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The Voo-Doo Doctors will close out the third annual Yale Music Festival this weekend.

Marysville band 'Voo-Doo Doctors' headlines at Yale Music Fest, Aug. 12


Originally published in The Blue Water Voice, August 9, 2006

The Voodoo Doctors, one of St. Clair County's most popular rock bands, is headlining the Yale Music Fest this weekend.

"We'll keep the Yale show on high energy," said Al Langolf of Marysville, the band's bass player. "We play mostly music from the Sixties with some Fifties and Seventies mixed in. Our average is about 1963."

The third annual Yale Music Fest will be held from noon until 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12. The Voodoo Doctors will begin operating in the final slot of the day at 7 p.m. and will play until 9 p.m.

The event is produced by Integrity Clubhouse, the psychosocial rehabilitation facility in Yale, which serves adults with serious mental illnesses from the rural reaches of Lapeer, Sanilac and St. Clair counties. In keeping with the three county theme, the musicians and the vendors are from all over the region.

One of the functions of a clubhouse is to offer opportunities for its members to develop a sense of community through planning and organizing social activities. One way that the members of the Yale clubhouse do that is by organizing an annual music festival.

"We'll do some Grand Funk Railroad, Jimmy Buffet, Lynyrd Skynyrd, some old Muddy Waters, 'Red House' by Hendrix, some Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, the Beatles' 'Honey Don't', things like that."

Links to the mental health community

Fans of the local music scene know the bands on the lineup by their music. It might be surprising to learn, however, that many of the musicians have personal experience with mental health issues.

"We're happy to do the gig," said Langolf. "We're fortunate that we can do what we do."

The band's keyboard player, Greg Kobe, from St. Clair Township, and his wife Sherry have adopted two children with developmental disabilities and have a foster daughter with a development disability.

"My whole life I thought I was meant to play music," Kobe said. "I still love music and love to play. But this is what I was really meant to do."

Ann Schlicting is an administrative coordinator at St. Clair County Community Mental Health. Her rollicking, old-timey rhythms anchor the Port Sanilac-based roots band known as Ourselves. They take the stage at 6 p.m.

"I play budhran, a traditional Irish drum, wood spoons, shakers, clickers, chairs an sometimes even bones, although I don't know what kind of animal they're from," said Schlicting.

Ourselves features Ann's brothers Tom and Walt on a number of instruments - mandolin, concertina, tin whistle, flute, guitar, dulcimer and more. The band plays Celtic, folk and original tunes, including Tom's "Docks of Port Sanilac."

Singer/songwriter Dan Hazlett plays from 4:30-6 p.m. Hazlett writes and sings about off-the-wall topics such as carpet stains and Barbie doll demolition. But he has also written a song called "Follow the Leader" about his brother who has schizophrenia. The song explores the inversion of their relationship, in which Dan, the younger brother, comes to inhabit the role of the older.

"Oh, older brother, for you I had such hopes. You were supposed to be the one who would show me all the ropes," Hazlett sings. But try as eh does to be led, Hazlett himself must lead, inviting his brother to "come on and follow me...wish that I could set you free."

Hazlett, who was nominated for a Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Acoustic Recording in 2001 and for Outstanding Acoustic Performer in 2004, isn't surprised that so many musicians on the bill have experience with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.

"It's a fairly widespread phenomenon," he said.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, about one in five Americans experiences a mental disorder in the course of a year.

"I've been impressed by the work they're doing at the clubhouse," Hazlett said. "I'm heartened that there is a community of people who support these kinds of programs and activities."

Frank Stevens of Port Huron, who was recently diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome, opens the festival with a set beginning at noon. He'll team up with guitarist and accordionist Frank Bublitz Jr. and perhaps a special guest, to perform jazz standards and Christian music.

"One of the bands, some young guys who are gaining a lot of local popularity, Fallen Heroes, are from Memphis," said Lynn Vinson, of Casco Township, the director of Integrity Clubhouse in Yale and Bluewater Clubhouse in Port Huron.

Fallen Heroes play from 2-3 p.m.

"William Henry Russell plays a lot at Poncho's in New Baltimore," Vinson said. Russell plays from 1-2 p.m.

Plan to have lunch or dinner at the music fest. A number of clubhouse members are excellent cooks. A Lapeer County member plans to grill hotdogs and bratwursts.

A St. Clair County member is a pizza expert. A baker from Sanilac County will sell her homemade cookies.

The clubhouse's stylish resale shop will be open all day in the basement of the building.

Vinson invited clubhouses from around the state to participate in the event and nine tables have been reserved for a variety of arts and crafts.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Family passes are $15.

"The members work so hard to put on the festival," said Vinson. "I love to see a good community turnout."

The clubhouse is located at 516 North Street, Yale. For details, call (810) 387-3232.