Penny Whistle Workshop (beginning), with Dean Karres

Dean KarresCome for a low stress introduction to the tin whistle (penny whistle). This workshop is for the complete novice.  You will be shown correct hand and finger position; a simple scale; and, we will work through one or more very simple melodies.

A whistle will be given to the first twelve participants.  If you bring your own whistle please make sure it is a “D” whistle.  This is often etched into the whistle body or printed on a label.

Dean plays and teaches bodhrán. He also plays whistle, uilleann pipes, might sing on occasion and is currently in love with ceili drumming. He has led bodhrán clinics at the Kansas City Irish Festival and other Midwestern music festivals since the late 1990’s.  He has led beginning whistle clinics at events in the last few years.


Circle Singing, with elizaBeth Simpson

elizaBeth SimpsonCircle singing is a community art form that tends to generate an altered space and leave participants elated. Through a combination of conducted loops and spontaneous improvisations, circle song leaders create parts on-the-spot so that we make inspired (whether goofy or glorious), mistake-free music. Singers and non-singers welcome to sing or not sing in this workshop/performance!

From New England to Berkeley and back, elizaBeth Simpson has a history of singing on the street. Her sets feature jazz-spiked, indie-folk originals and are sprinkled with a cappella treats ranging from irish street ballads to contemporary protest songs (she has made police cry at blockades). elizaBeth makes music to celebrate what it’s like to be alive, and invites you to join her.

Traditional Jazz Orchestra

Traditional Jazz OrchestraThe Traditional Jazz Orchestra plays hot music from the early 20th century when jazz was young — the music of King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, and other popular composers from the period. The band features Tom Birkner (cornet), Randy Salman (clarinet), Morgan Powell (trombone), Mike Miller (banjo/guitar), Dan Anderson (tuba/bass)…with occasional help from Jeff Helgesen (cornet), Armand Beaudoin (bass) and others.

Harmonica Workshop (intermediate), with Dave Witzany

For this intermediate workshop, Dave will teach some simple effects and give an introduction to the blues. If you attended the beginning workshop, you are welcome to stay for this session too. Dave will also have a petting zoo of his own harmonicas and books on the subject, so bring your questions!

If you have a C diatonic, you can bring your own harmonica  to the lesson. For those who don’t have one, there will be a limited number of free harmonicas available, as well as additional inexpensive harmonicas for purchase, thanks to assistance from Corson Music. We encourage you to come out to the workshops and try out this soulful instrument that you can carry in your pocket!

Dave has been a fan of local music since he came to the U of I in the early 80′s and has a long involvement with WEFT community radio. Mainly an audience member, he’s occasionally played harmonica with local bands like the Prairie Jam Band and the Prairie Dogs.

C-U Folk & Roots Online Auction

Auction itemLooking for that special item to put on the mantle, next to the stuffed squirrel? Boy, are you in luck! The 2014 edition of the CU Folk & Roots Online Auction is up and running. Check back often as items are added all the time.

Want to donate an item? Music-related items and instruments are especially welcome. Contact Jeff at jhzolitor at