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Favorite Moments from the Freighthouse

In April 2023, UMS piloted a week of arts programming at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse, in advance of a new four-week residency that will take place at the historic Depot Town venue each Fall and Spring. The pilot week included nine unique programs — all free or Pay What You Wish — and brought together multi-generational audiences from Ypsilanti and beyond.

We were beyond thrilled by the enthusiasm and energy from artists and audiences alike at every event! Here is a look back at some of our most memorable moments:

A Community Sing Kick-Off

There was no better way to start our residency than with Come Together: An Evening of Community and Song, led by Dr. Brandon Waddles and professional singers from Ypsilanti and Detroit. They invited audience members of all ages to join them in songs by The Beatles, Bob Marley, and more!


Breaking it Down

Breakdancing Workshop at the Freighthouse
Families and K-12 students participated in interactive breakdancing and art-making workshops, led by Maurice Archer and Curtis Wallace.


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A Sensational Saxophone Trio

Kaleigh Wilder Trio
Rising baritone saxophonist Kaleigh Wilder brought original compositions and improvisations to the Freighthouse, joined by Jaribu Shahid on bass and Ben Hall on percussion. They filmed a digital-exclusive UMS Live Session (which will be released online later in the Summer), and performed a captivating evening of music accompanied by dancer Alexandria Davis.

Sign up to our Digital Presentations Interest List for a reminder when the Live Session becomes available.


A Garden of Sound

The Regenerate Orchestra
More than 60 local musicians of all ages and backgrounds came together in a performance by The Regenerate Orchestra. Regenerate director Clay Gonzalez wrote and arranged sonic immersions and soundscapes for the group’s specific instrumentation, and invited audience members to walk around and explore the lush, different sonorities throughout the evening.


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Movement and Healing

Reconnecting Currents: A Healing at the Huron
Dancer, educator, and Kresge Gilda Award Recipient Marsae Lynette invited the community to reconnect with freshwater sources and engage in rituals of reconnection. The evening included a film viewing, dance performance, and a poignant processional to the Huron River at sunset.


The Stage is Yours

Rochelle Clark and Jason Dennie
Ypsilanti resident and singer/songwriter Rochelle Clark hosted an Open Mic night, showcasing the outstanding talents and creativity of our local community — from an original poetry reading to an acoustic cover of Bad Bunny!


Dancing the Night Away

The lights dimmed and chairs cleared right after our Open Mic concluded, opening up a dance floor to an electrifying DJ set by Ypsilanti-based artist Todd Osborn.


Light and Shadow

Detroit Puppet Company workshop
Our second workshop for families invited children ages four and up to participate in Detroit Puppet Company’s presentation of The Carnival of the Animals. The series of shadow puppet scenes depicting different members of the animal kingdom, all set to music by composer Camille Saint-Saëns, was followed by a crafting session where participants could try out their shadow puppetry skills.


Welcoming Local Students

K-12 Student workshop at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse
Over the course of the week, more than 200 students from local schools participated in daytime K-12 workshops at the Freighthouse.

A Sophisticated Send-Off

John E Lawrence and the Power Band
Nearly 200 guests at the Freighthouse joined our closing performance by guitarist and lifelong Ypsilanti resident John E. Lawrence and The Power Band, who took the stage for an evening of jazz.

Thank you to all who participated in our pilot week at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse! We cannot wait to build on this momentum for an extended residency this September. Sign up for our interest list for a reminder when full details are announced in July.

Thank You to Our Residency Supporters

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

Funded in Part by

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

Piloting a “Pay What You Wish” Ticket Model

As part of our upcoming April residency at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse, UMS is introducing a “Pay What You Wish” (PWYW) ticket model for three unique performances.

With PWYW, we’re trying to remove barriers between audiences and great art, and to make it as easy and welcoming as possible to attend something that may be a new experience.

With PWYW, you decide how much to pay per ticket.

Ultimately, we hope that those who can afford to pay a little more will do so, to help make it more affordable for someone else. Artists receive the same fee regardless of how much money is collected from ticket revenues.


Pay What You Wish Events

Kaleigh Wilder Trio

Tue Apr 25 at 7:30 pm

Baritone saxophonist Kaleigh Wilder has performed around the world, led her first album release, and now has plans to release two more albums as a bandleader with a New York-based record label—among several other ongoing projects. She performs at the Freighthouse with Jaribu Shahid on bass, drummer Ben Hall, and dancer Alexandria Davis.


Reconnecting Currents: A Healing at the Huron

Thu Apr 27 at 6 pm

Marsae Lynette presents an evening of film, performance, and community, inviting audiences to reconnect with one another and freshwater sources like the Huron River.


John E. Lawrence & The Power Band

Sat Apr 29 at 7:30 pm

In the closing night of UMS’s April Ypsilanti Freighthouse residency, John E. Lawrence and The Power Band take the stage for a sophisticated evening of jazz.


Thank You to Our Residency Supporters

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

Funded in Part by

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan


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