Collaborative rehearsal and performance space to open in Ypsi Township

A new rehearsal, performance, and collaboration space for musicians, artists, and other creatives is coming to Ypsilanti Township.

Grove Studios launched with a soft opening last month, and several bands are already renting rehearsal rooms in the 6,500-square-foot space at 1145 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsi Township. A public opening with live music and local art is planned for Friday, Jan. 6.

Founder Rick Coughlin says the studio is a work in progress that will focus on offering rented rehearsal space at first, with occasional "pop-up" events like Friday's. Two main rehearsal spaces that accommodate three to four bands each are currently booked up, but hourly space rental in a third room can be arranged through the studio's Facebook page.

A longtime Ypsi resident who works as a technology integration specialist for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools by day, Coughlin has a longstanding passion for music and plays in several bands himself.

"I know plenty of talent in Michigan and around the country, but always felt drawn to the idea of a music space designed for supporting the professionals in the industry: an incubator of sorts, if you will," he says. "A space like Grove is what I want, not only for myself, but for the hard-working creatives that I have known over the years and those young creatives who are coming up."

Coughlin and business partners Breck Crandell and Erich Friebel aim to provide a welcoming space, in contrast to the stereotypical ramshackle band practice spot with poor soundproofing.

"I want the space to be clean, secure, safe, inspiring, climate-controlled, and convenient," Coughlin says.

The partners are leasing the space with hopes to eventually buy and expand it. One idea down the road includes building "rehearsal pods" from shipping containers, but Coughlin acknowledges there will be some regulatory challenges to overcome.

Other long-term plans include offering more hourly rehearsal space rental, music gear storage lockers, and on-site instrument and amplifier repair services.

Live events aren't top priority at the moment, but Coughlin says some "low-key" events are being booked into February with the help of the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Music & Arts Guild.

"We certainly like the idea of a venue for performance, but more along the lines of a showcase room," he says. "We want to elevate the art, and a showcase room for album release parties, art exhibitions, and other special events is appealing."

Eric Gallippo is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.
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