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Music Hop - Spread the News!

Music Hop

Take a look at a recent text to my best friend.

Me: "Have you heard of Music Hop?"

Best Friend: "No, where at? Like Art Hop?"

Me: "In Kalamazoo! It's a bit like Art Hop! I can't believe we didn't know about this?
We have to go. Check out the website:"

In a short time, our plans to attend Music Hop on June 16th were all figured out. If you don't know about Music Hop and enjoy live music, you're going to love hearing about this just as much as I did.

Music Hop is held on the third Friday of every month from 6:00 p.m. - midnight. Performances are free to attend and are spread throughout venues in downtown Kalamazoo. All the bands play within walking distance of each other, giving it a musical festival feel. There are different genres of music, it's all family friendly and the calendar on their website posts who's playing and where.

I boldly asked Will Alderman, director of this event, "Why do you think I didn’t hear of Music Hop a while ago?" Alderman shared, "It's pretty hard to hear about Music Hop right now. With no money for advertisements or marketing, if you haven't heard of it word-of-mouth, you probably won't know about it."

Music Hop has never the less evolved since its first event last year in April 2016. "Music Hop is a labor of love," said Alderman. However when Music Hop first began, the news, radio stations, and local TV stations were very interested and enthusiastic about this new event. This exposure helped bring immediate attention to Music Hop and thankfully word started to spread.

Alderman is currently the only one running the program and plans this event every month in the little spare time he has. "This is one of my side, side projects," Alderman says with a chuckle.

The director of percussion at Plainwell and Otsego schools, Alderman also works as an instructor for other schools. He also is the director for Portage Central and Portage Northern High School, and runs a private studio of 30 students from all around Southwest Michigan. And, he's not just a percussionist. He notes, "I play all instruments of a rock band."

Alderman attended WMU with a percussion major, and then went on to New York to receive his masters. When Alderman moved back to Kalamazoo, because he loved the culture and community of Kalamazoo, he also wanted to see more opportunities for musicians.

"If Music Hop was an option when I was a student, I would have been all about it," he shared. "The culture of Kalamazoo is right, but it was hard to play downtown."

The original idea sparked in a conversation with his friend Kyle Gulau. They were having a brew at Tibbs, and the question emerged, "Why isn't there a Music Hop?" This idea held itself suspended in Alderman's mind. He saw an untapped opportunity for musicians here in Kalamazoo.

"Kalamazoo is a central location for very large cities. We are an exchange between Grand Rapids, Lansing, Detroit, and Chicago," Alderman said. Kalamazoo seems to be an ideal location for many musicians. He went on to say, "Kalamazoo, compared to bigger cities, has more sense of community. Everyone knows the best spots and there are few hidden spots. Kalamazoo has big town resources and small town feel."

After the initial idea, he and Gulau met a gentleman named Jon Durham, from Life Story Network and Ignertia. "Jon was able to make some great connections," said Alderman. "Then I started by going downtown to ask the local businesses if live music once a month was something they would be interested in."

"Most venues were like, yeah let me know the details!" So a Facebook page and a website were set up, and boom! Music Hop was on! A local brewery, Tibbs, immediately wanted on their list, and many businesses were reaching out to take part in this event.

"I think that people love the idea. And I think the biggest problem is just one guy is running it," said Alderman.

So far Music Hop has been counting on Facebook posts and telling friends to spread the word. I was so excited about learning about this event it seems like a natural for our whole community a wonderful opportunity, especially music lovers, musicians, and our downtown business owners.

So what about you? Do you love live music? Know a business owner downtown that might want to host? How about a local musician who might like to play? Maybe it's time to help and connect. It's summertime, time to venture out, reach out, and explore Kalamazoo while listening to local, live music.

Please help us spread the word and if you know someone who might be interested in this event, make sure to share our article with them. Thanks for your support Kalamazoo! Hope to see you downtown June 16th!

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