My town, take one

It may have been cold and windy in Downtown Alpena but it didn’t stop several hundred people from taking part in the recording of a music video that will be used as the focal point of a presentation that could allow Alpena to gain “Select Level” status from Michigan Main Street.

Being selected as a Select Level downtown would have great benefits for local business and the overall business climate in Alpena and the video is sort of a culmination of the effort to gain the designation. There has been a steering committee formed and an application is about to be submitted. Once that is done a presentation will take place in Lansing.

One of the most important factors that will be considered by Michigan Main Street will be the amount of public support there is for being a Select Level. If the production of the video showed one thing, it is that people have a passion for Alpena, the project and that Alpena should present a strong case.

Alpena Downtown Authority Director Lesslee Dort said she is proud of the people who rallied Thursday at noon to help in the filming of the video, which will be edited to the Michael Stanley Band song “My Town,” She said a lot of pieces fell into place to make the video possible and a lot of time and hard work were done to get it filmed.

“This was terrific. The community came out in full force,” Dort said. “I am so proud to see so many groups participate. That is what Main Street and our community is about. It is just fantastic.”

In order to pull it off the Alpena Department of Public Works, along with police and fire coordinated with Dort to control traffic and ready downtown for the influx of people. The fire department also provided a truck that allowed for the video’s climax to be filmed from many stories above Culligan Plaza where the crowd became one. Dort said Alpena will be making a presentation in Lansing and the video will be key to persuading Michigan Main Street that Alpena is worthy and there is support for the designation and the perks that come with it. She said the concept of the video and the song came from Steve Murch, who is on the steering committee and the rest of the committee liked the idea and ran with it. It put Gordon LeTourneau of SounDesign Productions and Tim LaFleche, of GT Sounds, in charge of audio and video productions and moved on to unraveling the logistic to filming during a peak time downtown. LeTourneau said things went well, despite the winter weather Alpena was covered by blue sky and the brisk temperatures didn’t dampen the excitement people had for the event.

“Things went very well and I can’t believe the turn out,” LeTourneau said. “The wind was playing a little bit of havoc with the camera’s balance system, but it will still come together seamlessly. I wanted to do it on one or two takes, but we did a little more.”

LeTourneau said once the filming is complete it is going to dive in and begin aligning the music with the video that was captured. He said there isn’t a lot of time to get the job done, but that he is confident the final product will be of high quality.

“We do have a deadline, but I’m going to spend as much time with it as I can, so it will be very polished and really work for us in Lansing,” LeTourneau said.

LaFleche said he is excited to help create something that is important to Alpena’s continued success and growth. He said his feelings for Alpena are very much the same as Michael Stanley’s lyrics in the “My Town” song.

“I’m such a champion for Alpena and anything I can do to help it, or promote it, in any way is an honor for me,” LaFleche said. “Alpena is my town.”

There were many people at Culligan Plaza Thursday that apparently feel the same way.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at