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Near Water Series stages new performers

Jade Herrscher, Entertainment Writer
November 14, 2012
Filed under Entertainment

Performers sparked the idea for the Near Water Series at the Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay. Currently, the series consists of four shows. Noah Gunderson headlined the third show in the series, accompanied by Fort Frances and Dave Dondero Nov. 7.

Gundersen has been performing with his younger sister, Abby, for years. Abby plays the violin and sings harmony vocals while Noah sings the main vocals and plays guitar.

The Seattle-born siblings have been playing music together since Noah was 15 and Abby was 12. In their younger years, they played in a band called “The Courage” together. Noah finds a source of confidence in Abby while performing.

“The musical communication I’ve had with Abby is unlike anything I’ve experienced elsewhere,” Gundersen said. “It’s a really special thing. Having her with me makes me so much more confident in what I’m doing.”

The Gundersens are currently on tour, but the show at the Meyer was not originally one of their stops. Beginning Oct. 24, the siblings set out on a month-long journey launched in Birmingham, Ala. The tour, as well as the Gundersen’s newest EP, is appropriately titled “Family” and pays homage to the people who have shaped their lives.

“Family comes in all forms,” Gundersen said.

Tim Perlewitz, marketing director at the Meyer Theatre and co-creator of Near Water Series along with Matt Goebel, said he and Goebel put a lot of work into finding new bands to impress the audience.

The process of choosing a band is extensive. Perlewitz and Goebel search media outlets including blogs, out-of-city radio stations and music festivals. The two then produce a list of bands numbering anywhere from 20 to 50. After consideration of tour schedules and album release dates, they decide whether the band will be available in the Green Bay area. They cut the list down to about 25 bands and contact their agents to see if they are willing to play. The final step is to consider whether or not the community will be receptive.

Fort Frances, a self-proclaimed indie/folk band, also played during the third concert for the Near Water Series. The two-man Chicago-based band has performed at many festivals, including Summerfest and the Underground Music Showcase in Denver, Colo. for the past two years.

The multi-talented David McMillin writes the songs but said they try to make it a collaborative effort. McMillin is the primary guitarist, vocalist and plays piano. He says the band switches up their instruments throughout the performance.

Inspiration, McMillin says, comes from traveling. McMillin said he loves to stay on the road, even when he’s not performing. Other sources of inspiration for the band come from The Beatles, Modest Mouse and Bob Dylan.

McMillin has been writing and performing music for about 14 years and has a great passion for it.

“I have been writing music for so long it’s part of my DNA,” McMillin said. “It’s what I love to do.”

The audience was moderately-sized, but some of the audience members found it to be a positive aspect to the show. Rick and Ann Kane, both in their early 50’s from Green Bay, were pleased with the performance.

“It was a small but great group that made for a nice, intimate evening,” Ann Kane said. “It was not our first show at the Meyer, but it is the first we have seen of the Near Water Series. We like the idea of the series because variety will help utilize the theater.”

The couple came across an article in the Press Gazette about the Near Water Series. They listened to the music online, and decided to attend the show, happy with what they heard.

“If they come back, we will definitely be here,” said Ann.

Near Water has proven to be successful so far. If all goes well for the remainder of the series, the creators are hoping to do more shows after the initial four.