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Local and State News

Old Town BluesFest is in need of volunteers in order to continue as a fantastic, free community event. Volunteering for BluesFest is a great way to go behind the scenes, meet new people, and have fun! .

If you’re interested in volunteering for the 2014 festival season, go to this link: http://www.oldtownbluesfest.com/volunteer
and click on one of the opportunities listed.

Please contact us at 517-371-4600 or katrina@micharts.org if you are unable to access the options shown.
Old Town Jazz Festival August 1st - 2nd, 2014.
Old Town Jazz Festival 2014

Celebrating 20 years, Jazz Fest is a free, two-day festival that brings national, regional and local acts together performing to an audience of thousands drawn to the sound of jazz. While past festivals have featured local acts as well national talent, the decision was made to approach local performers this year with  ties to the Mitten State.

In addition to the live performances, the festival offered a number of kids' activities, including a musical instrument petting zoo, master classes, demonstrations and more. There was also a beverage tent and food vendors.

National News and Beyond
Dick Wagner Passes at Age 71

Dick Wagner, the Michigan-bred guitarist renowned for his work with Alice Cooper, the Frost, Lou Reed and others, died July 30th, 2014 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 71.

Wagner was born in Iowa and later settled in Saginaw. He was a key figure in the southeastern Michigan’s developing rock scene in the 1960s. He was distinguished as a go-to guitarist who made his name with the Bossmen and the Frost.

His first band, called the Bossmen, was a favorite in the Detroit area and scored radio play with “Baby Boy", "You're The Girl For Me" and others. Wagner formed his next band, the Frost in the late 1960s building up a substantial following in the Michigan area. The band released three albums during their tenure together on Vanguard Records. Wagner was the principal songwriter, arranger and lead singer of The Frost.

In 1972, Wagner moved to New York and formed the short-lived group "Ursa Major". The original line-up included Billy Joel on keyboards and Rick Mangone on drums.

In 1973, Wagner was recruited for Lou Reed's band along with Steve Hunter. Wagner and Hunter were featured guitarists on Lou Reed's dark and controversial 1973 studio album, Berlin.

It was during Wagner's days with The Frost, that he first met Alice Cooper. Producer Bob Ezrin brought both Wagner and Steve Hunter into the studio to play guitar on the early Alice Cooper albums. When the members of the original Alice Cooper group parted ways in 1974, Wagner officially teamed up with Alice Cooper and became his principal co-writer, lead guitarist and band director.

One of the best-known songs written by Wagner is "Only Women Bleed". Written during Wagner's days with The Frost, Wagner was initially unhappy with his lyrics and did not release it. Cooper and Wagner penned new lyrics and recorded it for Cooper's album Welcome to My Nightmare.

Following "Only Women Bleed", Wagner co-wrote a series of hit power ballads with Alice Cooper, including "I Never Cry", "You And Me" and "How You Gonna See Me Now". Other songs co-written by Wagner brought him public recognition as a songwriting talent.

One of the songs Wagner is most proud of is "Remember The Child", a song he wrote to address the issue of child abuse. Written from the point of view of a child, the lyrics and sing song melody deliver a powerful and poignant message to adults that a child will forever remember the love or abuse of their childhood. Embraced by psychiatrists and psychologists in their practices, the song has been used as a tool to evoke emotion from patients who are unable to express feelings.

In 2007, Wagner suffered a massive heart attack and stroke. After arriving DOA at a Scottsdale hospital, he spent two weeks in a coma, awakening with a paralyzed left arm. He retraining himself on guitar after this stroke paralyzed his left arm. Wagner re-emerged to begin recording, writing and performing gigs, including a triumphant homecoming concert at the Magic Bag in November 2011.

Dick Wagner's former band the Frost was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends online Hall of Fame in 2008. The group's recording of "Mystery Man", a Wagner composition, was voted a Legendary Michigan Song in 2009.

In 2010, Gibson.com honored the guitar tandem of Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter with two places in the Top 50 Guitar Solos of All Time - #25 for "Intro to Sweet Jane" (Lou Reed), and as #41 "Train Kept A Rollin' (Aerosmith).

Wagner lived in Arizona in later years, but regularly made his way back to Michigan, including a June 29 show in Owosso, his final home state performance.

He faced a slew of health issues after his 2007 stroke and heart attack, including kidney failure, a coma and a head injury from a swimming pool fall. He entered the hospital earlier this month for a procedure to open a coronary artery, but his recuperation was erratic. A fatal lung inflammation ultimately developed resulting in his death.