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Wealthy Orphans perform at WYCE's Jammies this Valentine's Day

The Wealthy Orphans will be performing in the front room of The Intersection at 6:05 p.m. on the 14th of February as part of WYCE's award series.
Underwriting support from:

The Intersection are hosting WYCE's thirteenth annual Jammies Awards this Valentine's Day.

And it's free! Check out the complete line-up on the WYCE website.

The Wealthy Orphans at the DAAC

The Wealthy Orphans at the DAAC /Eric Tank

Rick Beerhorst at the DAAC

Rick Beerhorst at the DAAC /Eric Tank

The Wealthy Orphans have been nominated for their first ever Jammies award for the album “A little piece of the pie” in the Best Americana Album category. They will be offering their homegrown strain of big city post-punk, absorbing narratives and even some accordion to boot. Their music is reminiscent of Modern Lovers front man Jonathan Richman along with echoes of Milwaukee punk group The Violent Femmes. Although this is their first Jammies nomination, The Wealthy Orphans have played at the awards ceremony before. Lead singer Rick Beerhorst said “one of the best things about the Jammies is the community of people. Everyone is in it together. It’s really quite special.”

The Wealthy Orphans is made up of Rick Beerhorst, DJ Vierones, Adam Thompson and Michael Schaeffer. Beerhorst had been a solo musician for some time, and The Wealthy Orphans manifested as a side project that has gathered its own autonomy. He says the band formed around two years ago. It's a different experience for Beerhorst. He says the additional input of other members and the shared ownership of the music has meant songs have been written collaboratively in “a more intricate and organic way, adding synergy to the process, [with] every member bringing their own gifts and peculiarities.”

Beerhorst is a well-recognized name within the Grand Rapids creative community. Lyrically he is an eloquent raconteur, weaving earthy, folksy narrative into the reliable heartbeat of The Wealthy Orphan’s songs. Each arrangement possesses a sturdy, reliable core.

At 51, Beerhorst says it can be “curious” playing to youngsters who could be his children, but feels his role within the “youth, energy and passion” of this creative community is often a fatherly one, to affirm their talents. The disenfranchisement of some of these young artists and musicians due to a lack of familial or other support is something that deeply saddens him.

The Wealthy Orphans don't go on tour, with family and work commitments making their shows predominantly local. This isn’t something which seems to bother Beerhorst all that much. His investment and belief in the community he performs within is unwavering, with questions like “what does Grand Rapids want to be” and “how do we get there” being a common theme in his concerns, reflecting on cities like Austin and Portland, who have reached, as Beerhorst put it, a “cultural boiling point."

For Beerhorst, performing music is not only about putting on a good show, it's also about layering different strains of creativity into an environment. He likes it best when performances include more than just musical elements, often bringing the Beerhorst family Wonder Wagon along to venues to create a “mini-venue in front of a venue.” A video of The Wealthy Orphans playing at The D.A.A.C alongside  Dance in the Annex performers Marlee Cook-Parrott and Amy Wilson is a good example of this layering. Wilson and Cook-Parrott will be also be performing alongside The Wealthy Orphans at the Jammies.

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