Monthly Archives: February 2016

Chicago Troubadour Bound for Bluegrass State- Offering Community Music Programs

LEXINGTON KY – When folk singer-songwriter Mark Dvorak began his career in music, he knew right away he was in it for the long haul. “For me, folk music has always been a part of our  shared history,” said Dvorak, who is based in Chicago. “But it also gives us a language we can use to express ourselves, and to let others know what we are thinking and what we are feeling.”

“For years I’ve been trying to figure out a way to bring this music to more people. I’ve wanted to find the right situation where people can get into the songs, and also sustain myself as a touring musician,” he said.

Dvorak thinks he may have found a way with his latest project, the Community Concert Partnership, which debuts with civic and public performances in Somerset, Ludlow and Lexington beginning March 18.

“It’s pretty simple, really,” explains Dvorak, who is artist-in-residence at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. “This music has always thrived in small spaces. It has grown by being needed and used. It carries along with it the essence of our shared heritage and invites participation. Folk music is family music.”

On Friday, March 18, 7:00 pm, Dvorak will give a concert at the 3rd Friday Folk Coffeehouse series, Carnegie Community Arts Center, 107 Main Street, Somerset.

On Saturday, March 19, 11:00 am, Dvorak will give a free family performance at the Tates Creek Branch of the Lexington Library, 3628 Walden, Lexington.

He will then head north to Ludlow for a workshop and at 7:00 pm, an intimate evening concert at the Folk School Coffee Parlor, 322 Elm Street Ludlow. The workshop, “Acoustic Guitar Styles” takes place at 3:00 pm with a registration fee of $20. Admission to the evening concert is $5.

Dvorak returns to Lexington on Sunday, March 20 for two concerts at Sayre Friendship Village. At 1:00 pm he will perform in the Baunta Building and at 2:30 pm he will perform at Friendship Towers.

“He’s the real deal,” said Bau Graves, Old Town School of Folk Music executive director. “Mark has made music his life and his 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 seventeen albums to date and performed in thirty-eight states, and in Canada, Ireland and Finland. His most recent CD “Back Home,” was released last summer and in 2013 he published his first book of essays and poetry, “Bowling for Christmas & 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. In 2012, WFMT 98.7 fm fine arts radio named him “Chicago’s official troubadour.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be coming back to Kentucky,” said Dvorak. “I hope to bring the Community Concert Partnership to other towns in the Midwest, and eventually involve other artists and feature different kinds of programs,” he said.

To learn more about the Community Concert Partnership, and for more information on Mark Dvorak, visit his home page at www.markdvorak.com.

The Life and Times of the Great Lead Belly in Rockford February 20

ROCKFORD IL – Rockford actor and singer David Causey and folk artist and writer Mark Dvorak of Riverside IL, will present “The Life and Times of the Great Lead Belly” on Saturday, February 20, at 7:00 pm. The performance will take place at Spring Creek UCC, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford.

“David and Mark presented their Lead Belly show last year in Rockford,” said Concerts on the Creek music director Ron Holm. “It was a hit, and we thought naturally to bring them back for a Black History month presentation.”

“Lead Belly is an essential American artist,” said Steve Jones, president of the Rockford Blues Society, which is sponsoring the show as an arts-in-education presentation in four Rockford public schools. “Our ‘Blues in the Schools’ program has served thousands of students, and our goal is to help reconnect young people with our shared musical heritage.”

The show was adapted from a script developed by Dvorak in the early 1990s after he sought out and found the grave of Huddie Ledbetter, better known as “Lead Belly,” outside the small town of Mooringsport, Louisiana, in the in northwest part of the state.

Dvorak distilled his notes into a script which was produced into an audio documentary by WDCB 90.9 fm, Glen Ellyn IL. The show, “Lead Belly’s Legacy” aired in one hundred sixty cities and in 1993 earned Dvorak a Peter Lisagor for Journalism.

Along with Woody Guthrie, Huddie Ledbetter is regarded as one of the great American folk song composers and performers. Born in the late 1800s, Lead Belly was a song collector, an animated entertainer and a crack musician. Although he never achieved great success as a performer and recording artist in his lifetime, his songs and legend are inherently woven into the fabric of American folklore and folk music.

The evening will conclude with a folk sing-along and hootenanny. Admission to the concert is free, but a donation of $10 is suggested. For information on Concerts at the Creek phone 815 979 1949 or visit www.springcreekucc.org.

Remembering Pete Seeger-A special concert

Des Moines, IA -The passion, purpose and spirit of Pete Seeger and American Folk Music are alive and well in Spook Handy’s “Remembering Pete Seeger” World Tour and concert. Spook Handy will be presenting this special concert for the Progressive Voices Concert Series on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 7:30pm. The concert is held at The First Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50315. Tickets are $20 in advance/$25 at the door. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2094139

Spook Handy performed alongside Pete Seeger at festivals and concerts more than 50 times from 2003-2013. He learned firsthand many of Pete’s songs and the stories behind them. Now, Spook is on a three year “Remembering Pete Seeger” World Tour bringing these songs and stories and Pete’s message to all 50 U.S states, all 11 Canadian provinces, and many other countries (as well as all 21 New Jersey counties). He can be heard at theaters, arts centers, libraries, universities, churches and anywhere else people gather to celebrate Pete’s life and legacy. His new CD “Pete,Woody and Me-Volume 1 is due out by Spring 2016.

Spook was named Best Folk Artist by Upstage Magazine, Gannett New Jersey, The Courier News, The Home News and About.com. He has written for theater and film and his original songs have charted as high as #6 on the International Folk Radio Charts.

Spook says, “I’ve always felt that an individual can leave a positive mark on the world.  I also eventually came to realize that I could make a difference through music.  Pete showed me that it’s not just the content of a song that makes the difference.  It’s the humanity and the interaction you have with people through both writing and performing your music.  That’s what touches people most.  Pete knew how to make an audience feel comfortable, get involved in the conversation, and be part of the collective experience.”