news & buzz archive

"Nobody in the Midwest, possibly the nation has led more sing-alongs than Mark. He has magical way of involving people in the music and getting them to sing together…He is the ‘jam-master’ here at the Old Town School…

- James Tomasello Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago IL

Your concert lifted my spirits! Thank you!

- Leslie Cameron, Kenosha WI


“ Thanks again for a great virtual concert last night…It was fun to see all the banjoes, to hear about their history, and to hear their unique voices. You made the most of an awkward platform with such humor and style… "

Sarah Vessalo, Park Ridge IL Public Library

“ Your new CD is right on target. There are lessons to be learned, more than just music… and the music is beautiful. There is a deep spiritual quality, and we all need uplifting during these times. I believe something really good will come of this… ”

Lovetta & Hugh Stewart, Bartonville IL

“ THANK YOU for the wonderful ZOOM tribute to Pete Seeger for our Lunch & Learn series…We were at capacity! You’re a true talent and I can’t thank you enough… ”

Jamie Gehin, Deerfield IL Public Library

“ Thank you for ‘Let Love Go On…’ I just played it all the way through and loved it. Your delivery is so smooth and clean; the songs re great and I know I’ll play it a lot… ”

Walt Taylor, Flagstaff AZ

“ When a song from your CD comes on, I stop whatever I’m doing. Your voice resonates through my entire being… ”

Pamela Lindeke, Franklin WI

“ If you like Midwest folk music, then you like Mark Dvorak… His performances are a perfect blend of masterful instrumentation, joyful sing alongs and humorous stories! "

White Oak Folk Festival, 

Dodgeville WI

“ Your song ‘I Have Walked Every Step of the Way’ is a timeless gem…”

MIki Greenburg, Wishbone North, Chicago IL

“ One of my favorite people in the whole world… “ 

Bill Camplin, Cafe Carpe

Ft. Atkinson WI

“ ‘We Become’ inspired my homily for a packed congregation! 

Fr. Ed McKenzie, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Chicago IL

“ If I were a drinker, ‘I Hate to See the Summer Go’ would be my 3 olive, 3 fingers full - hold the ice - martini song. It makes me need a hug. 

Nancy Joliff, Madison WI

“ Jesus Blazes! That was good! 

5th grader, Belvidere IL

“ He is our folk music here. He should be yours too.

Someplace Else Concerts, La Grange IL

“What an honor for us to have you and your extraordinary talent in our home. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for coming.”

Sally & Bob Ahlgren, River Forest IL

“The new CD is excellent! I would never have guessed it was recorded in a home studio. Great performances too.”

Carolyn Meadows, Evanston IL

“Mark Dvorak put on a fabulous show spanning many eras and genres, and filled with interesting stories.

"The audience was made up of people from St. Louis, Bartonville, Andover, Opheim, Galesburg, Princeton, Rock Island, Cambridge, Galva, Kewanee, Oak Run, and probably a few places I have forgotten.

“It is amazing how many people I have talked to in the past few days that have a connection with Mark. An older couple I spoke with have been following him for 20 years. One man’s son took a banjo lesson from Mark over a decade ago. One woman’s late husband wrote a review on one of Mark’s performances. Another woman has two sons who know Mark from their studies at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, where Mark has taught for thirty years.”

John Taylor, Creative Commons, Bishop Hill IL

“Thanks a million for Sunday’s concert. It was so good! I can hardly wait until next year…”

Doug Cunningham, Lisle IL District Library

“Who knew that my playing a couple of songs in the only FA showcase I have ever performed in would result in one of my songs being recorded by a well-known folk artist and included on his newest full album? I couldn’t have predicted that in a million years. Thanks for liking my song and including it on your album, Mark . And ofr doing a wonderful job with it. The whole situation makes my heart smile.”

Al Kniola, South Bend, IN

“Pure magic…”

Concerts On the Creek, Rockford IL

“‘We Become’ is one of the most profound love songs ever written…”

Gracie Joy Hogue, Dover TN

‘“Living it on your own terms. Truly an authentic artist. Well done Mark Dvorak.”

Mike Shields, Cleveland OH

“Many thanks for your fantastic concert two Sundays ago. I was so impressed with your musicianship as well as your ‘good sportsmanship’ - you  were flexible when we were forced to reschedule, you arrived on time in lousy weather, you were easy to work with and you put on a great show!

“You welcomed everyone into the library with a gentle rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ during a late-spring snowstorm and then entranced everyone from the get-go. How cool was it that that one woman’s entire family came to honor her late father? And your duet at the end with Marge - WOW! We’ll likely work together again soon!”

Sarah Vessalo, Park Ridge IL Public Library

“We really enjoyed your concert, a perfect fit for The Admiral I think. The easy going atmosphere you brought and the fun old songs were just right. You’re not just fooling around with that guitar either, and I love your banjo playing. Uncle Win would have loved it… Thanks!”

Maria (they call the wind) Stracke, Chicago IL

"One of my favorite people in the whole world…”

Bill Camplin, Cafe Carpe, Ft. Atkinson Wi

“Mark Dvorak is a treasure - genuine, talented and truly caring & engaging…”

FARM Conference & Gathering, Grand Rapids MI

“I’m proud to know you. Your music is spectacular but you give to our community in so many other ways. You are indeed our generation’s Pete Seeger. Thank you…”

Nicole Harpe, Plainfield IL

“ So proud of the way you represent Chicago and all of us folksingers out there. Keep on keeping on, man!”

Deborah Robbins, Berkeley CA

“‘We Become’ inspired my homily for a packed congregation! Hope you don’t mind. Happy New Year, Friend!”

Fr. Ed McKenzie, Chicago IL

“I cannot thank you enough for your hospitality in welcoming my students and me to the Old Town School Folk Jam last Thursday. The kids and I had a fantastic time! They enjoyed chatting with you about Pete Seeger and the spirit of the Old Town School. And it was really educational for me to watch you lead the session - you are clearly a master teacher…”

Tim Fawkes, Glenbard East High School, Lombard IL

“Mark is such a treasured troubadour. We are so glad we were privileged to enjoy his amazing talent and down to earth performance. We are fast fans!

Margie Birt Baumer, Indianapolis IN

"Thank you for your card and well wishes. You certainly did cast a spell that afternoon in the Lupus General Store & I do hope you can make it back someday. 

"Everyone who was there & whose path I’ve crossed since, all have spoken highly of you and your artistic gift to us. For some reason the word “therapy” came to my mind that day.

"I just finished “Bowling For Christmas” this a.m. - great verbal expressions of your ramblings! Keep ‘em coming!

"Best wishes & happy trails out there!"

Doug Elley, Lupus MO

“It was great to see you and hear you at the FARM Conference. I truly enjoyed your MDLive CD. Thank you. You are a stellar soul.”

Michelle Held, Detroit MI

“Just wanted to tell your warmth and attitude mean so much. I am sure that many other folks have felt and feel, the love you have for people. We need you.”

Bruce Howard, Lansing MI

“Thank you for your selfless generosity this weekend at the FARM Conference in Grand Rapids. It was a good trip and invaluable in many ways…”

$11 Supper, Chicago IL

“Thank you Mark! I am always so happy to see you and hear your music. I know the clients do too. Thank you for filling Centennial Hall with joy!”

Maria Delis, Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, Oak Park IL

“Jesus Blazes, that was good!”

5th Grader, Belvidere IL

“Thanks for the book. I especially enjoyed the story about John Hartford and Coffeyville… You are a legend.”

Andrew Morris, Kansas City MO

“Mark is a wonderful songwriter & performer. He highlights the human condition in his songs & his sense of our shared history is apparent in every note. A joy to listen to & to work with…”

Debra Cowan, Shrewsbury, MA

“Last night my friend, you were truly the brightest star in the constellation!”

Joe Artabasy, Glencoe IL

“When it comes to folk music and the great tradition of Americana, Mark Dvorak is the keeper of the flame…”

Jeff Peterson, Public Radio, Burlington WI

“Mark Dvorak is one of the greatest folk musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. He’s a true master of his craft, a rare breed who has dedicated himself fully to the music. A true inspiration. He lives and plays around Chicago and the Midwest. I wish I could hear him more often…”

Andrew Morris, Warsaw IN

If you say ‘Folk Music’ in Chicago, people say, ‘Mark Dvorak…”

FARM Conference, Iowa City IA

"I would like to thank you again for the tremendously enjoyable 'The Power of Song : A Tribute to Pete Seeger’ concert which you and the Old Town School Folk Music Chorus performed at our library last Sunday. It was so special and thoroughly enjoyed by those attending. The chorus added a lot to the already special concert, kind of like an extra dimension. I so much look forward to your return concert next January. 

I just wanted to express my appreciation for a really special afternoon of music. Thanks again…”

Doug Cunningham, Friends of the Lisle Public Library

“What an absolute pleasure listening to you at Last Minute Folk last night. Certainly worth my drive up to Topeka. I enjoyed our visit too. Hope the rest of your tour goes well…”

Dani Goodband, Manhattan KS

“Cripes... It was so good to see Mark back in Lansing!”

Bill Kingsbury, East Lansing MI

“During these turbulent times music can offer a blessed respite. Thank you Marnie Heyn and the St. Joseph Library for bringing the multi-talented Mark Dvorak from Chicago to play in the Music in the Garden series. 

"With tunes from long ago or folk songs from our generation, Mark played and sang and kept his audience enthralled. His stories were compelling, especially those of the famous black blues legend Lead Belly and his encounter with prejudice and discrimination when he came to record in Washington DC. ‘Bourgeois Blues’ was the product of that encounter. 

Mark also offered wonderful stories of experiences with Pete Seeger followed by his renditions of some of Pete’s most beloved songs. We were lucky to be in the garden tonight. You’ll have to join us the next time Mark Dvorak is in town!”

Sandy Feldman, Lakeside MI

“Mark also offered wonderful stories of experiences with Pete Seeger followed by his renditions of some of Pete’s most beloved songs. We were lucky to be in the garden tonight. You’ll have to join us the next time Mark Dvorak is in town!”

Sandy Feldman, Lakeside MI

“Mark is an anomaly. He makes his guitar sing, his banjo dance and his voice is so pure it fills ones heart with joy. How can this guy have such soft sweet eyes and yet have a bad-boy smile. Really! He is a Chicago treasure to be shared.”

Bonita Sianis, Chicago IL

“You can take yourself to Mark Dvorak’s web site to find the best in folk music…”

Amy Healy, Manitowoc WI

“Having come to hear you sing, and listening to your music has meant more to my 81 year-old mom than words can express. Thank you for your beatiful and fun words put to beautiful and fun music.Thank you for what you have unknowingly done for her. I will forever be grateful to you for being who you are…”

Carol Cat Trochelman, Washington IL

“Your voice took my breath away…”

Bonnie Sianis Chicago IL

“Mark Dvorak is a remarkable musician and entertainer who takes tradtional folk music to a new level of energy and skillfulness…”

Cleveland Matro Parks, Cleveland OH

“Carrier of song!”

White Crow Conservatory, Saginaw MI

“I just stumbled across your song, ‘The Saddest Town in Illinois’… Phenominal song and performance! Bravo!”

Edmund Wallasch, La Cresenta, CA

“Your music kicks ass..”

Steve Keller, Chicago IL

“I just listened to your song ‘Not War.’ It is a beautiful piece of work, very poignant and somber. Your guitar and voice are gorgeous…”

Gina French, Salt Lake City UT

“Love your music and your voice…”

Bruno, Saguenay, Quebec, Canada

“I am always reminded of the the beauty and power of music when you perform. Thanks for sharing that gift.”

Michael Kruse, Batesville IN Memorial Library

“You certainly ‘made folk music great again!’ I really enjoyed your singing and playing and your remarkable ability to get everyone to sing along… The music and spirit of community made the entire evening a joy.”

Carol Obertubessing, Woodstock IL

“Mark, you have worked so hard at the Old Town School to make such an open, positive space for so many people. Thank you.”

Jason McInnes, Chicago IL

“It was dope to see you play! Thanks for the tips on banjo!”

Luke Sean McGowan-Arnold, Rockford IL

“'Time Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me’ is swEET! Nice high lonesome sound on that vocal!

Ellen Shepard, Chicago IL

“… the Midwest’s premiere keeper of traditions…

Rockford Folk Festival

“One of a vanishing  breed… Although all of us benefit from the tradition, Dvorak is one of the few who keep it alive. Listen. Join in.

Utah Phillps

“No one spins a yarn or sings an old timey song with more skill and respect than Mark Dvorak. He is a builder of the folk world in Chicago, the region and the continent. His voice and songwriting bring music into our contemporary world with authenticity, humor, fun and a great warm voice.

Lilfest, Evanston IL

“An encyclopedic knowledge of traditional songs… a gifted guitar and banjo player…

Isthmus, Madison WI

“A note of thanks for your wonderful performance - what a night! In addition to being a stellar musician and storyteller, you are also a highly talented ‘engager’… it’s what sets you apart… there were so many wonderful comments…

Someplace Else Concerts, LaGrange IL

“…pizzazz and humor, fine pickin’ and an obvious affection for the American tradition; the down home burly side of the musical coin…

Art Thieme, Peru IL

“Your brush strokes painted such an interesting picture... I felt like I was eating popcorn hand over hand as I read voraciously. So much going on for you. Preserving, creating, sharing and passing on the legacy. So much I don’t know. So much happening. Thank you Mark for the line you so expertly throw out to others. The fish are biting.

Nancy Jolliff, Oshkosh WI

“Your song ‘I Have Walked Every Step of the Way’ is a timeless gem…”

MIki Greenburg, Wishbone North, Chicago IL

“The house concert was a big success. I loved it - everyone loved it! You held 20 children’s attention, educated them AND entertained them! Bravo.

Greg Johnson, Evanston IL

“Mark is a true American treasure; one of the best songwriters out there and a keeper of the flame.”

Kris Nichols, Blue Springs MO

“Thank you for a great performance… The audience loved it and I am continuing the good vibes from last night by listening to your new CD…”

Jan Oblinger, Fremont Public Library Mundelein IL

“My wife, daughter and I enjoyed listening to your WLUW broadcast today as we were driving home from Starved Rock. My daughter liked “It’ll Be Better” so much that she wanted to hear it again!”

Joe Arden, Chicago IL

‘Your show on WLUW was nice company while packing up from Christmas in Joplin MO this morning. You sounded great, and your message is as heartfelt and true as ever…”

Jen MIller, Skokie IL

“Schuba’s Southern-style brunch is about the best option for a Sunday, especially when Mark Dvorak’s music is added…” 

Arts Alive, Loyola University, Chicago IL

“Our class enjoyed your songs at the Fifth Grade Arts Festival on Oct. 22, 2015. Our class enjoyed you teaching us your musical ways of the past and present. Your historical events and songs were an amazing way to start the day…”

Mrs. Williams Fifth Grade Class, Seth Whitman School. Belvidere, IL

“Mark is a must-see act… there is no one better versed in folk repertoire. He skillfully and engagingly takes the listener on eye-opening time travels in song…” 

Grand River Folk Arts Society,    Grand Rapids MI

“Just got home from an Acoustic Renaissance Concert by Mark Dvorak with Lara Herscovitch. We’ve been fans of Mark’s since he first began performing, and he never disappoints…. A great way to spend a Saturday evening!

Deb Barrett, Darien, Illinois

"We're still on a high after your exciting, yet relaxing, fun evening with many old-time folk songs from your grandma's era.  It was such a treat for me to hear your guitar and banjo playing up front and personal!  I loved it!  

“It was obvious that you enjoyed performing, and that made it all the more enjoyable for us. Thank you for starting off our fall season with a program that set a high standard and left the Keenagers eager for more…”

Kathy Palansky, South Park Church, Park Ridge IL

“A truly magnificent evening. Thank you.”

Black Hawk Folk Music Society , Mt. Morris WI

“Had the BEST ride home from dropping my son at NIU in DeKalb Sunday night - I listened to your CD the entire ride home!  I had “Pueblo, Colorado” and “It’ll Be Better” both stuck in my head the next day…”

Paula Berg, Oak Park IL

“With ‘Once I Had an Old Banjo’ blasting out of my car stereo, I thought , ‘That old banjo obviously has strings of lightening.”

Andy Burd, New Buffalo MI

“Funny, talented and a pure joy to listen to…”

Chana Roschyk, St. Joseph MI

“You write just  like you sing and play, with clarity and flair…”

Peter Beck, Chicago IL

“I’m still reeling from Saturday's concert and the incredible lessons on Sunday. What a talent and gifted teacher you are…”

Jerry Woolpy, Bats in the Boat House Minocqua WI

“I thought of you while reading the article on Bob Dylan. You’ve diligently pursued your life journey in music, and your personal catalogue of songs you have wirtten and performed has grown and evolved. Dylan said, ‘Don’t sing at people, sing to them.’ You do that. You engage the audience in the story of the song and that story moves us, emotionally. “

Andy Burd, New Buffalo MI

“Thank you for the fantastic performance! You are so talented and personable - the perfect combination for our patrons. Your stories were so interesting and complimented the music just right. Truly, this was one of my favorite performances we’ve had.”

Roz Topolski, Vernon Area Library Lincolnshire IL

“Your guitar  playing is an inspiration…”

John C. Bell, Chicago IL

“WOW! Writer to writer - impressive! You have the gift of thoroughly expressing YOURSELF, your voice, in writing. It was just like having YOU in the room! Very few writers can make their memoirs sound like themselves, but you have totally GOT IT!”

Cheryl Chapman, Michigan City IN

“'Bowling for Christmas' is a wonderful book…” 

Margaret Kingsbury, Lansing MI

“Love the new song, ‘Old Friends.’ Touching, heartfelt lyrics melded with an evocative melody and warmly delivered… Your music has given me hours of pleasure…"

Steven Duke, Evanston IL

“Mark is the genuine article…”

John Derado, Valparaiso IN

“Mark! You were wonderful, and everyone appreciated your performance, friendship and good cheer! You are warmly invited to be a featured performer on the Holiday Hoot next year…”

Lilli Kuzma, host of “Folk Festival” WDCB 90.9 fm, Glen Ellyn IL

“Mark Dvorak is a civic treasure…I am higher than a kite since he performed at our concert…”

Bob Warner, Lake Odessa MI

“Your music brings sunshine into peoples’ lives…”

Kathy Friend, Mackinaw IL

"Mark Dvorak, is a great musician and songwriter, but also his musical spirit is so infectious. It was so cool to be around a guy like Mark…”

Noam Pikelny, Los Angeles CA

“Mark Dvorak is one of the great exponents of American folk music. He approaches it with respect, honor and cares about the people he’s singing to. He is genuine and not a caricature of a ‘folk star.’ 

Frank Hamilton, Decatur Georgia

“Great to visit last night, and thanks for another brilliant concert…”

Ron Holm, Just Goods Listening Room, Rockford IL

“ I attended your concert last night at Just Goods and loved every minute! I am definitely a fan!”

Jeanne Moyer, Rockford IL

“We’ve seen some great folk music here at the Crystal Theatre in the UP, The best though may have been Saturday night when Mark Dvorak was here… His voice is so mellow, his personal presence is simple, yet elegant. His songs, both his own and those of others are so hearable. His intstrumental abilitties are outstanding. Helen said as we drove home, ‘I’d like to hear him more and get to know him better…”

John & Helen McFarland, Crystal Falls MI

“We LOVED ‘Old Friends!’ Your songs take us to a wonderful place…”

Jill Wallace, Dover TN

“I have hit the Mother lode! When Bob referred me to you and called you a “great teacher,” he was not kidding! I am amazed and impressed by all the other shows and fundraisers and all listed on your website! I look forward to being your student!”

Jane Bachman, Chicago IL

“Thank you Mark Dvorak for the enjoyable, profoundly eye-opening guitar workshop…”

John Donahue, Chicago IL

“Thank you again, we just loved your performance…lots of thumbs up!”

Kathy Otto, Bridgeview, IL Library

“ Mark Dvorak hums with the resonant frequency of the very universe. One need but listen…”

Andrew Cohen, Memphis TN

“Mark, you are a writer, listener, and musical sculptor. Thanks for sharing part of your secret songbook.”

David Hawkins, Lake Forest IL

“We harmonized ‘Every Step of the Way’ in Barb Silverman’s Old Town School class yesterday. I was touched and encouraged by your words and thoughts expressed in your lyrics…”

Grace McCullough, Chicago IL

"Your music is still in heavy rotation on my CD player..."

Dave Oberg, Executive Director, Grayslake IL Heritage Museum

"It was really great to see you at Edgar's Place...was especially glad to hear the tune you wrote based on the titles of Woody's songs. It was quite lovely and very timely as well..."

DeAnn Wilson, Park Forest IL

"Today I read through your book, 'Bowling for Christmas'... It was a wonderful privilege to see through your eyes and your perceptions, feel your feelings and share your experiences. Thank you for a wonderful accomplishment!

Grace McCullough, Chicago IL

“Thanks, as always, for representing all of us songsters in the best way!

Deborah Robins-Hanks, Berkeley CA

“One of the elite ‘who’s who’ of the acoustic music scene and someone not to be missed…”

Al Kniola, The Back Porch 88.1 fm WVPE , South Bend IN

“Thank you for the Pete Seeger Tribute Show… The audience enjoyed the iconic songs as well as your personal stories about Pete. Having the Old Town School Chorus join you on stage provided a warm sense of community…”

Christine Posinger, Des Plaines IL Public Library

“Thank you for another incredible performance at our library. Keeping the spirit of folk alive is a true mission and you do it with a special humility and talent…”

Jennifer Black, Glenview Public Library, Glenview IL

"Yes. Thanks for keeping the tradition alive, Mark..."

Joan Spoerl, Cleveland Heights, OH

"Just finished 'Bowling for Christmas.' Great stories and a great storyteller. 'I am not yet awake,' paints a detailed picture with sound effects. Hypnotism by poetry..."

Craig Baumberger, Greenville IL

"Mark is my favorite folksinger, storyteller and troubadour. He makes my heart happy."

Sandy Goldberg Granroth, Highland Park IL

"Mark was in fine singing and plucking form Saturday night... his banjo playing has elevated from great to virtuoso..."

Ric Granroth, Highland Park IL

"Thank you so much for coming to perform at our Pack Meeting. The scouts, adults and other siblings loved it!!! It was both entertaining as well as informative to the kids. It could not have been a better time for the 3rd graders (Bear Den), as they just received their musical recorder instruments last week. I know that my son loved it immensely. Your stories of your Grandfather also brought back very fond memories of my Grandfather and Great Grandfather as well. I think I had as great of a time as the scouts. 

"I had several comments before people left the room from parents, kids and our Scout District Leadership that was in attendance about the quality of your program/performance. You are an old soul artist. I'm so glad that you are passing the traditions to the generations following you."

David Smith, Pack #67, River Forest IL

"I enjoyed Mark's story, 'Bowling for Christmas,' when I sat in the quiet at home and read it. He is special."

Roberta Gordon, Sparta IL

"Your music is still in heavy rotation on my CD player..."

Dave Oberg, Executive Director, Grayslake IL Heritage Museum

"It was really great to see you at Edgar's Place...was especially glad to hear the tune you wrote based on the titles of Woody's songs. It was quite lovely and very timely as well..."

DeAnn Wilson, Park Forest IL

"Today I read through your book, 'Bowling for Christmas'... It was a wonderful privilege to see through your eyes and your perceptions, feel your feelings and share your experiences. Thank you for a wonderful accomplishment!

Grace McCullough, Chicago IL

"We LOVE 'Time Ain't Got Nothin' On Me.' It's already a cult classic here in our home... We just keep pushing 'play.'"

Julie Morley, Chicago IL

"Thank you for playing my request, 'All I Want to Do Is Sing Your Name,' in Park Forest last night. It was so gentle and melodic. I enjoyed your artistry all through the evening..."

Marda Dunsky, Skokie IL

"Mark, we're driving back down from a late Christmas in Madison listening to a show called 'Simply Folk.'  Your recordings are getting a lot of air time. You're keeping us warm, awake and smiling..."

Alan Deaton, Sandwich IL

"I loved 'Bowling for Christmas!... Your love of music and of people really shines through... Thanks for the gift of reading..."

Marilyn Sherman, Wilmette IL

"Listened to your New Year's Eve broadcast on WDCB - just wonderful! Just finished your book; the pages came alive through your words. Can't wait for your next book!

Barbara Thompson, Orland Park IL

"I am so enjoying, 'Bowling for Christmas,' and have rationed the chapters to only one a day so it will last longer. You are really an amazing writer..."

Marge Weber, Elk Grove Village IL

"We really enjoyed reading your book tonight. Your words make everything so crystal clear. It's beautiful..."

Stacy Holzwarth, Portage MI

"Storyteller Dvorak brings it with 'Bowling for Christmas'..."

Paul Schingle Reviews, Chicago IL

"Your coolness assuages my vituperation..." 

Andrew Cohen, Memphis TN

"Thank you for sharing your beautiful stories and wisdom..."

Maria McCullough, Chicago IL

"You have written an incredible book Mark..."

Paul Bolton, Riverwoods IL

"It's just damn good to know you are out there making the world a warmer place..."

Karma Grotelueschen, Warrenville IL

"This is completely amazing! I look forward to reading your book  - I'm going to order one but just wanted to tell you right away how great it is that you have shared so many stories in print. You're a legend, and a really nice guy at that. So grateful to know you!"

Dorothy Zerbe, Oshkosh WI

"Had a wonderful time this morning with the consummate troubadour, Mark D. performing his great stuff. Fun to watch the riveted audience smiling, feet tapping and singing along... We loved it!"

Clar Nowicki, Evergreen Park IL Senior Center

"I'm about 4/5 of the way through my 3-week tour of Israel. I've been 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... Loved 'The Middle Years' when I first heard it and thought you'd written for me. Turns out you did - and a whole lotta others as well..."

James Durst, Princeton NJ

"Regarding the Lantern Bearer Award, it is well deserved... Other Lantern Bearers have been Paul Revere on his horse, Kate Shelly on the bridge; but they warned people, and helped them that way. Mark, you help people by putting a light into their minds and hearts, and souls, and that is profound; spiritual in fact.

"In some ways you are more like a Lighthouse Keeper, not warning people of danger so much, but showing them a path, a path back to home - Safe in the Harbour..." 

Dr. Paul Bolton, Bannockburn IL


"Mark Dvorak is the best Banjo player I ever heard... he totally knows how to get an audience going..."

Vonda MacKenzie, Kissimmee, FL

"I want to be among the first to congratulate you on your FARM Lantern Bearer Award - very well deserved! I am so glad that you continue to be honored for all that you have done for music and the community."

Carol O., Woodstock IL

"You woulda loved the vibe at Front Porch Music..."

Andy Burd, New Buffalo MI

"Thanks once again for contributing so much to making this year's Big Muddy Festival, one of our best.  We've heard nothing but rave reviews about both your stage set... and your outstanding workshops."

Dave Para, Big Muddy Folk Festival, Boonville, MO

"Mark, you were FANTASTIC tonight on WFMT! Cheers to you and all you are doing..."

Jenny Bienemann, Chicago IL

"Loved the St. James Cafe concert... great songs, beautiful voice..."

Colleen Fahy, Chicago IL

"The residents of our community were still buzzing about your performance... I believe you were the hands down favorite out of all the Humanities Speakers we have used over the years!"

Sherry Sparks, Fowler Development, Fowler IL

"'My Love Grows' is a gem of a song. It's been stuck in my head since the concert.  There's space in the song and the words you chose are poetic and profound. The repetition is very much in the folk tradition, yet it is meditative and resonates its message. I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it."

Nicole Mendyk, Chicago IL

"I can't stop listening to your song 'I Hate to See the Summer Go''s a fantastic song. I want to get the tablature and will be glad to play it..."

Gwenael Messe, Vitre, France

"Thank you for helping to make our semester a great success. Your intelligence, kindness and enthusiasm are appreciated by those of us at the Academy of Lifetime Learning. We wish you a wonderful summer..."

Janna Overstreet, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston IL

"Whenever you speak and write about my father, I feel so happy that you have become a kind of a 'spirit bearer' for him. You 'get' Win and that is grand. You are doing something that is wonderful..."

Jane Bradbury, daughter of Win Stracke, Evanston IL

"What a wonderful evening! New songs, a full sound, and fun stories! Thank you Mark Dvorak for making this year's Spring Sing a warm, delightful evening for us all!"

Sally Potter, Director, Ten Pound Fiddle Coffee House, East Lansing MI

"Thank you for a wonderful night of singing and storytelling... You wove some lovely and inspiring images. My wife and I very much enjoy your part in the Mid-Winter Singing Festival, but especially enjoyed hearing you work solo..."

Ned Jackson, East Lansing MI

"Thank you Mark Dvorak for getting us all singing - and loving it..."

Margaret Nielsen, Lansing MI

"My daughter and I had a GREAT time at your program at the Ottawa Library. We took your Wonderful World CD home and Jolene hasn't stopped playing it yet! She is special needs and a blessing. I've never seen her enjoy a CD like yours... You bring her song and laughter for hours. Thank you..."

Uncle Barry Cohen, Ottawa IL

"Saw your recent concert at The Lake County Folk Club. Wow - the beautifully articulated guitar work, the direct singing, and the songs whose melodies stick with you the next day and beyond - all great. But the sum was more than the parts, I was really moved by the experience. Thank you so much for doing what you do!"

Cath Kasmer, Lake Bluff IL

"This winter afternoon I am listening to your CD. So great stuff! Thanks for your music."

Hera Menard, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

"Thanks so much for posting your wonderfully eloquent tribute to Win. Your interviews of Win are invaluable primary source materials for ensuring that his observations and memories will be available to future generations... The far sighted initiative you took over 20 years ago places all of us who admire and applaud Win in your debt."

Robert Riesman, Chicago IL

Thank you for your contribution to the 2012 Community Sing! You are a masterful song leader...""

Craig Siemsen, Community Sing Event Director, Milwaukee WI

"Your CD,''Time Ain't Got Nothin' On Me' is simply a masterpiece."

John Donahue, Chicago IL

"The Pied Piper of the Mid-Winter Singing Festival..." 

WKAR Public Television, Lansing MI

"I loved that guy so much that I would come every other week to hear him! He was great!"

Grand Rapids Opera House, Grand Rapids OH

"Folksinger/songwriter Mark Dvorak's fourth release, 'Time Ain't Got Nothin' On Me,' features 12 originals, plus three live tracks. Dvorak's songs about life, time, and age are delicately crafted with familiar, folksy warmth. His voice conjures the spirit of Buddy Holly while he pours his heart and soul into the music. 

Various styles are on display here: hints of bluegrass, country & western-tinged songs with banjo and fiddle - good ol' down-home folk ditties. His reflection on the passing of time is the major theme, though Dvorak shows that you can look back while keeping a watchful, hopeful eye on the future."

Illinois Entertainer

"As if channeling Carl Sandburg, Mark Dvorak's songbook ranges across the American heartland..."

David Roche, Executive Director, Blue Bear Music School, San Francisco CA

"A master musician, storyteller and song writer..." 

WKMS, Murray KY

"Mark Dvorak doesn't play folk music, he IS folk music..."

Kalamazoo Noise

"From the song selection, to your beautiful stories to the sense of intimate community you create with each performance, the concert was breathtaking. Everyone who attended came away with a renewed sense of beauty and determination, and a profound awareness of the struggles and victories of this 'wonderful world.' A simply magical evening for all of us lucky enough to share in ti."

Lori Chalinor, Access Living, Glen Ellyn IL

"As always, I enjoyed hearing you again at the Arts Center in Ludington. Well worth doing chores early, grabbing another shower and jumping in the truck to head to Ludington! You paint such great word pictures with your songs and stories. Looking forward to your next visit! Also love the new CD!" 

Karin Hansen, Ludington MI

"I don't mind driving a long distance to see your always includes unbelievable guitar playing, fantastic banjo playing and a beautiful melodic voice singing quality songs, both new and old..."

Marquita Welch, Vermont IL

"Enjoyed hearing you at the Fox Valley Fest. Good stuff. You are a true folk icon."

Eric Noden, Chicago IL

"a folk singer whose way with a song is sheer magic..."

Hickory Ridge Coffee House, Lewistown IL

"If Woody Guthrie has another son, it would have been Mark Dvorak. He gives us a wonderful variety of music, from some of the old standards to his own self-penned gems. He has a lovely way of telling a story..."

Debra Cowan, Westborough MA

"Mark Dvorak is one of my heroes. His integrity is unmatched..."

Andrew Cohen, Memphis TN

"WOW! Your presentation was the hit of the conference! Bravo!"

David Berry, Executive Director, Community College Humanities Assn., Newark NJ

"You are a painter...Your music has so many colors and so many moods. Just beautiful."

Peggy Lipschutz, Evanston IL

"An awesome performer... A Chicago folk legend.” 

The Hen House Prowlers, Chicago IL

“He’s a cross between James Taylor, Big Bill Broonzy and Pete Seeger. Now go write that down.” 

Elbert Beard, Erin TN

“Mark Dvorak IS the show.” 

Reggio the Hoofer, Chicago IL

“He doesn’t just sing songs, he inhabits songs. He lives them.” 

Cafe Carpe, Ft. Atikinson WI

“You were the cream on the top of some pretty fine milk, the best peach in the tree...” 

Banjohova Witness, Greenville IL

“Your songs are real gems and you have sincerely addressed many issues affecting us these days. Your love songs are very touching and all I can say that it is an honor that you included ‘Ruben’ for this wonderful project - a very inspiring version!” 

Bartholomew Bean, Columbia MO

“Thank you for all of your years of service to this institution, and to our field. You’ve had a huge impact on many, many lives. Words are not up to the task of expressing appreciation.”

Bau Graves, Executive Director, Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago IL

“Mary and I played at Occupy Atlanta and your song, ‘I’m the 99’ was well received. It’s simple, easy to pick up, direct like Woody. People began to sing it.”

Frank Hamilton, Decatur GA

“If I were a drinker, ‘I Hate to See the Summer Go’ would be my 3 olive, 3 fingers full hold the ice, martini song. It makes me need a hug.”

Nancy Jolliff, Madison WI

“Thank you for ‘I’m the 99.’ This is really a GREAT song.”

Jackie Guthrie, Great Barrington MA

Gorgeous show last night man.” 

Sue Demel, Chicago IL

“Thank you Mark for letting us experience the world through your folk songs. This world’s a much better and warmer place for all of us when portrayed through your voice.”

Jeffery Scott Wallace, Murray KY

“I had a wonderful time at your show. The place was packed and filled with that kind of benevolent energy that is always great to be a part of. You were playing and singing so well, the banjo in particular was pulse-quickening. It was so good...”

Margaret Candiotti, Chicago IL

“I just watched ‘On a Night Like This’ on your web site. How in the blue hell did you tab that out??”


“Can’t say enough good things about your performance last night. It was the best ever. Great balance in music, excellent timing in delivery and great audience involvement!”

Nan Anderson, Evanston IL

“Awesome concert Mark! Your songs are great and you had people singing from the very start!”

Johnnie Jones, Flint MI

“Mark is one of those musicians who seems to know everything about music, and is all about sharing it with others. You could write an encyclopedia of American music from Mark’s wealth of knowledge. He’s been a teacher and a mentor to me. He also puts on a wonderful show.  Singer, songwriter, musician, teacher - he does it all brilliantly!

Amy Dixon-Kolar, Fox River Grove IL

“No real wonder Mark’s CD ‘Every Step of the Way’ is winning critical acclaim. His story telling abilities are becoming legend. If you don’t have a copy, get one.”

Quarter Notes, Downers Grove IL

“Tonight I find your patriotic song ‘Not War’ in affirming, hopeful dialog with lines from R.W. Emerson. For Emerson, pacifism was not passivity - “The peace principle [cannot] be carried into effect by fear... if peace is to be maintained, it must be by brave men [and women], who have come up to the same height as the [war] hero, namely, the will to carry their life in their hand, and stake it at any instant for their principle, but who have gone one step beyond the hero, and will not seek another man’s life.”

Robert Dixon, College of Dupage, Glen Ellyn IL

“He is our folk music hero... and he should be yours too.”

Birdy, LaGrange Park IL

“One of the best folk singers carrying on this tradition in our present time. Truly a golden-throated icon.”


““Hey Mark, I really enjoyed your set... First rate all the way.”

Bucky Halker, Chicago IL

I really enjoyed your show a whole lot... ‘The Saddest Town’ knocked me over with its devastating stuff, as have several of the other songs too. They somehow put the darkness out there, real clear and beautiful, not as a wallowing endpoint, but again and again as a platform for the other side, the ‘will to heal,’ the living through and loving again (and yet again).

I am thankful for the few voices out there that honor our losses and despair, when the message we hear over and over again - that makes us so nuts and deprives us of deepest love - is that we are supposed to keep too much of our love underground. Squelched, dismissed and medicated. You have a gift for making this complicated stuff simple, and just so damned lovely and true.”

Brit Creelman, Chicago IL

“Mark has never sounded better. His songs are powerful, thoughtful and full of humor and truth - just like him. He is truly at the top of his game.”

Sons of the Never Wrong, Chicago IL

“Your fingers were flying with the moon last night... Words to tears to blessed memory of feeling. Thank you for such lovely sounds to linger on.”

Lizabeth MacDonald, Chicago IL

“Some things are so wonderful there are no words to describe them; like the way it feels to sit in a room full of people from all over the city after a long day of work all playing instruments and singing their hearts out together.”

Michelle Lilly O’Brien, Chicago IL

“His voice is like a magnet that draws you in...”

MIke Henry, South Haven MI

“I bought your CD for my teaching friend and her class LOVES ‘Lay Down Little Dogies.’ They gather and sing it every day. Thought you’d like to hear.”

Stacy Holzwarth, 1st Grade Teacher, Chicago IL

“I wanted to let you know how cool the Woody Guthrie Jam at this summer’s festival was; what a tribute to both you and Woody. There was standing room only for musicians plus a nice crowd had gathered to listen on the lawn...”

Donna Burkhard, Chicago IL

“It was a hoot seeing you and hearing you - not only a primo musician and excellent performer, but you are also an engaging and informative, thoroughly enjoyable - in a word - entertainer.”

Andy Burd, New Buffalo MI

“I want you to know that I listened to your record and loved it. It sounds great man...”

Jim Tulio, Winnetka IL

“Your songs are thoughtful and good... they really sound like they’re from you, from your heart and from your life.”

Tim Lilly, St. Louis MO

“I came home energized from your concert... I like it that you really encouraged participation. It’s the answer to the comment a friend made recently, that people need to be finding their own culture.”

Juniper Sundance, Abrams WI

“Thank you for everything you did to make the Win centennial such a success. Your performance and commentaries were superb...”

Bob Riesman, Chicago IL

“Ten thousand hands rang out in applause last night and I hope you heard each and every one of them - for the tradition you carry on, for the humanity that you bring to the craft and for the special gift you have to share with others.”

Lizabeth MacDonald, Chicago IL

“Thanks so much for the show about Lead Belly! I am thrilled I got to experience it and hope you do end up taking it on the road. More people should have the chance to learn about Lead Belly from you.”

Kay Spreitzer, Chicago IL

“Every time I think I’ve seen you do the best thing ever, turns out I have to wait until next time... Your Lead Belly show was really extraordinary -  so well done, so informative and musical.”

Louise Frank, WFMT, Chicago IL

“We were honored to have Mark in the studio for a wonderful show of brilliant talent. The Windy City is fortunate to have Mark base his creativity here... his podcast has set a record for downloads.”

Michael Teach, Chicago Acoustic Underground

Stay in touch • • PO Box 181 • Brookfield IL 60513 • 312 315 4273