news & buzz

OPAAC Community Arts initiative

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OAK PARK IL - The Oak Park Area Arts Council has accepted a grant from a private donor in support of a community arts initiative that will bring music to the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry and the Oak Park PADs program in 2014.

"I am grateful for the opportunity, and grateful for the community support of this program," said Mark Dvorak, musician and artist-in-residence at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music. "When I got the call, I jumped at the chance," he said. "Much of the kind of music I play belongs here, back in the community."

"Music adds so much to the atmosphere," said OPRF Food Pantry manager Paula Berg. …

Paul Schingle Reviews

Storyteller Dvorak brings it with 'Bowling for Christmas'

Have you ever met someone who can tell a story, and it drifts into another one and (maybe) still another one? After all is said and done, you're back to hearing about the first thing? And, when you meet this guy or gal, do you find yourself hanging on every word? Don't you hate people like that? And don't you love 'em?

One of my favorite writers of non-fiction is a guy names Edward Abbey. He wrote (he left us some twenty-five years ago) about the southwest - the deserts, the canyons, the free-spirited people. I always found myself hanging on every word. …

Pantry Pulse

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Gift of folksinger transforms the pantry

by Barbara Rose

You feel the spirit of the music almost before you hear it, the minute you join the crowd filing into the First United Church's basement. The room would have the listless air of places where too many people facing hard times must wait to be served, but today is different.

Standing in the far corner is a guy with a banjo, picking up a storm. By the time he switches to his guitar and begins singing, "You Are My Sunshine," he has transformed the moment. It's hard to stay mad or sad or frustrated or bored when first-rate music fills the room.

The Glory of Love


Big Bill Broonzy performed "The Glory of Love on opening night at the Old Town School of Folk Music in December, 1957.

MD breaks down an arrangement based on Broonzy's remarkable style.

Download the tabs for free:

The Glory of Love.1 • guitar tab

The Glory of Love.2 • guitar tab

The Glory of Love.3 • guitar tab

MD teaches the Old Town School of Folk Music class "Big Bill Broonzy, Folksinger" for eight weeks beginning Tuesday, January 7, 2014. Learn more and enroll here.

You got to give a little, take a little

let your poor heart break a little

that's the story of

that's the glory of love

4th annual Milwaukee community sing

Community Sing 2012


Dvorak, Thompson and Siemsen to lead fourth Community Sing in Milwaukee on February 22

MIlwaukee, WI - Chicago's Mark Dvorak, songstress Julie Thompson and guitarist and singer Craig Siemsen will lead the Fourth Annual Community Sing at the Coffee House, 631 N. 19th Street, Milwaukee on Saturday, February 22. The concert begins at 8:00 pm.

"Our new chair, Mary Gaar, is delighted to bring the community sing back to The Coffee House's winter schedule," said event director Siemsen. "It's been a highlight for us, and over the years our audience has grown in numbers and enthusiasm. …

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

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On Sunday, December 8 MD performed this classic seasonal favorite at WDCB's Holiday Hoot, held on the campus of College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

The lyrics are based upon Henry Wadsworth Longfellows 1863 poem, "Christmas Bells." The poem was first set to music in the 1870s, but MD's arrangement is closer to the tune Johnny Marks composed in the 1950s.

Click here or on the photo for a free tablature download.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day, 

the old familiar carols played,

wild and sweet, the words repeat, 

peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought of how the day had come,

Folk night in Downers Grove

An evening of original song in Downers Grove December 28

DOWNERS GROVE, Illinois - Singer songwriters Walt Meder and Mark Dvorak will perform their original work on Saturday, December 28 from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm at Caribou Coffee, 5100 S. Main Street, Downers Grove. 

"I've always been a bit restless," said Meder, a Downers Grove resident, "and music has always been a way for me to relax."

mark photo

Meder has released several CDs of original music.

"I found myself hanging around at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. I enrolled in different classes, and met some fantastic, musical people. …

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