Jeremy Messersmith played an intimate, 90-minute show at the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes on Saturday, Oct. 2, which capped off a multi-day residency with the musician visiting different parts of the lakes area.

Messersmith played his 2010 album, "The Reluctant Graveyard," in its entirety with his original bandmates from the album, and then continued into a variety of acoustic selections.

For his finale, Messersmith stepped away from the microphones on stage and wanted to use the natural acoustics of the large theatre. He proceeded to play "Everybody Gets a Kitten," on ukelele, from his 2017 album titled, "11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro Folk Record For the 21st Century and Beyond."

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The concert and residency was made possible by a grant from the Lake Region Arts Council in Fergus Falls. The original concept for the grant was suppose to be a "backstage" performance, where guests and artists were on stage at the same time, but due to the ongoing pandemic the plans needed to be changed, said Amy Stearns, executive director at the Historic Holmes Theatre.

"I had written the grant pre-COVID, with the idea of it being one of our backstage concerts," said Stearns. "We still wanted to be able to do it, so we twisted it all, with the artist being on stage and the audience would have some high top tables around the stage ... to try to have that backstage feeling."

Jeremy Messersmith performs a pop-up concert at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center as part of an October residency made possible by a Lake Region Arts Council grant. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Jeremy Messersmith performs a pop-up concert at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center as part of an October residency made possible by a Lake Region Arts Council grant. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

As part of his residency earlier in the week, Messersmith played pop-up concerts at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center and at the concession stand between the girl's and boy's soccer games. He also visited the Detroit Lakes and Waubun-Ogema High School music departments.

Jeremy Messersmith performs for Detroit Lakes High School music students as part of an October residency made possible by a Lake Region Arts Council grant. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Jeremy Messersmith performs for Detroit Lakes High School music students as part of an October residency made possible by a Lake Region Arts Council grant. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)



"They did songwriting sessions," Stearns said. "He said that he likes to start writing a song by starting with the title … and then the kids came up with the title and they just went from there, it was just awesome and a really great experience for the kids."

The indie artist gifted three ukuleles to each of the high schools for student use. The instruments were paid for through funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board and their Cultural Heritage and Legacy Arts grant program. During the meetings with the students, Messersmith told the them that anyone is capable of writing a great song and encouraged the students to write songs of their own.

Jeremy Messersmith, right, gifts three ukuleles to Detroit Lakes High School music teacher Tim Siewert for future student songwriting use as part of an October residency made possible by a Lake Region Arts Council grant. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Jeremy Messersmith, right, gifts three ukuleles to Detroit Lakes High School music teacher Tim Siewert for future student songwriting use as part of an October residency made possible by a Lake Region Arts Council grant. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

"I just think (Jeremy) is great," said Stearns. "He's got a great personality, he's witty and fun with the kids when he does the residency and he's very real and authentic, and just does a really wonderful job of reaching the students where they are at."

The next residency for the Historic Holmes Theatre is on Nov. 13 with soul-singer Annie Mack, featuring indie glam pop band d'Lakes and hip-hop artist EL.i.BE.