Library 'Friends' music program Sunday, Sept. 27

Dennis Stroughmatt

The Friends of the Mount Carroll District Library, in partnership with the Mount Carroll District Library, will virtually host noted musician, historian, singer and educator Dennis Stroughmatt when he presents “Mussels, Moonshine and Music: Mississippi Valley Migrant Life in the Early Twentieth Century” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27.

Stroughmatt, a cultural historian, will transport audience members to a time almost forgotten when the Midwest and Upper South were home to thousands of Americans who lived and worked on the rivers as sharecroppers, fishermen, mussel shellers, button cutters, traveling minstrels, and even moonshiners.

Through this intriguing program find out about the often unknown migrant work of the river-based mussel shellers, moonshiners and musicians who worked in the late 19th and early 20th century Illinois, via photos, folk tales, oral histories and foot-stomping fiddle music.

Stroughmatt was taught to play fiddle by local Creole fiddlers Roy Boyer and Charlie Pashia in the tradition of their fathers. He gradually became the adopted son on the French Midwestern Creole, living along the Mississippi River near St. Louis.

A vibrant blend of Celtic, Canadian and Old Time Sounds, this music bridges the gap between Contemporary Canadian and Louisiana Cajun styles.

The Friends of the Mount Carroll District Library is an organization that has supported the library for 15 years through fundraising efforts to advance education, generate community support for the library and maintain facilities of the library.

This is a free program open to the public, made possible through a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, a state agency. Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly, through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.

This fascinating virtual trip through Illinois history based on Mississippi River life presented by Stroughmatt will be livestreaming on the Mount Carroll District Library's Facebook Event page at 2 p.m. Sept. 27. A link to the livestream can also be found on the library's website at on the Event page.

For more information, call the Mount Carroll District Library at 815-244-1751.