news & buzz

Bowling for Christmas & Other Tales from the Road


Bowling for Christmas & Other Tales from the Road contains twenty-one essays and three poems from the notebook of traveling folksinger Mark Dvorak. The collection recounts a journey not always taken on the highway. It is engaging, revealing, intelligently written, and the author emerges from between the pages as a caring, observant and gentle man. Dvorak's gift for descriptive prose and poetry takes you "there."

"I promise you, the ability to play a banjo and guitar, even marginally well, will result in many adventures, and more than a few curious circumstances..." - from "Bowling for Christmas"

The Middle Years

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Singer songwriter James Durst of Princeton NJ is currently on tour in Israel. James recently sent in this report:

Hello from Israel, where I'm about 4/5 of the way through my 3-week tour. Don't know if you've ever been here, but I've been paving the way for you by opening my concerts with The Middle Years (great opener!), and folks are asking about it 2 hours later after a whole program of other stuff. A good sign. Should you ever wish to venture here, I'll be happy to connect you with the very alive Anglo folk community. Loved Middle Years when I first heard it and thought you'd written it for me. …

Fall Banjo Camp in Elk Grove Village IL

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The Fall Banjo Camp will take place on Sunday, November 24 at 2:00 pm, in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Old Town School of Folk Music faculty member Mark Dvorak will conduct the two hour session, touching on different techniques and repertoire.

"We get together about twice a year, and it's a lot of fun." said Jane Sloger of Elk Grove Village, who hosts the event in her home. "My schedule doesn't always allow me to travel to the city to take classes at the Old Town School, so I called Mark and asked if he'd like to come out here and give a banjo class. It's been a lot of fun."

MD returns to north woods for Valentine's house concert

Author Tara Woolpy and husband Jerry are happy to announce MD will return to their winter house concert series in Minocqua, Wisconsin on Saturday, February 15 at 7:00 pm.

"It's a sweet treat for us," said Jerry Woolpy, a retired professor from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. "Mark joined us for last year's series, and we are delighted to have him return."

The Woolpy's live in a spacious, renovated home on Minocqua Lake. It is also the headquarters for Bats in the Boathouse Press, which has published several of Tara Woolpy's novels.

The concert is open to the public, and reservations are recommended. …

Chicago musicians set to ride the rails


by Patty Wetli

LINCOLN SQUARE - The Great American Songbook meets the Golden Age of Rail Travel in a newly-announced partnership between the Old Town School of Folk Music and Pullman Rail Journeys.

For its Chicago-to-New Orleans service on restored Pullman rail cars, Pullman Rail Journeys has recruited Old Town School musicians to come along for the ride, providing entertainment on select trips.

The kicker: The Pullman train has been dubbed "The City of New Orleans," same as a folk song penned by the late Steve Goodman, an Old Town Alum.

The song - part of a "vast repertoire" of folk music centered on riding the rails or working on the railroad - "gets performed at some class at Old Town a dozen times a week," said Bau Graves, Old Town School director.

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