Off Square Music ... This Is Our Story

Off Square Music ... This Is Our Story

Off Square Music is the heart and soul of the Woodstock music scene and the center of musical energy in McHenry County, Illinois. From all of its year-round indoor live music venues to outdoor special events and the award winning Woodstock Farmers Market, musicians and non-musicians alike travel to Woodstock to learn, hear and play music of many genres. Read more about our history in "About."

Jade Strong | Stage Left Open Mic | Featured August Performer

Stage Left Open Mics meet second Friday of every month, Woodstock, Illinois.

Jade Strong is the featured performer for our August 13 Stage Left Open Mic.

Stage Left Open Mics are held on the 2nd Friday of every month from 7 – 11 p.m. at Stage Left Cafe, 125 Van Buren St. on the historic Woodstock Square.

Off Square Music invites musicians, singers, poets and other performers to participate in the Open Mic Nights. Whether you’re just starting out as a performer or are a seasoned veteran, Open Mic Night offers a supportive atmosphere with an exceptional performance space and sound system.

Would You Like to Perform?

Jade Strong, featured performer August 13, 2021 Stage Left Open Mic
Jade Strong, featured performer August 13, 2021, Stage Left Open Mic

Performing slots are 15 minutes or three songs, whichever comes first. In addition, there will be a featured performer taking the stage for a 30-minute set.

As we get underway with live events, be sure you’re on our email list for information about all our upcoming events! Sign up in the left column of any page on the site. Send your music-loving friends and family to sign up too.

You don’t have to perform to enjoy Open Mic Nights. Just come on out for the live music and Woodstock’s charming atmosphere. Off Square requests a $5.00/pp donation to support our many music activities, including Open Mic Nights.

To sign up to perform, email Mike Breen at offsquaremusic@gmail.com, Subject: Stage Left Open Mics. If you stop by an Open Mic Night early in the evening, there might even be an available slot that same night.

Upcoming Dates

Upcoming Open Mic nights are:

  • August 13 – Featured performer: Jade Strong
  • September 10
  • October 8
  • November 12

If you would like to contribute to Off Square Music, please use the Donate button in the left column of every page of this site. We look forward to seeing you in August.

Sundays On The Square

brought to you by Off Square Music and the Woodstock Opera House.

Click here to see the full schedule!

Every Saturday Zoom Open Mics

Join us for our weekly Zoom Open Mic

Every week we join together for eight performances of music and poetry — and to enjoy each other’s company. We bring together musicians from our local area — but Zoom has allowed us to go national, and we even reach across the pond!

Doors open at 6:30 pm, so join us early to greet your friends, or stay afterward to visit. If you are performing, please come at 6:30 pm for a sound check.

  • Ken Balmes
  • Sheila and Jon
  • Kent Fishburn
  • Norm “Maddawg” Siegel
  • Bob Conway
  • Paul Klonowski
  • Deb Firak

7/10 Group Photo:

7/3 Group Photo:

If you’d like to perform, please contact Andy Andrick, aandrick28@yahoo.com. If you are a first timer, you can find a video HERE that will help you get set up.

We record our sessions and share them within our group of performers. It enhances sound quality greatly to use a USB mic in preference to a built-in computer mic.

Hope to see you there, Every Saturday, Weekly Zoom Open Mic, doors open at 6:30 pm.

5/29/21 Group photo:

  • Ken Balmes-Lake County poet laureate
  • Jane Tomsett–hello UK
  • Mike Breen
  • Paul Klonowski
  • Mike Reed
  • Andrew Huber
  • Randy Anderson
  • Dave Kunzweiler

5/22/21 Group photo:

5/15/21 Group Photo:

  • Ken Balmes
  • Wattle and Daub
  • Nancy Grovarek
  • Carol and John
  • Mark Lyons
  • Bobby and Melva Swigart
  • Suzy Schwartz
  • Scott Engstrom
  • Small Potatoes – Rich Prezioso and Jacquie Manning

5/8/21 Group Photo:

  • Ken Balmes
  • Tony Willis
  • Bob Maleske
  • Nancy Grovarek
  • Mark Lyons
  • Paul Klonowski
  • Jimmy Bartholomew
  • Sammy Byerly

Don’t miss it, it promises to be another great night of live music! See you there!

5/1/21 Group Photo:

This Saturday’s performers are:

  • Norm Siegel
  • Carol Obertubessing
  • Rich Nelson
  • Tricia Alexander
  • Russ and Diane Ward
  • Mike Reed
  • Jim Fine
  • Dave Kunzwieler

4/24/21 Group Photo:

4/17/21 Group Photo:

4/10/21 Group Photo:

4/3/21 Group Photo:

3/27/21 Group Photo:

3/20/21 Group Photo:

3/13/21 Group photo:

2/27/21 Group photo:

1/29/21 Group Photo

Sundays on the Square Info

Off Square Music is committed to bringing live music to the community. These free concerts are being held from 5-7 p.m. every Sunday through September. Check our website and our Facebook page to see who’s performing each week.

Sunday, September 27th will be our final outdoor concert in the series. Stay tuned for future events. We have some tentative plans for the fall and winter.

Tips are cheerfully accepted for the performers. There are two ways to tip them – by depositing cash into the tip bucket located on the ground in front of the bandstand; or by swiping the QR code with your phone. These are posted on several lamp posts around the park and also by the tip bucket. All tips go directly to the musicians.

Off Square Music thanks you for supporting live music.

Music at the Market – July

  • Saturday, July 4
    • Kishwaukee Ramblers – 9-10:00
    • Guyz with Bad Eyez – 10-12:30
  • Tuesday, July 7
    • Courtney & Chris – 9-12:30
  • Saturday, July 11
    • Big Fish – 9-12:30
  • Tuesday, July 14
    • Thingamajig – 9-11:00
    • Lara Bell – 11-12:30
  • Saturday, July 18
    • Stage Leftovers – 9-12:30
  • Tuesday, July 21
    • Cheryl and the Down Home Boys – 9-12:30
  • Saturday, July 25
    • Rachel and Jori 9-12:30
  • Tuesday, July 28
    • Mike Breen – 9-10:00
    • Sharon Arnold – 10-11:00
    • Mark Lyons – 11-12:30

NEW! Sundays on the Square

Cheryl & the Down Home Boys and Big Fish kick off Sundays on the Square on July 26, 2020 from 5-7 pm on the Bandstand.

Off Square Music is dedicated to bringing you quality entertainment every Sunday. Just download the PayPal App to your phone and scan the QR code to “virtually tip” the bands.

Enter the amount you would like to tip/donate and that’s it!

Check back here and on our Facebook Page for the scheduled performers.

“Every Saturday” Zoom Open Mic

Stage Backdrop at the Masthouse

Weekly Zoom Open Mic – July 11, 2020

Doors open at 6:30 pm – Come on in, get settled, and visit with your friends. You can also use this time to locate your Mic control, Gallery/Speaker View switch, and (Text) Chat button. Once the music begins, the host will mute all microphones. The host will still be available by text chat, as will your fellow listeners and performers. Music begins at 7:00.

How to receive an invitation to join: If you are already on the Off Square Music Open Mic mailing list, you don’t have to do anything. If you would like to be added to that mailing list, please send an email via offsquaremusic@gmail.com so you can be added to it. You will receive a weekly reminder email with the information to join “Every Saturday.”

Optimize your Zoom experience by making a couple of changes in your setup. Here are current best-practices: https://offsquaremusic.org/2020/05/set-up-for-zoom-open-mics/

Performers:

  • Dave Ashby
  • Paul “Barney” Barnicle
  • Randy Anderson
  • Stuart Thiel
  • Kent and Deb
  • Steve and Sylvia

If you would like to perform, please email offsquaremusic@gmail.com no later than noon on the Thursday before the event.  Andy Andrick will contact you when we receive your email. Please be sure to check out the Instructions for Performers on our website: https://offsquaremusic.org/2020/05/set-up-for-zoom-open-mics/

We look forward to your participation. This is a work in progress and suggestions are always welcome. 

COVID-19 and Live Music

It’s up to all of us to slow the spread of COVID-19. All of Off Square Music’s events are postponed indefinitely. Stay up-to-date with public health guidelines from cdc.gov.

On a much more positive note, because Off Square Music is dedicated to promoting and providing live music in our community, we want you to know that we are in the throes of brainstorming to ensure live music is brought to you by virtual means. Please stay tuned here and on our Facebook page. Thank you.

4th Friday Concert Series Briar Road.

This concert has been postponed. Please check back soon for the new concert date.

Briar Road, crafters of heart-felt and memorable music features Dan Zahn, Kate Moretti, Al Fyfe and Louise Brodie. These four musicians, each with a lifetime of experience, draw their inspiration from such diverse influences as Doc Watson, Django Reinhardt, Stephan Grappelli, Kenny Rogers and Ella Fitzgerald.


Together they weave an eclectic tapestry of folk, blues, jazz and swing and original music. Their unique arrangements put a stamp of originality on every tune.

Tickets will go on sale at the Woodstock Opera House Box Office.

Sundays On The Square

We’re finishing off the month of June in a truly spectacular way this Sunday 6/27. The Last Word is a celebration of collaboration, in many surprising and wonderful ways. Joined by Tricia Alexander and Diana Laffey, this will be a unique and wonderful show. Get there early for the best view. Show begins at 5 PM. Tips are cheerfully accepted at the Virtual Tip Jar signs posted around the bandstand, or in the Tip Bucket in front of the bandstand. All tips go directly to the performers. See you there!

Sundays on the Square June 27, 5-7 pm - come on out to enjoy The Last Word with Tricia Alexander and Diana Laffey.
The Last Word Quintet
with Special Guests
Tricia Alexander & Diana Laffey
The Last Word Quintet is a collaboration between four of Chicago’s best musicians and songwriters with Marc Kelly Smith, performance poet, founder of the Uptown Poetry Slam and a leader of the worldwide poetry slam movement. Marc’s performance of original and classic poetry meshes seamlessly with Al Day’s vocals and lyrics to illustrate multi-dimensional tales of urban life. With pianist Bob Long, bassist Doug Lofstrom and saxophonist Brian Gephart, the Last Word creates new worlds to be explored. As Robert Rodi wrote in New City, “it’s apparent we’re hearing an entirely new kind of poetic conversation, and it’s thrilling.” Tricia Alexander:  Award winning Performing & Healing Artist
Exquisite voice, powerful performance poet & harmonica player. Tricia’s vibrant performance style is joy-filled, uplifting & inspiring!
Diana Laffey, Vocalist Extraordinaire, Guitarist, Singer-Songwriter & Percussionist Folk, Blues, Rock, Kid’s Music – Diana’s got a little piece of it all in her heart! Together these two make musical magic!Sundays on the Square June 27, 5-7 pm – come on out to enjoy
The Last Word with Tricia Alexander and Diana Laffey.

SUNDAYS ON THE SQUARE: TODAY’S CONCERT ON THE SQUARE HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE WEATHER!

Please stay tuned for new dates!

TODAY! Sundays On The Square with The LeftOvers

Sundays on the Square features The LeftOvers in the first free concert of the season.

Sundays On The Square kicks off this season’s FREE concerts with The LeftOvers. Bring your chair and a snack! Relax in the beautiful Woodstock Square with The LeftOvers Sunday, June 6th, 5-7 pm. Off Square Music and the Woodstock Opera House bring you this free concert.

Band members are Joe Pesz, Rich Prezioso, Brian Murphy, Pete Jonsson, Les Urban, Laurel Palma and Jim Seidel.

Woodstock Opera House Spotlight Series and Off Square Music Present –

We’re Happy to be co-presenting some fine music in conjunction with the Woodstock Opera House. Streaming Live from the stage along with some subscriber interactive events along the way. https://www.woodstockoperahouse.com/operahouse/page/woh-spotlight-series


TICKETS: $20.00 Livestream Package (Includes all four Spotlight Performances)
OR $10.00 per performance

Get your tickets now!

First show Friday 2/12 at 8 PM- LIVE on your screen. See you there.

Jack Williams Show, Friday, May 28th!

Final “Live From Their House” concert this Friday,5/28/21. This time it’s a Zoom show with the incomparable Jack Williams, so it might be tough to get a re-broadcast. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED!!! It’s free, but we’re trying to cut down on the gate-crashers. Doors open at 7 PM Central, show starts at 7:30 PM. All donations to Off Square Music go directly to the performers. Thank you for your generosity. See you there! https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZwrfuuvrj8tHdVLxRImMBAhQck4H..

Stage Left Open Mics June-November 2021

Stage Left Open Mics meet second Friday of every month, Woodstock, Illinois.

Stage Left Open Mics are held on the 2nd Friday of every month from 7 – 11 p.m. at Stage Left Cafe, 125 Van Buren St. on the historic Woodstock Square. As we get underway with live events, be sure you’re on our email list for information about all our upcoming events! Sign up in the left column of any page on the site. Send your music-loving friends and family to sign up too.

Off Square Music invites musicians, singers, poets and other performers to participate in the Open Mic Nights. Whether you’re just starting out as a performer or are a seasoned veteran, Open Mic Night offers a supportive atmosphere with an exceptional performance space and sound system.

Performing slots are 15 minutes or three songs, whichever comes first. In addition, there will be a featured performer taking the stage for a 30-minute set.

You don’t have to perform to enjoy Open Mic Nights. Just come on out for the live music and Woodstock’s charming atmosphere. Off Square requests a $5.00/pp donation to support our many music activities, including Open Mic Nights.

To sign up to perform, email Mike Breen at offsquaremusic@gmail.com, Subject: Stage Left Open Mics. If you stop by an Open Mic Night early in the evening, there might even be an available slot that same night.

Upcoming Open Mic nights are:

  • June 11
  • July 9
  • August 13
  • September 10
  • October 8
  • November 12

4th Friday Concerts at Home | Don Stiernberg | Friday, March 26, 7:30 pm/CST | Livestream

America’s most beloved jazz mandolinist – Don Stiernberg, performing Live from His very Own House! Hear some very tasty licks, be soothed by his tender vocals, and check out the digs while you’re there.

Off Square Music is thrilled to present these 4th Friday concerts to you. Click on this link to go to the livestream.

After the premiere, you will be able to enjoy the video right here, in the Video Gallery on the Off Square Music website – offsquaremusic.org.

While you’re on the site, you may use the buttons in the left column of any page of the site to DONATE to Off Square Music or TIP a performer. If you’d like to receive news via email of upcoming programs and events, SUBSCRIBE using that button in the left column.

About Don

Don Stiernberg recently began his fifth decade as a working musician. Along the way he has been involved in many musical activities: performing, writing, recording, producing, and teaching, but is best known for his mandolin playing. Born and still based in Chicago, the mandolin found Don as he grew up “out in the woods” in the nearly-rural suburb of Wauconda, IL. A desire to make music with his banjo and guitar playing brother led Don to appropriate a mandolin that had been given to him. Things came into focus both mandolin and life-wise when his parents sent Don to study with Jethro Burns, famous comedian (Homer and Jethro)and the greatest mandolinist of his time. From the very first lesson, Burns was more than a teacher. He was role model, hero, mentor, and friend, and Stiernberg was hooked and hooked bad on the mandolin.His earliest professional experience was in a bluegrass band with his brother (The Morgan Bros.) and a bit later in The Jethro Burns Quartet.

Don Stiernberg livestream premieres March 26, 7:30pm/CDT
Don Stiernberg livestream premieres March 26, 7:30pm/CDT

Currently Don is regarded as a leading exponent of jazz mandolin style, and a respected teacher. The most recent of his nine recording projects is “Good Numbers”, a collection of standards and jazz tunes played by his working band, The Don Stiernberg Trio. Also released in 2016 were three online video instructional courses for Soundslice.com. The trio has performed coast to coast as well as in Germany and Brazil. Don also conveys his love of the mandolin and music at events such as The Mandolin Symposium (CA), The Swannanoa Gathering (NC), Django in June (MA), Mandolin and Guitar Camp North (MA), Steve Kaufman Acoustic Camp (TN), River of the West Mandolin Camp (OR), Cape Cod Mandolin Camp (MA), Ashokan Swing Week (NY), Accademia Internacionale di Mandolino (Italy), European Mandoline Akademy (Germany)and Momento Rio Bandolim (Brazil).