The Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge are presenting the annual Concert on the Prairie starting at 5 p.m. June 5 at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City. Former Congressman Neal Smith will be on hand for an overview of the Refuge as well as Joe McGovern, president, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.
This annual event highlights local musicians who bring restful sounds to the prairie. What better way to enjoy the quiet solitude of Nature away from the hustle and bustle of daily life then on the prairie. In addition to the concert performed by Jon Straver and Big Blue Sky, there will be wine tasting provided by central Iowa vintners. Full bottles of wine will also be available at the event.
Big Blue Sky, based in McGregor, has released seven CDs of original compositions by Jon Stravers Jr. and Sr., including River’s Rising in 2001, Mystic Migrations in 2004, and two live recordings: a live one hour program on Iowa Public Radio entitled Live at KUNI in 2006, and Live at the Elkader Opera House in 2007. Searching for the Cosmic Groove was released in 2008 which includes Jon-Jon’s last recordings. Their newest CD, entitled Earth Songs, was released in 2013.
Stacy Nelson, Friends Board Member, is very familiar with the group and reports that “they have such a rich and wide repertoire.” Their musical style includes the influence of folk, bluegrass, blues and reggae. In their music they seek a closer connection to the planet, and indeed their musical writing comes from the inspiration of wild places and a celebration of our natural heritage and the natural rhythms of life.
In addition, Iowa Artist Michael Wilson will display new artwork in his upcoming exhibit Spirit of Place held in conjunction with the concert.
Wilson’s artwork has been featured in The Iowan magazine and the Des Moines Register. His paintings are in private collections and in the permanent collections of Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art and Alegent Creighton Health Mercy Hospital/Corning. Wilson is an associate member of the Oil Painters of America.
Tickets can be purchased at the Friends website, tallgrass.org. Click on Concert on the Prairie icon for more information and ticket purchase. Tickets may also be purchased directly from the Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, PO Box 114, Prairie City, IA 50228. Cut-off date for ticket purchase by check is June 1. After that date use the tallgrass.org site for online purchases.