Friendship, Exploration and Wonder – Door County Pulse

Celebrating the legacy of Doc Heide

by CARI LEWIS, Executive Director, Door Community Auditorium

Doc Heide, co-founder of the Northern Sky Theatre, has published many professional articles in psychology journals, but his latest publication is by far the most intriguing.

Tangled in wonder collects lyrics, chords and melodies from 55 of his original songs, along with in-depth commentary and rare photos. Drawing from the sources of The Odyssey at The great LebowskiHeide’s songs garnered international critical comparison to the works of Bob Dylan and made him a Kerrville New Folk finalist.

“Songs can reveal a lot about the songwriter’s inner life,” he said. “So describing what inspired these songs has been a rich journey indeed.”

Heide will release this new songbook — and celebrate his 70th birthday in high fashion — at the Door Community Auditorium on Sunday, July 24, when 18 stellar musician friends from across the country join him in concert. Most have performed with the Northern Sky Theater or its predecessors, American Folklore Theater and The Heritage Ensemble. Everyone will perform at least one of Heide’s songs, and several will harmonize together.

This group of friends includes Eric Lewis and Paul Taylor, both winners of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Best String Player Award; Richard Rodgers Prize-winning composer James Valcq; a voice coach for movie stars, Amy Chaffee; Northern Sky Theater Artistic Director Jeff Herbst; and three-time Kerrville New Folk finalist Karen Mal.

Lee Becker and Steve Koehler – starring in the popular PBS film from The guys on the ice – will also be part of this show’s composer, Jimmy Kaplan. Also on stage is current Northern Sky cast member Lacrisa Grandberry; several longtime members of the company: Laurie Flanigan-Hegge, Dan Klarer and Matt Zembrowski; cellist extraordinaire Hans Christian, who has performed with Robbie Robertson, Billy Idol and many others around the world; local bass legend Paul Sowinski of Big Mouth; and three members of The Heritage Ensemble: Deb Fett, Craig Konowalski and Tim McNurlen.

The evening will include some of Heide’s most popular songs, such as “The Mountains Call My Name”, but at least half of the concert will consist of rarely heard or unheard songs, culminating in the world premiere of a stunning band. anthem.

Since joining Northern Sky’s predecessor troupe, The Heritage Ensemble, in 1972, Heide has pursued an unusual dual career. After earning a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University, he taught graduate courses at the California School of Professional Psychology in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly four decades.

During this part of his life, he did groundbreaking work on anxiety disorders that won him the Outstanding Contribution to Research award from a leading international psychotherapy organization, and his work is still widely cited by decades later.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to characterize a phenomenon that had hitherto escaped notice, which I called relaxation-induced anxiety,” Heide said. “Paradoxically, many people who suffer from anxiety will become more nervous when they try to relax. And that has big implications for treatment.

Each summer, Heide would return to his home state of Wisconsin to perform with The Heritage Ensemble, which he had joined as an undergrad at UW-Green Bay. Eventually, The Heritage Ensemble founder Dave Peterson asked him to write shows for the troupe.

And when Peterson retired, he gave the theater to Heide and his colleague Gerald Pelrine. They invited their friend Fred Alley to join them in founding the American Folklore Theatre, which was renamed Northern Sky Theater in 2015.

Alley strongly encouraged Heide’s songwriting career and moved to California to produce and perform on Heide’s first CD, Lessons I learned from the moon. It was named one of the top 10 albums of the year in 1990 by an influential music magazine.

Alley and Heide helped each other hone their skills, which Heide honed by co-writing over 20 musical performances, including Belgians in paradise and Outer Space Packer Fans. After Alley’s death at a young age in 2001, Heide continued to write.

“It seems to be getting easier lately,” he said. “In the past, I would sometimes go months or years without knowing what to write about. Now that I’m retired from full-time teaching and can just wander the roads and trails of this beautiful county, inspiration seems to flow more freely.

Does his background in psychology help with songwriting?

“Maybe. Psychology, religion, and the arts all pursue similar goals,” Heide said. “They all try to fathom the great mysteries and use that knowledge to live with more compassion. -composers help us appreciate the universality of what we all go through.And that’s also a big part of what psychology is.

Tickets ($35) for Doc Heide’s 70th Anniversary are available at, by phone at 920.868.2728 or at the DCA box office, 3926 Hwy 42 in Fish Creek.

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