Music & Potlucks 4th Anniversary Spring Celebration

Community organization celebrates 4 years of arts and service March 24

RIVER FOREST IL - Music & Potlucks, a community organization, will celebrate its 4th anniversary with a “Spring Break Celebration” on Wednesday, March 24, 7:00 pm CDT. The live stream event will include songs, stories and spoken word presentations reflecting on the origin and evolution of the organization.

“It feels like we’ve come a long way,” said Music & Potlucks co-director Stephanie Schrodt of River Forest. “Our mission has always been to present community cultural events to support our neighbors in need.”


Schrodt is also president of the board at Beyond Hunger, formerly the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry. She, along with Betsy Sweeney Backes and Liz Ziehl, both of River Forest, presented their first event “Songs For Peace & Justice” in 2017 supporting the Food Pantry, Housing Forward and the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation. 

“We sold over a hundred tickets at our first event,” said Ziehl who is also on the board at Beyond Hunger. “Afterwards we three met for coffee with folk singer songwriter Mark Dvorak to discuss taking the next step towards presenting more programs and possibly becoming a non-profit organization.”

“We were sitting at the table,” said Betsy Sweeney Backes, “and Stephanie did a search on her phone for an available web site domain. At that moment Music and Potlucks dot org was born.”


Despite the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions, Music & Potlucks has made great strides in the past year including receiving 501(c)(3) non-profit status, an improved website and an expanded board of directors.

“Jill Niewoehner is the newest member to join our team,” said Schrodt. She brings a lot of non-profit experience to the table and is handling our tech stuff and some marketing. She came along at just the right time and has really helped us to up our game.” 

Music & Potlucks has presented over forty events engaging community musicians and presenters in support of area food pantries, homeless shelters and other agencies serving those in need.

The March 24 “Spring Break Celebration” kicks off with former Old Town School of Folk Music educator Jason McInnes of Las Cruces NM presenting a youth performance. The board members will share stories and poetry, and Dvorak will read selections from his upcoming book 31 Winters : Teaching Folk Music by Heart, and perform songs from his new CD Live & Alone. 

Ticket sales will support the Music & Potlucks community arts initiative. Tickets and information are available at

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