Night of music will raise funds, honor Lennon

MARQUETTE – John Lennon asked us to imagine a world with no hunger.

Through a local night of music saluting Lennon, people can help to lessen hunger in the community.

The second John Lennon Night is set for Nov. 9 in Marquette at the Ore Dock Brewery, 112 W. Spring St. The first such night took place in 2012 at the same location, but this year’s event will be even bigger.

“It will be a celebration of John Lennon’s music and his vision for peace, love and cooperation, with donations requested ($10 per person) as a benefit to the West Michigan Food Bank and The United Nations Children’s Fund,” said organizer Dave Stensaas. “One or both charities can be selected by attendees.”

For that donation, people will hear more than 16 performances by a variety of talented local and regional musicians. The music starts at 5:45 p.m. and will continue until 11:45 p.m., Stensaas said.

“There are so many talented musicians in the Marquette area, and many were influenced by The Beatles, so it is not hard to find people that want to play at this event,” Stensaas said. “The first time out I was a bit worried about finding enough performers that could draw a crowd, but it ended up that I could not accommodate all the people that wanted to play in five hours, so this year the event has been extended an hour.”

Stensaas said the first two hours will be the solo and duet performers.

“There are performers who would like to play that could not due to schedule conflicts, but ideally each year there are some different performers,” he said. “We will see several new acts this year, and not all the people that played last year.

“Last year’s event was a success,” Stensaas said. “The turnout was amazing, and we raised over $1,400 with only a $5 suggested donation. This year we are raising the donation request to $10 and adding an hour to the event, plus bringing in more bands.”

The Plastic Yooper Band – Michael Fitzpatrick on guitar and vocals, John Kus on drums, Laura Nagle on vocals and percussion, Greg Sandell on bass and Stensaas on guitar – will be the hosts.

Others performing include The Amnesians, Beyond Ambition, Drew and the Geezers, Dr.M and Pacing Delta. Other performers include the Bowers Boys, Gene Greene, Jeff Krebs, Michael Penglase, Jon Teichman, and Michael and Erica Waite.

“The Big Road Band is traveling in from the Minocqua, Wis., area, and another performer is coming from Arizona just for this event,” Stensaas said. “Big Road is a professional band that are sure to be a favorite, and it’s their first appearance in Marquette.

“A serendipitous thing is that the (local) director of the West Michigan Food Bank, Dave Mason, is an amateur musician and he will be performing with his band Dr. M,” Stensaas said.

Mason said he’s always been a fan of The Beatles.

“I thought they were pretty cool,” Mason said. “The wedding song my wife and I danced to was ‘Imagine.’ But a whole world of appreciation of Lennon opened up when Dave (Stensaas) talked to me.”

The donations directed to the West Michigan Food Bank – which has a location in Ishpeming and is part of Feeding America – will have a profound impact, Mason said.

“What it is going to mean is for us to be able to put foods on the tables of hundreds of families,” he said. “One thing we have figured out is that through us, a dollar a day feeds a family of four for a day. You don’t see that anywhere other than Feeding America.”

Having the local food bank as one of the charity recipients is important, Stensaas said.

“We want to help people here in Marquette County that are not food-secure,” he said. “I grew up in Ishpeming and didn’t always get enough to eat, so I also wanted the opportunity to help others that are dealing with hunger, and hopefully this will help with the extra food needed for Thanksgiving.”

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is