Down Shift gearing upPublished 9:29pm Monday, July 19, 2010
They may be college kids by day, but these four self-proclaimed rockers by evening, known as Down Shift, are doing anything but shifting down, as they gear up for their second annual appearance at Dowagiac’s “Summer in the City” Festival on Saturday, July 31.
Presented by Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, “Summer in the City” opens Thursday, July 29, in the central business district as it presents 47 hours of vocal and instrumental entertainment and dance, the third annual Taste of Dowagiac, Sizzlin’ Hot Sidewalk Days, an array of family events and the acclaimed Steve’s Run of Southwestern Michigan College.
The three-day summertime bash, now in its 25th year, was underwritten by seven corporate sponsors and a $10,000 fine arts grant awarded to the Dowagiac Downtown Development Authority from St. Denys Foundation of Dowagiac.
Corporate sponsors include the Army National Guard, Creative Vinyl Signs, Dr. Charles Burling and Dr. Jon Gillesby, Leader Publications, Dr. Alan Montgomery, Lyons Industries and Southwestern Michigan College.
While some may think they’re a retro rock band, since their sound is influenced by such Sixties performers as The Beatles and electric guitar pioneer Jimi Hendrix, local musicians of Down Shift, who will present a three-hour concert July 31 at Dowagiac’s “Summer in the City” Festival, see themselves as a modern rock band that features some metal, yet offers a pace that’s been slowed by the blues.
The band performs from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, on the front lawn of City Hall.
“Last year, when we were looking for something that would appeal to both a young audience and also local families, we invited members of Down Shift to appear at the festival for the first time,” Vickie Phillipson, program director of the Chamber of Commerce, who is overseeing fund raising and entertainment scheduling for this year’s event, said Monday.
“Members of the band and their audience had such a good time, we decided right then and there to invite them back for an encore performance this year. They were just about the perfect fit for pre-teens to young adults, who were looking for a hip, contemporary sound.”
Members of Down Shift include Adam Wilson on drums and vocals, Chris Bogen on bass and Joe Ohlenbusch and Jaron Moiser, both on guitar and vocals.
While some of the names and faces have changed, the group formed during their freshmen year when Mosier and Ohlenbusch were civics classmates at Dowagiac Union High School.
Among the performers that have influenced their music are The Beatles, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray and Metallica, whose early releases included fast tempos and instrumentals that placed it among one of the top metal bands.
Performances at next week’s Summer in the City also include those by: The Outta Towners, Positively Dance, Kalamazoo Avenue Band, Wildfire, Encore Dance Company, Due Process and Miss Kathy’s School of Dance.
Family activities feature: children’s games hosted by Dowagiac Band Boosters, Blueberry Hill pony rides and petting zoo, children’s inflatables provided by Judd Lumber Building Supply Rental Center and the Army National Guard, a climbing rock wall and children’s clothesline art hosted by Lighthouse Children’s Center.
The Children’s Entertainment Tent on July 29 features the Bear Bus, which is Indiana’s first and only mobile bus for “stuff your own Teddy Bears” and “Make a Splash” storytime and crafts, hosted by Dowagiac District Library and the Chamber of Commerce; “Aviation Takes Flight,” an interactive children’s workshop hosted on Friday by the Museum at Southwestern Michigan College and the Ronald McDonald magic show; and the Curious Kids Museum from St. Joseph on Saturday.
There’s also horse-drawn carriage rides and the Little Smilin’ Choo Choo festival train, summer sidewalk sales with community and commercial booths and the Ladies Library Association Book Sale. The library is also hosting sidewalk chalk art on Thursday and a magic show on Friday by John Dudley.
Special events on Saturday feature the acclaimed 5K & 10K Steve’s Run of Southwestern Michigan College, the 17th annual Take Off With Hospice Drawing and Rubber Duckie Races hosted by Dowagiac Fine Arts Boosters.