Hat Trick: Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Kid Rock, and Henry the Hatter Join Forces


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A fashion heads up: When Kid Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker Band team up with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) at the Fox Theatre May 12 for a concert benefiting the orchestra, the classical musicians — and presumably Kid Rock himself — will be sporting dapper fedoras from Detroit’s Henry the Hatter.

It was Kid Rock’s idea to outfit the musicians in the toppers, says Gabrielle Poshadlo, patron communications and public relations manager for the DSO.

“He wears fedoras by Henry the Hatter, so the hats the orchestra will be wearing is a style he actually owns,” she says about the Romeo-born musician (né Robert Ritchie), whose Rapunzel-like blond locks are often crowned by a signature hat.

Poshadlo says the chapeaux are black with a burgundy satin band. She adds that the musicians, more accustomed to playing Rachmaninov than rock, have all been fitted, an experience Poshadlo says was capped by a festive spirit.

“They had a lot of fun wearing the sample hats and being measured. I don’t think many of them had ever been fitted for a fedora before.”

But one important man was noticeably absent: Music Director Leonard Slatkin. Poshadlo says the peripatetic conductor will be on the podium May 12 sporting a hat, too. “He was in France [where he’s also music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon] during the fitting, but he’ll be wearing a fedora; I think he had to measure his own head.”

Henry the Hatter, with locations on Broadway in downtown Detroit and on 10 Mile in Southfield, has been a Detroit institution since 1893. Poshadlo says Paul Wasserman, owner of Henry the Hatter, and Bob Broner, of Broner Hat & Glove in Auburn Hills, are splitting the cost of the toppers, which are now in a warehouse. Wasserman has more than a passing interest in supporting the DSO; his son Zach plays French horn and studied under two DSO horn players. The May concert, Poshadlo says, could generate more than $1 million for the beleaguered symphony.

Kid Rock was named Hour Detroit’s Detroiter of the Year in 2009. A staunch Detroit booster, he owns the Made in Detroit apparel and accessory line and recently bought a sprawling home on the city’s east side not far from the Manoogian Mansion.

The fundraiser concert, which was conceived by Kid Rock and Rock Ventures Chairman Dan Gilbert (Hour Detroit’s Detroiter of the Year for 2011), will be held at downtown’s Fox Theatre at 8 p.m. May 12. Only a few tickets remain at the sponsorship level ($750 and up), Poshadlo says. Call 313-576-5100.

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