Joe Kimmell fondly recalls growing up in Rush County where the arts were nurtured by the community, from the school system right on down to individual volunteers. “For a little ‘hayseed’ farm community, we were blessed. Our schools lovingly and generously provided us with outstanding faculty in every aspect of both visual and performance art… And then there were the Homer Workshops in the summer. Entire weekends devoted to specific disciplines ranging from graphic arts to woodworking, music to poetry and drama. Our community made sure we knew there were other things out there besides corn and pigs!”
It is in the spirit of giving back that Kimmell, and his wife Nancy, are underwriting a concert on Thursday evening, May 30 by the nationally acclaimed duo of Wil Maring and Robert Bowlin at The 201 Building in downtown Rushville.
Maring and Bowlin are veterans of nationally broadcast live performances such as The Grand ‘Ol Opry and Public Radio’s Whaddya Know, along with many nationally renowned folk and bluegrass festivals.
Wil grew up on her family’s vegetable farm in southern Illinois, spending many summers of her youth tending the farm’s roadside produce stand. She’s been a songwriting contest finalist at the prestigious Kerrville (Texas) Folk Festival, and possesses a warm, vibrant voice, and an enchanting stage presence.
Mr. Bowlin is no stranger to the limelight, himself. His resume includes a long run as guitarist for Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, and as lead picker touring with Kathy Mattea. He’s a guitarist’s guitarist who’s garnered National Guitar Contest Championship titles in both flatpicking, and fingerstyle catagories.
Says Kimmell, “As a duo, they are both simple and elegant at the same time, much like the 201 Building itself. The moment I saw the reborn space, I knew I wanted to bring music there - it’s a beautiful and intimate venue.
Maring and Bowlin’s style is hard to pin down to a specific genre. They range from traditional bluegrass to contemporary “Indie/Americana” folk on traditional stringed bluegrass instruments. Wil’s own songs are little treasures, often reflecting her rural upbringing. When she sings a song, it stays sung!”
Kimmell says he’s mainly doing this for fun, but adds he’d love to see a community-supported acoustic concert series through the winter to compliment the summertime series at the “Amp”. He says he’s floating the idea as a trial balloon with this event to see if there’s local support: “Instead of whining, ‘there’s nothing to do in Rushville’, I say let’s make ourselves something to do!”
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the music promptly at 7:30 p.m. Pastry and refreshments will be served also. Although there is no admission fee, there will be a free-will donation Kimmell hopes will be generous. However, reservations are required. You may reserve seating by contacting the Kimmells one of three ways by May 21: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 663-2373 or 561-9758, or by finding Joe on Facebook.