The Cave of the Mounds facility will host musicians Sparky and Rhonda Rucker on Friday, April 5, 2019. The performers bring with them a repertoire of songs culled from careers promoting civil and environmental rights through song and story. The Cave of the Mounds venue is located at 2975 Cave of the Mounds Rd, Blue Mounds. Tickets are $12 and are available at the door. The event begins at 7:30 PM. This event is sponsored by SouthWest Wisconsin Area Progressives, Farley Center for Peace Justice and Sustainability and the Madison Folk Music Society.
SPARKY AND RHONDA RUCKER perform throughout the U.S. as well as overseas, singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition. They are internationally recognized as leading musicians, authors, and storytellers. They accompany themselves with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, blues harmonica, old-time banjo, piano, spoons, and bones.
Sparky and Rhonda are sure to deliver an uplifting presentation of toe-tapping music spiced with humor, history, and tall tales. They take their audience on an educational and emotional journey that ranges from poignant stories of slavery and war to an amusing rendition of a Brer Rabbit tale or their witty commentaries on current events. Their music includes a variety of old-time blues, Appalachian music, slave songs, Civil War music, spirituals, work songs, ballads, civil rights music, and their own original compositions.
You will hear soulful blues licks, heart-rending gospel, knee-slapping good rhythms, and bottleneck guitar slide. Over fifty years of performing, Sparky and Rhonda have performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival as well as NPR's On Point, Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, and Morning Edition. Their recording, Treasures & Tears, was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award, and their music is also included on the Grammy-nominated anthology, Singing Through the Hard Times.
Earlier in the day, thanks to a generous grant from the Foundation will insure that the two musicians will include the eighth grade classes in Mt. Horeb Middle School. The performance will be a presentation of Swing Low, Sweet Harriet, is based on Harriet Tubman’s work as a spy and scout during the Civil War when she helped lead African American soldiers on the Combahee River raid in South Carolina. In this program, Rhonda and Sparky blend storytelling and music to help students learn about the Gullah Culture, Harriet Tubman, and the Civil War. The study guide that accompanies this program gives vocabulary words, background history, writing exercises, discussion topics, and recommended books to help expand learning opportunities. The presentation is based on Rhonda Rucker’s historical award winning novel for young readers.
Perhaps you have participated in a SWWAP-sponsored event. If so, you know of the organization, which has served the greater Mt. Horeb Area for the past decade. If not, permit SWWAP to introduce itself.
Southwest Wisconsin Area Progressives (SWWAP) was formed in 2004 by a group of politically homeless citizens in the Mt. Horeb area. George W. Bush was president and progressives were feeling angst about the prospect of another Bush term in office. Around a kitchen table in the Town of Primrose, an idea arose. Instead of only campaigning every election cycle, why not work year-round to educate ourselves and others on state and national issues that need to be addressed. It was reasoned that through programming, social events, and a good dose of fun, progressives would have a better chance at winning elections. SWWAP was born.
The organization that first year had public programming on the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It hosted speakers and films about the country's health care system, environmental concerns, and, yes, the upcoming election. The group held social events to fund full-page ads in all Mt. Horeb area papers and shoppers. The group held its breath and hoped for a change in government. It turned out that change would not happen, for in 2004, Bush would be re-elected and conservatives would continue a stranglehold on progressive initiatives. Jump ahead ten years, and the need for progressive action is still great. SWWAP has been there throughout those years, and it will be here in the foreseeable future.
Throughout the years, SWWAP has provided more than sixty programs on current issues to the public. Some of the programs over the last two years that SWWAP has produced or sponsored are: two candidate forums; programs by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Citizens' Climate Lobby, Sierra Club, and blue jean revolution; public service fundraisers for the area food bank, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and Southwest Dane Senior Outreach; two sponsored concerts at the Old Schoolhouse; and help with campaign volunteers in elections.
All of the above programming required personal effort and funds. We are asking you for a yearly contribution of either or both. A yearly contribution of funds, large or small, will allow SWWAP to expand its programming in coming years and establish a stable financial base on which to work. Your yearly donation will allow you to be part of SWWAP's core group, receive special core member news, and attend core member organization meetings. All are encouraged to help the organization by volunteering time as well.
Yes, SWWAP has been, and will continue to be, a progressive force in the greater Mt. Horeb area. The organization's structure allows all to participate in events, programming, and direct action. Through progressive victories, and, yes, defeats, SWWAP has been a mainstay of the progressive community in YOUR area since 2004. With your help, it will continue to be in 2024 and beyond.
Thank you for your consideration
Please send your donation to:
Southwest Wisconsin Area Progressives
C/O Gerhard Luetschwager, SWWAP Treasurer
9763 County Road A
Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin 53572