The 19th Annual Saginaw On Stage Festival

Saginaw Rotary Club’s Annual Charity Fundraiser to Benefit Saginaw County Youth Protection Council

    Additional Reporting by
    icon Mar 14, 2024
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Since its inception nearly 20-years ago Saginaw On Stage has served as an expansive music festival designed to showcase multiple genres of divergent performing artists throughout the region, but also to serve as a major fundraising vehicle for the Rotary Club of Saginaw, which to date has allowed them to raise nearly $200,000 for numerous local community organizations over the past two decades. 

On Saturday, April 6th , the 19th Annual Saginaw On Stage Music Festival will once again return to Downtown Saginaw’s historic Saginaw Club for the third year in a row with a line-up featuring some of the best musical talent throughout the Great lakes Bay Region generously donating their talents for charity. This year the Doors will open at 3:30 PM and the festival will start at 4:00 PM and run until 10:00 PM, ending an hour earlier than previous years.

According to festival co-chairman and coordinator Bill Harman, rather than splitting the proceeds from Saginaw On Stage between several community organizations, this year all revenue raised will go to benefit the Saginaw County Youth Protection Council.   

Rotary International’s president asked clubs throughout the world to focus on mental health issues with its programs and fundraisers because he lost a family member to suicide,” explains Harman, “so our Saginaw on Stage committee solicited applications from Saginaw County organizations involved in mental health in one way or another.  We received seven very worthy and wide ranging applications and voted to accept the proposal submitted by the Saginaw County Youth Protection Council.

This organization offers emergency shelters for runaways and homeless youth ages 12 to 17 and homeless young parents ages 17-21 and their children as well as substance-abuse prevention programs. Funds donated from Saginaw on Stage will be used to bring mental health practitioners/therapists to its shelters to provide group-based and individual counseling sessions for residents as well as trauma support training for its staff. The council has an annual operating budget of $2.2 million and 44 employees.

“The Saginaw County Youth Protection Council is very grateful to be selected as the beneficiary for the 2024 Saginaw on Stage fundraising concert,” notes Mary Ellen Johnson, the president and CEO of the organization. 

“This is a high profile and dynamic event that will allow community members to learn about the importance of addressing the mental needs of runaway and homeless youth.  The council was established in 1962. We provide an extensive continuum of care for runaway and homeless youth and homeless young parent-headed families, as well as substance abuse prevention services.  Last year we provided approximately 7,000 days of care and housing.”

“With Rotary Club of Saginaw funding we will be able to provide comprehensive mental health support for these runaway and homeless youth and homeless young parents and their children,” she continues. “The youth we serve have experienced complex trauma, many episodes of trauma with wide-ranging and long-lasting impact.  Mental health support will be brought directly to our shelters, thus addressing two of the biggest challenges in the provision of mental health services for homeless youth: timely access to care and effectively engaging youth in care. 

“The most common factor in the lives of the homeless youth we serve is the lack of a caring adult the youth can turn to for support. There is also a great deal of family conflict. Our LGBTQ youth often report their family was not supportive of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” she concludes.

. According to Saginaw On Stage festival co-chairman & coordinator Bill Harman, one of the new things happening at this year’s festival is that The Saginaw Club will be offering a food buffet for purchase by patrons.

“Last year we featured 57 acts but this year because we are winding the event down at 10 PM instead of 11 PM, we dropped the number down to approximately 52,” he explains. “All performance areas will be same only we did cut back one of the stages on the first floor to make it easier for people to get around."

"Many of the more popular groups in the region such as the SVSU Jazz Band will be returning, but we will also be featuring several new bands and artists such as Coleman Road, who have performed mostly in the Midland area for many years, along with a new Glam-Rock band called Them Heels.”

Several popular features of Saginaw On Stage introduced last year will be returning in 2024 such as  Tribute to the Artist, which consists of a dedicated stage on the first floor where local artists perform their own tributes to musical icons who have passed away over the past several years. This year’s line-up includes  Tana Michaels, Renee Belden, Mel Curry & Michelle O’Neil, May Donovan, Andy Braun, Kimberly Megoran, Shannon Schnettler & Conor Larkin, Val Hazel, Ryan Scott, Erik Ryden, and Acoustic Cocktail.

Also returning will be the popular Singer/Songwriter Showcase that will feature  a dozen local singer-songwriters performing 20-minute sets of their own material.  So far this year’s line-up consists of Renee Belden, Jennifer Naegele & Jake Priest, Doug Larsen, Sarah Schingeck and That Cat Slaps. This will be held on the 2nd Floor in the Centennial Room.

“On the second floor we have the Main Dining Room and the Centennial Room that will alternate three and four-piece bands back and forth with 45-minute sets,” notes Harman. Groups performing on the second floor along with their timeslots include Jasper Creek (4PM); Them Heels (4:45 PM); Off Tempo (5:30 PM); Siusan O'Rourke & Zig Zeitler (6:15 PM); Hiding Salem (7 PM); The Crushtones (7:45 PM); William Patrick & the Smoke (8:30 PM); and Just Folkin’ Witcha (9:15 PM).

As for the main headline performers consisting of larger bands & ensembles performing in the third floor Ballroom, who will also alternate between two stages, the line-up is as follows: Coleman Road (4 PM); TBD (5:10 PM); Frohliche Musiker Blasorchester (6:20 PM); Saginaw Elite Big Band (7:30 PM); Ryan Scott & The Creek Hounds (8:40 PM). Second Stage:  Olivia Will (4:50 PM); Major Chords for Minors (6:00 PM); SVSU Jazz Band (7:10 PM); Roxanne Chantaca (8:20 PM).

Acoustic solo & duo artists performing on the first floor of The Saginaw Club will consist of Finnegan’s Cross (4:00 PM); Dusty Bonz (4:45 PM); Carlie Tate (5:30 PM); Champ Garcia (6:15 PM); Brad Corpus (7:00 PM); Instrumental Resonance (Joe Groves) (7;45 PM); Acoustic Cocktail (8:30 PM), and The JR Band (9:15 PM.)

And last but certainly not least, The Valley Steel & Drum Band will be greeting patrons as they arrive by performing on the front porch of The Saginaw Club at 3:30 PM.

Does Harman feel that the range of new bands and artists populating the region has expanded, or does it seem to be leveling off?  “That’s a good question,” he reflects. “It seems like a lot of established bands we have featured in prior years are reforming under different names due to personnel changes, but there ae also a lot of new groups surfacing such as Them Heels and Off Tempo.

Tickets this year will be $40.00 and also get the attendee one free drink included with their ticket purchase.  Additional drinks are available at bars on all three floors. “We decided to increase admission this year because of the fact this is a benefit to raise and give away money to an important cause, plus where else can you go to see that many musical acts in one night?  When you consider these factors, it still represents an incredible value.”

“There’s a lot of parts in motion with an event of this nature, so we are hoping for a great turnout and a smooth engaging evening of top regional entertainment,” concludes Harman.

For more information, a complete performance schedule, and to purchase tickets go to

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