Special Events at the Carl Sandburg Visitors' Center

Songbag Concert Series
FALL 2015
A monthly concert series presented by the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association in the "Barn" at Carl Sandburg's Birthplace, in an intimate smoke, and alcohol, free environment, showcasing acoustic music in the traditional and folk style. 313 E 3rd Street, Galesburg IL, (309) 342-2361. The concerts are free and open to the public, however a $3.00 donation is greatly appreciated. All shows start at 7:00pm.
Date Performer

August 29, 2015


Mike Anderson, the Dulcimer Guy

Mike Anderson


The Carl Sandburg State Historic Site welcomes Mike Anderson, a talented storyteller and extraordinary musician, for two performances on Aug. 29 in the site’s Songbag concert series.

Anderson is known simply as “the dulcimer guy” for his skills on the mountain dulcimer, but his talents go much further. He also plays guitar, banjo, jaw harp and nose flute.

His stories are both fun and educational, and he often shows teachers how they can develop student literacy through storytelling. His performances win praise wherever he goes. “Mike's easy ability to make everyone smile makes him a big hit. It's amazing to see a room full of people, people of all ages, having so much fun,” said Jenny Hamlin of Louisiana’s Lafayette Natural History Museum.

Anderson kicks off the evening at 7 p.m. as part of the historic site’s Songbag concert series in the site’s barn at 313 E. Third Street, Galesburg. A second set will begin at approximately 8:20.

A donation of $3 per person is suggested, and refreshments will be served. Anderson’s appearance is sponsored by the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

September 26, 2015




Phil Passen, Hammered Dulcimer musician

Phil Passen


Hammered dulcimer musician, Phil Passen, to perform music from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag

Illinois' great poet, Carl Sandburg, was an avid collector of folk songs from all over the United States and performed folk songs, accompanying himself on the guitar, at his poetry readings. In 1927 he published The American Songbag, a collection of 255 songs, with words, music, and a history of each song. In my program I discuss the book and sing songs such as "El-A-Noy", "Lincoln and Liberty", "The Streets of Laredo", "Those Gamblers Blues", “John Henry", "The Sloop John B", "Down by the Riverside", and others, all from Sandburg's book. I give a brief history of each song, and in many cases I describe how the song evolved into a more modern, well known song. This program is a delightful way to learn a little more about one of America's great poets while listening to some wonderful familiar and not-so-familiar songs

October 31, 2015




David Berchtold, guitarist

David Berchtold



David Berchtold, guitarist and singer will be performing at the October 31 “Songbag” concert.


When done well, fingerpicking a guitar looks so easy anybody could do it. But the task of convincing several digits to make music while moving simultaneously in different, yet coordinated directions, when it appears effortless, takes a good deal of concentration and practice. David Berchtold, an acoustic guitarist for more than 40 years, makes the process seem like spreading butter on hot bread as he picks the six-string with melody and rhythm while singing. 


Blessed with more than an hour’s worth of original songs, the Illinois native also chimes in with tunes from the cream of the fingerpicking crowd, including Chet Atkins, Doc Watson, Rev. Gary Davis, Leo Kottke, John Fahey and others. He’s made three visits to the Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp, founded and run by another of the greats, Jorma Kaukonen, performing at the student concerts and once playing along with Jorma. Expect a range of rock and folk standards including music from The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Doobie Brothers, Bob Dylan, JJ Cale, Grateful Dead and others to pop into the varied song list of this talented performer. (by Tom Irwin, Illinois Times) 

November 28, 2015



Dan Eilers, Entertainer and Educator, Macomb, Illinois


Dan Eilers


Dan Eilers is a folksinger who hails from Macomb, Illinois, will be performing on November 28, 2015. Eilers, a Burlington, Iowa, native, also teaches guitar lessons and operates the Musician's Pro Shop and School, Macomb.


We are grateful to John Heasly who has coordinated the Songbag Concert Series for so many years for the Association.

A donation of $3.00 per person is suggested as the door (or gate) entry fee.  These door receipts go to the Songbag Concert performers to supplement a base amount paid by the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association.  If you enjoy the concert, please be generous in support of our performers. 

Songbag Concert Series performers and refreshment costs are underwritten by the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association and its members at a cost of approximately $2,500 per year. If you would like to support the Songbag Concert Series, become a member of the Association, and/or feel free to make a donation to the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association, PO Box 585, Galesburg, IL 61402-0585.

Contact the Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association: carl@sandburg.org
Suggest performers or get information about the Songbag Concert Series: heasly@frontiernet.net