By Doreen Stelton
To feel enveloped in a welcoming place with friendly folk. You know this feeling? You know it. We all share it. That desire to connect with others, to get social and commune. Perhaps even sharing a deeper experience together, basking in the beauty and mysteries of life. For a lifetime, a day, a moment, or even a night out. I find this at the Acorn Theater in the village of Three Oaks, Michigan.
Patrons of the Acorn are well acquainted with the casual, uber-friendly atmosphere the staff and devoted volunteers create. Then there’s the building itself, exuding a casual elegance steeped in history with a contemporary vibe. For a transplant like me, stepping into the Acorn’s warmth and vibrancy feels like coming home.
But perhaps best of all is the Acorn’s programming. Offering a variety of styles of entertainment, always live, with real people, artists enmeshed in the moment of expressing their art. Performers who take care and joy in connecting with their audience and find that the Acorn is a rare opportunity to do just that enjoy. You see, the proximity between stage and house is such that connection between performer and audience is happily inevitable.
I’ve been moved to laughter and tears by Acorn performances. Felt the rhythms of Rock, Indie, and Jazz flow through my body. My soul has been gently rocked by the music and humor of American Country and Traditional Irish. Bluegrass melted and lifted my tender heart with toe-tappin-hand-clappin’ inspiration. Friends in the audience and myself have nodded in soulful recognition of life stories shared in song or spoken word. Sweetly, the Acorn supports the growth of local and rising talent with a curated “Open Mic Night.” More inspiration. More community.
And there’s the sound and acoustics at the Acorn, and the heralded tech staff. Heavenly. Nuff’ said.
Ok, enough of the waxing poeticals, I’ll also admit that more than once I’ve been spotted kickin’ it at the bar with a glass of Guenoc, chatting and laughing with the bartender, the performers, and other Acorn peeps.
I’m now delightedly up to my elbows in community and music through the Acorn on a daily basis because I’m an Acorn devotee. Though I’m not the first to fall for the Acorn’s charms. The Acorn is a non-profit organization thriving on a healthy posse of volunteers. Plenty of folks fall under the Acorn’s spell and soon find their lives enhanced by frequenting the theater, as volunteer or patron. Some have even relocated to shape their lives round the Acorn.
As a former visitor to southwest Michigan, and now current full-time resident, I highly recommend you connect with Acorn Theater of Three Oaks. For a night, a season, a life. You won’t regret it. And when you come by please say “Hey!” I’m the redhead (one of several gingers there – another blog) greeting you at the door, snapping pictures on my iPhone, or laughing just a little too loud (during intermission only!) at the bar.
Oh, and the Acorn is always looking for volunteers!
Doreen Stelton finished up an extended nomadic stint in southwest Michigan and loved it so much she decided to stick around. She lives in friendly Three Oaks where she teaches yoga, works in marketing, writes, and makes botanical perfume. Whenever she has half a moment she hits the trails with her dog, Missy.