State of Sound: Red Prairie Ramblers LIVE!

September 30th, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Get ready for an evening of barn-burning music that will have you stomping your feet and clapping your hands to old-time fiddle tunes and country songs from central and southern Illinois.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, in conjunction with our new exhibit The State of Sound: A World of Music from Illinois, presents the Red Prairie Ramblers – LIVE! in our Union Theater on Thursday, September 30, at 7:00 p.m. All seats are general admission for $7 each. Tickets are on sale through

The Red Prairie Ramblers are dedicated to keeping alive the rich musical traditions of central and southern Illinois. Styles of traditional old-time and country music are found throughout the U.S., and all can trace their roots back to a combination of African, Indigenous, European, and British influences. In Illinois much of this music is centered around the fiddle, with fast-paced hoedowns made for square dancing--but there are also plenty of folk songs and traditional ballads. Most of the music played by the Red Prairie Ramblers was collected in the 1970s by Garry Harrison and friends, visiting old-time musicians throughout central and southern Illinois. A large portion of the field tapes were collected in a book and three-CD set titled Dear Old Illinois.

The Red Prairie Ramblers will share a set of rarely heard tunes and songs from central and southern Illinois, as well as a few original fiddle tunes by Garry Harrison.

Reserve Seats


The band members are Genevieve Koester (fiddle/guitar/vocals), Mareva Lindo (fiddle/guitar/vocals), Smith Koester (banjo), and Jay Desrosiers (mandolin/guitar). A native of Charleston, Illinois, Genevieve learned to play the fiddle from her father, the late Garry Harrison--a virtuosic fiddler and composer of tunes played around the country. Mareva Lindo is a Chicago-based musician, documentarian and event producer who’s been learning the traditional fiddle tunes and songs of Illinois from Genevieve since 2019 (funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency’s Master-Apprentice Program). Originally from Shawnee Mission, KS, Smith Koester gives new life to the sounds of the past with his old-time fretless banjo. A player of superlative ability, his driving syncopation delivers both rhythm and melody hand-in-glove with the fiddle. Jay Desrosiers is a Chicago-based dance musician, composer, and event organizer. From 2017-2019 he co-directed the Midwest Sing & Stomp, a traditional music and dance festival focused on regional traditional artists.

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