The Prairie Window Concert Series Is Good for You

I usually like to have data and science to back up what I believe and claim. But today, I’m going to go with a gut feeling and make a bold statement. The Prairie Window Concert Series (PWCS) is good for you. It will make improvements to your physical, mental, spiritual well-being…yeah, all of it.

If you are anything like me, I would expect you to approach this claim with skepticism. Therefore, I’ll include a couple of references in this post to loosely back up its premise and make both of us feel better. (See obligatory reference #1 after this paragraph). But with this claim, I profess it mostly because it feels right.

The Goodness of Music

I’ll start with how music is seemingly ever-present during some of the most revered time with my family and friends throughout the year. Vacation and holiday playlists always are special and highly anticipated. The Walnut Valley Festival (aka, “Winfield”) playlist is extensive and was put together with great care. When it starts playing late summer in anticipation of September, it brings about tingling excitement in our family like no other time of the year. Music is essential to these experiences and these experiences are good for me, so there you have it.

The next generation making music at Winfield (Photo by Jenni Koontz).

Whether I’m happy, sad, excited, somber, exercising or being still, I know of music to fit that particular situation. Americana, bluegrass, classical, country, rock, jazz, rap, honky tonk, Irish, new age, Zydeco, hip hop, and alternative are all proper contributors. Portable devices, powerful small speakers, noise-canceling headphones, feather-light earbuds, digital music collections, and limitless streaming services make it easier than ever to allow music to accompany us and accentuate any occasion. (Obligatory reference #2, How Music Affects the Brain) Usually, that music listening happens while multi-tasking on something else.

The Prairie Window Concert Series

Thanks to the Old Settler’s Inn and the Prairie Window Concert Series, I’ve been able to regularly enjoy the music of blues legend, Guy Davis, up close and personal.

When you specifically focus on live music, uninterrupted in an intimate, listening room setting with friends and family, the music experience can be even better. With the PWCS at Dyck Arboretum, you can engage your senses further with a stroll through a diverse and thriving landscape teeming with colorful flowers and pollinators.

Late summer is a great time to visit the Arboretum when flowers and pollinators are showiest.

At intermission, you can indulge in delicious Crust & Crumb fare. The culmination of these layers at a PWCS show has to be good for you.

Crust & Crumb loves you and is good for you (Photo by Sharon Entz).

28 Years and Counting

Miner and Valetta Seymour designed this experience to perfection in 1991 at the Old Settler’s Inn in Moundridge. (See PWCS History) The overall structure of the series, including Sunday afternoon shows to hear quality artists of various genres and enjoy good food during intermission, still thrives 28 years later. Talented artists bring their passions to the PWCS stage on eight occasions each season. They share their finely honed craft, passions, and dreams while trying to make a living doing something they love.

Today, I am excited to introduce the 2019-2020 PWCS lineup. It is loaded with immense talent that includes a number of new artists and a few familiar ones. Visit our website, learn more about the artists and enjoy their music. Join the growing group of season ticket holders and take advantage of our early bird discount, and consider becoming an underwriter. You will not only support this unique live musical arts experience in South Central Kansas, but you will have fun while engaging regularly with familiar faces in a music-loving community.

Dare I say, your happiness and well-being depend on it.

Winfield (and the PWCS) On My Mind

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When summer vacation ends and back-to-school plans kick in, my thoughts affectionately turn to “Winfield.” For so many, this one word moniker for the Walnut Valley Festival (WVF) in Winfield, KS is synonymous with great music on stages and in campgrounds around the clock. ¬†For my family the WVF, which occurs annually in middle to late September, has been a cherished time for reunions with friends and family, camping, great food, an easy-going time of retreat, renewal, and making memories that last a lifetime. Anticipating its 44th year, Winfield is adored by ~15,000 people annually that flock to the Cowley County Fairgrounds. Some come early for “Land Rush” to stake their coveted claim along the shady banks of the Walnut River and invest weeks of vacation, and others come for a day of stage acts, workshops and to enjoy one of the international championship competitions featuring flat pick/finger style guitar, mandolin, banjo, hammer/mountain dulcimer, auto harp, and fiddle.IMG_4643Feistylarger

My connection to Winfield began in 1998 when a grad school graduation gift of festival passes from my uncle/aunt Royce and Marge started a running 17-year love affair with this experience. Listening to music with my dad, visits to my uncle’s Buzzard’s Roost Camp, witnessing epic wee-hour jams in the Pecan Grove, the flood-displaced year at Winfield Lake, planning meals, and hanging out with friends, have all profoundly shaped my Winfield memories. My boys have attended nearly every year of their lives and their experiences have included everything from long toddler naps under my chair at the finger style championships, ukulele workshops, kid jams around the campfire, running down the levee, racing the ever-present train, playing catch on the Stage Two hill, and more. They hold the Winfield experience up there with Christmas and 4th of July.

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This time of the year also brings great anticipation for a new season of the Dyck Arboretum Prairie Window Concert Series (PWCS). Coordination of the PWCS fell into my lap in 2011 and in spite of my lack of experience with concert promotion, the Winfield experience has made coordination of the PWCS a labor of love. Winfield has had a profound effect on the artists I invite to the PWCS as it did for my predecessor, Miner Seymour and his brainchild, the Old Settlers Inn in Moundridge. Memorable performances over the years at Winfield from Mike Cross, Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott, The Wilders, The Greencards, The Steel Wheels, Tommy Emmanuel, Hot Club of Cowtown, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Waybacks, and many more have certainly shaped my musical preferences towards Americana and roots music featuring masterful instrumentals and tight harmonies. Half of the featured artists in the coming 2015-16 PWCS season have strong ties to Winfield.

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When the monarchs fill the air, and the Maximilian sunflowers blaze with yellow, it is time for my family to migrate south to Winfield. Whether I see you there or at the PWCS (our surrogate Winfield), I know we’ll be enjoying great music together and making memories.