Welcome to Water Hill
Picture it: The sun is shining, friends and families wander with you through streets with aquatic names — Spring St., Fountain St., Brooks St… You pass neat rows of houses with musicians, like living lawn ornaments, on front porches and in open garages, their sweet tunes ferried on the warm breeze. If you’re new to the festival, you will notice that introductions come in the form of handmade band name signs staked in the grass. Stop by for a spell before moving on to the next song, which is never too far away in Water Hill.
In 2011, Paul Tinkerhess (folksman, craftsman, businessman) founded Water Hill Music Fest to spotlight the cohesive personality of the neighborhood as well as its musicians. This un-sponsored event follows only one rule: at least one member of each performing band must reside in Water Hill.
“It epitomizes Ann Arbor… I don’t know where else it could happen… where there’s so much talent in one neighborhood. That’s what blows me away, how many musicians and artists and people that, just, they’ve got it goin’ on!” – Miko Fossum, Magdalen’s mom, past Water Hill resident.
Knowing the Neighbors
This year’s line-up is a long list of talented performers old and new. But be sure to keep an eye (and an ear) out for these Water Hill gems:
Indie-soul outfit The Understorey was formed by Matt and Jess McCumons in 2011, who performed their first duet at their own wedding reception. Spouses and parents, these rebels-no-more played with their band on the outskirts of the festival at Big City Small World bakery in 2012. Now with keyboardist and Water Hill resident Miles Shultz, The Understorey is a legitimate festival band.
Tree Town Community Chorus
With over 15 members and no audition required, the Tree Town Community Chorus is a haven “for anyone who likes to sing and socialize after work, “ says creator David Perample. They sing in 4-part harmony, “mostly Americana, familiar songs from Stephen Foster to Michael Buble.” David assembled the chorus in 2001, fosters it to this day, and keeps a personal music studio in Water Hill.
“I’ve known Paul Tinkerhess for many years and he is the coolest. I think he is solely responsible for the whole shebang”
– David Perample, Tree Town Community Chorus.
Magdalen Fossum is the humble heart of Ann Arbor folk, named The Ark’s Open Stage Performer of the Year in 2011—at the age of ten. Now she’s 13 and playing her third consecutive Water Hill Music Fest, equipped as always with her ukulele. She favors Woody Guthrie and Boswell Sisters covers that suit what she calls her “folksy, jazzy” voice and also pens and picks originals.
“I love that all my friends can come and see me, and I love that I can go see my friends perform there. I just love that when you’re done, you can literally just walk around and look at all the different talents and all the different people and you know you don’t need to drive anywhere, you just bike or scooter or walk.” –Magdalen Fossum
Kim Vi & The Siblings
Kim Vi & The Siblings, a band of brothers not by blood but by shared roof and shared musical interest, plays primarily jazz-infused indie rock. The band consists of four MSU Jazz Studies students: Kim Vi (vocals, keyboard, guitar) who hails from Pittsburgh, Olin Clark (keyboard, guitar) from Grand Rapids, Louie Leager (bass) from Portland and Judison Branam IV aka “Jud” (drums) from Ann Arbor, more specifically, Water Hill, and more specifically, next door to Paul Tinkerhess.
Water Hill Music Fest Between Miller Ave.,
Brooks St., Sunset Rd. and the railroad tracks, Ann Arbor
Sunday May 4 2 – 6 pm