REVIEW: Kittel & Co.

I found myself back at the Ark Sunday night, listening to the five piece band that goes by the name of Kittel & Co. Combining elements of classical, jazz, celtic, and bluegrass music, the group played music spanning from Bach to Charlie Chaplin, adding new arrangements and spin to these pieces. They also played many new compositions which can be found on the band’s album “Whorls.”


The show featured Jeremy Kittel on fiddle, Josh Pinkham on mandolin, Ethan Jodziewicz on bass, Quinn Bachand on guitar and Simon Chrisman on hammer-dulcimer. I had never seen this combination before, let alone seen a hammer-dulcimer in concert, and I was blown away by the skill and communication shared between all of the players. 


Kittel & Co. define themselves as a contemporary string band who progressively fuse together elements of folk, classical, Celtic, bluegrass, and jazz. Their first album “Whorls” was released in 2018, and the track “Chrysalis” composed by Kittel, was nominated for a Grammy that year. 


Starting off with a set of tunes called the Boxing Reels, the band brought an exciting energy to the stage. The first reel started with the mandolin with the fiddle joining in on the second time around to build up for the much faster second reel. The two tunes flowed effortlessly into each other, carefully building excitement and interest for the audience. 


Kittel looked comfortable on the stage of the Ark, having played there many times before. As a U of M grad, his roots tie back to Michigan, and the venue was packed with friends, family and familiar faces. A picture of Kittel hangs on the Ark wall in direct eyeline with the stage which he remarked was the best marketing he could have ever asked for:) He had many stories about their experiences at the Grammys (including a run-in with Cardi B), and really connected with the audience. 


As a fiddle player myself, I find Kittel’s tunes catchy and distinct. He is a technical player with lots of control, but sounds free on stage. I am amazed by how he is able to fuse genres and create his own new identity through his compositions. I am excited for what he will compose next and for what’s to come with Kittel & Co. 


Band Website:


Purchase Whorls:


Artist Spotify:

REVIEW: Parsonsfield

On May 2, 2019, I experienced one of the most exciting live shows I’ve ever been to, and it all took place in front of the stage at The Ark.

The night started out with the opener, Jamie Drake. With just a guitar, her beautiful voice pierced through the air for a simple yet stunning sound. “Pill” and “Plumbline” were lovely sing-alongs that evoked powerful emotions, and “Wonder” was a really cute song as well. She closed with “Allison,” a song inspired by a toddler that acknowledges that it takes time to find your voice and that it’s okay. I didn’t know who she was when the night began, and as soon as she opened her mouth, I was instantly captivated, and I left The Ark a passionate fan of hers.

Then, Parsonsfield came out onstage, singing some of their most popular hits, such as as well as new works that had yet to be performed. They played “Everyone Dies,” “Weeds or Wildflowers,” “Kick Out the Windows,” and “Stronger,” among many others, seamlessly transitioning between all the songs with constant music. They also unplugged for a couple raw, sad numbers that showed off their amazing vocal blending and prowess without reverberating instruments. They finished the night off with their encore, “Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me,” a fun little tune to wrap up their exciting show.

One of the most amazing things about Parsonsfield is the variety of instruments they use and the different sounds they can make with only four people in the band. Chris Freeman, the lead singer with unbounded energy, played the banjo, guitar, pump organ, and harmonica. Max Shakun also contributed his flawless vocals, playing guitar, pump organ, synthesizer, and bass as well. The mandolin man Antonio Alcorn and drummer Erik Hischmann finish off this multifaceted combination of a band. The musical talent of every single member gives the band its one-of-a-kind style that fuses rock and folk into headbanging yet meaningful music.

I saw Parsonsfield at Folk Fest, but sitting right by the stage made the experience way better than sitting in the top balcony and barely being able to see them. This live and intimate show at The Ark made Parsonsfield seem bigger than life, filling up the entire stage and room with joyful music, and the audience, far from being sold out, filled the room with endless applause and cheers that made it seem like the show was sold out. With Jamie Drake setting the stage with her wonderful set that I never wanted to end, Parsonsfield capped the night off with heart-pounding and wonderful music.

PREVIEW: Parsonsfield

Celebrate the survival of finals, the end of another semester, and the coming of summer by listening to some nice indie folk music at The Ark! Parsonsfield, who performed at Folk Fest back in January, will be performing on May 2 at 8pm with opener Jamie Drake. Tickets are only $20 for the chance to listen to this multi-genre band explore the intersections between bluegrass, rock ‘n roll, and folk!

PREVIEW: Haley Heynderickx

A gentle yet powerful force took the stage of Hill Auditorium for a quick set on the first night of Folk Festival, and now she returns to The Ark for an entire show at the end of March. Haley Heynderickx’s unique voice and lyrics fill the air, her folksy and soulful songs fitting her whimsical personality perfectly. After her strong Folk Fest debut in January, she will take Ann Arbor by storm on March 29 for her show at 8 PM. Students can get a free ticket using a Passport to the Arts voucher.

PREVIEW: Folk Festival

The annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival is a fundraiser for The Ark that takes place in Hill Auditorium with two entertaining nights filled with the best folk music around. For the 42nd Folk Fest, the first night on Friday, January 25 features Brandi Carlile, Gregory Alan Isakov, Haley Heynderickx, Sam Lewis, Parsonsfield, Michigan Rattlers, and Peter Mulvey. Then, the folk fun continues on Saturday, January 26 with the exciting lineup of Rufus Wainwright, I’m With Her, Pokey Lafarge, Ahi, The RFD Boys, and Peter Mulvey. Tickets can be bought at MUTO in the League Underground, at the Ark box office, or online at

PREVIEW: Magic Giant

Orchestral drums, banjo, trumpet, saxophone, harmonica, synthesizers, electric bass, cello, viola, violin, dobro, lap steel, mandolin.

These are just a few of the favorite things that Magic Giant likes to play around with. The dynamic musical talent in this indie-folk trio is infinite and ineffable, and their passion carries through every instrument that calls to them.

From childhood passion to Acquired Savant Syndrome, Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang have joined forces to embrace nature in their debut album, In the Wind, as they traveled from Los Angeles to Colorado, coastal California, Snoqualmie Pass, and Crested Butte to record their songs outside to capture that true spirit.

Now, they bring their magical festivity to Ann Arbor on February 11. Performing at the Blind Pig, the Magic Giant is sure to captivate the crowd with their refined energy and distinct vibes.

Tickets are $15 as they take the stage at 7:30pm Sunday night.