Live Music and Historic Presentations on Saturday

Saturday at the First Street Community Center in Mount Vernon, Iowa is going to be a busy day!

Starting the day off we have the Smithsonian’s Home Town Teams exhibit opening at 10am in our Gymnasium.  The exhibit is FREE to the public and includes stories and memorabilia from the local region including Mount Vernon and Lisbon.

Also at 10am, we will have a special presentation in our Uptown Theatre – Remembering 6-on-6 Basketball Gallery Talk.  

The year 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the end of 6-on-6 girls’ basketball in Iowa.

To commemorate and reflect on this uniquely Iowan sport, the Iowa Women’s Archives and Sport Studies faculty in the Department of American Studies at the University of Iowa have collaborated to create a touring exhibition that tells the story of 6-on-6 basketball in Iowa and the girls and women that played it.

In conjunction with the Remembering 6-on-6 Basketball Gallery Talk the Mary Louise Smith Iowa Women’s Archives will be collecting girls’ and women’s sport histories in Iowa.  Please stop by to tell your stories, ask questions about donating historical materials, or to donate documents, photographs, or other items related to 6-on-6 basketball or other sporting experiences.

Established in 1992, the Louise Noun – Mary Louise Smith Iowa Women’s Archives collects and makes available historical materials that tell the stories of Iowa women from all walks of life.

We end the night with a lively performance by returning acoustic artists known as Frances Luke Accord.  The show starts at 7:30pm.

Frances Luke Accord are an independent Chicago-based duo hailing originally from South Bend, Indiana. Both dedicated multi-instrumentalists and meticulous songwriters, Nicholas Gunty and Brian Powers distinguish their music with genre fluidity, buttery harmonies and acoustic ensembles.

TICKETS are only $15.

They have a new video that shows off their talents:

Live Music – Frances Luke Accord – Folk and Americana

Performing Saturday, April 21 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Frances Luke Accord are an independent Chicago-based duo hailing originally from South Bend, Indiana. Both dedicated multi-instrumentalists and meticulous songwriters, Nicholas Gunty and Brian Powers distinguish their music with genre fluidity, buttery harmonies and acoustic ensembles.

TICKETS are only $15.

Although prevailingly a modern folk band, FLA sip copious inspiration from Americana, jazz, soul, and rock.

Since forming during their senior year at the University of Notre Dame, Frances Luke Accord’s approach to music has marked a boundless evolution.

In December of 2012 the duo released their first record, Kandote, a not-for-profit, intercultural collaboration with the Barefoot Truth Children’s Choir of Kkindu, Uganda — an endeavor that continues to support the primary education and musical aspirations of the choir.

Bringing their world/folk sound to Chicago in the summer of 2013, the duo quickly garnered local and regional attention for their captivating live performances and stunning self-produced releases, including the Queen for Me EP (April 2014), Live @ Strobe (April 2015), and, most notably, their debut full-length album, Fluke (May 2016).

“Frances Luke Accord are the definition of lean-in music.” – Joni Deutsch, NPR’s Mountain Stage

“Frances Luke Accord are some of our very favorite musicians, songwriters, and people. We couldn’t recommend their debut LP, Fluke, highly enough.”- Darlingside

“While Simon & Garfunkel may be no longer touring, Powers and Gunty are more than talented enough to take their place.” –Quinn Delaney, PlaylistHQ

Live Music – Chuck McDermott – Americana

An intimate evening with Massachusetts Country Music Hall of Fame singer and acclaimed songwriter Chuck McDermott. Paste Magazine says “his music is simply pure art”.

Chuck McDermott is best-known nationally for his touring, recording, and collaborations with former Kingston Trio guitarist and vocalist John Stewart, the writer of “Daydream Believer,” “Gold,” and “Armstrong.”

McDermott is also fondly remembered for the popular (and pioneering) successful 70’s Americana band Wheatstraw. His songwriting has won high praise from the Boston Globe, the Village Voice, and No Depression.

He will be performing as a solo artist as part of the LilFest Concert Series in the Uptown Theater at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 14. Doors open at 7:15.

McDermott is performing select dates again across the USA after taking decades off to raise his family. His most recent album, “Gin & Rosewater,” was released in 2017, and has received praise from Stephen Stills and Rosanne Cash.

The LilFest Concert Series regularly presents folk and international concerts in intimate settings in Iowa. Past performers include Ellis Paul, Gina Forsyth, Jim Post, Dave Moore, and The Sweet Potatoes among others.

Cost:  General admission tickets are available for $15 through Brown Paper Tickets: http://chuckmcdermottiowa.bpt.me .

For more information about Chuck McDermott, visit his website: http://www.chuckmcdermott.com/

To see some videos from the new album:

And for additional audio:

Live Music – Chuck Mitchell – 2018 LilFest Concert Series

The First Street Community Center’s Uptown Theatre is happy to be hosting Chuck Mitchell as a part of the Spring/Summer 2018 LilFest Concert Series.

photo of Chuck Mitchell
Noel Brown – photo credit

Chuck Mitchell can fill a stadium with his voice, his songs and the songs of many others!  Indeed he’s been doing just that since the heyday of folk music when he shared his last name with Roberta Joan Anderson Mitchell (better known as Joni).

When:  Saturday, March 24th, from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Tickets are available at the door:

– General admission: $15
– VIP Seating: $50
– Student tickets are only available with a valid student ID at the door: $5

If you have concert questions or would like to become a VIP sponsor of one or more of our events please call (518) 576-9513.

Doors open at 7:15 pm.  BYOB -You can bring your own adult (or non-adult) beverages with the purchase of a First Street Community Center Uptown Theatre cup.

Click here to learn more about Chuck Mitchell, or you can check out his Facebook page.


Chuck Mitchell started singing in Detroit folk clubs and saloons in 1962. In Toronto, on his first out of town gig, he met a boney blonde songwriter named Joni Anderson, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They married, and as a duo Chuck and Joni Mitchell played the coffeehouse circuit and gin rummy, until she was 115,463 points ahead. They got divorced in 1968.

The folk clubs faded, and Mitchell moved on to college and arts council residencies. He lived in Coconut Grove, Santa Monica, and Greeley. In the eighties, he wandered back to the Heartland, and settled in a tall brick Keokuk house overlooking the Mississippi, built by a riverboat captain in 1879.

Mitchell’s credits include A Prairie Home Companion and repertory theater in the US and the UK. He has played Harold Hill in The Music Man, Woody in Woody Guthrie’s American Song, and Stephen Foster in Mr. Foster & Mr. Twain. Oh, and Carl Sandburg.

His one man cabaret folk show combines his skills as an actor, singer and guitarist. He sings songs by Guy Clark, Fred Eaglesmith, B. J. Shaver, Michael Peter Smith, and Cheryl Wheeler, and cabaret songs by Brecht and Weil — “Mack the Knife” and “Bilbao” — and whimsical songs by Flanders & Swann — “The Gnu” and “The Hippopotamus”. He roves the room singing “Freeborn Man” by Ewan McColl. He weaves poetry by Carl Sandburg, T.S. Eliot and others into his shows.

Mr. Mitchell will be available for media interviews in advance of the show by calling or texting Nancy Emrich Freeman at 847-256-0000.   Further information about Chuck Mitchell and high-resolution photos are also available by contacting Nancy Emrich Freeman.  On YouTube, enter “Chuck Mitchell Sings”.

Photo of LilFest - Bear LogoLilFest Concert Series 2018

The LilFest Series regularly presents folk and international concerts in intimate settings in the Eastern Iowa region. Past performers include Jim Post, James Lee Stanley, Eric Taylor, The Sweet Potatoes, Claudia Nygaard, and Nathan Bell.

LilFest was originally developed in the Chicago area by Nancy Emrich Freeman, the now-resident of Mount Vernon continues a grand tradition of bringing the finest musicians to play in the places that are best for both the person onstage and the fan in the nearby seat.

Live Music – Freebo, Maxwell & Howe – Presented by Lilfest

This Saturday, February 10th, starting at 7:30 pm the Uptown Theatre will host the astonishingly talented Freebo (Bonnie Raitt’s bass player and sideman/recording artist for many LA greats like like John Mayall; Dr. John; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Maria Muldaur; and Ringo Starr) has assembled a Super-Tour Trio, Freebo, Maxwell & Howe. As a recording producer, he brought two great talents into his studio, Kristen Maxwell and Alice Howe. The blends, humor, and comraderie set fire, and off they went on tour together! A road experienced singer-songwriter in his own right for many years now, Freebo recognized something really special.

A 2016 Kerrville New Folk Finalist and 2017 Most Wanted Artist at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Kirsten Maxwell’s rise in the music scene has been one to watch, Based out of Long Island, NY, this singer/songwriter has been making a name for herself in the Northeast and beyond. Described as “making love to the audience”, Kirsten’s stage presence is undeniably endearing and she has since opened for Melissa Etheridge, Bill Staines, Michael Johnson, Slaid Cleaves, and Vance Gilbert.

Timeless and original, Boston singer-songwriter Alice Howe joins a soulful, impeccably tuned voice with crafted poetry. A lifelong songwriter, Alice’s musical sensibility lies in ’60s folk and ’70s Southern California songwriters, with comparisons drawn to the pure, distilled sounds of Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell. As a performer, Alice is sure-footed and captivating, familiar to her audience from the very first song. A born New Englander and Smith graduate, her career launched in Seattle and now she hails from Boston again. Her original song “Homeland Blues,” debuted at #1 on the April Folk DJ chart and she is a 2017 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist.

TICKETS: $5 for students with student ID, $15 for general admission, $50 for patron reserved seats. Can be purchased in-person at the concert or online.

DON’T FORGET: BRING YOUR OWN BEVERAGES. Buy the Sippy Cup and you can bring the beverage in the Theatre. Popcorn provided.


The LilFest Series regularly presents folk and international concerts in intimate settings in the Eastern Iowa region. Past performers include Jim Post, Ellis Paul, Dave Moore, James Lee Stanley, Eric Taylor, Claudia Nygaard, Radoslav Lorkovic, and Nathan Bell. LilFest (http://www.LilFest.org/ ) was originally developed in the Chicago area by Nancy Emrich Freeman, the now-resident of Mount Vernon continues a grand tradition of bringing the finest musicians to play in the places that are best for both the person onstage and the fan in the nearby seat.

Happy Thanksgiving!

There’s always something going on at the First Street Community Center in Mount Vernon, Iowa!

We hope that your family and friends enjoy a relaxing time together this Thanksgiving.  After Thanksgiving, if you want to stretch your legs and work off some of that turkey dinner, we invite you to come to the First Street Community Center for “Small Business Saturday“.

We will have FREE live music inside the building performed by James Kennedy and Friends.  They will be playing an eclectic blend of jazz, blues, rock in the hallway in front of the Uptown Theatre with two sessions: 10:30-noon and 1:30 – 3pm.

In addition, we will be hosting the Home Business Expo.  This group of innovative home businesses will be on display in the First Street Community Center’s gymnasium from 9am – 4pm.

Of course, throughout the day all of your favorite “Old School Shops” will be open, some may even have special treats or deals!

So, if you like live music, a warm building to walk in during a cold Fall day, and lots of interesting shopping opportunities, or maybe you want to learn something about starting a home based business, come on out to the First Street Community Center this Saturday.

Live Music – Dave Moore – Americana and Folk

Eastern Iowa’s Dave Moore will be performing in the Uptown Theatre in the First Street Community Center in Mount Vernon, Iowa this Saturday, November 18, @7:30pm (doors open at 7:15pm).

He is a 2017 recipient of the Folk Tradition Midwest Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the great songwriters to come out of the state of Iowa and is a Red House recording artist.

Known for his elegant songwriting and instrumental prowess on blues guitar, button accordion and harmonica, he has become somewhat of a legend.

Local songwriter Greg Brown and Dave Moore both developed a national reputation in the early years of both Prairie Home Companion and the legendary Red House Records.

Greg Brown and Dave worked together on recording projects and extensive tours. Dave made many appearances on Garrison Keillor’s popular A Prairie Home Companion on NPR, including time as the show’s band leader.

In Iowa, Dave has been an Iowa Arts Council artist in residence in the schools. He has appeared on recordings by Garrison Keillor, Greg Brown, and many others.

His songs have been recorded by Lowen & Navarro, Larry Penn, Greg Brown, and even more others.

While Dave grew up in Cedar Rapids, lives now in Iowa City, his father lived in Mount Vernon.

$15 General admission, $50 Patrons, $5 Students, available at the event or before via http://davemoore.bpt.me.

Questions?  Call: 518-576-9513.

Dave Moore on Facebook.  Dave Moore on Red House Records.

LilFest is a presenter of deeply rooted songs and stories of passion and power.

Live Music – Meet Me In New Orleans – Eddie Piccard Jazz

Eddie Piccard and the Busch Brothers take to the Uptown Theatre stage on Friday, November 10th @ 7:30pm with their show “Meet Me In New Orleans”.

Jazz has been called “the truly American art form.” Growing out of the rhythms and cultures of New Orleans it has spread over the world, bringing joy to listeners on many continents, in many cities. And here in eastern Iowa we have our own jazz legend—Eddie Piccard. Eddie and his band will be performing in Mount Vernon on November 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Uptown Theater in the First Street Community Center. The program—Meet Me in New Orleans— will include many Dixieland favorites. Eddie has always loved Dixieland music. He started out on the trombone and became familiar with New Orleans jazz early in his career.

Eddie Piccard grew up in eastern Iowa, and began playing music on his grandmother’s piano. He left for larger venues in Chicago, Florida and on the west coast. But he came back to Iowa in the 1980s and has become a jazz icon in eastern Iowa since returning to his home state. Iowans remember fondly the jazz club Eddie and his wife Dallis opened on Mount Vernon Road in the 1990s. But Iowans weren’t the only ones to frequent Eddie’s place. Travelers from other states came to this club for the chic décor and the unforgettable nights of music. Jazz musicians stopped by, too, after finishing up a gig in the area. The club was forced to close because of road widening. Eddie now plays regularly all over eastern Iowa, as well as in the Chicago area and the Twin Cities.

Eddie and the musicians play hot traditional favorites, classic Dixieland, and cool Latin tunes. The group features Eddie on piano and vocals, Tim Crumley on drums, Rich Martin on vibes, and Dave Richter on bass. This year the group will be joined by the Busch Brothers, popular Dixieland instrumentalists from Wisconsin. “We all love playing in Mount Vernon,” Eddie says. “And this group always brings full energy to the stage.”

More Info

Rich Martin’s career began in college where he was a drummer and a vibist. He took an extended break from performing to teach at Cornell College. But the music called him back and he began sitting in with Eddie’s trio fifteen years ago, while still teaching. He is now a full-time member of the group.

Dave Richter comes from Dubuque to perform in Meet Me in New Orleans. He is well-known in northeast Iowa as an accomplished guitarist, bassist, and banjo player. He performs in Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Chicago area.

Tim Crumley performs frequently with the Eddie Piccard Jazz Quartet, as well as a number of regional ensembles, including Ashanti, The Rusty Johnson Group, and the John Shultz Trio. Tim is a lyrical and sensitive drummer who is always engaged and engaging.

TICKETS:  $15 and can be purchased at Bauman’s Clothing Store.

Patrons are welcome to bring a favorite beverage and purchase a Community Center cup.