Monthly concerts on the third floor of the Town Hall (handicap accessible). We take donations for the musician at the door.
Joseph Helfrich, known simply as "Joseph" is a folk singer, multi-instrumentalist, and storyteller who has been performing in public for over 25 years. He has been a full time musician since 1992. Joseph specializes in vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, recorders and the mountain dulcimer. His programs include a wide variety of musical styles as well a healthy dose of humor. Joseph has a large repertoire for children and adults and tailors the program to fit the occasion.
In addition to entertaining, Joseph has taught general music and guitar classes at several schools and given seminars on communication techniques. He received his BA degree in speech communication from Bluffton College.
Joseph makes his home in Darke County, Ohio with wife Tonnya and two daughters Amanda and Alison.
On Jan 19 at 7 pm in the First Mennonite sanctuary, we will listen to two women who share a rich aboriginal culture. Our opening act will be Georgia Leichty Adams From Findlay. Her father is Carl Leichty of Lima Mennonite Church, a Swiss Mennonite, and her mother Sandy Leichty's ancestry is Miami and Kickapoo. Her husband's ancestry is Mingo, Shawnee and Eastern Cherokee. She has been active in language revitalization of her husband's Mingo language, which only has one living native speaker left. The songs she will sing will primarily be in Mingo. She will use a drum, which she made herself out of buffalo hide.
Our featured musician Diem Lafortune does not take life lying down. She’s a Mennonite singer/songwriter from Toronto whose varied life experience – from cab driver, to actor, photographer, near politician & constitutional appellate lawyer – has provided a rich source for her powerful music. Her powerful rhythms lay down grooves and together her voice and her playing are a mesmerizing package. Diem is honored to be a 2013 Canadian Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year nominee by the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Lafortune’s album Beauty and Hard Times is a varied collection; Acadian fiddle tunes, Celtic, prairie Cree drums, and the accordion and strings-fuelled tunes of the Jews and Romany in Eastern Europe have all been integrated into Diem’s cosmopolitan sound, in stirring fashion. “I can get people dancing when I perform solo – I am a member of Toronto United Mennonite Church and I get them dancing too – or, at least up and/or seriously moving in their seats at our coffeehouse talent shows!”
With a voice described as “like a barn – big, earthy and full of timber”, people are catching on. She’s become one of the go to performers at peace and justice related events.
Her lyrics probe deeply into Hard Times. Themes tackled with unflinching honesty include incremental fascism (“If They Take Us In The Morning”); the need for reparations for victimized indigenous peoples and Mother Earth and other victims of other holocausts (the searing “And On The Evidence”); the unconsidered effects of broken parental dreams and alcohol abuse (the haunting “Minuet For The Staircase Children”); stolen childhoods (“Where Are All The Children?”); and corporate and personal greed (“Mr. Businessman’s Blues”).
We will take donations at the door.
On Monday January 19 Diem Lafortunae and One in a Number will be performing at the Town Hall Concert Series from 7pm-9pm.
Diem Lafortune does not take life lying down. She’s a fighter, a champion, an activist & a believer in guardian angels. She’s also a singer/songwriter whose varied life experience – from cab driver, to actor, photographer, near politician & constitutional appellate lawyer – has provided a rich source for her powerful music. Her powerful rhythms lay down grooves and together her voice and her playing are a mesmerizing package. Diem is honored to be a 2013 Canadian Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year nominee by the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Check out her website http://horizondancer.com/
One in a Number: The Bluffton Women's choir is a group of Bluffton locals who sing music about peace, justice and social change. They will be celebrating Martin Luther King Day with songs from the civil rights movement and present day anthems.
The musical offering the monks will present is to the White and Green Tara (Buddha of Long Life) White Tara is the goddess of Long Life. She is one of the main deities used by both Tibetan Yogis/ Yoginis and lay practitioners in the practice of requesting a long and healthy life. Known particularly for her swiftness in fulfilling the long‑life wishes of the practitioner, White Tara is looked to for happiness and inspiration through the mantra OM TARE TUTARE TORE SOHA. The White Tara empowerment is meant to establish a close relationship between the recipient and the deity.
The purpose of the tour is to share with all people the monks’ culture, as well as practices and paths to inner peace and compassion. Donations raised by past tours support much needed building improvements, medical needs, teachers’ salaries and the day to day expenses of supporting the khangtsen. The tour's success is due to the help and generosity of those who support the tours.
Learn more about the Gaden Shartse monks here: http://www.sacredartsoftibettour.org/#!aboutus/crrl
On August 27 at 7pm, Andru Bemis and Tom Brosseau will be performing at the Town Hall.
Andru Bemis is a critically–acclaimed American singer–songwriter and acoustic performer on the banjo, guitar, and fiddle. He’s also an itinerant piano tuner, letterpress printer, public transit advocate, sound engineer, and founder of a community performance center in his hometown of South Haven, Michigan.
Tom Brosseau is a folksinger and songwriter from North Dakota. His grandmother Lillian Uglem taught him the acoustic guitar while he was in grade school. He has toured Japan, Canada, Portugal, Iceland, Australia; performed in bars, backyards, grand halls, subways, theaters, old folks homes; exchanged songs and poetry with many talented folks, including Susan Orlean, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Patrick Marber, Bonnie Raitt and the late Sam Hinton.
Bluffton welcomes Calico Skies for a concert at the Town Hall on Saturday October 25 from 7-9pm. Calico Skies is a two-piece, guitar-and-violin duo based out of Findlay, Ohio. They play Celtic, folk, rock, pop, and country music. You will hear several timeless traditional songs in a typical Calico Skies setlist, as well as songs from artists like Cat Stevens, Electric Light Orchestra, The Rolling Stones, and the Moody Blues (among others). The concert will be on the third floor, which is handicap accessible. The public is welcome to attend and will be asked to share a donation for the musicians.
On April 12 at 7:30pm First Mennonite will host the Anabaptist Bestiary Project, with a concert that is also a fund-raiser for First Mennonite Youth. Rocking the world through reflection on creatures, the Anabaptist Bestiary Project is a ten piece alternative rock ensemble under the creative direction of Trevor Bechtel that combines the influence of such diverse bands as Arcade Fire, The Story, Ben Folds Five and Death Cab for Cutie. The ABP collects vocal and instrumental musicians from Bluffton University to delve into the artistic and literary heritage of the spirituality of creatureliness. To preview their music visitAnabaptistBestiaryProject.bandcamp.com. Admission is by donation.
On Friday April 4 at 8pm Bluffton will have the chance to enjoy a concert of vintage swing and jazz by Morgen Stiegler and her band at the Town Hall Concert Series. The concert will be on the third floor, which is handicap accessible. The public is welcome to attend and will be asked to share a donation for the musicians.
Northwest Ohio has become familiar with Stiegler through her appearance on Portraits in Swing as well as live performances on PBS. Morgen Stiegler seeks moments of connection—with her students, the audience, and the musicians she performs with. Having come to thinking of herself as a singer somewhat late in her musical life, which began at the piano, she has dedicated the last dozen years to shaping her voice into a versatile instrument for building genuine musical relationships.
"Morgen sees herself as a storyteller, and the story she tells on her debut recording Reaching for the Moon is her own” (David Dupont—Sentinel Tribune). The songs on this collaboration with guitarist Chris Buzzelli that seeks to honor the duo recordings of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass—are ‘snapshots’ of her musical development that include songs from her childhood alongside familiar standards. The record receives regular airplay on radio stations throughout the US and was number 2 on WBGUs Jazz Top 10. Says Kim Nazarian of New York Voices: "Reaching for the Moon is a heart to heart conversation—an innocent dialogue of pure, sweet music!"
Stiegler has directed and arranged for vocal jazz/ a cappella ensembles at Bowling Green State University, Tiffin Univeristy and Terra Community College. As instructor for applied jazz voice and ethnomusicology at BGSU, where she graduated with a MM in Ethnomusicology, her research has focused on the Native American connections to Jazz—an effort rooted in the heritage she shares and seeks in her music.
Saturday night, April 5. Bluffton Town Hall 7:30pm, donate at the door. The Field Dogs are a group of acoustic musicians who get together once a year to write, arrange, and record original music. They have just released their second studio album. This album will include a great fiddler from North Newton, KS, Jesse Graber (He also designs the CD artwork). At the performance April 5th at the Town Hall they will perform songs from both records as well as some great fiddle tunes and traditional bluegrass selections. Their harmonies are tight and fun, and the musicians are great. Field Dogs have a banjo, mandolin, Dobro, upright bass, fiddle, and guitar. Jesse Henry writes most of the music, but there are 4 songs that the Field Dogs wrote together in Athens Ohio in the summer of 2013. The audience can expect good American Roots music of multiple genres and fun originals. Musicianship is great, these boys can pick!!