Song Fest 2017-09-19T16:53:57+00:00

September 30, 2017 | All Day | All Ages

Calling all music enthusiasts! The Chelsea District Library hosts its first annual CDL Song Fest on Saturday, September 30 to celebrate the art and craft of songwriting. The day will feature family activities, a teen workshop, and opportunities to flex your songwriting muscles plus, performances by local artists and nationally known songwriter, Paul Burch (see interview below.) The Fest is family friendly and open to the public.

2017 Schedule


Thursday | September 28, 2017

Jimmie Rodgers: An Interpretation by Paul Burch

Acclaimed Nashville recording artist and CDL artist in residence, Paul Burch, performs and discusses songs from his latest album, Meridian Rising, an envisioned autobiography of the “Singing Brakeman.” Rodgers, considered one of the fathers of country music, was a musical star from 1927–1933, despite having contracted tuberculosis and essentially living on borrowed time. Burch’s songs touch on many fascinating aspects of Rodger’s far-too-short life.

Thursday, Sep. 28 | 7–9pm | Drop-in
Chelsea Depot | 125 Jackson St., Chelsea

Friday, Sep. 29 | 12:30–1:30pm

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Photo by Melissa Fuller

Life Stories with Paul Burch

Meet Paul Burch, the featured songwriter in the first annual CDL Song Fest. Paul will share stories from his life as a musician and answer questions. (Psst… we’ve heard Paul is bringing his guitar, so maybe he’ll share a song or two!)

Friday, Sep. 29 | 12:30–1:30pm | Drop-in
Chelsea Senior Center | 512 E. Washington St., Chelsea

Song Fest Day-long Schedule

September 30, 2017 | All Day | All Ages


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Market Music Storytime

Our daylong event kicks off with a musical storytime at the Farmers market. Join us for stories, songs, and rhymes in the open-air market space.

Farmers Market on Park Street | Drop-in


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Kevin Devine’s Rollicking Family Concert

Kevin Devine is an award-winning singer-songwriter and performer specializing in rollicking, participatory concerts for children and families. Join us for family entertainment that is uplifting and full of fun!

Reading Garden | Drop-in


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Make & Take Instruments & Exotic Instrument Zoo

Get up-close and personal with exotic instruments! Ask knowledgeable musicians about their instruments and how they learned to play, then head over to our craft area to make instruments of your own to play and take home.

Joining us will be Kevin Devine with some kid-friendly instruments, local bagpiper Thomas Martin Kennedy, and Jeremy Arndt with his didgeridoo and handpan.

KidSpot | Drop-in


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Songwriting Mentor Sessions

Need some help nailing down the bridge to a song? Looking for constructive criticism on your lyrics? Book a one-on-one mentoring session with a seasoned local songwriter and get advice on any aspect of the songs you’re working on from someone who knows the ropes.

Study Rooms | 25 min slots | Registration Required
Register by calling 734.475.8732 x219

Rooted in 60’s folk and vintage country, Ann Arbor songwriter, singer, and acoustic guitarist Judy Banker explores familiar musical territory and delicately makes it her own. Taking cues from Loretta Lynn to Gillian Welch, her songwriting is intensely personal, sharing warm love songs, lamentations, and narratives reflecting on her own life experiences as well as drawing from her lifelong work as a psychotherapist. Though new to recording, with 2014’s debut Without You and 2016’s Devils Never Cry, Judy has long been a part of the Ann Arbor music scene.

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“My songwriting ranges from simpler blues songs to more of a mouthful hip hop lyrics. More often than not I find myself blending the two to find my own voice. And sometimes I write country songs.”

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Kari Holmes represents the new American music lovers! This Nashville recording artist has had her hands full this year in music. Her first single, “Something New,” was released to mainstream country radio and instantly made the top 200 on Music Row. Now with her top 25 Inspirational Country Music charting single, “More From Me,” she is a top 10 nominee for ICM’s New Artist of the Year! Kari has a fresh, new sound to country music and is vivacious on stage. Her passionate lyrics, dynamic sound, and high energy makes you feel alive! She is, “Something New!”

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image of little girl enjoying a A2SO Kinderconcert

A2SO KinderConcert

A special concert just for little ones who love to dance and move to music! Join movement specialist Gari Stein, pianist Kathryn Goodson, and musicians from the A2SO for a guided introduction to the instruments of the orchestra.

McKune Room | Drop-in


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Gear Talk

Share experiences and opinions on your gear: guitars, keyboards, amplifier heads, saddles, wah wah pedals, pickups, tuners, amps – the list goes on and on. Talk shop with very special guest Dave Budzinski of Budz Pickups who has created pickups for many of music’s luminaries, including Paul McCartney.

McKune Room A | Drop-in


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“So, you want to start a band?”

Learn from members of local bands, such as the Ben Daniels Band, Shelter Dogs, and others, about all things related to bands.  Get the inside scoop on forming a band, scheduling practice, buying equipment, booking gigs, performing, and what it’s like to be a band member. Solo performers are also welcome to attend.

McKune Room B | Drop-in


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Beat the Clock Songwriting Challenge

The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” was written during a soundcheck; REM’s “Losing My Religion” was written in a ten-minute burst of creativity; The Beatles’ “Yesterday” was conceived in a dream and written in a minute. Are you up to the challenge? Facilitated by Nashville singer-songwriter Paul Burch, participants will be paired with a partner, provided with a prompt, and challenged to complete a song as the minutes tick away.

McKune Room | Drop-in


Teen Songwriting Workshop with John E. Lawrence

Collaborate with other teens to create a song in an afternoon under the guidance of John E. Lawrence, one of Michigan’s finest and most respected guitarists and band leaders. Teens will collectively create a song in a supportive and nurturing environment. No musical experience required.

Staff Work Area | Registration Required
Register by calling 734.475.8732 x219


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Variety Showcase

Grab your 10 minutes of fame! All amateur musical performers from the Chelsea area are invited. Slots are limited, so sign up early!

Reading Garden | 10 min. slots | Registration Required
Register by calling 734.475.8732 x219


photo of Paul Burch in concert

Paul Burch Live

An intimate acoustic concert with Nashville singer-songwriter Paul Burch. Prior to his concert, Martin Bandyke, annarbor 107one’s morning host, will interview Burch in an up-close and personal conversation about his career, influences, and craft. Event includes a Q&A with audience. The evening is hosted by Jeremy Baldwin of 89.1 WEMU-FM’s Roots Music Project.

For more than two decades, Paul Burch’s unique vision of American roots music has attracted characters and collaborators from punk to honky tonk. “At the risk of being impeached by the bluegrass purists,” wrote legendary music critic Chet Flippo, “I think Burch is the best duet partner Ralph Stanley has found since his brother, Carter Stanley, died in 1966.” Click here read Paul’s entire bio.

Chelsea Alehouse | 420 N. Main St., Chelsea | Drop-in

Prior to this year’s Song Fest, Chris Berggren, CDL Administrative Assistant, sat down with Paul to delve into his career and tap into his musical insight. Click here to read the interview.

Download the Interview

Learn more about Paul Burch

For more than two decades, Paul Burch’s unique vision of American roots music has attracted characters and collaborators from punk to honky tonk. “At the risk of being impeached by the bluegrass purists,” wrote legendary music critic Chet Flippo, “I think Burch is the best duet partner Ralph Stanley has found since his brother, Carter Stanley, died in 1966.” Click here read Paul’s entire bio.

Special Thanks to the following organizations for their support of this program.