Category Archives: music

Burns Night January 26 at the Trumpet Blossom in Iowa City

26840627_1147582428710763_4532419243623273119_oI’m so pleased to be a part of another Burns Night at the Trumpet Blossom on Friday, January 26 at 8 pm. We gather to celebrate the life of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, who was born 259 years and one day before our event and designated as “The Greatest Scot” by STV in 2009.

As my eldest Liam observed: “Wow, he’s super dead.”

Indeed he is and yet his work lives on!

Music by David MacLeod Burt, Ed Raber, Keith Reins, and myself and readings by David MacLeod Burt, Kassia Scott and Jeff Biggers.

Free and open to the public! Come early to treat yourself to a tasty meal and to stake your place for a fun evening.

Our song is in Best of 2017 by IPR!

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As you can see, this news is almost a month old but I just heard about it yesterday.

Many thanks to Karen Impola, Charity Nebbe and everyone at Iowa Public Radio for your wonderful advocacy of local music and of folk music in general.

Karen has positioned Iowa artists in the first half of her list of ten featured songs:

Karen Impola’s top folk music picks for 2017

1. Catfish Keith – “Shake Sugaree” – Mississippi River Blues

2. Al Murphy – “Steamboat Quickstep” – Hogs in the Cornfield

3. Keith Reins & Tara McGovern – “The Twa Sisters” – Folk Songs You Never Sang in Grade School

4. Raldo Schneider – “That Thing” – Churchills’ Blues

5. Medicinal Purposes – “Badazz” – That’s What I’m Talkin’ About

6. Rhiannon Giddens – “At the Purchaser’s Option” – Freedom Highway

7. Joel Mabus – “We’ll Understand It Better Bye and Bye” – Different Hymnals

8. David Rawlings – “Yup” – Poor David’s Almanack

9. Usher’s Island – “Felix the Soldier” – Usher’s Island

10. The Early Mays – “Chase the Sun” – Chase the Sun

Click through to read the rest of the article and to listen to music samples and discussion between Charity Nebbe and Karen Impola.

Congratulations to Beth!

Introducing Beth, my featured musician for January and February!

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Teaching Beth is a delight for so many reasons. Let me count the ways:

  • well-rounded multipotentialite lifelong learners like Beth are the most inspiring and interesting people with whom to spend time. I strive every day to count myself in this group. Here she lists her “interests outside music” but I happen to know that she has many additional talents not listed here, including being a very gifted visual artist.
  • dedicating oneself to mastering a complicated instrument like the fiddle is a task that takes years. Beth cheerfully honors this commitment each year and together we rejoice in noting the ways in which she has grown musically over time.
  • Beth embraces the ways in which learning music benefits her overall health as well as challenges her areas of growth.
  • Beth is very funny and kind and is wonderfully supportive of me and of her fellow students.

Congratulations to you, Beth! You are a light in my life.

 

 

Merry Christmas from the Champagne Céili Band!

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Tom Stoeffler and I loved playing for the Champagne Academy of Irish Dance‘s Christmas Céili 2017.

Awesome job, dancers! Thanks for including us.

December 16 Christmas Ceili

As a proud returning member of the Champagne Ceili Band, I warmly invite you to join us on Saturday, December 16 at 2 pm at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.

Christmas Ceili 2017: Christmas in Killlarney will be an afternoon of dance, music, fun, food and community.

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From the Facebook event page:

Watch your favorite Irish dancers perform both traditional and contemporary Irish dance along with some seasonal favorites! Then join in for a jig yourself!
Performance
Ceili (social dance)
Pot luck
Tickets sold at the door: $16
3 and younger free (on lap please)

Fun Home at UI Theatre

There are some professional opportunities that only present themselves every once in a blue moon. I find myself in the midst of one right now as we wrap up what has been a pretty terrible year overall.

Please don’t misunderstand. Personally, all is well. My family is delightful. My work is diverse and fulfilling. I have a wonderful set of students who I am fortunate enough to spend time with every week. Taking a broader view though, our nation has voted itself into the idiomatic handbasket. We are in peril.

Living with anxiety offers valuable lessons and tools to me every day. One of the most essential tools has been adopting a terrier-like commitment to releasing all that which I cannot control, which is to say, nearly everything.

From where I’m sitting, art is the only satisfactory channel for processing my human experience.

Fun Home by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron (based on Alison Bechdel‘s award-winning graphic novel) is one of the most powerfully honest and beautiful musicals ever created. From my perch in the onstage six-piece band, I get to experience it repeatedly with new lessons revealing themselves every time.

I took on this project because of how much I have loved my previous work with director John Cameron and musical director Janelle Lauer but I wasn’t overly familiar with Alison Bechdel when I came on board other than as the inspiration for the Bechdel test. This is actually my favorite way to approach a project; total immersion from a previous place of ignorance. There is so much potential for growth when one has so much yet to understand.

There are still four more opportunities to see Fun Home at the UI Theatre Building. The cast and crew are so talented, so consistent in their portrayal of this beautiful and heartbreaking story, and such kind and invested people. And the band? Well, I don’t mind telling you that the band rocks. No other possibility exists under the music direction of the inimitable Janelle Lauer.

I know this production will change you. What other reason do we have to be here?

I have a very smart and compassionate friend who shared with me this mini-comic that Alison wrote as a coda to Fun Home opening on Broadway. I really hope you click through to Vulture to read the whole thing.

FunHomeVultureSlide 1 of 9. View the rest of the mini-comic over at Vulture.

 

Family Folk Machine; Calling Me Home

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Participating in the band of the Family Folk Machine is one of the great joys of my life and my husband Joe equally loves being a member of the intrepid bass section.

I will only be able to participate in the Sunday concert but my fellow fiddlers Caleigh Stanier and Ben Sauder will have the fiddle situation well in hand at the Friday concert also.

If you’re not yet familiar with the Family Folk Machine, we are a non-auditioned, multi-generational community folk choir directed by Jean Littlejohn. We are all devoted to and in awe of our wonderful director. She brings unmatched musical integrity as well as boundless joy with her to every rehearsal and performance.

The art for this poster is by one of our fellow choir members, Susan Stamnes. I love it so  much.

Please join us!

Friday, November 17, 7:00 pm at the Iowa City Senior Center
Sunday, November 19, 3:00 pm at the Old Capital Senate Chamber