Merryman Performing Arts Center, Kearney, Nebraska 2007-2008. Nebraska Educational Television filmed this 2008 performance and won the 2010 Heartland Emmy for Art and Entertainment.
"I was born on the prairie, and the milk of its wheat, the red of its clovers, the eyes of its women, gave me a song and a slogan." ~ Carl Sandburg, Prairie
This is the first Prayers for the People performance produced by Kate Benzel in 2007 and 2008. We celebrate Carl Sandburg’s songs, poetry, and proverbs from the Great Plains and Nebraska by bringing to the Nebraska audience Sandburg’s own style of lecture-recital, combining lectures on American culture, his poetry, and songs from his compilation "The American Songbag." Years before Sandburg ever published a book of poetry, he was becoming well-known with a guitar. When he had been working as a traveling salesman, political organizer, and poetry lecturer in 1910, he decided to add music to his repertoire. He bought his first guitar, and quickly discovered that the addition drew a much larger audience: the recitation of his own poetry combined with his performance of popular folk songs attracted eager crowds.
The 2008 program is an historical reflection on the works of Carl Sandburg including poems such as "Caboose Thoughts," "Buffalo Bill," "Prairie," "The People, Yes," and traditional songs "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie," "Limited," "Wide Mizzora." Much in Sandburg's own platform style, Ted Kooser, Nebraska poet and former U.S. Poet Laureate, and Chuck Peek read Sandburg’s and their own poetry. The readings were combined with American folk music from "The American Songbag." The music was directed by Mike Adam and performed L -R with Mike Metzger, Terry Sinnard, Cristina Seaborn, Mike Adams.