December 1, 2021

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Port Huron house hosts intimate live concerts during pandemic

Port Huron – When Brendan Kuras toured the house he would purchase in 2011, one of the first thoughts he had was that one of the rooms would make a good place for a drum kit.

Soon after, he had an opportunity to host a live band, and The SchwonkSoundStead, or The Schwonk, was created.

After attending a few shows, Randy Willis decided to approach Kuras about partnering with him. Willis, who is now an “engineer producer and sound man” in the venue, said he fell in love with the space when he came to do a live recording of a show.

“It’s been a wild ride ever since,” Willis told the Times Herald.

Brendan Kuras, left, and Randy Willis, pose for a portrait in the second-floor control room of The SchwonkSoundStead in Port Huron, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020.

But as the studio expanded and business began to take off, neither partners could have expected what 2020 would bring.

As local venues like Military Street Cafe and The Grotto disappeared, the need for a safe, intimate music venue became apparent to both Willis and Kuras.

They saw Port Huron going through changes. As more young people looked to leave the city, they set out to create a space that might help encourage people to stay.

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