SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 07:30 PM
Mark Dvorak is the third son of four, born to a working class family on Chicago’s southwest side. After reading Anthony Scaduto’s biography of Bob Dylan in high school, his interest in American folk music was born. Soon the recordings of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Pete Seeger found their way into his collection. He purchased his first acoustic guitar while working in a xylophone factory in LaGrange, Illinois, and enrolled in classes at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music after a summer of traveling the country by motorcycle.
In 1981 he performed at the Fox Valley Folk Festival in Geneva, Illinois for the first time, and later that year opened a performance venue, “The Old Quarter Coffee House,” named after the legendary Houston club where Townes Van Zandt recorded a live album in the early seventies. Three years later, new owners took control of “The Old Quarter,” and it grew into a full-time club, booking national acts and hosting classes and workshops. After a successful run of six years, “The Old Quarter” was reorganized again, this time as the non-profit Plank Road Folk Music Society, which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2016. Dvorak spent six years on the board, wrote and edited the newsletter, served two terms as Plank Road president, and still remains close to the organization.
In 1982 Dvorak borrowed a five string banjo and began teaching himself how to play. It was through the mentorship of old-time string musician Don Buedel, from Cantrall, Illinois, that Dvorak was first able to master the claw hammer stroke.
In 1986 Dvorak joined the faculty of the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. He soon became embedded in the Chicago acoustic scene, collaborating with many dozens of artists and students, befriending Old Town founders Win Stracke, Frank Hamilton, Eddie Holstein and many others. Dvorak continues to be an integral member of the Old Town School faculty, where he is artist-in-residence.
In the summer of 1990, Dvorak set out on his own towards Louisiana, in search of the grave Huddie Ledbetter, known the world over as the great Lead Belly. The trip was chronicled in the 1993 documentary, “Lead Belly’s Legacy,” produced for WDCB public radio in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The show aired in one hundred sixty cities and earned Dvorak a Peter Lisagor Award for journalism.
In 1995, Dvorak released his first CD specifically for young listeners on the Depot label. “Old Songs & New People” was a notable success, winning the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Award and leading to hundreds of nationwide performances for arts-in-education and community audiences.
By 1998, Dvorak had performed at venues throughout the Midwest, had toured the east coast and released his classic “The Streets of Old Chicago,” which documented some of his experiences performing in Chicago and teaching at the Old Town School. 1998 also marked the beginning of a long collaboration between Dvorak, song writer Michael Smith and singer Barbara Barrow as they embarked on a six month rehearsal schedule for the touring performance, “WeaverMania! LIVE.” WeaverMania! celebrated the sounds and songs of the legendary folk group, The Weavers, and gave more than two hundred concert performances between 1999 and 2007. The group continues to make occasional concert appearances and festival performances. WeaverMania! released their only CD, “WeaverMania! LIVE,” in 2000.
In 2005, Dvorak went back into the studio to record “Every Step of the Way,” a personal breakthrough project which featured ten original songs. Released by Waterbug, “Every Step of the Way” was well-received and established Dvorak as a song writer.
2008’s “What a Wonderful World,” also released by Waterbug, was a fifty-seven minute compilation of material from Dvorak’s earlier CDs. The project was aimed for family audiences and also included a newly recorded, four song collaboration with Chicago’s Sons of the Never Wrong. Also in 2008, Dvorak received the Woodstock Folk Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a performer, song writer, teacher and folk historian.
In the spring of 2010, Dvorak began planning his next recording with producer John Abbey of King Size Sound Lab. The next year, Waterbug released “Time Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Me,” to glowing reviews; to date Dvorak’s most successful recording project. “Time” received steady airplay and rose to number fourteen on the Folk DJ chart, and made it to number twenty-three on the Cashbox National Folk Chart. The disc featured twelve Dvorak originals and a Chicago all-star cast of singers and instrumentalists.
In 2012 WFMT’s Rich Warren, host of “The Midnight Special,” named Dvorak “Chicago’s official troubadour,” a sobriquet previously given to Old Town School of Folk Music founder Win Stracke, and later to seminal folk singer and Dvorak mentor Fred Holstein.
The Midwest region of Folk Alliance International (FARM) named Dvorak the 2013 Lantern Bearer Award recipient, an award presented to an individual who has contributed to folk performance arts and the folk music and dance community for twenty-five years or more.
In December of 2013, Dvorak published his first collection of essays and poems, “Bowling for Christmas and Other Tales from the Road.” The book sold out of its initial printing in nine days and received glowing reviews.
Dvorak continues to perform more than two hundred dates each year and looks back on a thirty year career woven from the disparate threads of touring musician, educato
Admission: $15 at the door
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 07:30 PM
Jan Krist and Jim Bizer
Jan Krist and Jim Bizer hail from Detroit, justly famous as Motown, but home to myriad musical influences. It was here that they met and made music together while still in their teens. After separately establishing their reputations as performers and songwriters, Jim and Jan have joined forces in a fun and formidable duo where the sum is greater than the already substantial parts.
With “Influence”, their first CD as a duo, and the recent release “Too”, Jan and Jim take the “duo” concept and run with it: performances mesh and interlock, lyric and melody interweave in surprising and intriguing ways. Buoyant to poignant, heartfelt to hilarious, they cut a wide stylistic swath that reflects their eclectic musical backgrounds. And yet, their sound is distinctly their own, an unmistakable musical fingerprint. No wonder Jim and Jan have been honored as winners or finalists from such entities as The Great American Song contest, Kerrville New Folk (TX), Mountain Stage NewSong (WV) and the Detroit Music Awards.
Admission: $15 at the door
Amilia K. Spicer • Mark Dvorak • Matt Watroba and Robert Jones • Mustard’s Retreat • Abigail Stauffer • Suzanne and Jim • Neal Woodward • Mike Vial
Mike Vial • Raisin Pickers • Kitty Donohoe • Mustard’s Retreat • Bill Bynum and Company • The Hummingbirds
Hayley Reardon • Don White and Christine Lavin • Kate Taylor • Mustard’s Retreat • Peter Yarrow
Stella! • Matt Watroba and Rev. Robert Jones • The Ukulele Kings • Suzanne and Jim • Mustard’s Retreat
Mustard’s Retreat • Dan Hall • Anne Hills • Neil Woodward with Jim and Suzanne • Neptune’s Car
Joel Mabus • Mustard’s Retreat • Sons of the Never Wrong • Four Shillings Short • Jo Serrapere and the Willie Dunns • The Steel Wheels • Neptune’s Car
Anne Hills • Steppin’ In It • Sister Wilene • Mustard’s Retreat • Finvarra’s Wren • Neil Woodward • Ann and Rod Capp
Mustard’s Retreat • Meg Hutchinson • Stella! • Matt Watroba • Rachael Davis • The Laws
Michael Smith • Mustard’s Retreat • Shout Sister Shout • Hannah Fralick • Jen Sygit
Yellow Room Gang • Four Shillings Short
John McCutcheon • Jeffrey Foucault • Kris Delmhorst • Madcat and Kane • Matter and Ghost • Terry Gonda
Carrie Newcomer • Robert Jones • Finvarra’s Wren • Susan Werner • James Keelaghan
Matt Watroba • Mustard’s Retreat • Annie Gallup • Sons of the Never Wrong • Don White
Julie Austin • Tullamore Dew • Akire Bubar • Four Shillings Short • Matt Watroba • Mustard’s Retreat • Brewer and Shipley
Dan Hall • Akire Bubar • Jim Bizer • Terry Farmer • Tom Kimmel • Dev Singh • Bob Miller • Josh White Jr. • Fourtold • Tom Paxton
John McCutcheon • Bob Miller & Jerry Peterson • Lee Murdock • Kelly Watkins • Jere Stormer • Dan Hall • Bob Franke • Kitty Donohoe • Mustard’s Retreat
Steve LaCrosse • Kitty Donohoe • The Raisin Pickers • Dan Hall
Jerre Stormer • Jeff Karoub • Dev Singh • Neville Narona • Andy Bogner • Riley McLincha • Bob Miller and Jerry Peterson • Doug Rutledge • Lucy Webster • Dan Hall • Jan Krist
Thank you to our sponsors:
Debra Cowan and John Roberts • Tim Grimm • May Erlewine • Annie and Rod Capps • Chuck Brodsky • Blue Water Ramblers
Kerry Patrick Clark • NESSA • Bob Bovee • April Verch • Corn Potato String Band • Squirrel Hillbillies • Mark Stuart • Don Henry • Don White and Christine Lavin
Red Tail Ring • Shari Kane and Dave Steele • Mike and Ruthy • The Mickeys • Jan Krist and Jim Bizer • The Appleseed Collective • Jack Williams • The Springtails • Chuck Brodsky • Four Shillings Short • Mustard’s Retreat • Yellow Room Gang
Mike Kassel • Sandy Cash • Rita Hosking • Dan Hall • L. L. Blues • Drew Nelson • Kitty Donohoe • Mean Mary • Anne Hills • Matt Watroba • Yellow Room Gang
Blue Water Ramblers • Jonathan Byrd • Equinox • Dan Hall • The Stray Birds • Don White • Honey Dew Drops • Brooks Williams • Small Potatoes • Joe Crookston • Yellow Room Gang
Jo Serrapere Trio • Mean Mary • Rachael Davis • Dan Crary • Mary Sue Wilkinson & Roger Brown • Meg Hutchinson • Peggy Seeger • Jon Brooks • Ronny Cox • Cairn to Cairn • The Laws • Kraig Kenning • Mike and Ruthy • Michael Johnson • Bill Staines • Sons of the Never Wrong • Doug and Telisha Williams • Claudia Schmidt • Mark Dvorak • Yellow Room Gang
Neil Woodward • Cairn to Cairn • Kitty Donohoe • Mustard’s Retreat • Tracy Grammer • Gordon Bok • Small Potatoes • Sarah McQuaid • James Gordon • Danny Schmidt • Amy Speace • Mary Flower • Lac La Belle • Chuck Brodsky • Peter Mayer • Katie Geddes • Yellow Room Gang
Rachael Davis • Lee Murdock • Stella • Cats and the Fiddler • Bill Bynum & Co. • Annie & Rod Capps with Jason Dennie • Dan Hall • Mark Erelli • Anne Hills • Garnet Rogers • Doug McLeod • Bill Staines • Trent Wagler & the Steel Wheels • LL Blues Band • Mark Stuart • Jill Jack • Joel Mabus • Tish Hinojosa
Mustard’s Retreat • Under Construction Bluegrass Band • Neil Woodward • Judy Insley & Almost Perfect • Mike Agranoff • Lynn Miles • Steppin In It • Wanda Degen Trio • Kitty Donohoe & David Mosher • John Flynn • Sally Potter • Rod MacDonald • Roy Book Binder • All About Eve • Joel Mabus
Bob Marr & Hannah Fralick • Jen Sygit • Ruth & Max Bloomquist • James Gordon • Claudia Schmidt • Bill Staines • Joel Mabus • Small Potatoes • Doug McLeod • Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion • Lou & Peter Berryman • Finvarra’s Wren • Mark Dvorak • The Laws
Kitty Donohoe • Jan Krist • Jay Webber • Annie and Rod Capps • Brooks Williams • Mark Dvorak • Matt Watroba & Katie Geddes • Steve Gillette & Cindy Mangsen • Katseye • Ann & Will Rowland • Chuck Brodsky • Sally Potter & Pat Madden • Mustard’s Retreat
Jim Balcerski • Mustard’s Retreat • Barb Barton • Stonecross • Matter and Ghost • John D. Lamb • Lisa Pappas • Erica Wheeler • Jack Williams • Michael Hough • Dave Barrett • The Kennedys • Mad Agnes • Terry Gonda • Jim Bizer
Mustard’s Retreat • Jan Krist • Dan Hall • Kitty Donohoe • Four Shillings Short • Mark Dvorak • James Gordon • Jan Krist • Matt Watroba and Jukebox Folk • Pierce Pettis • Jan Krist • Eliza Gilkyson • Joel Mabus • Terri Hendrix • Joe Jencks • Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion • Rod MacDonald
Mustard’s Retreat • Lou and Peter Berryman • Mike Agranoff • Claudia Schmidt • Easily Amused • Colleen Sexton • Lynn Miles • April Verch • Valdy • The Kennedys • Jake Armerding • Mad Agnes • Bob Miller • Ron Woods • Jerry Peterson • Bonnie Pobocik • Johnny Jones • Jim Balcerski • Steve LaCrosse • Bob Bovee & Gail Heil • Small Potatoes
Tamarack • Jar • Tangerine Trousers • Mustard’s Retreat • Johnsmith • Nathan and Stephanie Chapman • Madcat and Kane • Allette Brooks • Akire Bubar • Susan Harrison • Kelly Watkins • Mark Dvorak • Andy Bogner • James Gordon & Sandy Horne • Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem • Mad Agnes • Annie Gallup • Amilia Spicer • The Dreamsicles • Dev Singh • Judy Cook • Dick Siegel
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion • Chuck Mitchell • Tamarack • Dan Hall • Voices on the Verge • Katy Moffatt • Alice Peacock • Jennifer Erb • Jim Bizer • Phil Marcus Esser • Charlie Latimer • Patricia Pettinga • Rod MacDonald • Tom Kimmel • Patty Larkin • W W W-(Matt Watroba, Neil Woodward & Gary Weisenburg) • Jen Chapin and Stephan Crump • John McCutcheon • Bob Miller & Jerry Peterson • Lee Murdock • Kelly Watkins • Jere Stormer • Dan Hall • Bob Franke • Kitty Donohoe • Mustard’s Retreat • Kate Campbell • Easily Amused • Denise and Will • Claudia Schmidt • Kristen Lee • Josh White Jr. • Bob and Jerry • Chuck Mitchell • Joe Jencks • Relative Sight • Joel Mabus
Mustard’s Retreat • Dan Hall • Guy Davis • Tim Harrison • Dave Mallett • Kitty Donohoe • Cooper Nelson and Early • Sirens • Kris Delmhorst • Matt Watroba & Robert Jones • Harbor Folk • Don Conoscenti • Matt Watroba & Robert Jones • Kitty Donohoe • Mustard’s Retreat • Patrcia Pettinga • Ray Wylie Hubbard • Akire Bubar • Holly Miranda • Jen Chapin • Joe Jencks • Peter Mayer • Neil Woodward • Kris Delmhorst • Robin Laing • Lee Murdock • Ron Coden • Charlie Latimer • Jack Williams • Steve LaCrosse • Simon Mayor & Hillary James • Judy Cook • Traveler’s Dream • Mark Dvorak • Lucy Webster • Jeff Karoub
Jere Stormer • Dev Singh • Kitty Donohoe • Dan Hall • Will Danforth • Nelson and LaCrosse • Kris Delmhorst • Mustard’s Retreat • Garnet Rogers • Peter Mulvey • Richard Shindell • Sons of the Never Wrong • Erica Wheeler • Moondog Matinee • Tim Readman and Fear of Drinking • Jack Williams • John Gorka & Lucy Kaplansky • Matt Watroba and Robert Jones • Hailey Wojcik • Peter Ostroushko and Dean Magraw • Anne Hills and Michael Smith • Doug McArthur • Ashley Peacock • Ken Perlman • Moondog Matinee • Dan Hall • Dave Moore • Joel Mabus
Song of the Lakes • Candy Fortress • Katy Moffatt • Patty Larkin • Tom Kimmel • Sucka MCs
All of our concerts take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Flint, MI unless a different site is specifically advertised.
2474 South Ballenger Hwy, Flint, MI 48507
The Flint Folk Music Society – A History
by Jim McTiernan
The Flint Folk Music Society was born in 1999 but the roots of Flint folk music and those of the Flint Folk Music Society extend back in time to the 1960’s and early 70’s when folk music flourished in two amazing venues operated by Don and Jackie Bowles. This is the beginning of that story.
The Sippin’ Lizzard Coffee House
The “Sippin’ Lizzard Coffee House” was located at the corner of Lewis St. and Bennett St. in Flint Michigan. It grew out of the gatherings that Don and Jackie Bowles hosted in the basement of their home where their son, Paul, and his friends gathered to play guitar and sing. When attendance became too large for the basement, Jackie, with Don’s support, rented the old building on Lewis St. and established a coffeehouse in 1965.
The name for the coffeehouse came from an incident at Paul’s high school. Paul and his friends were constantly being harassed by school officials for their hair and dress. One day Jackie was called to school and found Paul in the counselor’s office. In the course of the discussion that followed the counselor referred to Paul and his friends as nothing but a bunch of “no good, long-haired, guitar-playing, coffee-sipping lizards.” And the “Sippin’ Lizzard” was born.
The building that housed the Sippin’ Lizzard was rented by Don and Jackie Bowles in 1965 because it was the only one they could afford at the time. It proved to be an adequate location despite some business women who practiced their profession in the apartments upstairs and an unsecured basement door which allowed the cellar to serve as a restroom for “street people”. The building was demolished a few years ago.
At this location, folk music fans heard Joni Mitchell as she began her career, as well as Cedric Smith, Phil Marcus Esser and others while sitting on the floor and drinking coffee. (see concert info below)
But this was the sixties and Flint was not ready for the Sippin’ Lizzard with its variety of anti-establishment entertainment. Police routinely raided the Sippin’ Lizzard looking for marijuana-using “hippies.” After a year and a half, Jackie closed the Sippin’ Lizzard due to the harassment and building code problems. Jackie was not abandoning folk music, however, as she already had visions of a new venue which might be less offensive to the city fathers. The new site would be called the “Concert Gallery.”
The Concert Gallery
The Concert Gallery opened in 1968 at the corner of Atherton and Fenton Roads in Flint. The building was formerly a pharmacy, but Jackie and her loyal following cleaned and painted, constructed a stage and installed a sound system and lighting. Flint folk music fans followed Jackie to the new location and folk music along with plays and comedy entertained the Flint audience until once again the Flint establishment objected. The political and social turmoil of the times was vented on a small and unthreatening alternative entertainment venue. Police raids continued under Flint Mayor and former police chief James Rutherford and Genesee County Prosecutor Robert Leonard. Finally, the police hired a young woman to make a purchase of marijuana at the Concert Gallery. She was unable to do so as Jackie had a strict “no drugs” policy that was rigidly enforced. The police plant was able to buy a joint outside the Concert Gallery. The city ordered the Concert Gallery closed and Jackie filed a lawsuit against the city.
The protracted lawsuit that followed was won by Jackie, however the fight had been expensive and exhausting. Jackie reopened the Concert Gallery for a few weekends to celebrate the winning of the lawsuit, then closed for good.
Folk Music in Exile
What folk music remained in Flint after the closing of the Sippin’ Lizzard and the Concert Gallery lived in the smoky confines of downtown Flint bars. Hat’s Pub, Doobies, Sports Bar and other bars and restuarants often presented folk music entertainers. However they too soon fell victim to the dual pressures of downtown deterioration and University of Michigan-Flint expansion.
For decades the folk music scene in Flint was dormant and folk music only sporadically featured at libraries and other public locations. Folk music fans were forced to journey to the Ark in Ann Arbor or the Ten Pound Fiddle in East Lansing to see and hear folk music artists.
The lack of local folk music venues, and a fortuitous job loss, resulted in the founding of the Flint Folk Music Society in 1999.