Carl Sandburg ‘s Sunburnt West in Nebraska

The last best-ever performance of Prayers for the People, the World Theatre, Kearney Nebraska 2015. "The hearts and voices of thousands of men and women. They made new songs, they changed old songs, they carried songs from place to place, they resurrected and kept alive dying and forgotten songs." ~ Carl Sandburg, The American Songbag.

"There's a song that can be heard out on the prairie - It's an echo from a long time ago - And a chorus that was written by the creator has been sung for eternity - And if you listen closely you can hear that song again - It comes and it goes like a whisper in the wind." ~ Mike Adams, "Whisper in the Wind."

Carl Sandburg and the Sunburnt West in Nebraska was performed at The World Theatre, Kearney, Nebraska 2015. Produced by Kate Benzel, this is the last of Prayers for the People performances and combines Sandburg’s western poetry, American western-cowboy songs and original poetry from Twyla Hansen, former Nebraska State Poet, Rick Marlatt, and Chuck Peek. The interdisciplinary format again uses Sandburg’s own tour interdisciplinary style, combining poetry, folk music, and narrative stories. When Sandburg hoboed through Nebraska in 1898, riding the rails from Chicago to Pikes Peak, Colorado, it was his first experience in the American western culture. When he first saw the Rockies he said, “There’s the hand of God.” On his return he went through McCook and Nebraska City, Nebraska, avoiding the railroad bulls, working as a dishwasher and harvesting apples and corn.

Sandburg’s collection of poems in Slabs of the Sunburnt West demonstrate his love of that landscape and regional lifestyles. This performance revives Sandburg’s memories of American western culture that still lives in the hearts and minds of its communities. There are still parts of the American West that are essential to this culture where we can find roots of American life, if we stop and look and listen.

Cast Photo L to R:

Terry Sinnard, Mike Adams, Mike Wolking, Cristina Seaborn, Rick Marlatt,  Twyla Hansen, Chuck Peek.

Jesse James – Traditional song:

Mike Adams – guitar and vocals. Mike Wolking – banjo. Cristina Seaborn – fiddle. Terry Sinnard – bass.

Whisper in the Wind

Mike Adams – guitar and vocals. Mike Wolking – Dobro. Cristina Seaborn – fiddle. Terry Sinnard – bass.

Poster by Amy Jacobson, Designer, Communications & Marketing, University of Nebraska-Kearney
* Produced by Kate Benzel
* Photo by Kerri Garrison
* Cast members: Poets - Twyla Hansen, Nebraska State Poet, Rick Marlatt, poet
* Emcee - Chuck Peek
* Music directed by Mike Adams and performed by Mike Adams, Cristina Seaborn, Terry Sinnard, Mike Wolking
* "Jesse James" traditional and "Whisper in the Wind" written by Mike Adams, performed by Mike Adams, Cristina Seaborn, Terry Sinnard, Mike Wolking
* Audio Recording - University of Nebraska-Kearney, Jacob Rosdail, Associate Professor and Students
* Funded by University of Nebraska-Kearney, Humanities Nebraska, Nebraska Arts Council.

People: Kate Benzel, Mike Adams Categories: Art, Literature, Music