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Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 02:56 pm

Amazed all over town


Roy Zimmerman satirizes the world, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Woodside Road.

I can’t help but be amazed at the incredible variety and substance of shows this week in a host of various venues. Along with the entertainment values acknowledged, many of the upcoming events contain a good deal of educational and even, spiritual, overtones and underpinnings.

The Celtic influence reigns supreme this weekend with the World Tour Celtic Festival downtown on Saturday in front of the Celtic Mist Pub and the annual Music in the Park Celtic Celebration on Sunday in Washington Park. The WTCF originated from Beth Ogilvy, owner and operator of Ogilvy Dance Studio and the St. Andrew Society of Central Illinois, the folks behind our local Highland festival and games. The all day show is a fundraiser for an overseas Celtic tour planned by Beth and the society for 2014, combined with the idea of creating an annual Celtic music gathering in Springfield.

The event includes Irish and Scottish dancers of all ages, groups of pipes and drums, dance contests, local bands doing Celtic-influenced music, a whisky seminar, knights in shining armor, a kids’ area and enough kilts, tartans, bonnie lasses and laddies to Celt-i-fy the county. Festivities begin at noon and continue all day with a traditional music session starting at 10 p.m. to conclude the event in the wee hours of the night.

Friday, the Aahara Spiritual Community of Venus Rising hosts Matt Venuti performing on an unusual instrument called the hang. Created in Bern, Switzerland a decade ago, the hang is a rounded metal object played with one’s bare hands. It sounds ethereal and energizing like an out-of-this-world wind chime. Venuti works directly with the creators to learn more about this amazing instrument and its healing sounds. Contact 217-494-0583 or for house-concert details.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday, the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Woodside Road hosts satirical, lyrical and comical singer-songwriter Roy Zimmerman. Crossing the country playing UU churches almost daily, Zimmerman, armed only with his guitar and wit, presents his Funny Songs and Bad Advice concert, featuring observations on the present political and social beliefs of certain conservative elements in our society. His sustained and successful career includes a stint on the Warner/Reprise label, sharing the stage with Bill Clinton, George Carlin and Bill Maher, doing song swaps with Frank Black of the Pixies and getting played on HBO and Showtime, while continuing to lambast those in need of it. Often mentioned as a modern Tom Lehrer, he’s received kudos from everyone from Weird Al to Joni Mitchell. Now you have a chance to laud and applaud him as well.

Our final two events, of wildly entertaining and mildly educational material, cover icons of the music world, the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. Liverpool Legends, handpicked by Louise Harrison, sister of the late, great Beatle George Harrison, play Donnie’s Homespun on Saturday night to relive the lives of the Fab Four replete with costumes, instruments, hair and music. Meet and greet the delightful Louise before the show at 7 p.m. She leads this magical mystery tour toward the Sept. 21 dedication ceremony for a historical marker commemorating George’s September 1963 visit to her home in Benton, Ill., months before the group’s famous appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Sunday at Douglas Park, the 19th annual Penny Lane Appreciation Day and Jerry Garcia Tribute starts at 2 and goes until about 9, with all kinds of music, food and fun celebrating the life of music great Jerry Garcia, hosted by the good folks at Penny Lane and Perfunctory This Band. This year honors the life of the late Big Joe, a fixture at Penny Lane forevermore.

That’s all folks!

Contact Tom Irwin at

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