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Music: A universal appeal

Mike Arturi opened the Universal Music Center in December 2012 and has since continued to balance the UMC with touring with the Lovin' Spoonful. (Republican Eagle photo by John R. Russett)

Shortly after his two-week stint touring the Bahamas on a cruise ship behind a drum kit with the Lovin’ Spoonful, Mike Arturi was back in his office at the Universal Music Center in Red Wing making phone calls and preparing for an upcoming show.

This show, however, will feature the students of the Universal Music Center.

Arturi, director of the UMC, said more than 100 students have walked through the doors of the UMC since it opened in December 2012, and there are close to 80 students currently taking lessons.

Arturi, who still plays 30 to 35 dates a year with the Lovin’ Spoonful, said he’s at a place in his life where his interests center on giving back and sharing what he’s worked his entire life to achieve.

“It’s in my heart to share,” he said.

For Arturi, who started playing professionally at age 13, music is more than just learning how to play a song, it’s about dedication, concentration, and it is all part of a bigger picture.

The program includes one-on-one private lessons, group rehearsals, monthly music workshop sessions and live performances. Every part of the program is rooted in a legitimate music foundation, Arturi said, adding he wanted every part of the experience for the students to have value.

Arturi said he still likes to keep everything light-hearted and fun and he tries to incorporate a social aspect to the center so everyone involved feels as though they belong.

Arturi is also a public speaker and shares the power of music education through “Learn Music – Learn Life.”

He talks about his journey through music and the importance of having an interest and a desire for whatever lies ahead.

“The true essence of it is I have a passion for (music),” Arturi said, adding that it can be amazing what someone can discover when they follow a path of interest.

Arturi said his drive and curiosity led him to almost every job imaginable in the music business.

For close to 16 years while living in Chicago, Arturi said he played close to 300 shows a year and worked with a half dozen bands. During that stretch he said he worked as a booking agent, promoter, tour manager for national acts and a band leader, just to name a few.

Arturi brings all of that to the table when he teaches his students to be well-rounded musicians.

“I’ve worked every single year of my life consecutively, without interruption, and I’ve either made my entire living or a major portion of it every single year without interruption from the age of 16 to date (in music),” he said.

Anyone interested in learning more about the UMC can visit

Newcomer to the Chamber in 2013

Mike Arturi and the Universal Music Center was awarded the Newcomer to the Chamber in 2013 award at the Chamber’s annual award night Jan. 27.

“It’s a rare occasion I am speechless,” Executive Director Arturi said. “It means so much to me.”

Arturi said he didn’t prepare a speech because he was sure he wasn’t going to win, but he was really proud to get the award.

“From the bottom of my heart I was just blown away by it,” he said. “I’m just so grateful to be here and be a part of all this.”

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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