- Dickson Mounds, Lewistown
The undisputed master of the autoharp, Bryan Bowers, will perform at the Hickory Ridge Concert Series in the auditorium of the Dickson Mounds Museum. Bryan has a dynamic outgoing personality and an uncanny ability to enchant a crowd in practically any situation. His towering six foot four inch frame can be wild and zany on stage while playing a song like `Dixie’ and five minutes later he can have the same audience singing `Will The Circle Be Unbroken’ in quite reverence and delight.
People Magazine called Bowers “the leading virtuoso on the autoharp” and said “Bowers also has distinct gifts as a singer and songwriter.” Born in Yorktown, Virginia, Bryan Bowers was raised in New Bohemia near Petersburg of the Civil War’s Battle Of The Crater fame. As a child, Bowers would tag along with the field workers and gandy dancers and learned to sing old call-and-answer songs. Bowers recalls, “The music I heard while working in the fields was mesmerizing.”
It wasn’t long before Bowers encountered the autoharp. “I ran into a guy that played several instruments and could get the harp in good tune. It opened my eyes and my ears. I went out and got one the next day.” He performed on the streets in Seattle honing his craft before hitting the road.
Bower’s creativity and talent eventually won him induction into Frets Magazine’s Gallery of the Greats, after five years of winning the stringed instrument open category of the magazine’s readers’ poll. This distinction put Bowers along side other luminaries, such as Chet Atkins, David Grisman, Stephan Grappelli, Itzhak Perlman, Tony Rice, and Mark O’Connor. In 1993, Bryan was the first living member inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame to stand only with Maybelle Carter, Kilby Snow, and Sara Carter.
Season tickets for the 2017 series will be available at the concert. The Hickory Ridge Concert Series is hosted by singer-songwriter Chris Vallillo. Concerts are held the 3rd Saturday of every month and begin at 7:00 p.m. with the doors opening at 6:00 p.m. Coffee, drinks, and a variety of desserts are available during intermission. There is an admission charge of $8.00 per adult and $5.00 for children under 12. The Dickson Mounds Branch of the Illinois State Museum is located between Lewistown and Havana off routes 78 and 97. For more information call 309/547-3721 or TDD 217/782-9175 or go to www.hickoryridgeconcerts.com.