Records spin in and out of style

Records spin in and out of style

Jessica Parsons

Music, art from vinyl record shows continue to build Marquette community

Overtime, the records-only scene has graduated from vinyl shows. The black discs tucked in artistic sleeves still dominate these events, but many vendors have adopted new styles and art to show. At these events, you’ll see generations of the Game Boy spread across a table. The noises of Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde will chase you into the hallway where someone brought their Pacman machine. But the legendary music of John Williams will pull you back inside. Across the room, an artist strokes paint across canvas on an easel. Children circle the venue in search of Wii games and Pokémon cards. A rotating piece on a table near the center of the room spins U.P.-shaped jewelry made of silver and petoskey stones.

This Saturday’s NMU Spring Vinyl Record Show is free to attend and will take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in Whitman Hall. The culture of vinyl record shows vary from place to place. Specifically in Marquette, the vinyl scene is special and the relative remoteness of the area means that many attendees will be long-time acquaintances, event co-organizer Geoff Walker said.

“I know I will see dozens of people on Saturday that I’ve known that long and even longer,” Walker said. “It’s like a community reunion every time. And these shows have been going on for a long time.”

Walker and Jon Teichman, advisor of NMU’s Vinyl and Record Club, have been organizing these shows for years, Walker said, adding that they’ve known each other for over 40 years. Though describing these events in many ways may sound like a small-town scene, it’s just the opposite, he said. It’s about community and sharing, and many of those involved travel from all over the state as well as neighboring states, Teichman said.

“It’s the continual, sustained enthusiasm and support that keeps making these shows the best,” Teichman said. “There’s something special about what’s happening in Marquette and we’re lucky to be part of it.”

To Teichman, a show like this is a sacred space for shared experiences. Society pushes a life full of individuality and indoor experiences, and this type of event is about taking healthy risks, reaching out to others and sharing mutual interests, he said.

“We’re fortunate to have the time and space to put on shows like these. The entire community makes this happen,” Teichman said.

Music is a very personal and visceral thing that touches people like little else, and record stores are a special place where people can be enthusiastic about the music they love, Walker said.

“I love seeing a person find a record they remember from their childhood, or something they’ve been looking for for years,” Walker said.

In addition to helping others find that one record, or teaching people how to take care of their collection, Walker said that he and other vendors love to hear people’s musical stories, especially from those who remember the stores that once chimed around Marquette such as Record Plus, Ozone of the North, Music Street and The Sound Center.

“What matters is that there are hundreds of people in the area with killer record collections and we really enjoy getting to know each and every one of them,” Walker said.

The vinyl shows hosted here are also a great venue for people-watching, Walker said, adding that at this year’s spring show, there will be complimentary tunes from the Vinyl Reception DJ crew, keeping the mood up. It’s free, it’s fun and you’re bound to see an old friend, he said.

“We’re building community through music and we are very thankful to have a community that supports our efforts,” Walker said.
Another vinyl record show will take place on May 23-27 at The Ore Dock Brewing Co.