History of Aten Place

     Aten Place Summer Concert Series started with a simple

beginning; a potluck dinner for invited guest with a house

concert by Josh White, Jr.   That was in August of 1995.

The concert was held in our barn, and guest were invited to

bring lawn chairs to sit in, or sit on bails of hay that were

arranged in what was then a still fairly messy barn.  The

party was so much fun, another house concert and potluck

dinner was planned for September of that year, and the

entertainer was Claudia Schmidt.

     With enthusiastic encouragement of the guests, the pot-

luck dinner with a house concert format was repeated the

following summer, and guests were encouraged to let their

friends know, and the party expanded.  Folding chairs were

borrowed to help increase the seating capacity in the barn,

and a portable stage was borrowed for the performances. 

Josh and Claudia returned to perform, and the addition of a

third concert, Barbara Bailey Hutchison

Josh White, Jr.

increased the parties

to three.

       It was at this point that the ‘Concerts in the Barn’ began to take on a life of its own.   The  third year had four concerts, and the following year, 1998, the number of concerts increased to eight.  It was at this point that the word was out among the performing artist, and instead of pursuing talent for the shows, the artists were contacting us

First Concert - August 1995

and inquiring about the possibility of playing what was now becoming known as a concert venue.  Posters of upcoming performances were posted locally, and the newspapers began to promote the concerts.  The crowds increased, and it was apparent that this was no longer a house party.

      The first true improvements to the venue were the addition of theater seats.  In the summer of 1997, a local auctioneer, Sam Kosc, surprised us with 70 seats acquired from an auction at the Antrim County Courthouse.   The following year, a donation to the Raven Hill Science Center of 80 more theater style seats took storage and use in our barn.  Three church pews and the old padded restaurant booth seats from Boyne Mountain now completes our seating.  We can now comfortably seat 175 people for a show.

     The concert venue also made additions to the sound and lighting throughout the years, when the money was available.  With the incredible support and help of Stan Kirby of the Musik Haus in Gaylord, we now have excellent sound reproduction, and stage lighting. 

      Having no desire to promote the venue as a business, and wanting to keep the unique “homeyness” and intimate flavor of the concerts, the tradition of bringing food to share became a staple of the concerts.  No food or beverage is sold, and patrons continue to bring their favorite snack or dessert that can be

August 1995 - The 45th Paralellers warm-up the crowd

shared by all at the intermission.   With the increase in size of the audiences, came an increase in the amount of food, and the need for an addition to the venue.   A food booth was constructed and aptly named the ‘pig trough’.

   The most recent additions to the venue have been a covered picnic pavilion and a fire-pit with seating.  Both are heavily used before and after the concerts.  Because there is no reserve seating, many patrons who want to guarantee that they have good seating, come early (6:00 pm), purchase their tickets (6:30 p.m.), mark their seats, and then have a picnic dinner or just sit and enjoy the scenery and conversations with friends. 

     How long will this last?  Well at least 20 years.  2014 is our 20th season, and we are celebrating by having encore performances by many of the best shows that have graced our stage in those first 19 years.  Will we see 25 years?  We will as long as it still remains as it was in the beginning, a fun and relaxing evening with friends who enjoy live music performances.