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Homegrown talent to take the stage

Homestead Talent Showcase to take the stage

PRINCETON — Bureau County area residents will get a chance to enjoy some of the finest of the county’s own musical talent this weekend at a fundraiser, which benefits the 43rd annual Homestead Festival weekend.

The Homestead Talent Showcase will be held twice this weekend — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Prairie Arts Center, located at 24 Park Ave. East in Princeton. Featured artists will be Charles Gebeck, Phil Kaufmann, Jennifer Reckamp and her daughter Morgan Reckamp, Gwen Roseberg, David Mills and Ann Field Williams.

The theme for this year’s Homestead Festival, set for Sept. 12-14, is “Back in the Day,” and this year’s talent showcase will feature a lot of familiar songs, performed by Bureau County natives, committee co-chairman Bill Nelson said on Monday. All guest musicians will perform at both the Saturday evening and the Sunday afternoon shows. The cost for the Saturday evening performance is $17.50 per person, which includes a lawn social prior to the show, or $100 for a row of six seats. The cost for the Sunday concert is $10 per person.

“it’s really hard to believe how very talented all these people are, and the fact that they are all Bureau County natives,” Nelson said. “We hear good music on the radio or television, but we don’t always get to hear it in person, performed by someone who is as accomplished as these people are. It’s going to be an amazing show. There will music for everyone, including pop, ballads, Broadway songs and some country music.”

Nelson also provided the following information on the performers for this sixth annual Homestead Talent Showcase:

• Princeton native Ann Field Williams, now of Lombard, is a 1976 Princeton High School graduate where she was active in music, theatre and All-State Choir. She majored in music at William Woods College and received her master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in vocal performance. A voice instructor at the College of DuPage, Williams is active in recital, chamber and church music and performs with choral groups in suburban Chicago. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

• Gebeck grew up in rural Buda and graduated from Western High School. From a young age, Gebeck was a piano student of Patricia Strousse and excelled as an instrumental and vocal performer. Gebeck graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a major in music education and spent two years teaching in the Western School District. He now lives in Chicago and owns an event planning business, Advance Event Group. Gebeck returns to Bureau County frequently to perform and accompany, which he will do at the talent showcase.

• David Mills was born and raised in Princeton and is a Princeton High School graduate. From an early age, he remembers watching his father, Eric Mills, perform throughout the state. He (David) has released two Extended Play records and one full-length record, with another record scheduled for release later this year. He plays acoustic guitar and sings with the Peoria-based band, Long Ladder Home. Mills works at Heartland Bank and Trust in Princeton and is the son of Sara Hudson and Eric Mills.

• Gwen Roseberg has performed numerous times in Bureau County, first as a Princeton High School student and more recently with Festival 56 and as the interim director of the Bureau County Choir. She is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in music education and will start her second year teaching vocal music at Kewanee Wethersfield School. The daughter of Everett and Vicki Holmes of Princeton, Roseberg was recently married to Scott Roseberg.

• Jennifer (Noel) Reckamp and her 9-year-old daughter Morgan Reckamp will also perform. Jennifer is a graduate of Princeton High School and Illinois State University, with a degree in music therapy. She has a master’s degree in opera performance from the University of Las Vegas. She performed extensively on the West Coast before moving back to Chicago, where she now teaches music and performs in small groups as a soloist. Her daughter, Morgan, has been singing for years and recently won a talent show in the Chicago area. She will be singing “Tomorrow” from the “Annie” musical and also “Let It Go” from the Frozen movie.

• Kaufmann grew up in Tiskilwa in a family that traveled and sang. A 1976 graduate of Tiskilwa High School, Kaufmann is a graduate of Goshen College and Lewis University, Summa Cum Laude and an MBA graduate of Lewis University. He is the administrator at Greenfield Retirement Home in Princeton. For the past several years, Kaufmann has traveled America performing the “Cotton Patch Gospel” as a solo presentation. Through those presentations, he has raised more than $50,000 for hunger relief.

Looking ahead to this weekend, Nelson said the Homestead Talent Showcase will be a great time for people to come out and enjoy some amazingly good music, performed by Bureau County natives, and to help support the annual Homestead Festival weekend.

Working with Nelson and his wife, Dorothy, on the Talent Showcase committee are Marcel and Diane Vandenborre and Randy and Patricia Grant. Ticket information is available from Nelson at 815-875-2118.

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