Local music promoters expanding to Pontiac

2 Stones Events presenting George Winston at The Strand in Pontiac on Dec. 16

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Brighton-based music promoters 2 Stones Events are extending their footprint to downtown Pontiac, bringing celebrated American pianist George Winston to the Flagstar Strand Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 16.
Located at 12 N. Saginaw, the theater was originally built in 1921. It was recently fully restored and reopened last December.

“It seats around 850 and will be a gorgeous setting for Winston to unleash on a 9-foot Steinway,” said Cal Stone, partner in 2 Stones Events along with his wife, Whitney McClellan-Stone.

The duo teamed up with the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce in April 2016 to present Winston in a sold-out performance at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts.

“We really wanted to bring him back to the BCPA for a show this holiday season, but the opportunity to use the Strand came up,” said Stone. “I was born in Pontiac and played in bands up and down Saginaw Street during the late ‘80s and ‘90s, so this is very exciting to be part of that downtown’s resurgence.”

2 Stones is heavily involved in the live music portion of many events in Brighton (Smokin’ Jazz & BBQ Blues, Fine Arts & Acoustic Music, Taste of Brighton), Howell (Rock the Block), Northville (Arts & Acts), Hartland (Polo Classic), and Novi (Michigan State Fair); presents many of its own events – Classic Hits (with a twist!), Jazz @ The Pond, The Main Event Novi, and Jazz @ The Point; and books musicians weekly for venues like Brighton Bar & Grill and the Baronette Hotel.

“We are passionate about music and how it relates to economic development in communities — the importance of building and branding a live music series, festivals and other music-related events, as well as the impact it has on the well-being of a community, its residents and business owners,” said McClellan-Stone, who also sits on Brighton’s Art & Culture Commission. Her husband is on the Downtown Development Authority Board.

Although the duo officially incorporated in March 2009, the company’s roots go back to 2002 with a Wynton Marsalis fundraising concert at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts.

Like Winston’s BCPA show last year, this concert will include a food drive, and attendees are asked to bring a canned good to the show (drop boxes will be at the entrance).

“And, to show how passionate he is about the cause, Mr. Winston will donate 100% of the proceeds from his merchandise sales to Gleaners Food Bank,” said Stone. “Of course, cash donations to Gleaners will also be accepted that evening.”

Tickets, priced $25-$55, are available here: http://bit.ly/2xVenxG


Winston was born in Michigan in 1949 and grew up mainly in Montana as well as Mississippi and Florida. He is best known for his solo piano recordings; several of his albums from the early 1980s have sold millions of copies each. He is “…a master of both tone and invention” (Austin American Statesman).

He plays in three styles: the melodic approach he developed that he calls “rural folk piano”; stride piano, primarily inspired by Thomas “Fats” Waller and Teddy Wilson; and his primary interest, New Orleans R&B piano, influenced by James Booker, Professor Longhair, and Henry Butler.

This past March, Winston released a cancer research benefit album, Spring Carousel, on RCA Records that debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Jazz Chart. It features a collection of 15 solo piano compositions written byWinston while in recovery from a bone marrow transplant for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) at City of Hope, in Duarte, Calif. His doctor, Stephen J. Forman, chairman of the Hematology Department at City of Hope, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on hematology and bone marrow transplants. Proceeds from other sales of Spring Carousel directly benefit cancer research at City of Hope.1

Winston reminds music fans on his 14th album, Spring Carousel, that only one voice is required to be wholeheartedly inspiring. For him, that voice has always been solo acoustic piano.

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