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Michigan Heritage Awards

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Bruce Bauman
2017 awardee, Remus (Mecosta), Traditional arts advocacy, education, and presentation

Bruce Bauman is a Southern Michigan native who settled in Remus after college in 1972. Bruce helped found the Wheatland Music Organization (WMO) in 1974 with, among others, 2016 MHA awardees the Costabella Cloggers. He served as the manager for the Wheatland Music Festival for two decades, produced by WMO, which will celebrate its forty-fourth anniversary in 2017. Nominator Marcia LeClear puts it, “As a founder and guiding force of the WMO since 1974, he has been the impetus to preserve and present traditional music and arts to the thousands that attend the yearly festival and Traditional Arts Weekend.” Bruce’s advocacy work extends throughout the state and country. He helped found the Hiawatha Music Co-Op in Marquette, the K’zoo Folklife Organization in Portage, and the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance. He is one of the founders of the Earful of Fiddle Music and Dance Camp in Mecosta, Michigan, which provides opportunities for youth and adults alike to explore traditional music and dance.

Bruce picked up the fiddle in 1974 and, although through his work with the festival he has come in contact with traditional music from around the globe, he prefers to play music of Appalachia, the British Isles, and the Midwest. Aside from teaching and organizing, Bruce can be found performing and playing for dances with multiple bands, including The Rhythm Billies and The Palooka Brothers.  His over forty years of experience have left him with a vast repertoire and an ability to teach and perform with ease. In his own words, “It’s the right and best thing to do.” For his over forty years of traditional arts advocacy, education, and presentation, Bruce Bauman is awarded the 2017 Michigan Heritage Award.

-Micah Ling

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