CAT benefit to feature live entertainment, food, auction

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Hantz Golf Club on Milwaukee Road is opening its doors and picturesque outdoor setting on Saturday, Sept. 21, for the first annual Tecumseh Music Fest being organized by Community Arts of Tecumseh (CAT). Representatives of CAT met with Hantz club manager Jamie McClintock on Thursday, Aug. 15 to review plans. Pictured in front are Martha Melcher (l-r), McClintock, Jan Rosacrans and Adrienne Ayers. Standing in back is CAT executive director Mary Lou Olds. Photo by Jim Lincoln.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Community Arts of Tecumseh (CAT) will bring the sound of music to Hantz Golf Club with the Tecumseh Music Fest. This evening of live rock, blues and jazz music paired with food and fun activities will help raise money for CAT art programs throughout the year.

CAT is a non-profit arts organization that serves youth and adults in Tecumseh, offering educational opportunities in visual arts and music. Jerry’s Market and Hantz Golf Club are the major sponsors for the event, and are working together to provide the food, served from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“I believe arts help to develop the creative mind,” said Martha Melcher, CAT founder with Jean Lash. “Problem solving is necessary when you’re doing a painting or art.”

In addition to music from Bille Lewis and the Soul Backs, The Jim Rice Group, and Simons & Rose, the evening features both a silent and live auction, kids activities, and a free photo booth. Those interested in a weekend in South Haven or Saugatuck will want to participate in the live auction for the chance to win these and other big items. Local businesses have donated a number of items for the silent auction, and CAT is still accepting auction donations from businesses or individuals.

Community support is key to the success of CAT. The non-profit group has received great support from businesses and individuals as it focused on strengthening the arts in Tecumseh. Continued loss of art, music and drama education in schools inspired Melcher and Lash to provide space and teachers for art and music.

“It develops the whole person when you can appreciate beauty in the earth,” Melcher said. “We need whole mind thinking. It’s imperative we continue creative arts education.”

Melcher said about the most recent CAT classes, “The children were just having so much fun. Locally, I think we’re taking pretty good care of our children.”
Youth are not the only beneficiaries of art education. Adults of all ages come to CAT to get their art on, often finding skills they didn’t even know they had.

“A lot of new friendships have developed,” said Melcher. “We don’t have to stop learning because we’re aging.”

The arts are often used as the language of communication, Melcher believes. She talked about how after 9/11 much of the connection created throughout the country happened through music and other forms of artistic expression. “They used the creative mind and spirit,” said Melcher.

Tecumseh Music Fest is the second major fundraiser this year for CAT. “Art in the Park” in May was a great success with its emphasis on visual arts. Just like “Art in the Park,” the Tecumseh Music Fest has something for all ages, including a cash bar for adults and a variety of activities for children.

Ticket prices are $35 for adults, $20 for students or seniors, with children 12 and under free. Because of space restrictions, there are a limited number of tickets available. Hantz Golf Club, Tecumseh Herald, CAT offices, and First Federal Bank are selling advance tickets.

“When you leave this earth leave something that’s memorable,” Melcher said. “Art is everywhere. It doesn’t have to look like a Van Gogh or Picasso.”

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