Vince’s Notes: ‘Listening Room’ concert series celebrates two-year anniversary

By Vince Chiarelli

Oct. 18-20, JustGoods Fair Trade Store, 201 Seventh St., Rockford, will celebrate the second anniversary of its “Listening Room” concert series. Although concerts typically occur on Fridays, JustGoods will host four concerts spanning the entire weekend.

At 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18, Emery’s Blues Boys (John Bishoff, Ron Holm and Dave Timmcke) — the band that performed the inaugural event in October 2011 — will play a reunion concert. Janel Nelson, Dorothy Paige-Turner and Ron Rawhoof will join the Blues Boys for guest appearances.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, Council Choraleers Community Chorus, a children’s choir directed by Dorothy Paige-Turner, will perform. And at 7 p.m., Saturday, Emily Hurd, a Rockford native whose music has achieved national recognition, will share her unique vocal, keyboard, songwriting and storytelling talent.

At 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20, Texas-based troubadour Richard Paul Thomas will make a JustGoods concert stop on his Midwest tour. Richard has Milwaukee roots, and the Susan and Richard Thomas duo often performed for standing-room-only audiences at Rockford’s original Charlotte’s Web building.

The JustGoods Friday concert series was conceived when a friend mentioned his Dixon, Ill., concert experience to the JustGoods building owners. Each Saturday evening, Dixon’s Books on First rearranges a display room and hosts small-room concerts. Why not something similar at JustGoods?

The JustGoods building includes two display rooms and a community room used by public service organizations, artists, crafters, worshiping groups, in addition to musicians. The Crossroad Blues Society, Charlotte’s Web and individual performers had held concerts in the community room, which offers excellent acoustics, a stage and a performance-friendly ambiance. The acoustics are so good that Lani Richardson, Charlotte’s Web executive director, called it the “listening room” — the name used to this day.

A weekly Friday music series was a natural extension of the JustGoods community room legacy. The first concert occurred Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. The combination of excellent acoustics and supportive listeners has made the JustGoods series a favorite venue for local, regional and even nationally-touring artists.

The 201 Seventh St. building has a rich history. After housing the Hedrick Electric store for decades, it became home to a liquor store. In 2006, the JustGoods store, with roots in the Methodist denomination’s Rockford Urban Ministries (RUM), moved in. The store offers fair-trade merchandise produced and distributed in ways that promote social justice. Local folks, including Lee and Charmaine Schreiner, Mike and Dori Kearney, Stanley Campbell and countless RUM supporters contributed time, talent and resources to create this community treasure. Visit for a brief history.

Here’s a little related information for next month. Friday, Nov. 1, my colleague, Frank Calvagna, and Vincent Records artist Joey Irving will perform JustGoods’ Friday concert.

Attendance is free at all these JustGoods concerts, although an opportunity to make donations directly to the artists is provided. Seating is limited, and listeners are encouraged to arrive early for these memorable events. Refreshments will be available. Additional information can be obtained at, (815) 965-8903 or

Please contact Vince Chiarelli if you have any original Rockford music or radio suggestions. He can be reached at

From the Oct. 9-15, 2013, issue

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