Ann Arbor Open filled with music during annual fundraiser

Students also excel at music competition in Livonia


 Carolyn Bybee at the piano accompanies students at the fundraiser.

Carolyn Bybee at the piano accompanies students at the fundraiser.

Ann Arbor Open @ Mack recently hosted its second annual Coffee House Recital Music Fundraiser spearheaded by the school’s instrumental and vocal music teachers— along with a small army of parent volunteers. Even though it had to be rescheduled due to a snow day, most performers and volunteers cleared their calendars to come out the next night for the event.

And nobody seemed to care that there wasn’t any coffee.

The building echoed with the sounds of two concurrent stages, said parent Lauren Steele.

“The hallways hummed with clusters of students with and without instruments, mingling while they and their families sampled the snacks and the musical offerings on the two stages,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Steele said there were performers in grades K-8 with an eclectic mix of vocals, strings—including orchestra instruments as well as ukulele, guitar, and piano, wind and percussion instruments, in solos and ensembles.

AAPS instrumental music teacher Carolyn Bybee said the Coffee House was a big success thanks to parent volunteers and incredible student performers.

“Parents took on a variety of jobs, including taking donations, supervising warm-up rooms, escorting performers, monitoring the doors, and keeping the cafeteria organized,” she said, noting that families of performers also donated refreshments, which created a relaxing and tasty green room. “Of course, the highlight of the evening was our wonderful students, who sang and played beautifully and brought great joy to their teachers and families. Brava, Bravo!”

She said special thanks go to Debbie Espinosa, who served as our volunteer coordinator for this year’s event, and to the generous audience members who donated $1,848 to the music department.

In other music-related news from Ann Arbor Open School @ Mack, 40 seventh and eighth grader students participated in the MSBOA District 12 Middle School Solo and Ensemble Festival in Livonia.

All 40 Ann Arbor Open students received Division “I” (Excellent) or Division “II” (Good) ratings, and were awarded blue or red medals for their fine performances. AAO students participating in the festival were: Linus Banka, oboe; Sonja Benjamins-Carey, flute; Daniel Bennett, flute and piano; Garnet Bernier, clarinet; Elliott Budzinski, trumpet; Thor Clarke, baritone; Miguel Clement, xylophone; Benjamin Clingenpeel, violin; Ruby Cole, violin; Madeleine Curtis, clarinet; James Dodd, trombone; Isabel Espinosa, alto saxophone; Ryoma Fletcher-Suzuki, trumpet; Carsten Finholt, horn; Eric Hughes, flute; Covey Hurd, clarinet; Hallie Jaworski, cello; Loey Jones-Perpich, flute; Zoe Kincaid-Beal, flute; Kate Knibbs, oboe; Chloe Kurihara, flute; Gavin LaHousse, trombone; Vaughn LaHousse, trumpet; Emily Lancaster, horn; Madeleine Lynch, euphonium; Anthony McDonough, alto saxophone; Teo Miklethun, violin; Nemo Neiburger, tuba; Sylvie Perkins, trumpet; Jacob Perlmutter, xylophone; Isabel Perry, alto saxophone; Eva Roth, violin; Elijah Shore, Alto Saxophone; Mira Simonton-Chao, viola; Jalen Steudle, trumpet; Osip Surdutovich, violin; Gabriella Teodoru, cello; Meghana Tummala, violin; Mattea Turenne, trombone; and Nathan Zonnevylle, trumpet.

Ann Arbor Open instrumental music teachers are Kristi Luckritz, Carolyn Bybee, and Melissa Overhiser. Gretchen Suhre is the vocal music teacher there.


Tayu Tobai performs for the crowd.


The AAPS District News welcomes thoughtful comments, questions and feedback.

All comments will be screened and moderated.

In order for your comment to be approved:

  • You must use your full name
  • You must not use  profane or offensive language
  • Your comment must be on topic and relevant to the story

Please note: any comment that appears to be spam or attacks an individual will not be approved.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.