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  • Prayers for the People: Carl Sandburg's Poetry & Songs

    Musical Performance and Poetry Recital!
    14 March, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at Smith Music Hall

    "Prayers for the People" is a musical and spoken word performance that celebrates the enormous poetic and musical legacy of Carl Sandburg.

    Developed by Kate Benzel, the Martin Distinguished Professor in English at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, "Prayers for the People" has played to numerous enthusiastic audiences. A performance filmed by Nebraska Educational Television won a 2010 Emmy for Entertainment Special Program from the "Heartland" region of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and may be viewed at www.netnebraska.org/extras/sandburg/.

    The project brings a version of Sandburg's own style of lecture-recital to Illinois. Musical numbers drawn from Sandburg's pioneering work of ethnomusicology, The American Songbag (1927) alternate with readings of famous poems from his works Chicago (1916), Cornhuskers (1918), and Smoke and Steel (1920).

    Songs will be performed by the musical group "The Sandtones," led by Mike Adams, with contributions from local musicians. The show opens with a brief lecture by Benzel and is then emceed by Charles Peek, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Nebraska-Kearney, and punctuated by readings from Kevin Stein, Caterpillar Professor of English at Bradley University, and Janice Harrington, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    "Prayers for the People" is sponsored by The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the University of Illinois Library, the University of Illinois School of Music and is a featured event of the University of Illinois Creative Writing Program's "Early Spring Literary Festival," taking place March 13-16, 2011.

    Smith Music Hall is located at 805 South Mathews Avenue in Urbana. Limited on-street metered parking is available. Parking garages open to the public after 5 p.m. are located nearby at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and Deck F-29 (Gregory Dr. and Dorner). Admission is free.