Inaugural Rockford community sing comes to Emmanuel, Jan. 7

Emmanuel Lutheran Church will host Rockford’s first community sing, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7.

Rockford’s Ron Holm and Luke McGowan will be joined by the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Mark Dvorak in a program of familiar folk songs, sing along favorites and a few other surprises too.

“The idea is to get people of all ages singing together in a social setting,” said Holm, whose career in music spans four decades. “And it seems like it’s an idea whose time has come.”

Holm performs over 100 concerts each year and provides music for church services nearly every week. He has shared the stage with legendary stars like Roy Orbison, Vassar Clemens and others.

“Community singing is popping up all over the place,” said Dvorak, who is artist-in-residence at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. “East Lansing, Michigan, Milwaukee, Plymouth, Indiana, Mt. Morris, Wisconsin, of course Chicago, and now Rockford. I was more than ready to jump on board when Ron phoned me with this opportunity. We’re really excited,” he said.

“Mark is a fan-favorite,” said Holm. “And he is part of the new enthusiasm for community music here in Rockford.”

Rockford’s 19-year-old Luke McGown will also make a special appearance. “Luke is a very special young man,” said Holm. “He’s Rockford’s own ‘legend-in-the-making’ and we wanted to be sure to include him on this first community sing.”

Other surprise guests will be part of the program which will take place in the acoustically-superb sanctuary at Emmanuel Lutheran, at 920 3rd Ave.

Holm and Dvorak will also offer a free harmony singing workshop at 2 p.m. the afternoon of the concert. The first fifteen who attend the workshop and make an advance donation will be invited to join the cast on stage the second half of the concert. The workshop will cover harmony singing basics, other vocal topics and serve as a loose rehearsal.

“We’re hoping to fill the room,” said Holm. “We want this event to help bring our community together through singing, harmonizing and listening.”

Suggested donation is $10. The event will support Emmanuel Lutheran’s Center for Arts and Spirituality.

For more information on the Rockford Community Sing or to make a reservation call 815-979-1949 or 815-963-815 or visit the Emmanuel Lutheran home page at

–Staff report

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