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Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 03:57 pm

New Year’s news


On Dec. 31 Skibereen performs acoustically at First Night then moves to Celtic Mist Pub for a New Year's Eve party.

Wow, I feel like one of those people saying, “Wow, it’s New Year’s already? I thought we just celebrated the last one.” Or something akin to that exclamation of realization and regret, surprise and sentimentality that mingles into conversation as our society approaches a commemoration of the invented calendar year beginning again.

I also feel like one of those people saying things like, “as we become older, time sure seems to move faster.” Who knows if time really moves at all or even exists other than as a created measurement of how to categorize and organize this life we live between birth and death. But I have neither the inclination nor the insight to begin a discussion on the relativity and significance or even the actual existence of “time” or any of its variants. Wouldn’t it be a drag to spend all your time talking about time and then finding out your time is up? The reality seems to be, the older you get the more you realize the less you have to live in this life of chance and experience.

As we work our way to the year 2012, the specter of the end of the world or at least a great and lasting change in business as usual, looms above us, for those who believe, ever so slightly, in that pesky Mayan calendar problem. Then again everything was to go “poof!” back in 2000 at the turn of the millennium too, yet still we stumble along, alive and well – well, alive anyway. My answer to all who want to dwell in catastrophic dilemmas is go ahead, but please remember, you are basing your prediction on actual moments and specific dates manufactured by humans to organize our reality. They have no real relevance. If you want to believe those designations contain a power to end the existence of earth through a coordination of numbers and coincidences, sobeit. It’s likely though you’ll end up with lots of extra bottled water in the basement and a job to return to after the decimation declines to appear.

If then we are to continue to exist let’s get on with seeing some live music and celebrating this existence with genuine joy and good acts. I’d like to add to the happy factor by publicly announcing the release of Sangamon Songs, my “years in the making” music and history project. Thanks to all who contributed in various ways to get this to happen and I trust many folks will receive much enjoyment and pleasure from reading the booklet and listening to the music.

In actual live shows upcoming on the scene, last week was dismal with Christmas Eve on Saturday, but it appears to have worked in our favor this week as New Year’s Eve gets the hot spot. Check your IT Pub Crawl listings for an accurate and full report of bar parties. For the last 25 years we’ve been blessed with First Night, our collection of artistic performances in lovely downtown Springfield, ringing in the New Year with music and merriment. The 2011 lineup includes a nice assortment of local acts, so check out our First Night article and the complete schedule in this issue (p. 21), plan your evening, get your button and go. One special mention goes out to Suzy and Brandon Carnes performing together for the first time as a mother and son duo at 7 p.m. in the Hoogland Center for the Arts dining room. Expect the unexpected with “a fun, folky mixture of everything from John Prine to Queen mixed in with Brandon’s originals,” says Suzy. She adds that “jamming with my son is an absolute blast.”

I couldn’t think of a better way to say Happy New Year and enjoy your time.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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