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The North Wind

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Ryley Wilcox
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I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Yooper folk dance kicks off Cabin Fever Days

Showcasing local talents and the area’s best folk music, the Beaumier Center will present The Great Yooper Folk Dance on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Marquette folk band All Strings Considered, including fiddle, hammered dulcimer, guitar, auto harp and bass, will start the dance. (Photo Courtesy of  All Strings Considered)
Marquette folk band All Strings Considered, including fiddle, hammered dulcimer, guitar, auto harp and bass, will start the dance. (Photo Courtesy of All Strings Considered)

It’s the first event of Cabin Fever Days, a two-month series celebrating the culture of the Upper Peninsula.

“This is the first time we’ve ever put on the Cabin Fever Days,” Beaumier Museum Curator Dan Truckey said. “We’ve held many different events in the past, including the Upper Peninsula Folklife Festival, but we decided to change things up a bit and focus on these winter activities.”

The Great Yooper Folk Dance will begin with a contra dance put on by All Strings Considered with Marge Sklar as the dance caller.

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“Marge Sklar from the Dance Zone will be leading the dancing and will call contra dances and show people how to dance to the other songs,” Truckey said. “It is all fun.”

All Strings Considered evolved from the Hiawatha Music Co-Op Old-Time Acoustic Jam that began in Marquette in 2007 and plays on the first Saturday of each month, Truckey said.

All Strings Considered focuses their music on old-time instrumental and vocal music of the Appalachian region with some Celtic and Scandinavian influence as well, representing the many heritages that settled in the Upper Peninsula, he said.

Members of the band include Jamie Kitchel on fiddle, Rochelle Schuster on hammered dulcimer, Phil Watts on guitar, Annette Watts on auto harp and Maggie Morgan on bass.

“All Strings Considered will get your feet tapping to those great traditional fiddle tunes, then soothe your day with a gentle waltz or tell a story with an Appalachian song,” Truckey said.

All Strings Considered will be followed by a performance by Derrell Syria Project at 9 p.m.

Derrell Syria has been active on the Marquette music scene for more than 30 years, Truckey said.

Derrell Syria Project is a band that features a varying cast of musicians that travel throughout the Great Lakes states with a mix of original music and re-arranged cover tunes including Finnish dance music, reggae, Latin, contemporary and alternative, he said.

Band mate Jerry Kippola said the group experiments with Finnish reggae.

“It was a unique style for original music,” he said.

This form of folk music really speaks to a vast audience, Truckey said.

“Almost every family here has a music facet that is passed down,” Kippola said. “We have a vast heritage of music unique to the U.P. Even Alan Lomax knew of it.”

Truckey said people in the U.P. are in touch with their heritage and have a strong interest in keeping it alive.

“I think living in a place that isn’t overrun by the homogenization of American culture makes it easier to access these kinds of activities and find a large corps of people dedicated to their preservation,” he said.

The dance is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center.  Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students and kids. Cabin Fever Days is funded by the Michigan Council for the Arts and the Cultural Affairs Arts Minigrant from the Central U.P. Planning and Development Regional Commission.

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