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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: Individual artistry sets tone for music series in Fish Creek

Critic At Large

Door Community Auditorium’s DCA Coffeehouse Series

Series poster.

FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – To create a music series, Door Community Auditorium doesn’t have to go far, the county being home to many musical artists.

A coffeehouse series is part of a normal time for the auditorium. Now an online coffeehouse series with Door County artists is keeping a flow going in this COVID-19 pandemic-weird time.

A seven-concert series started Thursday night – 45 minutes of music from the auditorium stage by two gifted singer-musician-songwriters.

Multiple cameras, a solid sound set-up and a one-to-one feel were basic pluses of the offering.

The main plus was (is) the artistry of the performers.

The recorded concert may be seen – free with donations/artist support welcome – on the Facebook page of Door Community Auditorium.

Stars of the night are Katie Dahl and Genevieve Heyward with their individualistic artistry.

Katie Dahl, 4.8.2021. (Screenshot)

Katie Dahl sings and plays guitar. Genevieve Heyward sings and plays piano and guitar.

Katie Dahl’s songs are like elaborate houses with many rooms, each room with different furnishings (thoughts).

Genevieve Heyward’s songs plumb a consciousness of conflict, thoughts aching to be set free.

Each artist creates a radiance of a newly opened wildflower, an interesting and complex one, like a Turk’s cap lily.

Turk’s cap lily, or Lilium superbum. (

Between songs, Katie Dahl tells of having traveled to Europe for a tour, only to have engagements canceled by the quickly closing grip of COVID-19.

She speaks of having set goals in all the “extra” time the pandemic allows, only to have accomplished flossing her teeth daily.

She speaks of writing a musical for Northern Sky Theater. “Victory Farm” was her first co-author experience there. The work in progress is about the creation of Peninsula State Park. The piece is destined to be the “first and only musical about eminent domain,” she jokes. That song is about two sisters affected by the acquisition, with Katie Dahl’s trademark high, clean, clear voice flowing.

All of her songs in the set have the glow of well-crafted care.

Genevieve Heyward, 4.8,2021. (Screenshot)

Genevieve Heyward speaks of having performed in the series last year with an audience of 75 (coffeehouse size). The online format is a bonus. Instead of having to invest in time and travel, people anywhere can tap into concerts and find out what they are about.

Genevieve Heyward is partly about the piano. Her use of the instrument’s dynamics is impressive. In some songs, she fluidly adds dimensions of complexity in piano expression of her creation. Her words tend to be embers of thought – like those surrounding a final goodbye – that are fired up with the piano’s depth.

Genevieve Heyward adds to her scope by playing guitar, which brings another layer of atmosphere to songs – the most atmospheric an achy cascade in “The River,” which she co-wrote with pat mAcdonald.

Originality is the byword of the concert. It is appealing in itself and an appetizer for what lies ahead in the series.


The rest of DCA Coffeehouse Series, all concerts starting at 7 p.m. Info:

+ April 22: Jeanne Kuhns, George Sawyn: Earth Day Concert

+ May 6: Terry Murphy, John Lewis, Cathy Grier, The Troublemakers

+ May 20: Paul Taylor, Eric Lewis

+ June 3: Jon Mueller, Todd Carey

+ June 10: “Hammered Dulcimer & History” with Phil Passen on the anniversary of Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois becoming the first states to ratify the 19th Amendment

+ June 24: “Blessing of the Season” by Wade Fernandez

Also: June 16, 7 p.m.: Katie Dahl premieres a song commissioned for the Door Community Auditorium audience and an “Artist Q&A.” To receive a Zoom invitation, email by noon April 15.


Notes from message to patrons from Cari Lewis, Door Community Auditorium executive director:

Door Community Auditorium has commissioned some of the artists to provide additional opportunities and educational activities, such as songwriting workshops, artist Q&As, a brief introduction to the Menomonee language and a demonstration of how to make a washtub bass presented by a new Door County resident/Grammy Award-winning washtub bass player.

National touring artists Keb’ Mo’ and Straight No Chaser canceled their dates at the auditorium. However, Tanya Tucker (July 13) and the August-December shows are “full steam ahead.”

The auditorium is working on scheduling some new June/July indoor concerts, featuring a mix of local and Midwestern artists who “we know will shine brightly on our stage and work well at a 25 percent capacity. Look for an updated calendar in early May.”

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