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Prayers for the People: Carl Sandburg’s Poetry and Songs will fill the air at the Merryman Performing Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Kathryn Benzel, University of Nebraska at Kearney English professor and producer of the show, said “This performance celebrates Sandburg’s songs, poetry and proverbs from the Great Plains and Nebraska by bringing to the Nebraska public Sandburg’s own style of lecture-recital in which he combines lectures on American culture, his poetry and American folk songs.”
A pre-performance lecture about Carl Sandburg will take place at 6:30 p.m. The event, which is sponsored by the UNK Department of English, is free and open to the public.
According to Dr. Benzel, as Sandburg performed in opera houses and auditoriums across the United States, he reached the general population by reading his poetry, lecturing on American arts and playing American folk tunes on his $25 guitar. This performance will focus on Sandburg’s Cornhuskers (1918), which illustrates the Great Plains landscape and its diversity, along with The American Songbag (1927), which uses folk songs to demonstrate an American collective voice and anthem.
The production will use the voices of Ted Kooser, Dr. Charles Peek, Mike Adams and The Sandstones, featuring Cristina Seaborn, Terry Sinnard and Mike Metzger. Kooser was the U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress from 2004 – 2006. Dr. Peek is a UNK professor of English. He has an international reputation as a scholar of both William Faulkner and Willa Cather, and American modernism. Adams is a singer and songwriter whose Americana style of music combines folk and country with jazz and blues in a dynamic acoustic sound. He created the musical arrangements for the presentation. Seaborn is from St. Cloud, Minn., and is a violinist and fiddler with more than 30 years of experience. Sinnard and Metzger are both from Kearney. Sinnard plays
the bass; Metzger, the banjo, mandolin and guitar.