Monthly concerts on the third floor of the Town Hall (handicap accessible). We take donations for the musician at the door.
Jeff Gundy, Bluffton University professor and poet of the people, brings his Midwestern Mennonite sensibilities to the Town Hall Series on Thursday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. Having transfigured poems from his last two published collections, Somewhere Near Defiance and Abandoned Homeland, into lyrics, Jeff will be sharing his folksy, irreverent and wide-ranging poetic art to benefit the Town Hall Music Series. His poetry has been compared to the tradition of Walt Whitman- if Whitman had “listened to Dylan and the Dead and loved to laugh at himself” (Poet Phillip Metres). After reading Gundy’s recent collection, critic Kate Fox was filled with awe and envy: “Such exquisite lines about belief, desire, small-town life, grief, grace, mercy, failure and faith.” Jeff will be joined by his musical wife Marlyce Gundy and his friend and harmonica whiz Perry Bush. Join this Ohio Poet of the Year for an evening’s journey to places absurd, lovely, raw and real. Can’t wait for the concert? Check out Jeff’s link at https://soundcloud.com/gundyj/sets/somewhere-near-defiance-by-jeff-gundy And remember, all your contributions will be donated back to the Town Hall Series!
Theory Expats are a folksy swingin' band based in Goshen, Indiana, featuring Andrew Pauls, Ethan Setiawan, and Sadie Gustafson-Zook. Their sound is centered around drawing their collective backgrounds in folk, bluegrass, jazz, swing, rock and pop into a cohesive musical vision with acoustic instruments, rich harmonies and technical chops. After taking music theory 201 together at Goshen College and playing together sporadically in the spring of 2014, they decided to form a band together. Sadie (fiddle, guitar, kazoo, ukulele, vocals) has performed across the United States and Europe with her family band and solo since 2000. In 2010 she released her first album, Mélange, and has since sold over 500 copies. In 2011 Sadie won the New Song Showcase songwriting competition with her song, “Unless I Loved”. Currently Sadie is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance at Goshen College. Ethan (mandolin) is also a member of the band Mutual Kumquat. He won the National Mandolin Championship held in Winfield, KS in 2014. Starting on cello when he was 8, and picking up mandolin when he was 13, he has been playing music over half his life. He is currently studying with jazz mandolinist Don Stiernberg. He has also toured with bluegrass duo The Matchsellers. Andrew (banjo, guitar, vocals) is a second year student studying music at Goshen College. Originally from Lancaster, PA, he enjoys reading, having enriching conversations, and of course, making music with others.
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.