In The News

Volunteer Millers to host April Music Program

This story originally appeared in the Dispatch Argus

The Volunteer Millers at de Immigrant windmill in Fulton, Illinois, will host their next monthly event on Tuesday, April 29, at 6 p.m. The program will be held at the Windmill Cultural Center at 111 – 10th Avenue in downtown Fulton, Illinois, across from the authentic Dutch windmill. Bucky Halker will perform “Goin’ Down to Cairo: Folksongs in the Land of Lincoln.” The program is sponsored by the Volunteer Millers, the D.S. Flikkema Foundation, and the Illinois Humanities Council.

Few people in Illinois know the story of the state’s rich and diverse folk music traditions. From the beginning of the nineteenth century through the folk revival of the 1950s, Illinoisans have produced an impressive body of folk music from historical ballads, to labor anthems, to early country songs, to dance tunes (not to mention an equally large body of music from ethnic communities in the state). As a long-time collector of folk music and the producer-scholar for the CD documentary series “Folksongs of Illinois, Volumes 1-5,” Bucky Halker has gained a deep appreciation for the folk music of Illinois. He has also written the only guide to archival holdings related to Illinois folk music. In this program, Bucky will share his knowledge of the Prairie State’s folk music with particular attention to historical ballads.

Bucky Halker grew up in Ashland, Wisconsin, and began playing guitar at the age of 13. He went to college in Idaho, but returned to the Midwest to obtain his Ph.D. in labor history at the University of Minnesota. While a professor, he continued to make music and released his first album in 1984. In Chicago, he joined the band The Remainders and wrote a book published by the University of Illinois Press about labor songs and protest. He has continued to develop CDs while touring around the United States and throughout the world. He served as the Archie Green Fellow with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in 2011-2012. Bucky also serves as the director of Company of Folk, an organization that promotes folk and ethnic arts in the Upper Midwest through research and public programs, including the Folksongs of Illinois CD series, fieldwork on ethnic and folk artists in Illinois, and music festivals.

The Volunteer Millers invite the public to attend this free event. Refreshments will be served following the presentation. This program is made possible in part by an award from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly. The facility is accessible to people with disabilities. For more information visit or call 815-589-4545.