Old Friends return to Old Settlers with July 13 tribute concert

By Linda Alice Dewey

Sun contributor

Last summer’s Simon & Garfunkel tribute concert at Old Settlers’ Park was such a hit, they’re doing it again but with one major improvement.

The free concert at Old Settlers was organized by the men’s Bible study group at the Glen Lake Community Reformed Church as a one-time deal. 

Not so fast. The turnout was so great—upwards of 600 despite the rain—and the response so positive, they were encouraged to do it again. But they wanted to add something new. 

Enter “Looking Forward,” the trio made up of local favorites and all-around good guys—former Glen Lake music teachers Pat Niemisto, John Kumjian, and urban agriculturalist Chris Skellenger, of Buckets of Rain fame. The trio performs CSN&Y’s trademark 3-part harmonies, from Suite: Judy Blue Eyes to Helplessly Hoping and Harvest Moon, their own way.

Contrast that to Nick Foresman and Jason Elsenheimer, who last year recreated the 1981 S&G Old Friends concert in Central Park word-for-word, down to the last detail, from dialogue to the song set and costumes. They’ll do it exactly the same this year, sansthe rain, if they have anything to say about it. If you come, anticipate hearing them sing songs like Mrs. Robinson, Homeward Bound, Bridge Over Troubled Water, The Boxer, Scarborough Fair, and The Sounds of Silence.  

Local sponsors completely covered all expenses last year, including musician fees, and three charities benefited from generous free will offerings that poured in even after the concert. “Our sponsors covered the cost of performance,” says organizer Bob Johnson, who initially thought much of it might have to come out of his own pocket, “so the $9K we raised all went to the charities—Helplink, Young Life, and the food pantry.”

This year, both Helplink and the food pantry are on better financial footing. The sole beneficiary will be Young Life, a youth ministry for middle school and high school students at Glen Lake School. Presenting sponsors this year are Anderson’s Market and Cherry Republic, with support from Shannon Realty, Leelanau Coffee Roasting, Northwood Hardware, John and Pam Depuy, Jenifer Murray Consulting, Jerry and Shelly Pearson, Bob and Sue Johnson—and the list is growing.

“The cost of this year’s concert will increase about $2000,” says Johnson, because of the additional band and “some increased costs for sound equipment, etc., as we are expecting a larger crowd and want to make sure that everyone has a great experience.”

You might want to come early. “I would suspect we’ll have more people because word of mouth last year was so incredible,” Johnson predicts. “We had no intention of doing this again. But the feedback from the community was overwhelming. Tribute bands are kind of the hot number right now.”

Looking Forward will play at 6 pm and Old Friends 7:30-9:30 at Old Settlers’ Park on Glen Lake on July 13. The concert is free with the hat passed for freewill donations. Bring your own water/coolers for hydration and chairs/blankets to sit on.