Special Projects

40th • Carry It On...50th • THE MAGIC OF ART AND MUSIC50th • Passages III Milestones Book

40th Anniversary Project

Because 2013 is the 40th anniversary of the Wheatland Music festival and the 25th year of Traditional Arts Weekend, multiple ways to commemorate the year are being planned.  A new 40 year Anniversary Book called Passages II is in development along with a production called Carry it on... involving more than 50 Michigan youth and adults as well as many artists from past years.

Carry it on…

 Click on the photo to watch the Carry it on… Dance for Film Trailer.  Film available soon for purchase.


CioOriginalEmma Young, Megan Hague, Christine Galante, Zane Terry, Nic Gareiss, Becky Hill, 
Matt Olwell, Abby Ladin; photo by Andy Snow


A Saturday night dance performance on the main stage at Wheatland has been a highlight of many a September Festival.  It generates excitement like nothing else, and so it is fitting that the centerpiece of our 40th Anniversary Festival Celebration will feature the finest professional dancers in the country.

Having been commissioned by the Wheatland Music Organization, Inc. (WMO) to creat this performance, former Rhythm in Shoes director, Sharon Leahy has assembled a Who’s Who of hoofers from Wheatland’s past to perform in the Carry it on… Project.  Dancers Ira Bernstein, Christine Galante, Nic Gareiss, Matt Gordon, Becky Hill, Abby Ladin, Matt Olwell, Rodney Sutton, Zane Terry, Heidi (Kulas) Whitfield and Emma Young will carry on Wheatland’s long-standing tradition of presenting the best in traditional dance.  Having graced the stage with the country’s finest step dance ensembles–the Green Grass Cloggers, the Fiddle Puppets, Shuffle Creek Dancers, Footnotes, Footworks, Good Foot and Rhythm in Shoes–these dancers will be no strangers to our Festival crowd.  Joining them will be over 65 of Michigan’s finest percussive dancers, ages 12-62, a string quartet and the finest dance band in all the land–Rick Good, Cleek Schrey, Sam Bartlett, Ben Cooper, Kevin Anderson and Tom T Ball.

It is sure to be a delight.

Film Cast & Crew
Front Row: Mike Buol, Rick Good, Clay Cooper, Ruth Bartlett, Olive Cooper, Olivia Good, Cleek Schrey
2nd Row: Erick Stoll, Megan Hague, Stefan Bartlett, Abby Ladin, Becky Hill, Wade Bartlett, Sharon Leahy, Ira Bernstein, Nic Gareiss
Back Row: Ben Cooper, Matt Gordon, Christine Galante, Matt Olwell, Sam Bartlett, Emma Young, Zane Terry
Photo by Andy Snow


Carry it on…

A sure to be amazing and special performance during the festival on Main Stage Saturday night is the culmination of a yearlong project called Carry it on… It incorporates four generations and more than 70 dancers across Michigan as well as 23 professional percussive dancers and musicians from across the country! 

In celebration of the 40th anniversary, Wheatland Music Organization commissioned the former directors of the Rhythm in Shoes dance and music company to create Carry it on…  The project is the innovation of, and being directed by, renowned artist and dancer Sharon Leahy.  Original music has been composed by Rick Good.  Both are well known and abundant creators as dancers, musicians, actors, writers, educators and advocates of America’s musical roots. Wheatland Music has a long, fruitful and trusting relationship with the duo that dates back to 1977.

Over the last year the project has included multiple residency trainings (19 visits to 6 different sites across Michigan) for children and adults dancers.  Twelve dancers received training in the Ann Arbor area, 8 in the Lansing area, 32 in Mt. Pleasant and Alma, 9 in northwest Michigan and 10 in Remus. In addition, the project included dance instruction for the public.  Ten people received instruction at Wheatland’s Gladys Wernette Classroom Building and twelve different dance style workshops were taught at the 25th annual Traditional Arts Weekend held in May reaching 232 dancers.

Carry it on... Mt Pleasant training (1)
Sharon Leahy leading a dance training at the Academy of Performing Arts in Alma, MI.
Photo by Nic Gareiss
Two much loved Michigan natives and Wheatlanders have had key leadership roles in the project.  Nic Gareiss coordinated and served as the community liaison and Becky Hill, mentored by Sharon, produced a newly choreographed work.  Wheatland favorites Rodney Sutton  and Heidi (Kulas) Whitfield also have cameo appearances in the Saturday night performance.

The Carry it on project is being supported by Wheatland Music Organization along with funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) and by gifts by these 40th Anniversary family, business and organization sponsors:

  • A-B-O Tent Events  
  • Auto-Owners Insurance/Mt. Pleasant Agency, Inc.
  • Jeff and Julia Baker  
  • Blissfest Music Organization  
  • The Blue Water Ramblers  
  • Audrey DuBois  
  • CACC  
  • Canadian Lakes Excavating  
  • Randy Case & family /Architecture + design Inc.   
  • Costabella Cloggers  
  • Country Dance and Song Society  
  • Robert Folkert and Daughters
  • Fuzzy’s Corner Camp  
  • Elderly Instruments   
  • Fauxgrass Music, LLC & Chris Wheeler Family Foundation  
  • Kurt & Julie Feight /Mt. Pleasant Agency, Inc.  
  • Fence Crew Volunteers
  • Gepetto-Joe-To-Go
  • Hiawatha Music Co-op
  • J Folks
  • Lakeview Jaycees
  • Lynn & Free Kellogg
  • Sharon Leahy/Rick Good
  • Kerkstra Portable Restroom Service Inc.
  • Kerkstra Septic Tank Cleaning, Inc.   
  • Ted & Fran Kondek   
  • Millie Lambert
  • Bill & Brenda Lipar/ Remus Tavern
  • Janet Mainville
  • Jeff Pauli & Carolyn Wiser
  • The Raftary clan
  • Chad B. and Emily Anderson
  • Tom Arnold & Bett Novak-Arnold
  • Robert Blair & Rosie Zywiol
  • Paul & Pamela R. Blanchett
  • Sarah & Fred Dagostino
  • Joyel & Dilworth Dowgialio
  • Therese Dowgiallo
  • John T Golden MD
  • Nicholas & Tracy Haratsaris
  • Christine & Brian Kuhn
  • Kathleen & Edward Mroz
  • Bob & Mary Beth Mundt
  • Alice Raftary
  • Ken Raftary
  • Russell and Lily Raftary
  • Lisa Anne Raftary
  • Mary Alice Raftary
  • Matthew & Sharon Raftary
  • Kent Schaffstall
  • Alice Yee Simpson & Ian C Simpson
  • Suzanne Smith & Kirk Roth
  • John Steverson  & Karen McDonald
  • Sylvia Taylor
  • Joan Whittingham
  • Bob & Mary Rau / Bohn Tree Care  
  • The Reiser Family
  • Dave and Sylvia Reiser
  • John and Trish Reiser
  • Maria Reiser
  • Gretchen and Walter Walsh
  • Rebekah and Mike Start
  • Remus Lumber  
  • Jon & Kap Siddall
  • Dave & Diane Siler/ Siler Asparagus & Vegetable Farm
  • Gretchen & Walter Walsh
  • The Wernette Family
  • Ann & Eldon Whitford

CDSS logologo03 (2)MCACA_LOGO1

50th Anniversary Project

THE MAGIC OF ART AND MUSIC is a 16’ tall sculpture environment designed by Michigan artist Robert L. Barnum celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wheatland Music Festival. The goal is to have this substantial sculpture on site at the festival grounds before the 2023 festival opens in September. Be a part of the celebration of one of the most iconic and embracing music festivals in the US.

The Wheatland Music Organization’s sculpture concept is designed to celebrate in metal the contagious personality of one of the most famous events in the mid-west – The Wheatland Music Organization Festival, which is held the weekend after Labor Day every year.

It is important to note that the stylized subject of this three-dimensional public statement embraces in creative terms the arts that inspire the better side of being human, which, in turn, represents a sort of implied energy. This sculpture will reflect the spirit of Wheatland’s energy and an implied movement that will dance in the light of day or under starlit skies. Once realized in full scale the sculpture will not only entertain in minutes or hours, but also will stand for centuries as a symbol of the creative life and power that has deeply enriched the friends and artists that gather on this farm every year.

Robert Barnum is an artist and serves as a Professor of Art at Ferris State University. Professionally he has earned regional to national competitions in ten different states. Four of those states have multiple Robert Barnum public sculptures or murals. In 2003, Mr. Barnum was the recipient of the Michigan Artist of the Year in 2003 by the Governor’s Award for Arts and Culture and ArtServe of Michigan. He is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, and the Watercolor USA Honor Society.

Wheatland is deeply and profoundly pleased to present the possibility of a partnership with Professor Robert Barnum. By donating to The Magic of Art and Music, you continue to support Wheatland’s mission, which will make a difference in the lives of others for years to come.

Please make a donation or pledge using this PDF form.

50th Anniversary Project

Pick up the 50th Anniversary book, Passages III, during the festival for $20!

This beautiful, full color, 100+ page souvenir book includes dates, performers by year, milestones, special memories, special initiatives and lots of photos from 1973 to present.

Available onsite at “Performers Recording”.

Or reserve a copy to be sent later by mail
for book cost plus shipping,
by emailing name and mailing address to: