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Lakeview, MI
48850

 

Collecting Consort
Biography

    Born during World War II, we both experienced the sadness of family separation as our fathers served our country.   However, we were raised in extended families with many aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.   Anne has four siblings, and I (Gary) have one brother.  

    Creativity in the form of music and the written word was greatly valued in our homes. The wonder of stories read to us in front of the fireplace with cider and popcorn still hold a special warmth in the memories of our early years. Music in all forms (opera, big band, hymns, etc.) was always played in our homes.

    Our parents also introduced us to the fun of a variety of arts and craft experiences, and mechanical construction projects were always under way. But possibly more important, a problem was seen as a challenge, using creative approaches to discover its resolution.

    Church activities were a important with participation in choirs, Sunday School, youth groups and community projects.  Anne's family was active in volunteer work at hospitals and schools.  

    During the school years,  I (Gary) studied clarinet, and Anne practiced her piano. Later, she had the opportunity to work with her childhood fantasy, the harp. We also played in school bands, orchestras, and choirs.

    During our teen years, we failed to excel at sports and academics, and music became our major tool for feeling our worth. However, when we started college and chose our professions, we moved in other directions. Since Anne was attracted to teaching, she studied elementary education. I explored my creativity in radio and television production. I also played in the Michigan State Marching, Concert, and Lab Bands along with earning my spending money by maintaining an 18 piece dance band.

    After college, Anne began teaching, and I went to work as Supervisor of Recording at the Interlochen Center for the Arts at Interlochen, MI. We discovered each other in the Traverse City Symphony where I was playing clarinet and she was a percussionist.

    After our marriage, we wanted new directions for our occupational venturing, and we returned for master's degrees. Anne received her's in Special Education for the Learning Disabled and Emotionally Impaired and mine was in Guidance and Personal Services.

    Anne resumed her teaching, and I worked as the Rehabilitation Therapist at our mental health center. We also started our family. Of course, we carried on the tradition given to us by our parents and grandparents and exposed our children to the universal language of the arts and various church, scouting, sports and community volunteering (hospitals, extended care).

    Our life style continued to change when we studied with Neil Lamper, a gestalt psychologist. He opened our eyes, and ears to the world around us, and we subsequently found ourselves investing in 30 beautiful isolated acres of water, woods and meadow. We built our own home, went “back to the land” and explored our self-sufficiency.
    (pictures and story of our homestead)

    We also began a private counseling practice which was our profession for 18 years.   The same concepts we were sharing with our clients caused growth for us as we continually worked the edge of our own creative risks and discovered more of our own potential.

    Then, in 1985, a musical experience caused a major change in our directions. Dr. Falcone, my college band director, asked me to join him and other alums in a concert tour of his homeland, Italy. Percussionists were also needed, so Anne joined the ensemble. Dr. Falcone died two months before we left, and the tour continued in his name, giving it perhaps even more purpose. I am not sure what had more impact, the response of the Italian people to our music or the sharing that occurred with our fellow musicians, but we came home with new awarenesses of beauty, culture, heritage, and a developing warmth within ourselves. We knew we had to do something more with our music.

    About that time, we were attracted to the resurgence of folk music. I wanted a hammer dulcimer. So we went to the Wheatland  Music Festival to buy the dulcimer, and the lutherist also made folk harps. So Anne was reunited with her childhood fantasy of the harp, and we both went home that day, much poorer in pocket book, but richer in our lives.

    Two months later, we made our first public appearance in church Christmas Eve. The rest is history. Soon, the phone began ringing for weddings, festivals and other events and we now refer to ourselves as "professional musicians."

    People asked if we had a cassette to sell. Not being one to pass up an opportunity, I utilized my Interlochen experience and we produced our first recording. Now, a dozen years later, we have released 16 recordings and travel the Mid-West doing concerts, appearances and workshops. Last year, our high point was the sale of our 250,000th recording.

    We have now reached a point in our lives where we qualify for senior citizen discounts, and we feel like we are just getting started. The contacts we have with our patrons culminate in many wonderful and warm feelings. Communing with our fellow artists and musicians always reminds us of the potential to be found in sharing the creative process.

    Recently, we completed the requirements for certification as Music Practitioners.  We now offer a free ministry of music at the bedside for the purpose of healing and transition to all residents of our community.  We have always been attracted to the healing qualities of music for our own growth and maintenance.  Therefore this progression for sharing our talents with others seems to be quite logical and meaningful at this point in our lives. 

    In 1998 Anne had the opportunity to return to her teaching and has spent five years integrating special education students into the regular classroom.  She will be joining the School of Education faculty at Central Michigan University this fall and will be supervising their student teachers. 

    Now, we are ready to move in some new directions.  We hope to take our music and stories south to work with the retirement communities.  We will also continue our volunteer efforts offering our creativity and music to hospice patients, nursing homes, jails and prisons, schools, and programs serving those with disabilities (click here for information on these services)


    Our Kids and Grandkids

    For those of you who have followed our family through the years.  This will bring you up to date.

    We feel especially lucky to have both our children living an hour from us to enjoy and act as our support in our lives.  Jenn (our daughter) gave birth to premature twins who have now reached the wonderful age of 15.    It is a gift to be the recipient of their joy from the distance of grand parenting rather than parenting.  

    The tradition of music is being established in another generation.  Alyshia has followed her grandfather's passion and is studying clarinet.  Jessup inherited his Uncle Michael's baritone and loves explore and learn new music. 

    They also have a 11 year old brother (Kaleb - has just started baritone) that enjoys hiding very important things from his grandfather and being a "helper" for his grandmother. 

    Jenn remarried, and with her husband, Cliff, gave us Weston, who is 5.  The last addition is 2 year old Annie Jane, named after her grandmother and great grandmother.

     Michael (our son) completed his training at the Michigan Career and Technical Institute and moved into his own apartment.  He just passed his 28th year and is now the proud owner of a 1985 Chevy pickup and a boat for fishing.  He works for a local landscaper, mowing grass, planting trees, installing drip irrigation systems, etc. and during the winter, he plows snow. 

    He enjoys fishing, hunting, helping others, and driving his truck.  He brings home his 6' 7",  340# frame once in a while to take care of all the never - ending maintenance work around the place.  He is proof that a non reading, severely learning disabled person can be independent with a "little" help from his sister and parents.  The journey to that point was often frustrating and heartbreaking, but well worth it.

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To order recordings or discuss bookings,
contact us at: 

Anne & Gary Wakenhut
989-287-1134
Email: share@collectingconsort.com

Box 272
Lakeview, MI 48850