Published in Mackinac Island Town Crier

Published in Mackinac Island Town Crier

Sounds of Mackinac Album Brings Island Experience To Life Through Music

As Published in Mackinac Island Town Crier By Matt Mikus

Inspired by sounds and sights of Mackinac Island, Russ Riendeau of Barrington, Illinois, composed songs
he hopes will connect listeners to the Island and the
memories and experiences they have here. The tracks have been compiled on a 10-song compact disk called “Sounds of Mackinac.”

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Since he and his wife first visited Mackinac Island 31 years ago, Mr Riendeau has returned
many times with family and friends in all four seasons. A few years ago, he decided to record his experiences.

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Mr. Riendeau, 54, has played the guitar since he was 14 and began performing and writing songs when he was 18. His first album is entitled “Sudden Inspiration.” He makes his living as a behavioral scientist, working with large corporations seeking business executives.

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Woven into the notes of his latest album, he says, is his knowledge of the psychological impact of music on its listeners.

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“What I did was incorporate the behavioral science research, so you’ll have different tempos and cadences that open up the mind to different kinds of ideas,” he said. “Changes in music are like adjectives in a story. It creates more awareness because they aren’t caught up in the same sounds and music the whole time.”

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“Most of the music that I write is geared toward sensory experience. I write with the intent of, this is something you hear in the background of a documentary, or a film score. I try to write with themes in mind, either emotional, with what people are feeling, or geographical themes.”

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Primarily, the songs feature classical piano and guitar, but a number of other ambient sounds are replicated in the music, like water lapping, church bells, or birds.

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“But it is all sensory,” he said. “The listeners can interpret it any way they want.”

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To create the sounds, he surrounded himself with photographs and other images of Mackinac Island, focusing on themes that are iconic to the area. He also consulted with a number of local business owners and residents to get their impressions.

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“Whatever I was thinking and feeling while viewing the images,” he said, “that’s what I used to create the music.”

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His titles are hints to the kind of experience he hopes to emulate, like “White Sails On Waves of Turquoise,” which he says reflects the feeling of sailing on the Great Lakes, while “Midnight Sky” was inspired by the experience of staying on Mackinac Island for a night and star gazing over Lake Huron.

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“One of the songs, called ‘Harbor Morning’ opens up with a native flute, and you can almost picture the sun coming up over the harbor.” he said. “You hear the music building, and then the sun rises, and you start to hear tambourines that kind of sound like horses. It has the sounds of something coming alive.”

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Other titles from the album include, “The Sun Will Find You,” “Seven Steams,” “Winter Scenes,” “Sunset Beyond The Bridge.” and “Dance Of The Black Keys.”

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Mr. Riendeau also provided an opportunity for his family to contribute. The album art features photographs by his wife, Cheryl Riendeau, and the cover was designed by his daughter Danielle.

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Many people come to Mackinac for creative expression, and, for him, this album allows him to share his expressions.

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“Some like to write, others paint,” Mr. Riendeau said. “I like to create music.”

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Mr. Riendeau’s disc will be available at various shops on the Island.

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As Published in Mackinac Island Town Crier By Matt Mikus