DCCA News: An enjoyable encounter


We used to have a neighbor who would come over to our house, sit down at our kitchen table, and entertain us with his stories; some of our families’ happiest memories were inspired by that fabulous storyteller. I once had a friend who played the guitar skillfully and beautifully who also had a movingly wondrous voice; she’d come over to our house, sit down in our family room, and delight us with her songs as we all joined in to create joyful noise. When Darke County Center for the Arts presents troubadour Lee Murdoch in concert at Arcanum Historical Society’s Wayne Trail House on Thursday, March 7, the enjoyable situation will be quite similar to my family’s long-ago experiences related above (except that Lee’s stories will all be factually based and his songs will tell seafaring stories about the Great Lakes rather than call for justice and peace).

Lee Murdock has uncovered a boundless body of music and stories in, around, and about the Great Lakes, songs made of hard work, hard living, ships that come in and ships that go down. This timeless music provides snapshots of history, looking through the eyes and into the hearts of those who have shaped our heritage on and around the Great Lakes. His repertoire celebrates the people of North America, their triumphs, tragedies and daily life, evoking a sense of place that is familiar yet universal.

A fluent instrumentalist, Lee combines folk, blues, Irish and ragtime styles with his storytelling to perform traditional music as well as some original tunes. He’ll sing songs written by contemporary artists that express essential human values, beliefs, and experiences, as well as songs well over 100 years old, providing an on-going living link with the Great Lakes, their past, present, and future. Ballads of modern commerce combined with work songs from the days of wooden sailing schooners will reveal the lives and times of sailors, fishermen, lighthouse keepers, outlaws and heroes. “I’m interested in making music that’s exciting for people today,” Lee states. “I look for songs and interesting stories not only for the people who enjoy folk music, but also for those who think they don’t like folk music,” he concludes.

All of this is perfectly suited for DCCA’s Coffeehouse Series’ presentation at the Arcanum Historical Society’s home-like Wayne Trail House; you’ll sit with a compatible crowd in a big old living room, listening to a gifted storyteller skillfully sharing fascinating insight into the legends and lore of a great American natural resource and its people. In keeping with the inviting Coffeehouse social setting, members of the Historical Society will provide an appealing array of appetizing goodies to share with concert attendees, enhancing the comfortable ambiance with a welcome sense of true hospitality.

To participate in this inviting encounter with master musician and storyteller Lee Murdock, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or [email protected]; tickets which cost $10 are available online at www.darkecountyarts.org and will be sold at the door if any remain by showtime. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Mr. Murdock will also be presenting the music and history of the Great Lakes for fourth through sixth graders in all local public schools March 4 through March 8; these performances are free and open to the public.


By Marilyn Delk


Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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