Genevieve Harrison Koester and Mareva Lindo will host a fiddle tune concert and square dance in celebration of the completion of their Illinois Arts Council Master/Apprentice Program (MAP) grant on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the McGrady Inn, 803 Sixth Street in Charleston. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
For the finale, they wanted to bring the music back to where it all began: Charleston, the town where Genevieve and her father grew up, and where her mother Gaye Harrison continues to live and play music.
The night will begin with refreshments at 7 p.m. followed by a concert at 7:30, featuring fiddle tunes and songs, along with some of the stories behind the music, and culminate in a square dance featuring White Mule, Prairie State Ramblers, and friends, beginning at 9 p.m.
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
As the”Master” in the MAP program, Genevieve, a teacher at the Old Town School of Folk Music, has been teaching Mareva tunes collected and written by Genevieve’s father, the late Garry Harrison of Charleston. With Indian Creek Delta Boys and Red Prairie Dawn, Garry was an influence in the world of old-time fiddling from the 1970s until his death in 2012.
In addition to sharing tunes, sessions included fiddle techniques and oral history of the collecting process that began in the 1970s with the Harrison family and friends visiting old-time musicians throughout central and southern Illinois. A large portion of the field tapes were converted to print music and a three CD set, titled “Dear Old Illinois” (available at cdbaby.com).
Mareva has been steeped in folk music all her life, first with her family, then as producer of The Archives Podcast at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and since 2015 as a member of Old Lazarus’ Harp collective. Mareva tours nationally with vocal duo Spitzer & Mareva, and regularly plays contra and square dances with old-time string band Prairie State Ramblers. Mareva is co-director of the Midwest Sing & Stomp, and regularly produces concerts and dances around Chicago.
“Working with Genevieve this past year has changed my playing as a fiddler. It’s a rare experience to learn from someone within the tradition, whose parents and grandparents played this music and whose family was directly responsible for collecting so many of the recordings we’re fortunate to have. Garry’s playing, original music and work as an archivist has had such a widespread impact across the old-time community, and Genevieve is carrying on that legacy.,” said Mareva.
Each year, the Illinois Arts Council recognizes 12 master artists throughout the state, with monetary awards to instruct their chosen apprentices through intensive one-on-one sessions. The Master Apprentice program (MAP) acknowledges the need for structured opportunities to pass on traditional, folk and classical ethnic arts as part of the preservation of Illinois’ cultural heritage. MAP is made possible with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.