Bringing music and art from Holland

A home in French Creek features two studios to make music, paintings and crafts

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LISSA ALEXANDER

reporter@pqbnews.com

Michael Shutte was a music star and acclaimed painter in Holland and his wife Els an award-winning paper crafter. The two have recently relocated to the French Creek area where they have started a business teaching music and art work.

Michael got his start in music in high school with a band called The Nits. The group played original music which snagged them lots of radio play and a good size following. After that he founded a group called The Vips, which climbed European charts and were big hits in Austria and Germany. They even performed with Abba and got to know the group members, Michael said.

“It was very exciting, we were also in the same hotel, so we got to know each other very well. They were very nice guys,” he said.

Michael has always been an artist since he was very young, and when he and his band were performing on a TV show, one of his band mates told the producer that Michael could paint as well. So they featured some of his paintings on the show and he got an overwhelming response, he said.

He went on to win a number of awards for his paintings and was even featured in his own TV program. He began studying art further, and was a pupil of the famous Dutch painter Aart Verwey.

Michael’s next music career move had him joining a well-known jazz band called The Holland Quartet, where he accompanied the biggest artists in Holland, he said. During this time Michael started teaching voice, guitar and keyboard lessons in his home recording studio. He discovered he had a real passion for teaching and decided it would be a nice way to retire from touring.

“Because you can’t go on like that forever, every day on the road, but it was fun,” he said.

So he started his own art and music school of which he was the director for 25 years.

Michael coached many young people, some who became well known in the European jazz and pop music industry.

At his newly created studio in French Creek, Michael has set up a space where he can teach singing lessons, performance, guitar and keyboard lessons and create CD’s and DVD’s for his students. Meanwhile, down the hallway his wife Els has created her own studio for teaching scrapbooking and 3D cards, gift boxes and more.

Els has won a number of awards for her creations and has been published in magazines like Hobby Journal, Marianne Design and Hobby Handig.

She created a scrapbook for Oprah Winfrey once and received personal praise from the star. She makes wedding cards, wall hangings, baby gifts, unique albums and doll statues made from recycled materials.

The couple has also recorded five albums together, as a country music duo, and will likely be performing around the area. Michael has also dabbled in writing and has published a children’s book of music history, accompanied by a CD.

For more information visit their websites www.michaelschutte.blogspot.com (for paintings), www.musiccoachmichael.blogspot.com (for music) and www.elsschutte.blogspot.com (for scrapbooking) or call 250-586-6370.

The couple will both be selling their artwork at the Tuesday night Craig Street Market in Parksville and Michael’s artwork will be hung at Smashin’ Glass & Anything Art Co. in Parksville.