Rock and roll and the big auction

Patti Smith performed in March at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, donates memorabilia to her children’s former school for its annual auction.


Legendary singer-songwriter, poet, author and visual artist Patti Smith returned to metro Detroit in March to perform at the Royal Oak Music Theatre as part of a series of special shows centered around her seminal debut album, “Horses,” which was released in 1975.

The March 11 show honored the longevity and lasting influence of the album on the third stop of a tour that also takes her to Australia and Europe.

“It will be a true, proud celebration,” Smith said ahead of the concert of her intent to perform Horses in its entirety. She was accompanied by two members of her original group, Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty, along with bassist/keyboardist Tony Shanahan, who has been a part of her band for twenty years.

Smith recently donated a number of memorabilia items to The Grosse Pointe Academy’s May 13 Annual Action Auction, which raises money for the independent, private school located on the shores of Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Jesse Paris Smith, left, is with her mother, Patti Smith, in a recent photo. Jesse and her brother, Jackson, attended The Grosse Pointe Academy.

Born in Chicago and raised in New Jersey, Smith married guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith from the Detroit rock band MC5 in 1980 and lived with her husband and their two kids, Jackson Smith and Jesse Paris Smith, in St. Clair Shores, Mich., for more than 15 years. It was during this time in Michigan when both Jackson and Jesse attended the Academy.

Jesse Paris Smith, an accomplished musician and composer in her own right, recalled her time at GPA fondly.

Jesse Paris Smith in one of her official Academy school photos.

“What I learned and experienced at the Academy created such an important foundation for the years that followed, and so many things I learned have stayed with me, and have probably influenced me in ways I’m not even aware of yet,” she said. “This includes what I learned in the classroom, interacting with the other students, and just being in those incredible buildings and on the grounds of the school.”

Among the items donated by Patti Smith to the Academy’s auction are first-edition hardcover books, “Just Kids” and “M Train,” signed by author Smith along with audio-book versions of both best-sellers.

In addition, posters from recent live concert events surrounding Pathway to Paris, Jesse’s non-profit initiative to raise awareness and funds for climate change, were donated, two of which are signed by the performers and speakers, including Patti Smith, Jesse Paris Smith, Lenny Kaye, Suzzy Roche, Anne Waldman, Michael Stipe of REM, Patrick Watson, Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper of Mercury Rev, and Martha Wainwright.

Kristen Van Pelt, who is the Academy’s development director and manages the auction, says the school is delighted by the items from Smith.

“We are most grateful that Patti Smith and her family have contributed such interesting memorabilia to our auction,” said Van Pelt. “It will join so many other exciting items, trips and services that will be auctioned off on May 13.”

Van Pelt also noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the event.

“In keeping with tradition, this year’s celebration will offer fabulous items, trips, and experiences,” she said. “But it will also capture the long and storied history of this fantastic event. Our auction is one of the premier school gala events in the country and is renowned for its success year after year.”

Van Pelt said the evening will consist of a silent auction, seated dinner, a live auction, and special afterglow.

“Also, we are excited to announce and welcome charity auctioneer Mark Schroeder of Auction Brio to our auction,” she added.

“We hope many will join us for this anniversary event as it is sure to be a fabulous night.”

More information is available here: Action Auction


About The Grosse Pointe Academy
The Grosse Pointe Academy is an independent, coeducational day school serving children age 2 1/2 through Grade 8. We foster an inclusive environment that respects all cultures and religious beliefs. We seek to remain faithful to our heritage as a former Academy of the Sacred Heart and to those who through their Catholic faith and perseverance sought to preserve and enhance the legacy of this past for generations. Incorporated as a non-profit institution, The Grosse Pointe Academy is directed by a Board of Trustees working together to serve the Southeastern Michigan community.