February / March 2014

0 1087

Ken Schramm, owner of Schramm’s Meadery, comes from a long tradition of family farmers who’ve been growing food and feeding the people of Michigan for generations. Continuing in that tradition of providing Michiganders with something nourishing and delicious, Schramm followed his passions and opened a meadowy.

Serving a drink that Forbes Magazine called a “Top Ten Food Trend” in 2011, Schramm’s new venture isn’t the pursuit of a crazy whim, but rather the results of a lifetime of love and dedication to the craft of making mead (along with the blood, sweat, and tears of his daughter (Alyson) and wife (Jean).

For the many who may be unfamiliar, mead is a flavor-dense beverage made of fermented honey, fruit, yeast, and spices. Through it is sometimes called honey wine, it is a different species altogether than wine or beer. “Mead is a unique beverage because of its origins in honey,” Ken said. “Every other beverage is based on a product that is essentially limitless. If you need more barley, you just plant another field. If you need more honey, you can’t go plant a field of bees.”

Though he may not be able to plant a field of bees, he is relentless about finding the best honey; which leads to the most delicious mead.

His reverence for using the best quality ingredients comes through, most especially, with his signature mead: Heart of Darkness. He grows the fruit himself and it is “lovingly” hand-harvested and mollycoddled to maximize the flavors.

But whether it’s the exclusive (and expensive) Heart of Darkness or the other meads on the menu at Schramm’s, Ken strives to “make meads so good that when you get done drinking them, you’ll be haunted by the flavor.”

His first experience making mead was 25 years ago, and he says he’s “been hooked ever since.” Aside from his own meadery, Schramm also participates in the larger mead community as well. You’ll find him listed as the author of The Compleat Meadmaker, published in 2003, that has been instrumental in promoting mead awareness to interested readers. The book has sold over 60,000 copies and is considered the seminal text for mead making hobbyists and professionals. Schramm is also one of the founders of the Mazer Up — an international mead competition for mead makers that takes place annually in March.

After all these many years of participating in the mead community, Ken has finally secured his own meadery right here in Ferndale. It’s in this very modestly-sized space that Ken makes 200-gallon batches of mead, and does all of the bottling, tasting, and selling. The tasting room at Schramm’s is as unpretentious and approachable as the mead itself; the steel mead-making tanks are visible from any seat at the bar or at any one of the dozen tables inside.

That particular space was one of the many reasons Schramm chose Ferndale as the home for the meadery. “(Ferndale is) a great combination of both customers and a storefront that I could have right on Nine Mile. It has a supportive city government that really welcomed me with open arms,” he said.

Michigan also happens to be one of the hotbed states for mead making and, for that reason, local customers are more familiar with mead and other craft beverages and are excited to give them a try.

Schramm’s staff members are also very knowledgeable about all of his products and share his passion for helping customers enjoy mead. First time visitors are encouraged to taste and sample several different meads. Schramm’s also serves savory canapés and platters as well as sweets with recommended mead pairings. The meadery has recently added a trivia night on Wednesdays and they are having a holiday gala for members of Schramm’s Mazer Club on December 8th. In addition to special invitations to parties and events, the Mazer Club participants receive discounts on selected mead, merchandise, and early access to seasonal releases.

And if you want to spend locally for the holiday season, they have The Compleat Meadmaker, a variety of hats, T-shirts, and hoodies, plus two special gift baskets that feature Schramm’s mead and other goodies, many of them made in Michigan.

Schramm’s Meadery is located at 327 West Nine Mile and open Wednesday through Sunday. The Tasting Room can be reserved for private tasting parties on Monday or Tuesday.

For more information, call 248-439-5000.

The ad read: “Painting Treasures at the Purple Peacock.” Intriguing! I was very interested after having seen much beautiful hand-painted furniture in stores only to be deterred by the price. Here was an opportunity to create my own!

The owner of Purple Peacock and painting teacher is Pollyanna Robling, wife of Ron Robling, owner of R & S Resale of Ferndale. Pollyanna is a children’s art teacher by day and she also dabbles in children’s art, watercolors and collages. Some of her creations can be found in their store. They also have a new storefront for estate sales and painting classes, named Professional Estate Liquidators, where I attended the premier “Chalk Painting 101” class on Saturday, December 14th in Ferndale.

Pollyanna recently became a paintologist, training with Van Gogh paints – an eighteen month old company developed by Cathy Van Gogh, accomplished decorative faux finisher. The Purple Peacock is now the exclusive carrier of Van Gogh products in Oakland County. This brand of paint, manufactured by Cloverdale in British Columbia, is also self-leveling, which offers a very smooth finish free of brush strokes.

Twenty-five and one brand new colors, with four of them custom colors ordered by Pollyanna. This is a waterbased fossil paint, or chalk paint (made from dried limestones) which adheres to anything, making it conducive to the DIY market. Chalk paint works well for distressing techniques, whereas regular latex paint does not. Some of the colors include “bole”, a clay color used a lot with gold guilding, “serenity”, “balsamic”, “muse” which is good with antiquing kitchen cabinets, “buttah” – a beautiful yellow, “confidence,” etc.

Other “furniture make-up” finishing prod- ucts offered by Van Gogh include the thicker “luminous eyeshadow,” the silvery “glamour glaze,” the hard wood-filler like “furniture facelift” (also used for raised relief), “cabinet concealer,” thick crackle for textures “wrinkle lotion,” “facial masque” for a stone look, and the layers of translucent colors “furniture frosting.”

Much of this presentation was also given by Scottie Vosburgh of Virginia, developer for Van Gogh (www.savedby scottie.com). Other topics covered include Van Gogh’s brushes and furniture wax. Their brushes are made of natural materials and have oval tips with all handmade kiln dried wood handles. Their wax is made of beeswax and mineral oil and is safe for kids toys and completely non-toxic and low VOC. The also have a hard as nails table top finish “furniture facelift.”

Pollyanna and Ron provided food from Christine’s Cuisine which was delicious, and hopes to support other local restaurants with lunch at Saturday classes. I look forward to more classes!


0 1231

IF THE MARIO BROTHERS LIVED IN METRO Detroit, their favorite shop would be Game Reaction, the gaming store that can’t be beat! And now there are two. The Hazel Park location has been around since 2011. Now they are celebrating the Grand Opening of the newest Game Reaction at 13740 W 9 Mile in Oak Park (just west of Coolidge).

Game Reaction is the place to go for playing, trading and selling video games and systems. They have all the latest titles, including Call of Duty Ghosts and NBA2K14. They also have all popular game systems and accessories, including PS3 and XBox 360 Controllers.

Game Reaction’s prices are the best in town And Game Reaction pays extra cash for all used games and systems. Check their ads for special coupons and free offers.

Game Reaction is also a great place for your children’s birthday parties and other events. Call for more information about scheduling and options. It’s a great way to entertain the kids.

For more information, check out: www.gamereactioninc.com. Or stop by either location, and let Game Reaction satisfy your gaming needs!

Oak Park, 13740 W 9 Mile, west of Coolidge, 248-397-8410
Hazel Park, 22824 John R, south of 9 Mile, 248-291-6764

Q: I was arrested for misdemeanor drug possession. My court-appointed lawyer wants me to go to N.A. and have people sign-off on an attendance form to prove that I go. But I’m not an addict. I haven’t used drugs since I was arrested and I only used it occasionally. Can’t I just be drug tested and do community service? I’ll go if it helps, but I feel weird. What do I say to people at these meetings?

A: In your question, you mention your court-appointed lawyer. The ethical rules for lawyers in Michigan say that no other lawyer is allowed to give you advice about matters pertaining to your case where you already have a lawyer. So the only legal advice I can give you is: ask your court-appointed lawyer.

The court is paying so that you can consult with an expert. In many courts, the lawyers who are appointed are the same lawyers who appear regularly in that court. They are experienced criminal defense lawyers who know the system and they know the judge. No one is better equipped to know whether your attendance at N.A. will impress your particular judge. Why would you consult with such an expert and then not take their advice? That’s the sort of thing an addict would do. Looking for the easy way out (“Can’t I just be drug tested?”) is also the sort of thing an addict would do. So is asking for advice, disliking the advice that is given, and so continuing to ask until you find someone to tell you what you want to hear.

Your court-appointed lawyer may be concerned that you need to consider whether or not you do, in fact, have a problem. Maybe they think N.A. or A.A. will help (or can’t hurt).

As to non-legal matters, I can tell you that you are not required to be an addict or alcoholic, or even to say that you’re an addict or alcoholic, in order to attend meetings of A.A. or N.A. “Open meetings” are public. Anyone can attend. There are meetings all over town at all times of the day and night. They are easy to find online at the Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous web sites. “Closed” meetings are intended for anyone with a desire to stop drinking or a desire to stop using drugs. There is nothing that you are required to say. All that is required is a desire.

WE REGULARLY HOST SOME amazing programs here at FPL. But then, we’ve got a particular pair of facilitators who’ve been at it for a while; you could call them programming pros! Reference Librarian Darlene Hellenberg and Head of Circulation Kelly Bennett have worked together for much of the last 15 years, working individually or as a team in organizing/hosting a variety of special programs and events for the community.

This season, Bennett continues to host her local music showcase First Stop Friday (on every first Friday evening of the month, with two bands performing in our Com- munity Room), while Hellenberg leads our participation in The Great Michigan Reads series of group-reading discussions/ events. We host an annual community-wide book club called Ferndale Reads. Think of this Great Michigan Read as merely a wider focus: encouraging the entire state to read-along. Our book is by Steve Luxenberg. “It’s the true story of the author’s quest,” Hellenberg said, “to learn about an aunt he never knew he had. It takes place mostly around Detroit and surrounding suburbs.”

We’ll kick off our Great Michigan Reads in late March, check ferndalepubliclibrary.org for confirmed dates. Our first confirmed program tied to the book’s theme is on April 23rd (7pm) at the library, a Memoir Writing Lecture, titled “Preserve Your Family Stories: Tips for Interviewing Your Loved Ones” Author Steve Luxemberg will speak about his book on May 22nd (7pm) at the Rust Belt Market. Hellenberg said she enjoys “finding ways to tie everything together” when it comes to engaging the community through group-reads, namely: “organizing programs that highlight a book’s themes.” Hellenberg enjoys hearing how readers in the community are uniquely experiencing the book.

Meanwhile, says Bennett of our live music events: “I invite creative people into the library’s space, make sure they have what they need and just let them go. I enjoy seeing the experimentation that the bands bring to our space; it’s a different kind of venue so many choose to attempt a different kind of show.”

First Stop Fridays has garnered positive responses, demonstrating that libraries are “community hubs,” Bennett emphasizes. “Our resources are becoming more about an experience and face-to-face interactions.” The more our nation’s’ libraries embrace this expanded role, the more patrons and communities will flock to them, “in turn, then, seeing everything we have to offer.”

Bennett: “Darlene and I went through a lot together in Circulation when the library was going through growing pains (middle 2000s). She’s the kind of co-worker and collaborator that can encourage you so much that you feel invincible. She can also parse out any flaws in your plan.”

Hellenberg: “…as a partner-in-library crime, Kelly is great at seeing things from every angle. She’s great at making sure we can actually pull-off whatever it is that we’re envisioning.”

IENTITY THEFT HAS EXPLODED in frequency recently. In 2013, the FPD investigated 62 cases of identity theft, and that doesn’t include the vast numbers of other types of frauds that might have originated from an identity theft.

An identity theft occurs when someone assumes your identity from numerous different sources and commits some type of fraud or other crime. These types of crimes are very difficult to investigate and prosecute. Several jurisdictions may be involved in an identity theft case involving the same victim and may even occur in several different states. Understandably, the FPD cannot send a detective to California as part of an identity theft investigation that originated with a Ferndale resident. In most cases, your bank or credit card company is eager to write off their loss as a cost of doing business and is happy to reimburse you, as a customer in good standing, for any loss you may suffer. The FPD will generally only complete a report for identity theft from residents of the city of Ferndale. In very few cases, generally those involving large fraudulent purchases at a Ferndale business or the use of violence, will the FPD investigate cases involving identity thefts that originated in other jurisdictions.

The sources of information that permits an identity thief to uncover the vital data needed to assume your identity are so numerous and varied that it is almost impossible to prevent. Criminals may get this information about you by stealing your wallet or purse, breaking into your vehicle, going through your trash, or by accessing your credit or bank accounts. They may approach you in person, by telephone, or on the Internet and talk you out of certain vital pieces of your personal information.

There are ways you can reduce the likelihood that you might become a victim of identity theft but there is no way to prevent it. Your vital data is stored in databases that are too numerous to begin to keep track of. Never throw away any correspondence with names, account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers in any form that may be usable. When in doubt, shred it!

Never give out credit card information to anyone unless you are conducting business with a reputable entity and you called them. Continually monitor your bank accounts and immediately notify your bank of any discrepancies. Keep a list of your credit cards and their corresponding phone numbers to call if they are lost or stolen. Report any unauthorized transactions to your bank, credit card company, and the police agency where you reside as soon as you notice them. Review all of your bank and credit transactions monthly. Inspect your credit report yearly and contest any items you find that are in question. Request that the Michigan Secretary of State put a flag on your driver’s license if your identity is stolen to limit the possibility that your information is used in an arrest or traffic citation situation.

Here are some tips to take if your identity is stolen: Initiate an Initial Fraud Alert with one of the three national credit monitoring agencies. Submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov that will result in you completing and printing an Identity Theft Affidavit and then take this to the police in the jurisdiction where you reside and request that an identity theft report be completed. Order and meticulously inspect your credit report. Once you make notification of an Initial Fraud Alert you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three national credit monitoring agencies.

As winter begins to thaw into spring, couples everywhere look for unique ways to celebrate their upcoming matrimony. Now, thanks to the brainstorming power of handmade advocates Angela Ficorelli (owner of Moving Beauty), Carey Gustafson (owner of Glass Action!), Lish Dorset (crafter extraordinaire), and Stephanie Tardy Duimstra (owner of Type Shy), Metro- Detroiters have a great new resource to find innovative vendors, artists, and venues to help them make the happiest day of their lives also the most functional and fashionable.

The idea for the Indie Detroit Wedding Ring came during a discussion at a 2013 craft fair. Ficorelli, Gustafson, and Dorset realized that, despite having a large, supportive crafting and handmade community, there existed no go-to resource in Detroit to connect brides and grooms with artists and independent businesses that could provide unique options to help color their special day. They acted quickly and put together the Indie Detroit Wedding Ring – a consortium of like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs from across Metro Detroit.

Vendors must meet the criteria of being a boutique business featuring high-quality handmade goods, exhibit a modern wedding design esthetic, and participate in, and support, the do-it-yourself community.

The list of vendors has grown exponentially since they began, with florists, venues, DJs/bands, photographers, and more signing on to offer their unique brand of goods and services to DIY wedding planners in the Detroit area. “Think of a real-life Etsy,” Ficorelli said, who oversees the day-to-day operations at the Indie Detroit Wedding Ring. “Since February 2013, we have been a growing online resource for couples wanting a wedding rooted in the values of handmade goods.”

Now the minds behind the IDWR are bringing that resource to life with the announcement of the Detroit Indie Wedding Show to be held at Rust Belt Market on March 8th.

The second event presented by the IDWR (they held a bridal showcase in June), the March 8th show promises to be “a more formal show featuring music, DJs, flowers (and flower alternatives), glass work, stationery, photographers, videographers, catering, and desserts,” Ficorelli said. With over 20-plus vendors and musical acts expected, the event will be a diverse display of some of Detroit’s best talent and most original work.

The choice of venue is no accident, as Rust Belt fits perfectly within the ideals and requirements of the IDWR. The creation of Chris and Tiffany Best, Rust Belt’s aim is to foster an environment for small, creative businesses to grow and thrive. After a successful Kickstarter campaign recently helped to raise the funds for a massive redesign and renovation effort, the Bests’ brainchild is one of the premiere venues for events and shows in the Midwest.

The first Detroit Indie Wedding Show presented by the Indie Detroit Wedding Ring takes place on March 8th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The show will be held during market hours, so visitors will have the chance to view and experience the entire living market.

To see the latest news and information on the upcoming show, be sure to follow the IDWR on Facebook at facebook.com/IndieDetroitWeddingRing. Potential vendors interested in displaying their services at the show can
find the vendor application on the IDWR blog at IndieDetroitWeddingRing.blogspot.com. For information on all of the upcoming events and vendors at Rust Belt, visit rustbeltmarket.com.

Eric Hinchman knows something about creativity In fact, he knows something about Ferndale, too. The entrepreneur behind Ferndale’s Bedoshirts (a hip clothing business that sells threads with cutting-edge designs) and the Detroit Bachelor DJs is now taking that same creative spirit he’s brought to clothing and live music, and sharing it with a much larger audience via a the new pod- cast: DBDJs Audiocast. With eleven popular episodes and the podcast reaching the top spot under New and Noteworthy Podcasts on iTunes, Eric Hinchman sat down with us to talk about DBDJs and their new-found podcast popularity.

Ferndale Friends: Let’s start with the basics, who are the Detroit Bachelor DJs?

Eric Hinchman: The DBDJS are a collective of like- minded individuals who are talented enough alone, but when joined together create a giant unstoppable robot. We each have our own unique personalities that shine through in the tracks that we select while performing. We’re probably best known for playing an eclectic hybrid of techno and house music, but we’re not limited to that, and can often be found dabbling in drum and bass and jungle, electro, ambi- ent, IDM, and other genres, depending on what’s most appropriate for the venue and the event taking place. Regardless of genre, we’re generally exposing brand-new music for the first time, or reminding you of something long forgotten about. We don’t play top-40 hits and we generally don’t take requests. Not that we’re jerks, it’s just that most of what’s in our collection isn’t popular yet.

We basically play music people need to hear.

FF: What kind of live events do DBDJs typically play?

EH: It used to be difficult to hear the sounds that we play unless you attended early underground dance parties (or raves) back in the day. We don’t play hits, we generally play brand-new music, and some of those songs may become popular. And whether they do or not, we have probably already grown tired of them by that time and have moved on. But, eventually the music became more mainstream and now the most obvious events would be gigs at nightclubs. We have also performed at events like grand openings for businesses, charities, radio broadcasts and internet streams, concerts, festivals, in-store performances at record shops and musical instrument retailers, corporate parties, bars, restaurants, salons, holiday parties, gallery openings, etc. Anywhere we can fit a sound system and mixing gear, and there is a desire for the mood of the room to be enhanced by music — there doesn’t have to be a dance floor.

FF: How did the idea for the new podcast come about?

EH: Most of the media I consume is in the form of an audio or video podcast, and I have been a fan for a long time. As far as I know, they were the first true forms of digitally distributed on-demand content, and the fact that they’re generally available for free is always nice. Throughout my life, I’ve found myself interested in a number of multimedia-related trades. From film and video editing and production, animation and illustration, design and web development, there was even a time when I considered pursuing journalism.

The idea came about once I realized I could essentially combine all of those interests and produce them from the comfort of home, or anywhere else for that matter.

After some research, I found that I already had the tools and knowledge necessary. It was just a matter of creating the package. There was definitely an intimidation factor and fear of the unknown, but once the show was approved by Apple, a weight was lifted, and I only wished we had started earlier.

FF: What are you trying to accomplish with the podcast?

EH: The main thing is to simply grow our audience by reaching new fans. But, the podcast is accomplishing things I didn’t anticipate. We are reconnecting with old friends and colleagues that we’ve lost touch with over the years. It’s also reinvigorating and inspiring us now that we’re able to reach people on an international level with the help of our website and social media. It’s a great feeling when you release a new episode, then watch in real-time people listening and having a conversation about it immediately after you post it online.

FF: What does the future hold for the DBDJs?

EH: We are working on a handful of other shows with slightly different themes, and plan to start creating video podcasts after the new year. Live video streaming from events would be nice eventually. We’re also discussing getting back into organizing and promoting events when the right opportunities come our way. Some of us write original music or are experimenting more with it, so it would be a logical step to eventually evolve into a publishing company and record label. We have acquired a nice collection of original designs throughout the years that could be incorporated into some really nice merchandise, so I’m toying around with the idea of adding an online store to the DBDJs website.

FF: You’ve started two businesses in Ferndale. Besides being your hometown, why did you pick Ferndale?

EH: Originally, it was because of location and mainly sentimental reasons. Being able to jump on the expressway and travel in any direction possible is a real luxury, and I used to dream of a day where we would have high-speed rail from Detroit to Pontiac and it appears that may finally become a reality. Over the years, I’ve watched Ferndale grow while staying committed to independence, diversity and it’s DIY attitude — an unexpected bonus. Coincidentally, most of us in the DBDJs live here currently, or have at one time or another.

Ferndale has always been important to me and is the right town for more reasons than I can count, but it has always been an intentional and strategic decision to stay here.

The Detroit Bachelor DJs are Derek Plaslaiko, Craig Gonzalez, Keith Kemp, Matt Clarke, RJ Covert, Drew Maddox, Andy Toth, Greg Mudge, Mathew Boynton, James Teague, and Eric Hinchman. To find episodes of DBDJs Audiocast visit detroitbachelordjs.com or search for it in iTunes. Show announcements can be found on their facebook: Facebook.com/DetroitBachelorDJS and Twitter: @dbdjsinfo.
For booking information email info@detroitbachelordjs.com.

A kickoff meeting for a new phase of Oakland County Beyond Coal drew a capacity crowd to the Ferndale Public Library on January 21st.

One of the best-attended environmental campaign meetings I’ve seen, it featured two of Ferndale’s own as moderator (Andrew Cissell) and keynote speaker (Craig Covey) as well as nationally-known environmental justice organizer Rhonda Anderson of Detroit, and Physicians for Social Responsibility member Stephanie Dernek of Ann Arbor. Green Corps organizer Zack Deutsch-Gross has chosen Ferndale as his temporary residence while in Michigan revving up Beyond Coal’s latest juncture.

Dr. Dernek pointed out that Physicians for Social Responsibility created a Michigan chapter primarily because of coal’s health issues here. Coal contributes to several of our leading causes of death, including cancer, stroke, heart disease, and chronic respiratory problems, and is “especially bad for babies and young developing minds,” Dernek said.

Michigan’s reliance on coal is still higher than the national average, according to the doctor, and PSR supports “the closing of coal plants and replacing coal with renewables” for “cleaner, happier, healthier communities.”

Some of Covey’s environmental roots are in the six years he spent as a Boy Scout; he’s been involved in environmental causes since his teen years, and not just coal. “Coal may be the ugliest house on the energy block but fracking is right next door,” he told us, reminding us of other threats Michigan faces, and also that environmental issues know “no boundaries like 8 Mile Road.” He urged us to “hold our politicians accountable” and pointed out that “we don’t own the earth as property. We get to use it as stewards and pass it on to the next generation.” Craig delighted attendees by calling Ferndale “the Ann Arbor of Metro Detroit, and the San Francisco of Michigan.”

Rhonda Anderson, who heads the Sierra Club Environmental Justice office in Detroit, connected the issues of pollution to the recent celebration of Martin Luther King Day as well as to present struggles for environmental justice. Moving beyond coal is a “continuation of the fight begun in the ‘60s for civil rights. Everyone has a right to clean air and clean water.”

“I did not know until seven years ago how bad things were. I had become accustomed to all that major pollution [in southwest Detroit]” which she pointed out is “a community that’s so impacted by dirty energy. What’s the solution? Clean energy.”

The crowd, 67 strong, got better acquainted in breakout sessions, brainstorming topics like grassroots organizing and attracting media attention (and with the abundance of social media, many realized that we ourselves are the media now). It was heartening to not only see the usual green suspects but those who had come to such an event for the first time, whether out of curiosity, an eagerness to connect various Ferndale commissions in common causes, or a new willingness to become directly involved. The refreshments provided by Blaze Pizza, Jimmy Johns, and Starbucks were gratefully enjoyed, and some of the crowd headed to the WAB after the hour-plus meeting ended.
Want to become involved yourself? Look for and “like” Oakland County Beyond Coal on Facebook for news of coming events or contact organizer Zack at zack@greencorps.org.

Excitement is already filling the hallways and classrooms of Ferndale High Schools as the award winning theater department readies another in a long line of incredible student productions.

Years past have brought us classics like The Sound of Music, and The Music Man — with each year’s ensemble cast impressing with their diverse array of talents. This year, Ferndale High is tackling Thoroughly Modern Millie, a musical about a small-town girl from Kansas named Millie Dillmount who comes to New York City to marry for money instead of love. Millie soon begins to enjoy the “flapper” lifestyle, checks into a hotel, and trouble and mischief quickly begin.

The musical is “flashy and colorful, with lots of dancing,” says Judy Donlin, the highly respected producer who helps bring Ferndale High’s shows to life. “It’s just very, very entertaining.” Donlin is working side-by-side with Melissa Smith, who is acting as director for Thoroughly Modern Millie, to insure that the production is another smash hit. Based on a book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan, the show opened on Broadway in 2002 and went on to win six Tony awards including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Actress (won by Michigan-native Sutton Foster).

Taking over the lead role in the Ferndale High School production is senior Samantha Berger. A veteran of the Ferndale High Theater, Berger is excited about the chance to play the lead role.

“[The production is] theatrical, modern, and it’s the biggest dance production we have ever done,” Berger said.

Samantha’s character leads the well-known opening number “Not for the Life of Me,” and continues to flavor the show with a variety of song-and-dance numbers. The ensemble cast features a large number of talented Ferndale High Students including David Burk (playing Millie’s love interest Trevor Grayton II), Joanna Gaden, Angel Morales, McKenna Voss, and Grace Wilson (playing the Priscilla Girls), and many others.

Along with the great student talent and vision of Donlin and Smith, many dedicated people use their time and energy to make these productions some of the best in the state. Kim and Ken Schroeder work hard to help the students learn the challenging melodies and complexities of the music. Jan Whinham choreographs the performances (an important task for a musical that brought home the Tony for Best Choreography) and has been working with stu- dents on tap dancing rehearsal since October. Carol Digby is the master seamstress who creates each and every article of clothing worn on stage, and the husband and wife team of Jim and Liz Pfleger design the sets and facilitate the props, respectively. Books are kept by Tom Jaksa, who helps to ensure the financials are balanced and the production is able to acquire all items needed. All of these people make up the “really dedicated group of adults who are tireless in their work, much of which is also volunteered,” Donlin said.

Another wonderful addition to the upcoming production is the chance to premiere it in the newly remodeled Ferndale High School theater. Using money from a bond passed in 2012, the theater’s stage equipment, sound system, theatrical lighting and rigging system, curtains, stage access, acoustical wall treatments, and projection booth have all been updated and modernized.

Donlin is encouraging the community to come out and see the results of the bond they voted on. The show is sure to be “a nice evening out and [guests will] leave having had a great time,” Donlin said. With such a talented cast, dedicated crew, and impressive venue, Thoroughly Modern Millie is primed to be yet another in a long line of incredible productions from Ferndale High.

Thoroughly Modern Millie runs the weekends of March 22nd and March 28th. For tickets or information you can visit the box office, online at http://fhsmusical.bpt.me, or call 248-586-8609. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors or students (with valid ID).