Friendship, Exploration and Wonder: Celebrating [UW-Green Bay alumnus] Doc Heide’s legacy | Door County Pulse
by CARI LEWIS, Executive Director, Door Community Auditorium
Doc Heide, a co-founder of Northern Sky Theater, has published lots of professional articles in psychology journals, but his latest publication is by far the most intriguing.
Tangled in Wonder collects lyrics, chords and melodies for 55 of his original songs, along with in-depth commentary and rare photos. Drawing on sources from The Odyssey to The Big Lebowski, Heide’s songs have earned international critical comparison to the works of Bob Dylan and made him a Kerrville New Folk finalist.
“Songs can reveal a lot about the inner life of the songwriter,” 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 Door Community Auditorium on Sunday, July 24, when 18 stellar musician friends from around the nation will join him in concert. Most have appeared with Northern Sky Theater or its predecessor troupes, American Folklore Theatre and The Heritage Ensemble. Each will perform at least one of Heide’s songs, and several will harmonize together.
…Each summer, Heide returned to his home state of Wisconsin to perform with The Heritage Ensemble, which he’d joined as an undergrad at UW-Green Bay (’74 Humanism and Cultural Change.) Eventually, The Heritage Ensemble’s 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 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 refine their skills, which Heide polished by cowriting more than 20 musical shows, including Belgians in Heaven and Packer Fans from Outer Space. After Alley died at a young age in 2001, Heide continued writing.