Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 27, 2014

Society to host Creole music

By TRAVIS MORSE
travis.morse@register-news.com

---- — MT. VERNON — The Jefferson County Historical Society will present a special lecture/concert on Creole music at 6:30 p.m. April 10 at the Historical Village.

As part of the event, musician Dennis Stroughmatt will play a variety of Creole tunes on his fiddle and tell stories about the history of this genre of music.

Organizers say the concert will be a great educational opportunity for local families. Admission is free, but donations to the Historical Society are appreciated.

“We hope they gain a deeper understanding of the music and the history behind it, and it’s another opportunity to come back to the Historical Village,” said Jamie Wheeler, director of community relations for the Historical Society. “If a family is looking for something free of charge (that’s) good for kids of all ages, our program kind of fits that bill.”

Stroughmatt performed a similar concert at the Historical Village last year. The show was a success, which is why the Historical Society invited Stroughmatt back for the April 10 performance, Wheeler said.

Wheeler said last year’s show drew between 50 and 70 people. The concert this year will feature different songs and stories, but the same style of music, she said.

“We were pretty happy with it,” Wheeler said of last year’s show. “He did a really good job.”

Stroughmatt’s April 10 lecture/concert will be called “Mussels, Moonshine and Music: Mississippi Valley Migrant Life in the Early 20th Century.”

It will explore music enjoyed by share croppers, fishermen, mussel shellers, traveling minstrels and others who lived in the Midwest and upper South in the early 1900s.

Wheeler said much of this music was popular in the Southern Illinois and Missouri region at one time.

Stroughmatt was taught to play the fiddle by Creole fiddlers who lived along the Mississippi River near St. Louis, states a Historical Society news release. He is considered an authority on this musical genre, the release states.

“A vibrant blend of Celtic, Canadian and Old Time sounds, this unique music bridges gaps between contemporary Canadian and Louisiana Cajun styles,” the news release states.

The April 10 concert will be about 45 minutes long, and the audience will get a chance to ask questions.

For more information, contact the Historical Society at 246-0033.