BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
The father-daughter bond between Mike and Grace Peterson will be on display May 18 as the two will perform a vocal recital at the Clarkston United Methodist Church.
The recital starts at 3 p.m. and admission is free.
“I feel like it’s going to be a difficult day to step on stage with my daughter to sing a duet with her,” said Mike Peterson, a 1988 Clarkston High School graduate. “Very emotional because of all she has accomplished, and even struggled with. But I will also be extremely proud and excited to sing with her.”
Grace, a 2013 CHS graduate, can’t wait for May 18.
“This experience for me will bring lots of joy,” she said. “I have always loved getting to sing alongside my dad throughout my musical career, whether it be at church or even for weddings. He has been by my side and supported me through this experience, and I cannot wait to share the stage with him.”
And while there is no theme or official title for the recital, Grace said the event “is all about enjoyment.”
She’ll be singing pieces by Gabriel Fauré, Rossini, Eric Whitacre, and Clara Schumann.
“I want people to be able to forget about their cares and their worries and be able to sit back for an hour and hear some beautiful music that includes different languages, and a whole set about children’s books and lullabies,” Grace said. “Just bring yourself and anybody who loves live music.”
Mike Peterson has been singing since he was five years old on stage at Clarkston Free Methodist Church. He continued on through junior high with Jan Merz and at Clarkston High School with Grayce Warren. After high school, he attended Central Michigan University and sang under Dr. Nina Nash-Robertson until graduation in 1992. Peterson returned back to CMU for a master’s degree in Music Voice Performance studying with Timothy Caldwell. He’s also continued to sing since becoming a teacher performing with the Detroit Concert Choir, UMS Choral Union and a men’s teachers vocal ensemble called M.E.M.E.
All that said, seeing his daughter follow in his footsteps is something that makes Peterson smile.
“It has been a joy to watch her grow into an amazing singer and musician,” he said. “Music has always been something that has connected us as father and daughter since she was an infant – she and I have always sung together. When she was 18 months old, she would sit on my lap while I’d do vocal warmups and she’d repeat it back to me. To do that such a young age was quite remarkable. I enjoy attending her concerts and watching her perform, sing, and mature in her vocal abilities, while embracing her own passions within it.”
Grace has been enamored with music for as long as she can remember.
“I began to realize the importance and the beauty of music at quite a young age,” she said. “I was always surrounded by music. I loved getting to sing in any choir that I could and being involved on a stage. I believe what first helped me realize that I want to pursue music was watching my dad conduct and watching others around me perform. I was always in the musicals at Clarkston High School and sang for Festival and Solo and Ensemble.”
Grace, a recent Saginaw Valley State University graduate, added that the Clarkston music program helped prepare her for the “real world.”
“Being on stage in high school helped me prepare with the nerves that come along with performing on a stage in front of your peers and for a community,” Grace said. “It is much more than just singing a few notes. It involves preparing mentally and getting ready to open yourself up in front of an audience that has come to feel something. Throughout my high school experience, my dad helped prepare me for my auditions and supported me through all of that.”
Mike, like his daughter, sees the benefits of the music program.
“The students are the most gratifying part of the program,” he said. “They are extremely dedicated to the arts and promoting music throughout the community and abroad. They work extremely hard to make Clarkston Schools a great place to sing and perform. The Clarkston choir program has been an incredibly active program for many years, full of rich tradition.”