Music In The Park performer praises Dowagiac’s diversity, community

Published 4:22 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

DOWAGIAC — The City of Dowagiac was treated to a musical performance unlike any other in the decades-long history of the Music In The Park series.

Dozens of community members gathered to hear cellist and vocalist Jordan Hamilton perform Thursday night at the Dowagiac Library Event Pavilion in downtown Dowagiac. NolaRoux was on hand with a food truck offering its selection of Cajun items.

Described as “a mix of mastery and maverick musicality,” the Kalamazoo-based musician and his band performed several songs from his albums that incorporated a ​​smorgasbord of different musical styles, including a cover of “On The Sunny Side of the Street.”

“How do you pronounce (Dowagiac) again? I love this town,” Hamilton said before performing the song. “I just went to Oak + Ash. It was the bomb. Jalapeño barbecue sauce? Wow. This song is about finding the jalapeño barbecue sauce in your life.” 

Hamilton arrived in Dowagiac Thursday afternoon and was taken by the diversity of the community.

“We got to the (Dowagiac District Library), which looks great,” he said. “The pavilion looks dope. We saw the diversity of people walking by and were like ‘this is kinda lit, I like this.’ There were black people and Latin people. We went to (Oak + Ash) and there were black cooks and servers and they were playing old school Motown R&B. We thought it was great, it was crazy to see.”

Hamilton also enjoyed downtown Dowagiac’s small businesses and storefronts.

“We saw a lot of different stores, like crafts and personal stores,” he said. “There’s not a bigger practice that is taking away all of the business. It seems like everything is supported; you don’t see that in a lot of Midwest towns that are like this. It’s cool to see that the city had a bunch of shops that were all offering something different; it’s all niche shops, which is cool. It’s cliche but the American values idea that everyone can kind of build their own thing is what I like about small towns.”

The cello has long been near and dear to Hamilton, who said he has been playing the instrument for 21 years. A car accident last year injured his arm and prevented him from playing the cello. The accident forced him to find a new outlet in singing and songwriting, elements he has incorporated into his music.

“I never saw myself and I still don’t see myself as a vocalist,” he admitted. “I just sing because the songs are written that way. I got kicked out of choir because I wouldn’t sing. I never thought I would write songs; I did think I would write street pieces like string quartets then I got into that in my undergrad years. I started exploring what I could do with cello outside of classical music and this is part of that journey. So I’ve been writing songs for about five years, now.”

Hamilton thanked the Dowagiac and the Downtown Development Authority for allowing him to participate in Music In The Park

“To have a concert series here going on for 30 years is pretty impressive,” he said. “That shows the dedication the people that are planning it have to the community. It takes a lot of support to put on this concert and people showed up.”

Here is the remaining Music In The Park Schedule:

  • June 30 – Cabildo | Latin rock 
  • July 7 – Ada LeAnn | Pop, featured on NBC’s American Song Contest  
  • July 14 – Somebody’s Friends | Rock covers from the ’80s, ’90s, and more 
  • July 21 – Hodie Snitch | Outlaw country 
  • July 28: Touch of Texas | Classic country 
  • Aug. 4: Luminos | Modern acapella