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Traverse City Song Search Winner

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The results are in. The “Traverse City Tourism Song Search” has found a winning anthem for our city by the Bays: “Take Me There” by The Hacky Turtles.


The four-member band – three Traverse City St. Francis High School alums and one TC Central High School grad – had their song selected from 18 entries submitted in this summer’s Song Search contest. They and three other finalists performed their music before a panel of judges that included Lars Kelto of the Traverse City Film Festival, Colleen Paveglio of the Downtown Traverse City Association, Phil Murphy of the Old Town Playhouse,  Jack O’Malley of WTCM Radio, jazz musician Laurie Sears, Troy Daily of Daily Medias and reigning National Cherry Queen Sonya Sayler.

The Hacky Turtles consist of vocalist Marc Kanitz,  Austin Spencer on guitar, Alex Rushlow  on guitar/vocals and Erik Krueger on drums. They described themselves as a “funk/reggae fusion band with strong folk roots,” and their song is a wistful celebration of the things they love best about  their hometown.

“We wrote it about the feeling we have every time we are away from Traverse and Northern Michigan in general, and how we always love coming back home,” said vocalist Mark Kanitz. “Everything about Traverse City is welcoming and we felt that we could write about that feeling and express it to anyone and everyone who should come up and visit our wonderful town.”

The band performed their winning song on July 12, 2014, during the National Cherry Festival, while riding the Traverse City Tourism float in the Cherry Royale Parade.

Traverse City Tourism is working with local videographer Andy Wakeman to produce a music video for the winning song, which will be released later this summer. It  will include shots of the band performing “Take Me There” at the Cherry Royale Parade, and footage of iconic places and activities around the Traverse City area. The finished product will be highlighted on the Pure Michigan Facebook page and Traverse City Tourism’s website.