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