Tiptoe through the tulips with Dow Gardens concert series

In July and August, Dow Gardens will host the Pines Concert Series, celebrating musical talent of regional Michigan artists and bands on the front porch of the historic Pines Home. Located within the Gardens, the series invites community members to gather on the front lawn, surrounded by greenery and flowers, for family-friendly entertainment.

Dow Gardens Wedding and Event Program Manager David Mitchell says, in part, the goal of the events is to encourage people to visit the gardens during the day and stay for the concert at night. The cost of garden admission allows admission into the concert. 

Carolynn Paten, Dow Gardens assistant director of guest operations, says the annual event has been going on for the past five or six years. She says the atmosphere of the series is what’s special. 

“The band plays on the front porch; it has an awning, so it kind of creates a little nook out to the front yard,” says Paten. “The front yard is quite spacious; there’s beautiful plants all around the front of the home, and there’s expansive grass.”

Attendees are welcome to bring blankets, chairs, and picnics. Chairs are also provided on a first-come-first-served basis.

Events like the Pines Concert Series aim to allow people’s perceptions of the gardens to be broadened. June’s concert date was rained out, so the official kickoff (subject to weather) is Friday, July 16 from 6:30–8 p.m. with Donny Brown. Valentiger follows on Friday, Aug. 13. 

Brown, a Saginaw singer-songwriter, previously performed at the Dow lunchtime concerts and is excited to return to the area. 

“It’s always been a beautiful place to play, and people are always very appreciative, so that made it even more enjoyable,” Brown says.

After a rough couple of years of personal loss, Brown is overjoyed to be playing live music alongside his friends and bandmates Michael Robertson and Andy Reed, performing new solo originals and some familiar tunes from The Verve Pipe. 

“Like many people, music has always had healing and uniting qualities for me throughout my life, so I hope the original music people hear from me conveys that and the joy it has given me,” Brown says.

Tickets can be purchased online or on the day of the event and include the cost of admission to Dow Gardens. Capacity is limited to roughly 300 people. Tickets are free for annual cardholders, $10 for adults, $2 for students, and free for 5 and under.

“I’m very excited to be at the Pines because it has given me a chance to play music next to some people I have missed incredibly,” he says. “I hope that excitement we have of finally getting to hang and play music together is felt by the attendees.”

The Alden B. Dow-designed conservatory is undergoing renovations and expansions, expected to be completed February of next year. Plans include a larger main room; improved, intuitive guest flow; a welcome area; renovated restrooms, and a butterfly room with a public viewing window. 

Paten says events like the Pines Concert Series aim to allow people’s perceptions of the gardens to be broadened. 

“We’d like to encourage people to utilize the gardens in ways they didn’t expect,” she says. “We love for people to feel like Dow Gardens is Midland’s backyard.”

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at spohn9@gmail.com.