Thursday, November 19, 2009

John Devens' World Folk Music - A Huge Loss to Music and to Beverly/Morgan Park

John Devens is a guy who always helps other people. That is his shtick. He is also a brilliant musician, Folk/Jazz historian/teacher/ impresario/ band leader and hopelessly constant soft-touch.

I played Irish/Bluegrass music with John Devens years ago. He and Rick Farris and Master String Wizard Ed McGrath joined Terry McEldowney, Willie Winters and me to smooth off our jagged edges. They gave it a valiant effort.

John played mandolin and guitar after years as Big Band guitarist and helped polish the sound of three loud bar shouters and strings hitters with a very large and beer fueled following.

I hung up my 5-string in 1985 due to family and teaching obligations and never heard a word of protest from the Music World.

Willie Winters went on to direct the Beverly Area Planning Association during its Golden Age and helps Sheriff Tom Dart redefine what Public Service is all about.

Terry McEldowney cut CDs, wrote ballads, burned an ulcer the size of Oprah's Rump into Boz O'Brien's belly and continued to damage the fragile egos of the truly deserving. Terry McEldowney wrote the lyrics to the defining anthem of the south side of Chicago -South Side Irish.

John Devens directed Dyed in the Wool*a wonderful Celtic/Contemporary acoustic band and opened World Folk Music Company - a performance, teaching, resource, and musical supply resource unmatched on the south side of Chicago.

Last month, my neighbors and I learned of the closing of World Folk Music Company after a decade of beauty, laughs and inspiration. World Folk Music gave kids and adults a chance to play, hear and learn the beauty of Music. It was a full-service hands-on operation of the heart!

John Devens moved more burdens than Sisyphus, but always had time to help sick kids, families in financial need and to teach the beauty that is Music.

This is a huge in our Collective Public and Personal Heart. God Bless You, John! Click my post title for more.


Among the very best bands in Chicago is Dyed In The Wool, a gathering of grand musical talents and sweet sensibilities that can handle traditional tunes in ways that make them fresh and vibrant and create original tunes that will stay with you forever." (Rick Kogan, WGN Radio, Chicago Tribune)

John Devens, a product of the Chicago folk scene, boasts of guitar styles from the Travis pick to jazz swing. Julia Dusek-Devens has a solid classical background and an excellent command of the flute that are behind her whimsical performance attitude. If you haven’t heard Jim White play guitar, you’re in for a treat. And Meghan McKown brings her own fresh approach to everything she sings. Her tone ranges from rich to soulful to clear and pristine.

"As the regular reader knows, Dyed in the Wool is our favorite Chicago Band. Period. Great stuff. (Rating: Four Harps)" (Bill Margeson, Irish American News)

October 1st, 2009
The World Music Company - 1808 W. 103rd Street, Chicago 773.779.7059
Dear Students, Teachers, Staff, Supporters, and Fans of World Music Company,

It is with huge regret that we announce that World Music Company (WMC) will be closing our doors on Wednesday, November 25, 2009; this day will mark the end of all music programs, performances, and lessons. While the deciding factor in this decision was the loss of our lease, there were others – a declining enrollment and a reduction in funding support – that played a role.

Since 1996, we have had a wonderful time serving the Beverly community. The things we’ve learned, the people we’ve met, and the ways in which our musical horizons have expanded have been the major focus of our company for 13 years. Our staff, our teachers, and the community that has supported us and the friendships we have established and maintained over so many years have been wonderful.

Beginning on Monday, November 16th, we will begin a phased liquidation of the stock in the store and most of the memorabilia on the walls. Prices may vary and be subject to change as November 25th approaches. We would like to thank all of the past and present employees for all your hard work and dedication over the years.

To celebrate the many wonderful years of WMC, we will hold a farewell concert on Wednesday, November 25th at WMC starting at 6:30pm and featuring many of the wonderful performers that have played here over the years. We hope that as many people that have supported us over the years will attend and celebrate what we have accomplished and commemorate the end of our era. Yes, the store will be closing, but the friendships, love, and passion for music, will remain open.

Thanks for the memories and support over the years,

John Devens, Executive Director & Founder

Eric Williams, Board President

The World Music Company is one of Chicago’s cultural treasures, quietly nestled in the Beverly neighborhood. A school of music, World Music Company offers lessons on a wide variety of instruments, including Guitar, Piano, Violin, Banjo, Recorder, Brass Winds, Voice, and some folk instruments like Hammered Dulcimer and Celtic Tin Whistle you won’t find anywhere else! Read more about our world class instructors »

We also offer a variety of classes and musical related activities, including a Concert Series, Wednesday Night Jazz, Music for Children with Special Needs, adult guitar classes, and Community Open Mic.

1 comment:

John Devens said...

I appreciate your wonderful comments. And I understood every word you wrote. I might have tried to polish your music, but you will never be able to polish my command of the language. In all seriousness, I am humbled by your thoughts. I would like to say thanks to all the great folks who came through our doors in the 13 years we have been here. When this stress is all over Julia and I will have some marvelous memories. If anyone cares to come by one last time we are having a final concert/fundraiser (hey, we're still a 501c3)on Wed. the 25th.
I would like to share with everyone the lyrics to one of my favorite songs. If you come by Wednesday I may sing it (fair warning. If I don't see you then, I'll see you at Willie and Kerry's house.
All the best to everyone.


This is a song for all the good people,
All the good people who touched up my life.
This is a song for all the good people,
People I'm thanking my stars for tonight.

This is a song for all my companions
Who knew what I needed was something they had:
Food on the table and a heart that was able,
Able to keep me just this side of sad.

This is a song for all of my good friends
Who shared of their time, some good and some bad.
We drank in the kitchen, held no competition,
Each knowing the other was a good friend to have.

And this is a song for all the good travelers
Who passed through my life as they moved along:
Gypsies and tinkers, ramblers and thinkers--
Each took the time to sing me a song.

Some helped in all ways;
Some helped in small ways.
Some always told me
I was doing all right.

This is a song for all the good people,
All the good people who touched up my life.
This is a song for all the good people,
People I'm thanking my stars for tonight.