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October 13, 2023

A Fantastic Fall at the Freighthouse


Following a successful 10-day pilot at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse in the spring, UMS just concluded a full four-week residency of programs for all ages. From showcasing local talent, to welcoming families for interactive workshops, to premiering an all-new work inspired by the city’s rich history, take a look back at some of our favorite moments from Fall 2023 at the Freighthouse:


Ypsilanti’s Got Talent

Shara Nova hosting Open Mic at the Freighthouse

Singer, songwriter, and Ypsilanti native Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond) hosted a free open mic night, inviting local musicians and artists to share their unique talents on our new stage.


Namaste, Ypsi

Yoga at the Freighthouse

UMS offered two yoga classes led by Ypsi resident Marly Spieser-Schneider, accompanied by the soothing sounds of harpists Beth Henson and Jordan Key.


A Slappin’ Good Time

slapslap family workshop at the freighthouse

Families experienced an absurdly fun musical performance and workshop with electric bassoon and percussion quartet slapslap! Kids got to make their own “slapsticks” and improvise alongside the musicians on stage.

Learn more about slapslap’s upcoming performances and sign up for their newsletter at

slapslap family workshop at the freighthouse


Sonic Contributions

Marcus Elliot’s Sonic Contributions

Detroit-based saxophonist Marcus Elliot led a seven-piece band of musicians and artists in Sonic Contributions — a special collaboration with the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County that celebrates the history of Ypsilanti as a refuge for Black Americans dating back to the 1830s. Visual artist Curtis Wallace created two original pieces inspired by the sounds and stories shared live on stage.

In addition to two nights of full audiences attending the world premiere performances, the work was filmed and will be released for streaming in early 2024. Sign up for our digital presentations newsletter for a reminder when it becomes available.


Dancin’ the Night Away

Square Dancing at the Freighthouse

The Detroit Square Dance Society brought Southern Square Dancing tradition to the Freighthouse, with live music, non-gender calling, and line dances for anyone and everyone to enjoy!


An Electrifying Show

LIGHTNING Drag Show at the Freighthouse

The energy was absolutely electrifying at LIGHTNING: A One of a Kind Drag Show Extravaganza, featuring Heads Over Heels Productions and Chroma Productions. Two unique sets celebrated queer performance art at the historic Freighthouse.


Movement for All Ages

Teaching artist Heather Mitchell led workshops for adults and for families, exploring traditional West African Dance and contemporary AfroBeat dance moves.

Heather’s West African Dance teaching unit is also available for streaming on UMS Performance Playground:


A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster

Leonardo! at the Freighthouse

Our Fall residency at the Freighthouse concluded with Manual Cinema’s Leonardo: A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster. Four performances for Ypsilanti schoolchildren, plus two public family performances of this magical production used hundreds of illustrated puppets, book pages, two-dimensional props, furry monster puppets, live music, and the wonder of real-time filming to bring Mo Willems’ books to life.


Thank you to all who participated in our Fall 2023 residency at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse! UMS will be back in Ypsi for another four weeks in April 2024. Sign up for our Freighthouse interest list for a reminder when full details are announced in the new year.


Thank You to Our Residency Supporters

The Ypsilanti Freighthouse residency is made possible by Menakka and Essel Bailey and Matt and Nicole Lester.

Family programs are sponsored by Michigan Medicine.

Michigan Medicine logo

Promotional Support Made Possible by Helga and Jerry Bilik.

Funded in Part by

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan