The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will present a special concert featuring a variety of performing artists Friday at 8 p.m. The performance by the Rolling Roots Revue also will allow audience members to play a part in the folk music performance.
The Rolling Roots Revue is a troupe of musicians and recording artists for the Wepecket Island Records label. All are musicians in their own right and tour independently; but once a year, they come together to tour the nation, performing in concert halls, churches, houses, libraries, taverns and coffeehouses over a three-week period.
Members of the Rolling Roots troupe hop on and off the "train," but the company maintains a corps of at least four and as many as nine performers who gleefully spread the word and song of America's history. They have toured extensively in the Midwest, down the Atlantic Seaboard and in the Deep South, and soon will be expanding their reach into the Pacific Northwest.
Hilary Hawke is one of several performers who will appear as part of the Rolling Roots Revue tonight at 8 p.m., at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House.
Artists included in this year's tour who will be performing at the Opera House include: banjoist/guitarist/bassist Don Barry; singer/songwriter Andru Bemis; singer/dulcimer player (and SUNY Fredonia alum) Dale Robin Goodman; banjoist/singer Hilary Hawke; Blues musician Russ Mello; stride pianist "Ragtime" Jack Radcliffe; and the Ruckus Brothers Jug Band.
Rolling Roots Revue concerts conclude with an invitation to audience members to join in an onstage jam session. So those who attend the shows don't just see a good concert, they get to participate in one!
"If you have a recognizable musical instrument, we want you to play with us," says "Ragtime" Jack Radcliffe, one of the Revue musicians and president of Wepecket Island Records. "And if you have an unrecognizable instrument, we want you to come with us on next year's tour!" he adds.
One reviewer recently noted, "(after a) Rolling Roots Revue concert, you cannot help but feel as though you have kept a small treasure that will stay with you always: a genuine appreciation of the truly unique and expansive roots of the music that has helped to forge our country and an awe toward those who have been the creators of such timeless traditions."
Tickets to the Rolling Roots Revue are $15 ($13 for Opera House members) and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 679-1891, Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. They also may be purchased online any time at www.fredopera.org.
This performance is part of the Folk in Fredonia Music Series, which is graciously sponsored by The Gilman Family. It also is made possible, in part, with support from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County.
Chautauqua County's only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. A complete schedule of events is available at www.fredopera.org.