The basis of community is people gathering together. Community can then lead to unity and harmony, which forms an environment in which people want to stay in and return to. The beauty of this process is that many people can uplift one person, and one can equally uplift many; individual efforts can create a sense of community for an entire group of people.
It is in this way that Mitch Reetz has had a profound impact on the Mt. Pleasant community.
Reetz is a musician, but not in the typical sense—he plays more covers than originals. Reetz has a day-job in construction (where he practices on his breaks), and he often books his own shows. In other words, Reetz embodies everything that Nashville professes to be, and he’s brought that spirit to Mt. Pleasant.
For over a decade now, Reetz has been playing shows in different venues in the Mt. Pleasant area.
“I like hearing everyone [playing] locally because I’m that guy, too. I like when people show interest in what I’m playing,” says Reetz. “It’s cool to hear people locally and not have to go all the way to Nashville to hear live music.”
Reetz played his first ever show at Riverwood Resort his freshman year of college. Since then, he’s played at nearly every bar and venue in Mt. Pleasant, and he has played at grad parties, weddings, and funerals.
Despite the extra cash, or the small-town notoriety that he’s gained, Reetz says the best part of playing shows has been the community and fun environments he’s helped create.
“I think it’s vital to the community to have people playing live music. I’d go to Nashville a lot, and it’s just so much fun down there when there’s live music,” he shares. “I thought that was really cool, and I wanted to bring some of that here.”
As is the case with most good things, Reetz has had to put much intentional effort and planning into his music career. With a day-job and a growing family, Reetz has often found it difficult to balance everything to accommodate his music career.
One of the hardest parts in this balance is determining which songs to play and then learning to play those songs. True to himself and his emphasis on community, Reetz places considerable importance on including audience favorites in his setlists. These songs take time to learn, however, and Reetz has had to get creative to make it work.
“Without a lot of free time, sometimes I just go out to the parking lot on my break and pick it up and see if I can play it the next time I’m [on stage],” says Reetz.
Despite the makeshift practices from his vehicle, Reetz rarely gets nervous before shows—the mark of a man who is truly comfortable in his craft.
“I’d much rather play a show in front of everyone than have to give a PowerPoint presentation,” says Reetz.
Passion often negates nerves, and Reetz is clearly passionate about what he does. Performing live music is unique in that the impact it has on the community is tangible and on full display.
“I like how [my music] brings a lot of people I know together, and people ask me to play at celebrations that I might not necessarily be invited to otherwise,” Reetz shares. “I just like the experience of it, not necessarily for the money or anything.”
This mindset has enabled Reetz to play in some unique places, including on the concourse of Comerica Park for a Detroit Tigers baseball game, and as the opening act for bands that he looks up to.
At the crux of it all, Reetz has taken some important lessons from his musical endeavors and created a lasting impact on the community.
“I’ve learned to always have an open mind,” he explains. “Whether it’s who you’re jamming with, or a band you’re going to join, or songs that people recommend to you.”
This open mindset, without any selfish goals or desires, has allowed Reetz to fulfill his potential in impacting his community in a positive way.
“I think the live music experience is for everyone, to some degree. I like being able to bring that to people,” he says. “I like that I can get people smiling, dancing, and singing along.”
For those interested in that experience, Reetz will be performing at Rubble’s Bar on November 22 (the night before Thanksgiving) and then at various other bars and venues throughout the winter.
Reetz is still finding time to play shows despite an increasingly busy personal life, and he says the future holds “more of the same, getting people out of their houses and seeing people they otherwise wouldn’t have. I like that you never know what the night is going to hold.”