Category Archives: community

Spectrum CORSE at Gym-Nest


Please help our youngest son Atticus (tallest child in photo) spread the word about a wonderful new class for autistic children at the Iowa Gym-Nest. Atticus was involved in the pilot class and loved every minute of it.

Click through to the Iowa City Autism Community to learn more about this unique gymnastics course and please share the good news with your own communities.

Hot Tamale Louie on the Main Stage at Iowa City Jazz Fest

17990668_10158527592675453_9164810119306617296_oWe first performed John Rapson & Daniel Gaglione’s Hot Tamale Louie just days before the 2016 election. My heart breaks at the degree to which democracy and compassion have degraded in our nation in the meantime.

Hot Tamale Louie is a project that defies description but I quite like this one from that early performance’s marketing material:

“A genre-bending tale with lilting Western ballads, gentle Mexican waltzes, folk melodies from the East, evocative tone poems and raucous ragtime melded together by Jazz”.

Hot Tamale Louie is the story of a remarkable man, Zarif Khan, and also a commentary on the history of immigration in the United States.

As we ready ourselves to bring this important work to the Main Stage of the Iowa City Jazz Fest tomorrow evening in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent devastating decision to uphold the travel ban, Senator John Lewis’s words ring in my ears:

“I never thought I would live to see a day when the Supreme Court of the United States would again make a decision as inhumane as Dred Scott v. Sandford or Korematsu v. United States.”

Later that same day, Sen. Lewis gave us some words of encouragement about the outrage that so many of us are feeling:

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

I also want to give you the words of the writer who inspired the entire piece, Kathryn Schulz in “Citizen Khan” The New Yorker. June 6 & 13, 2016:

“Over and over, we forget what being American means. The radical premise of our nation is that one people can be made from many, yet in each new generation we find reasons to limit who those “many” can be—to wall off access to America, literally or figuratively. That impulse usually finds its roots in claims about who we used to be, but nativist nostalgia is a fantasy. We have always been a pluralist nation, with a past far richer and stranger than we choose to recall.”

I hope you will be inspired as I am to remember our history and to make good, necessary trouble when the situation calls for it. May we listen and remember. May we answer the call.

The Sanctuary in Iowa City


Jeff and I loved playing for you at The Sanctuary! Special thanks to Aaron, JD and the spectacular Sanctuary staff.

The Sanctuary is Iowa City at its best.

St. Louis Tionól 2018

This was our 13th year attending the wonderful St. Louis Tionól! We look forward to it every year.

I have several videos to upload from our Friday night performance so I’ll be back with those once more pressing household responsibilities have been attended to but in the meantime I leave you with some photos from our weekend.

IMG_2571Here we are walking to my favorite event of the weekend, the Sunday morning brunch/session at McGurk’s.

I really love this panoramic shot that Joe got at the session. I have known, loved, and played music with many of these good people for years and years now.

The kids’ favorite part of the trip is having special grandparent time in St. Louis while Joe and I are busy with music but on the way home, we also had a memorable day together at the fantastic St. Louis Zoo. This zoo is a world leader in global conservation efforts.

We eagerly await our 14th Tionól in April 2019!


I didn’t know what to expect.

I’ve sat in on touring shows before but never for a band that lit up the soundtrack of my childhood.

Here’s what I learned from being lucky enough to serve as a violinist in the Dave Eggar Orchestra for two tour stops of the Foreigner Orchestral Tour: kindness begets curiosity about the stories of others which in turn begets enthusiasm. The result is an energetic, joyful experience with a high level of excellence and the capacity to touch hearts.

Credit for creating a positive working environment is due to Dave Eggar and Chuck Palmer who arranged the orchestral parts and fostered an environment of fun and mutual respect in their music director/conductor roles. Every person in Foreigner also made real efforts to connect with all of the other musicians, including those of us who were only there for a short stint of the tour.

This tour was the answer to all of the hundreds of times in my life I have scream-sang “I want to know what love is…!”

I will always look back on this as an example of the magic that transpires when people set out mindfully to lead with love.


Top left: Kelly Hansen from the band Foreigner rocks out at the Sioux City Orpheum accompanied by the Dave Eggar Orchestra conducted by Chuck Palmer.

Top right: A radiant backstage photo of Iowa musicians Matt Manweiler, Marita May, Caitlin Thom, Natalie Brown, Maggie Williams, Kristian Svennevig  (and me) and touring musicians Evie Andrus and Katie Jacoby.

Bottom: my fellow University of Iowa alum Natalie Brown and myself or, as Natalie has dubbed us, “Iowa City’s own rock fiddle chicks!”


Patrick’s Rune

In what has become an annual tradition and also in the spirit of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater (by which I mean green beer, does a more apt analogy exist?), I give you a poem that has had a lifelong influence on me:

Patrick’s Rune, origin anonymous, translated by James Clarence Mangan.

At Tara to-day in this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And fire with all the strength it hath,
And lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness:
All these I place,
By God’s almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of darkness.

I’ll never be able to get behind missionary work when conversion is the goal and so I’ll never with a whole heart be able to celebrate the traditional legacy of St. Patrick (although credit is due for his efforts to incorporate Druidic traditions). Beyond any misgivings, I am divinely inspired by any image of the light that the darkness has not, shall not overcome.

I discovered “Patrick’s Rune” as a child in my first reading of The Swiftly Tilting Planet, from Madeline L’Engle’s Time Quintet. The poem is woven through the entire book so it’s impossible to miss and it starts with my name so my attraction to it was inevitable.

I like that the assumption of the poem is that all of nature is powered by goodness. I believe this to be true. I like that the poem does not pretend that evil does not exist because we also know this to be true.

I’ll need you to remind me of this. I’ll remind you too.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Come celebrate with us.

St Patricks Day Poster (2)-page-001

…and Friends, Part Two

Our second very special guest on Saturday for our St. Patrick’s Day show at the Sanctuary Pub in Iowa City is no stranger to the traditional Irish music scene in eastern Iowa and was really the engine that kept The Beggarmen running all those many years in his multiple capacities of drummer, singer, sound technician, and first-string parent on call.

My husband, Joe Dutcher. He keeps me steady in music and in life.