Bonnie Koloc at Mendelssohn

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11648250024395.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Bonnie Koloc’);

Folk-ballad-pop-blues singer set for Dec. 2 concert

Charlotte’s Web is proud to welcome back Web favorite Bonnie Koloc. This folk-ballad-pop-blues singer of enormous range, charm and charisma just keeps getting better and better. See her at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, at Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, 415 N. Church St.

Joining her on stage will be Don Stille, a favorite accompanist. A member of the Chicago Metropolitan Orchestra, Stille was proclaimed Mainstream Jazz Pianist of the Year by the Twin Cities Jazz Society. “Don Stille proves he is…an artist to be reckoned with,” said Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune music critic.

Bonnie Koloc’s versatile voice has been heard in Chicago since 1968. For a decade, she was a pivotal act at the Earl of Old Town, drawing huge crowds. In time, her folk-oriented style merged with jazz and blues, and she moved on to Mr. Kelly’s. While continuing to play at the Earl, Orphans and Holstein’s, she began appearing at festivals.

In 1973, Koloc received a Governor’s Award for Best Singer and recorded 10 albums, two with Epic. In 1984, she starred in the Public Theater’s production of The Human Comedy, first earning her the theater World Bronze Award for Outstanding New Talent on Broadway and a Drama Critic’s Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.

In 1987, she returned to college to finish a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Northern Iowa. With her talents in fine art, she has been an active print maker, painter and ceramist. She has had one-woman shows in the South and Midwest, including Chicago and Nashville.

In 1996, Bonnie brought together her talents as a singer/songwriter and artist in A Bestiary. A collection of linocuts, poetry and music, it captures 13 beasts of the farm with a print, poem and song for each. This stunning work won Best in Show at the Iowa State Fair’s art salon in 1996. The Des Moines Register called her a “renaissance woman.” Copies of the limited edition set of A Bestiary have been acquired by individual collectors, the Iowa Arts Council, the Waterloo Art Center and Museum and the special collections department of the Chicago Public Library.

In 1997, Bonnie created a one-woman musical commissioned by the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill. Set in the country of Trashmania, a land of artists and good dogs, it concerns a woman’s attempts to fulfill her vocation as singer while regaling us with stories of her eccentric aunts, also artists, in the Trashmanian Circus. Koloc not only wrote music and lyrics for 19 songs, but designed and built the set and created the costumes.

For the last decade, she has also been an active book illustrator, creating covers and decorations for Free River Press. Her two most recent commissions have been for An American Mosaic: Prose and Poetry by Everyday Folk and Jump Start: How to Write From Everyday Life, both published by Oxford University Press. In 2003, Bonnie received a grant from the Iowa Arts Council to publish a trade edition of A Bestiary, which was released with a CD in 2004. Also in 2004, Timeless, a double CD capturing the warmth and power of her performances from 1973 to 1990, was released.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Tickets are available at Rockford Area Arts Council, 713 E. State St., 963-6765; The Postal Shoppe, Edgebrook Center, 397-7301 and 2205 S. Perryville, 484-0940; The Kilt & Clover, 1314 N. Main St., 962-5458; or by mail with check and SASE, 10928 N. Main, Rockton, IL 61072. For Web information, call 964-2238.

From the Nov. 29 – Dec. 5, 2006, issue

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