Mighty Mouth Launches DCA’s Season

The band will also honor “Digger” DeGroot during a gazebo-dedication ceremony

Door County Auditorium (DCA) calls Mighty Mouth the “bluesy cousin of perennial peninsula favorite Big Mouth,” and the rhythm and blues band is getting ready to launch summer music at DCA on June 25, 8 pm, with special guests Woody Mankowski and Eli Mattson. 

Mighty Mouth’s members are Jay Whitney, Paul Sowinski, Rich Schelk, Bryan Koenig, Danny Lueck and Pete Thelen, each of whom has a musical background in teaching, composition or other professional performance. 

“You forget how much you miss not only performing, but with your friends and colleagues,” Whitney said. “It’s a unique experience.” 

The band’s name was inspired by Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns, the group that some members of Mighty Mouth originally played in. Whitney said the band’s members want people to know that, although it’s separate from Big Mouth, Mighty Mouth includes players who are active in both groups.

Whitney and Thelen both write original music, which Mighty Mouth plays along with some cover songs. Whitney said one positive thing that came out of the inability to play live music last year was more time for songwriting, and now Mighty Mouth is ready to present those new songs at DCA.

Cari Lewis, DCA’s executive director, is excited to start the season of live music. 

“It’s difficult for me to live without hugs and live music,” Lewis said. 

DCA’s capacity is restricted to 25% for now, and masks are required at all performances. Tickets are $30. 

This concert marks the start of DCA performances featuring Midwest and regional artists for the first six weeks of the season.

“We have a deep pool of amazing artists living in or close to Door County,” Lewis said, “and it feels good to be working with them as we take steps to reopen strongly, safely and successfully.” 

Mighty Mouth will perform at the gazebo dedication ceremony honoring Digger Degroot on June 22. Photo by Andrew Kleidon.

Mighty Mouth will also play during a special gazebo-dedication ceremony June 22 at Noble Square in Fish Creek that will open Fish Creek’s Concerts in the Park series. The new gazebo honors the memory of the late James “Digger” DeGroot. Mighty Mouth will play 4-6 pm, after telling some of DeGroot’s famous jokes and thanking the gazebo donors for their generosity.

“A few Mighty Mouth band members have been playing almost every year since Digger first booked them,” said Karlie Schultz, marketing and outreach manager of Visit Fish Creek. 

DeGroot – a true Door County character and a longtime familiar face at the Fish Creek Information Center – always wished he could direct people to a gazebo in the town for gatherings and events such as music performances. Now Noble Square has just the place he envisioned, complete with a memorial plaque on a stone next to the gazebo. 


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