Monthly Archives: October 2015

Solar panel benefit concert to feature folk legend Mark Dvorak and Rockford songwriter Emily Hurd

Rockford IL – Chicago troubadour Mark Dvorak will headline a ten act cast of northern Illinois musicians and performers who will gather for a concert to benefit Just Goods Fair Trade Marketplace in Rockford. The event will take place at Spring Creek United Church of Christ, 4500 Spring Road on Sunday, November 8, from 3:00 PM until 6:15 PM. The concert is free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted. The Illinois Energy Council will match $2 for every $1 donated.

Just Goods is Rockford’s non-for-profit fair trade store, started by Rockford Urban Ministries in 2006. The organization promotes ecologically and socially responsible commercial trade, offering merchandise from twenty-five different countries around the globe. Just Goods’ Listening Room presents acoustic music each Friday evening.

Proceeds earned at the November 8 event will go towards the purchase of solar panels for the 201 Seventh Street building which houses Just Goods in the Midtown District. The building is owned by Lee and Char Schreiner of Rockford.

“I know of no people who have given more generously and effectively to our community than Lee and Char,” said Ron Holm, who is a local singer, musician and music director for Just Goods. “We’re thrilled with the response we’ve had so far,” he said. “I wish there was time and space to present everyone who offered to donate their performance. It will be a momentous gathering and a musical high point. The solar panels will save Just Goods a significant amount on their yearly energy bill. We’re especially thrilled to be able to give something back,” he said.

Along with Dvorak and Hurd, the concert will also feature local jazz sensation Dorothy Paige-Turner, performances by her Readers Theatre, Ron Holm & Jannie Nelson performing as Trinadora, folk artist Lee Murdock, harmonica wizard Justin Gates, guitarist Macyn Taylor, and Bruce Wallace of Truman’s Ridge. The program will conclude with a sing along hootenanny led by Dvorak.

For more information call Spring Creek Church at 815-877-2576 or organizer Ron Holm at 815-979-1949. Visit Spring Creek UCC at Visit Just Goods at

Vallillo Presents Songs of the Civil Rights Movement at Chicago Public Libraries

Chicago,IL -Songcatcher and songwriter Chris Vallillo presents his special program “Oh Freedom, Songs of the Civil Rights Movement”  at the following Chicago Public Libraries. The program is free.

  • West Belmont Public Library- Saturday Nov 7th- 2pm- 3104 N. Narragansett Ave. ,Chicago, IL 60634. Phone 312-746-5142.
  • Henry Legler Public Library-Monday Nov 9th-6pm-115 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60624. Phone 312-746-7730.
  • Chicago Lawn Public Library-Tuesday, Nov 10th-6PM-6120 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL  60629. Phone 312-747-0639.
  • Jeffrey Manor Public Library-Thursday Nov 12th-4PM-2401 E. 100th St., Chicago, IL  60617. Phone 312-747-6479.

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 a 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.


A Look at What’s Happening at LSA This Fall!

Mark Dvorak has an original song titled “I Hate to See the Summer Go.” How true that is… summer sped by so fast. Enjoyed many outdoor festivals and concerts in the Chicago area and beyond.

The WoodSongs Front Porch Association SongFarmer Gathering was held Sept 25 & 26 at The Museum of Appalachia in Tennessee. The schedule was adapted due to rain but did not decrease the enjoyment by all who attended. The Creative Board of Directors is already making plans for next year at a new location.

Two new CDs headed to radio via Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts:
East Dakota Waltz by Briar Road & Spice of Life by Dan Zahn & Kate Moretti… airplay already happening in IL, NY, NJ,MI, TX and NH.

Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts is hosting the “Uncorked” showcase room at the Folk Alliance Region Midwest Conference (FARM) in Iowa City, IA Oct 22-24. Presenting twenty-two artists.

More new CD releases, wonderful shows being booked and publicized, and new literary projects coming soon!

Stay Tuned….


FARM Conference Oct 22-24, Iowa City, IA

FARM Conference Oct 22-24, Iowa City, IA

The Wisconsin Singer Songwriter Series Welcomes Great Lakes Duo with Special Guest Chuck Mitchell

Mequon, WI – The Wisconsin Singer Songwriter Series welcomes Great Lakes duo Patty Stevenson & Craig Siemsen with special guest Chuck Mitchell on Saturday October 17, 2015. The concert will be held at the Unitarian Church North, 13800 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon, WI  7:30 pm (doors 7pm). Ticket price $16/Advance, $20/Door. Visit the website at Concert Line 262-457-4399.

Seasoned performers, Patty Stevenson and Craig Siemsen tour as a duo around the Great Lakes region and beyond. Patty & Craig had individual music careers, when they met in the mid 1980’s while performing at a folk music festival. For many years the couple maintained solo careers, even after they married. Eventually, with the prodding of wise friends, they agreed to perform one show as a duo. The rest, as they say, is history. Today they continue to create and record original songs as well as their own variations on timeless pieces that often span the ages of creativity in sound.

… (their) live shows are an entertaining and inspiring experience!”

               ~ Lilli Kuzma, Folk Festival, WDCB

Paint Me A Picture, Patty Stevenson and Craig Siemsen’s new CD features audience favorites written by Patty and Craig, as well as a few tunes from some of their favorite songwriters including Larry Penn, Kate Wolf, Brett Kemnitz and AP Carter.

Paint Me a Picture was a four time “Rich’s Picks” from Rich Warren’s Midnight Special on WFMT – Chicago!

He has been called a renaissance man; Chuck Mitchell‘s one-man show combines his seasoned skills as an actor, singer and guitarist with a selection of delightful material.  He sings cabaret songs by Brecht and Weil — “Mack the Knife” and “The Bilbao Song” — and whimsical songs by Flanders & Swann — “The Gnu” and “Have Some Madeira, M’dear.”  He roves the room singing “Freeborn Man” by Ewan McColl, or “Necessity” from Finian’s Rainbow.  He weaves poetry by Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot into his shows.