Smithsonian traveling exhibit coming to library

Marianne Gillespie

Special events beginning before the New Harmonies exhibit opens Dec. 11

Just as the United States is the melting pot of the world, the musical sounds of the country blend together to what residents call music.

“People came from all over the world and people brought their music with them,” said Chillicothe Public Library’s children’s librarian Gail Hintze.

That mixing of various ethnic music influenced music genres today.

“Who doesn’t have a story about music?”?Hintze asked when talking about the library’s upcoming Smithsonian exhibit, “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music.

Chillicotheans may remember “Key Ingredients, America by Food,” a food?exhibit the Chillicothe Historical Society sponsored to come to Shore Acres Clubhouse in 2006.

The food, and now music, Smithsonian traveling exhibits are both brought to communities of 15,000 or less, through the Illinois Humanities Council and Museum on Main Street. The Chillicothe Public Library is the only library showing the exhibit. Six sites were chosen in Illinois for the exhibit, which opened in Danville in May, and Chillicothe is the last stop.

“I can’t imagine any community that this wouldn’t be relevant,” said Hintze. “Music is a part of everyone’s lives.”

Hintze said the library received notification of the exhibit coming in spring 2009, and is spearheading the exhibit due to her interest in music.

But the exhibit is not just for music lovers. Each of these exhibits has a local component added to the topic.

For Chillicothe’s New Harmonies exhibit, information about the Hub Ballroom, Big Four and a Chillicothe Historical Society surprise will give the exhibit a local vibe.

Hintze said planners already had planned to have the Hub as part of the local component before it burned down in June 2009, but now the exhibit may have more meaning for those who remember the good, old days of the Hub.

Chillicothe music history would not be complete without the Big Four, who were not a normal Sweet Adelines group, Hintze said.

They had music lowered to their vocal ranges.

The national exhibit features listening stations and information about genres, women in music and one or two instruments, including the accordion.

American values and democracy add a patriotic feel to the exhibit.

“It’s a great opportunity tolearn about the music you love and find out a little more about something you didn’t know,” said Hintze.

To make room for the exhibit, the café area and magazines near the front door will be moved, and the local component will be in the public meeting room.

The exhibit will be open during regular library hours, and residents may schedule a tour with a docent.

Hintze recommends a docent tour, especially for groups.

“It helps conversation. It helps you process what you’re seeing,” adding that then residents can have questions answered. “Something this big, it’s hard to take it all in.”

Open from Dec. 11 through Jan. 23, Hintze said the event gives residents something to do during January, with most all the musical programs occurring in January.

Some events also will be scheduled while students are out for Christmas break.

Music will be a focus of the community for the next few months, which began with the choral concert a week ago.

“I?think it’s really cool that the schools are tying in with the theme,”?said Hintze.

The Mossville band/choir concert at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26 is next on the list of special events.

The first non-school musical event is at 3 p.m. Nov. 14 with Jacqueline Schwab, a professional pianist. It is the only event not happening in Chillicothe. Needing a piano for her to play, the library is co-sponsoring the event with the Universalist Unitarian Church, 3000 W. Richwoods Blvd., in Peoria. She will present

“Shall We Gather: Civil War Era Music and Beyond.” She will play American Civil War era classics. The folk and classical improvisational pianist also has accompanied Ken Burns’ television documentaries.

The IVC Madrigal Singers will be on hand from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 11 to officially open the exhibit with some Christmas caroling and treats.

One day in January schoolchildren’s tours are planned, who then can see live music examples provided by students at the high school, Hintze said.

But not all programs will be musical in nature, such as “Remembering the Hub with Kay Severns and Lynn Furness” Jan. 5.

Other events feature the Peoria Area Accordion Club, the Native American Drum Circle, an old-time barn dance and an old-fashioned parlor night.

Residents interested in volunteering during the event, especially to be a docent, should call Hintze at the library at 274-2719.

For more information or a complete schedule, see