Free concert to celebrate Illinois bicentennial

DeKALB – Barry Cloyd will return to the DeKalb Public Library on Saturday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. to perform the program, “Our Land Between the Rivers, Illinois in Story and Song.”

This newly commissioned program begins with a whirlwind trip back through time to the early days of the origins of Illinois and where its name came from, the Illiniwek Nation of Native Americans.

Cloyd is a touring singer, songwriting, multi-instrumentalist and historian. He performs the original song “Inaji Wabli, Arise O’ Eagle” and takes the audience into the time of the French Voyageurs, the first Europeans, coming into this land in the late 1600s.

From there Cloyd gives a brief timeline through the 1700s as the French give way to the British, who in turn give way to the growing class of people known as Americans.

Songs of the period, such as the colloquially spelled “Elanoy” will appear and usher the audience into events such as George Rogers Clark’s part in winning the Revolutionary War from Illinois and the beginning of the settlement of Chicago.

Cloyd provides an in-depth focus, both through narrative and song, into some of the most important events and people who have shaped the amazing history of the state.

Some of the “stops along the way” include Abraham Lincoln’s appearance in Illinois, the Black Hawk War, the creation of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, the Lincoln-Douglas debates and the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant’s contributions, The Great Chicago Fire, the first skyscraper, the Columbian Exposition, the Pullman strike, Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius, the Springfield Race Riots, “Lucky Lindy” in Illinois, Al Capone, Everett Dirksen and Carl Sandburg.

All of this history will be presented with songs that are germane to the period, performed on guitars, banjo, Dobro and other stringed instruments.

This free event is family-friendly and requires no registration. It will be presented in the lower level Yusunas Meeting Room.

For information, contact Samantha at or 815-756-9568, ext. 1701.

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