Monthly Archives: February 2015

Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music comes to Minocqua March 14 & 15

MINOCQUA WI – Jerry and Tara Woolpy will host Old Town School of Folk Music instructor and performer Mark Dvorak for a concert and two guitar workshops sponsored by Bats In the Boathouse Press, on Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15. All the events will take place at 8395 Woolpy Drive on Lake Kawaguesaga.On Saturday, March 14 at 7:00 pm will return to their winter house concert series in Minocqua, Wisconsin.

“It’s a sweet treat for us,” said Jerry Woolpy, a retired professor from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. “Mark joined us for last year’s series, and we are delighted to have him return.”

The Woolpy’s live in a spacious, renovated home on Lake Kawaguesaga  It is also the headquarters for Bats in the Boathouse Press, which has published several of Tara Woolpy’s novels.

The concert is open to the public, and reservations are recommended. Email jerryw [at] earlham [dot] edu or phone 715 356 6276. A light pot luck will be served during intermission. Bring a dish or beverage to share. A freewill donation is suggested.

On Sunday, March 15 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Dvorak will present “Beginning Guitar.” The workshop will focus on providing a simple, solid approach for those interested in starting the guitar, or starting over. The session will cover the fingerings for basic chords, keeping a steady rhythm and exploring some longer-term strategies for improving skills, including picking out single notes, bass runs, and simple finger picking exercises.

Also on Sunday, March 15 from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, in a workshop for those who can change basic chords comfortably and are looking to take the next step, ”Six Strings and Ten Fingers” is Dvorak’s two-hour exploration into the acoustic guitar. The workshop will cover basic finger-picking accompaniment, picking out a melody finger style, some chord theory and working with a five-note scale. Students will improve their knowledge and improve their skills.

Since 1986, Dvorak has been an integral member of the faculty at Chicago’s remarkable Old Town School of Folk Music. Since 1986 he has worked with thousands of music students who have passed through his classes. He has helped many a beginner get through their first chords and strums, and has hosted a catalog of master classes and workshops on a range of subjects from old-time banjo picking to the legacy of the great Lead Belly, to just about every other topic related to the study of American folk music.

Dvorak was named “Chicago’s Troubadour” by WFMT 98.7 fm fine arts radio last year,  and is the 2013 recipient of FARM Lantern Bearer Award for his contribution to the field of folk music.  His songwriting has been called “wondrous,” and “profound.” His performance “an elegant balancing act of the traditional, the original and the powerful.” The Chicago Tribune calls him “masterful,” while SING OUT! magazine says, “Dvorak shines!”

Dvorak has released sixteen albums to date and last year his first book of essays and poems, “Bowling for Christmas and Other Tales from the Road” was published and received glowing reviews. The initial printing sold out in nine days.

“We’re blessed to have Mark return to our series. He’s gotten rave reviews from the audiences who have packed our home for previous concerts,” said Jerry Woolpy president of Bats In the Boathouse Press. “We’re looking forward to hosting our first music lessons and workshops with him. Hopefully we can make it an annual event.”

Registration for either workshop is $25 per adult. The concert is offered at a free will donation, $10-15 suggested. RSVP to Jerryw [at] earlham [dot] edu to reserve a seat at a workshop, or the Saturday concert.

Contact Mark Dvorak directly with your questions at markdv [at] aol [dot] com.

Vallillo Presents Songs of the Civil Rights Movement at the Lombard Historical Society

Lombard, IL – Songcatcher and songwriter Chris Vallillo presents his special program “Oh Freedom, Songs of the Civil Rights Movement” at The Lombard Historical Society on Thursday February 26, 2015 8pm FREE The Lombard Historical Society is located at 23 W. Maple Street, Lombard, IL 60148 630-629-8233.

The Civil Rights Movement has been described as one of the greatest singing movements that this country has experienced. From “We Shall Overcome” to “This Little Light of Mine”, music played an vital role in that historic struggle both as an inspirational rallying point and as a way to spread the message of equality and justice.

From the Freedom Riders, to the the jails of Montgomery Alabama, and Parchman Prison, all the way to Washington DC, both old and new songs of the era spoke of the yearning for equal rights, the struggle and the determination to win freedom. They engaged and energized the movement and became the backbone of the nonviolent civil disobedience movement led by Dr King and others. Music was a huge part of the process both locally and nationally.

In a show created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement, award winning Illinois folksinger Chris Vallillo performs pivotal songs from the music that inspired and sustained this landmark movement. Intermixed with the music, Vallillo presents first hand accounts of the historic struggle and discusses the impact of music to our nation’s most important social cause.

Vallillo, a former Archaeologist turned self taught folk musician, documented the last of the pre- radio generation of Western Illinois in the 1980s for the Library of Congress, drawing both material and inspiration for his own songs from their music. Along with fingerstyle and flatpicked guitar, Vallillo is best known for his unique bottleneck slide guitar playing. His 2008 CD Abraham Lincoln in Song charted at #10 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Charts.

Uncommon Ground on Devon Presents Chicago Triple Play


CHICAGO IL – Uncommon Ground welcomes recording artist Donna Adler, Songmaster/
balladeer James Curley and singer/songwriter David Hawkins for an acoustic triple bill on Friday February 27, 2015 at 9pm, 1401 W Devon Ave Chicago, IL 60660 Admission is $9. Reservations at 773-465-9801.

Donna Adler has received numerous honorable mentions for her songwriting, most recently as a finalist in the 2013 Eco Arts Awards for her song “Bring You Home.” She has produced four CDs, All The Riches of The World (1997), Alta Vista Sky (2002), Violets and Blues (2007) and Stories To Keep (2012). Her song “Hide and Seek” appears on the compilation CD, “Live At The Uncommon Ground”. Her latest 2 CDs received generous airplay on folk radio. “Stories To Keep” was listed among the top CDs of 2012 for folk radio and landed in the top favorites for WDCB’s “The Folk Show”, WVPE’s “The Back Porch” and WAMU’s “Americana Breakdown”. She has been a host of Rich Warren’s “Sweet Folk Chicago” on WFMT and several of her songs have appeared on his pick list for “The Midnight Special”. Donna writes from the heart, using real life experiences while bringing her characters to life.

James Curley’s new CD There Used to Be a Train has received excellent reviews and national airplay. “My aesthetic life is densely populated with songwriters, “says Chicago songwriter James Curley. “ I see and hear the world through them, and they have informed my emotional and artistic life since I first heard ‘Moon River’ at the age of 5 and asked ‘who wrote that?’ (Henry Mancini) instead of ‘who sang that?” (Andy Williams)” Curley’s 3rd CD, is thick with songwriter homage, both obvious and subtle. From John Lennon, Steve Goodman and Townes Van Zandt being directly referenced, and Warren Zevon’s ‘Mutineer’ being covered, to more oblique relationships like the one between ‘The Virtual Waltz’ and John Prine’s ‘Donald and Lydia’ and another between Steve Goodman’s ‘City of New Orleans’ and Curley’s own ‘There Used To Be a Train’ – there are ghosts of songwriter influences at every turn.

David Hawkins introduces his new CD Everything That Brought You Here
The new release has been receiving national airplay and on several radio station choice lists for 2014. Hawkins found Chicago by way of Detroit, Tulsa, and New Orleans, and he has picked up musical flavors wherever he has lived.
“I just love these songs! ” Says David.”These are some of the writers and the songs that have shaped my sense of music and writing. These are the songs that moved me when I first heard them and still move me today.”
“The challenge of doing a collection mostly of cover songs is to give them new life without gimmicks and without compromising the spirit of the songs, but while still offering my own unique interpretation of them.”
“The album title comes from the bridge of ‘Driving to the End of the World,’ one of my original songs, in which an other worldly voice addresses the narrator:
‘Everything that brought you here / speaks to you across all time.’ This line is the center of the dark, baptismal journey depicted in the song, and the idea is at the center of the album as a collection of musical influences that have brought me to where I am musically today.”

Chicago folk legend to perform in Naperville February 22

NAPERVILLE IL – The Blue Boat Cafe welcomes Chicago’s “Official troubadour,” Mark Dvorak to its concert series on Sunday, February 22 at 4:00 pm. The concert takes places at DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church, 1828 Old Naperville Road, Naperville.

“We’ve had Mark on our ‘wish list’ since we conceived of the project” said coffeehouse director Bonnie Paulson. “Lee Murdock gave us a grand opening concert and we’re thrilled to be able to bring Mark in for our second show.”

“He’s the real deal,” said Bau Graves, Executive Director of Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. ”Mark has made music his life and livelihood. He’s been a top faculty member at the school for more than twenty-five years. His performances are elegant, rich and powerful.”

Dvorak has released sixteen albums to date and performed in thirty-eight states, and in Canada, Ireland and Finland. In 2013 he published his first book of essays and poetry, “Bowling for Christmas and Other Tales from the Road.” Also in 2013 he was honored by Folk Alliance International with the FARM Lantern Bearer Award for his contributions to folk and community music.

“For me, folk music has always been a part of our shared history,” said Dvorak. “But it also gives us a language we can use to express ourselves; to let others know what we are thinking and what we are feeling.”

Dvorak plans to release three new projects in the coming months. “I’ve been working on an album of just banjo music, and I want to release a collection of older songs, standards like ‘Someone to Watch Over Me,’ by George Gershwin, and a song Fats Waller recorded in the 1930s, ‘It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie.’ I also want to release some spoken word material.”

General admission to the concert is $10. To make a reservation and for more information phone 630 355 0276 or email kvpal[at]sbcglobal[dot]net.