Letter from the Executive Director
Photo courtesy of Phillip Solomonson.
When I began as Executive Director of The Acorn one year ago, we were in the midst of the pandemic, only able to produce outdoors, and uncertain about our ability to program our theater to full capacity. But together we have persevered!
In this Spring season of rebirth and renewal, I am overjoyed that now we can welcome you safely back inside, we’ve become the proud owners of our building, we have 50+ shows currently on sale, are growing our bar, and have restoration plans for the building and adjacent apartment. We have also added amazing talent to our staff, which will help us continue to provide the best entertainment in Harbor Country.
Three weeks ago we shared with you that we have officially purchased The Acorn building at 107 Generations Drive in Three Oaks! We wanted you to be the first to know. We are so grateful for the outpouring of well-wishes and support from our community as we take this momentous step in the history of our nonprofit organization together.
It is my pleasure to use this opportunity to reflect on where we’ve come from and envision our future together.
We look back on our history and have a lot of people to thank. Beginning with the founders of the Acorn Theater, David Fink and Kim Clark, and the numerous individuals who have worked tirelessly as staff and Board of Directors for The Acorn Center for the Performing Arts since becoming a nonprofit in 2015. Read more in the “Acorn News” section about the March 20 Open House thanking David for his passion and vision.
We also use this opportunity to look forward, and envision what’s to come. We have engaged an architectural firm to conduct an assessment and are busy planning restoration to our building. We will have a full announcement shortly. But don’t worry, The Acorn will retain the wonderful vibe we all know and love.
There are also extensive and exciting programming offerings to share for this Summer and beyond! We currently have 50+ shows on sale on The Turner Stage at The Acorn as well as around Harbor Country, and will be announcing more in the coming weeks. Some highlights include:
Next month we launch a brand-new summer concert series Midwest Made! Each Wednesday for 10 weeks from mid-June to mid-August we will spotlight a diverse, eclectic, and energizing midwestern artist. Tickets are only $15 or you can get a pack of all 10 for $100. Come join us for one or all!
Back by popular demand, Acorn Anywhere! returns this summer. We will have outdoor performances at La Lumiere in La Porte, IN, Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles and The Common in Buchanan. Visit our website @ Acornlive.org and keep reading below for more details.
Finally, we have new team members to introduce since our last newsletter. Donnie Biggins, Talent Buyer, and Michael Bond, Box Office Coordinator. As we transition from tenant to owner of our building, we also assume two new lines of business: the rental apartment above the theater and the bar. Longtime regulars will recognize Leigh Ann Gilpin-Murray and Carrie Bronner as bar staff. Next time you’re at the theater extend a warm welcome to them as they have officially joined The Acorn’s team!
See you at the theater!
On any given night if you are attending an event at The Acorn, you’re likely to be greeted by the smiling face of Bill Lindblom. (On any given night if you happen to be working an event at The Acorn, you’re likely to hear multiple delighted exclamations of “Bill!” from entering patrons.)
Bill joined The Acorn Staff a year ago. As someone who loves theater buildings and describes theaters as being the “closest thing to heaven here on earth,” Bill was drawn to his role at The Acorn. He says he is honored to be part of the Acorn team and “be a part of the energy that thrives here.”
Bill illuminates his connection to the ‘sacred space’ of a theater with a recounting of his recent visit to the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor: “It's a grand movie palace that was somehow spared by the wrecking ball. Being one of the country's premier Film Centers, I had heard about it for years, and finally got to visit it for the first time. Almost immediately upon entering the auditorium, I was overwhelmed by the sacred space and burst into tears. I was literally sobbing in the aisle, and there was nothing up on the screen!”
When Bill isn’t working, his garden is his passion. He also describes his favorite way to spend a day off this way: “Making a real connection with someone, or something, or some place. It's not so easy to do.”
Q: How would you describe your role at The Acorn to someone you were meeting for the first time?
A: I welcome the audience, and with a lot of help, usher them in, get them situated, make them comfortable, get them focused, and prepare them for the music and the entertainment that they have imagined.
Q: What is a 'fun fact' about you or something people might be surprised to know about you?
A: In my younger days, I delivered Singing Balloon-o-Grams for a living in San Francisco. I also created party decor, chiefly with balloons. I was also a professional mime. No kidding!
Q: Are you a bookworm? Who is your favorite author and/or what is your favorite book?
A: Bookworm, not really....I read a little bit to go to sleep (unless I don't get home from The Acorn until midnight). Currently on my nightstand: "The Hidden Life Of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben and "Full Service - My Adventures In Hollywood And The Secret Sex Lives Of The Stars" by Scotty Bowers (totally salacious), and for reference "Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs."
Q: How do you define success?
A: Finding out what you were meant to do, and then doing it.
Summer Brings the Return of Acorn Anywhere! and the Start of Our New Midwest Made Concert Series
Back by popular demand, Acorn Anywhere! returns this summer, along with the launch of a new summer concert series – Midwest Made!
Acorn Anywhere! is taking us to La Lumiere in La Porte, IN, Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles and The Common in Buchanan. Join us for an Acorn Anywhere! – or all three!
June 11 – Ike Reilly Assassination at La Lumiere
The "King of Music Row" Ike Reilly and his band bring their gritty and hard-driving music to Acorn Anywhere!. The New York Times called the band one of the best live bands in America.
July 30 – The Music of Ella & Billie at Fernwood
In an Acorn Anywhere! reprisal of our March hit, The Acorn proudly presents an all-star cast honoring jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Featured are Patti Shaffner, Char Jones, Lauren Dukes and Meredith George.
August 20 – Best of Acorn Open Mic w/ Joe Bisceglia at The Common
Joe Bisceglia hosts this special Acorn Anywhere! event at The Common in Buchanan, MI., featuring some of The Acorn's favorite local artists.
A new series premieres on June 15! It’s Midwest Made at The Acorn, a summer concert series putting the spotlight on regional talent in a diverse array of genres. Each Wednesday night, you'll want to find yourself at The Acorn for shows that will not disappoint! Packages are available to purchase tickets for the entire series.
We kick off on June 15 with the jazz trio Buddy Pearson 3, followed by the bluegrass/Americana group The Water Street Wranglers. The series also features Abbie Thomas Band, Kaitlin Rose & The Band of Thorns, Mike Struwin Band and much more! Among the local first-timers to The Acorn is Benton Harbor’s Sankofa, an eclectic genre-bending band leaning on funk, jazz and hip hop influences. The series concludes with Chicago Farmer & The Fieldnotes, The Backups & The Get Downs and one of the premier big bands in the Midwest – Lake Effect Jazz Big Band.
The Acorn Center for the Performing Arts Proudly Announces Purchase of The Acorn Theater
Executive Director Beth Kaskel, Acorn Staff and Board Members, along with community supporters gathered to honor David Fink’s vision and dedication to The Acorn on March 20. In a speech given to the crowd of supporters celebrating the sale of the theater to the Acorn Center for the Performing Arts, Board Member Jen Shoup reflected, “We gather to honor David Fink and the late Kim Clark for their vision, hard work and passion that came to be The Acorn… On behalf of the ACPA Board, Staff, and Volunteers, we thank David. We know in the days, years, decades to come, the best way to show our gratitude is to keep the theater filled with artists and patrons experiencing this gem to Three Oaks, Michigan. This is our commitment.”
An Inspiring Art Attack Weekend at The Acorn
The Acorn was a proud participant in Art Attack 2022, with three visual artists and a weekend of special events and live music.
We kicked the weekend off with a Launch Party and film screening of Rothko: Pictures Must Be Miraculous. Janet Davies led a discussion with Allen Turner, former Chairman of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
The artwork of Elizabeth Coyne, Susan Henshaw and Abe Partridge delighted visitors throughout the weekend. Live music filled the stage – Steve Poltz, Abe Partridge, Joe George, Abbie Thomas Trio and Mark Hummel all performed.
Harbor Country Pride and The Acorn – A Proud Partnership
The Acorn is proud to be a premier sponsor of Harbor Country Pride 2022 and host to several special events throughout Harbor Country Pride Week.
Wednesday, June 1 - Bev Rage & the Drinks with opener Lady Stardust
Harbor Country Pride kicks off at The Acorn! Bev Rage & the Drinks are a loud, fast, and brash queer garage-pop band from Chicago. Plus, Lady Stardust invites audiences to sing along and re-imagine Bowie's iconic music through a unique acoustic lens.
Saturday, June 4 - “Club Rainbow” at The Acorn
MUSIC + DRINKS + DRAG + A WHOLE LOTTA LOVE! A Saturday Night Celebration through dance and divas with Harbor Country’s LGBTQIA+ Community. This is a 21+ event.
Monday, June 6 - Movie Night + Wrap Party
Harbor Country Pride and The Acorn present a Pride Week Wrap Party and screening of the 2001 musical comedy-drama Hedwig and the Angry Inch!
Tuesday, June 7 - Pride Open Mic Night
In collaboration with The OutCenter of Southwest Michigan, The Acorn presents a very special Acorn Open Mic Night, showcasing LGBTQIA+ performers. Hosted by the 2020 winner of The Acorn's Singer-Songwriter Competition, Dylan Reed Leavitt.
Check out some of these recent moments at The Acorn.
Wednesday, June 1
Bev Rage & the Drinks with opener Lady Stardust
Friday, June 3
Paws for Humanity Benefit Concert
Saturday, June 4
“Club Rainbow” at The Acorn with The Kunty Kittens
Monday, June 6
Movie Night + Wrap Party - Harbor Country Pride
Tuesday, June 7
Pride Open Mic Night w/ host Dylan Reed Leavitt
Friday, June 10
Cash Box Kings
Saturday, June 11
Ike Reilly Assassination at La Lumiere – Acorn Anywhere!
Wednesday, June 15
Buddy Pearson 3 – Midwest Made
Friday, June 17
Saturday, June 18
Wednesday, June 22
Water Street Wranglers – Midwest Made
Thursday, June 23
Friday, June 24
The Newports’ Last Dance
Saturday, June 25
GhostLight Theatre presents Significant Other
Wednesday, June 29
Abbie Thomas Band – Midwest Made
Thursday, June 30
Friday, July 1
Saturday, July 2
Joe Pug w/ Esther Rose
Sunday, July 3
Wednesday, July 6
Open Mic Night w/ The Edgar Willbury Experience – Midwest Made
Thursday, July 7
Friday, July 8
Heartache Tonight - A Tribute to the Eagles
Saturday, July 9
Mike Dawes w/ Trevor Gordon Hall
Wednesday, July 13
Kaitlin Rose & The Band of Thorns – Midwest Made
Thursday, July 14
State of the Unity Fan First Premiere with The Bergamot
Saturday, July 16
The Brit Pack
Wednesday, July 20
Mike Struwin Band – Midwest Made
Thursday, July 21
2022 Singer-Songwriter Competition Finals – 10th Annual Celebration
Friday, July 22
Saturday, July 23
Wednesday, July 27
Sankofa – Midwest Made
Saturday, July 30
The Music of Ella & Billie at Fernwood – Acorn Anywhere!
Sunday, July 31
Wednesday, August 3
Chicago Farmer & The Fieldnotes – Midwest Made
Friday, August 5
Saturday, August 6
The Chicago Experience
Tuesday, August 9
Wednesday, August 10
The Backups & The Get Downs – Midwest Made
Thursday, August 11
Saturday, August 13
An Acorn Evening with Mark Giangreco: Hosted by Janet Davies
Wednesday, August 17
Lake Effect Jazz Big Band – Midwest Made
Thursday, August 18
Second Hand News: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac
Saturday, August 20
Best of Acorn Open Mic at The Common – Acorn Anywhere!
Friday, August 26
Saturday, August 27
The Milk Carton Kids
Wednesday, August 31
Neighbor by Neighbor Benefit featuring PureSoul Presents
Friday, September 16
Al Stewart with his band The Empty Pockets
Saturday, October 22
- Labor Day Weekend entertainment
- Fall Show Announcements