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."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
This week’s performers are:
John and Carol
If you’d like to perform, please contact Andy Andrick, email@example.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
5/22/21 Group photo:
5/15/21 Group Photo:
Wattle and Daub
Carol and John
Bobby and Melva Swigart
Small Potatoes – Rich Prezioso and Jacquie Manning
5/8/21 Group Photo:
Don’t miss it, it promises to be another great night of live music! See you there!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org so you can be added to it. You will receive a weekly reminder email with the information to join “Every Saturday.”
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.
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 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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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).
Off Square Music is thrilled to present these 4th Friday concerts to you. You can enjoy the video right here, on the Off Square Music website: offsquaremusic.org (or click on the image in the right column). While you’re here, you may use the buttons in the right column of every page of the site to donate to Off Square Music or to tip the performer.
And now about our guest performer, Bill Camplin
Bill Camplin, co-owner with Kitty Welch of Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, contributes greatly to the folk music scene in Wisconsin and beyond. He kicks off our 4th Friday Concerts at Home series. Bill is a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist, playing professionally in the Milwaukee area since the late 1960s. Bill writes and arranges his own material and has produced a considerable body of work. He has appeared regularly at various clubs including the Blue River Café, Numero Unos, The Crystal Palace, The Avante Garde and the 19th Street Coffee House. Live performances with the Bill Camplin Band can be seen on Facebook, Reverbnation and on YouTube. Call the Café Carpe at 920-563 -9391, email email@example.com or go to cdbaby.com to order Bill’s CDs. You’ll also enjoy The Bill Camplin Band’s CD, “Reunion at Ebbott’s Barn.” Bill’s songs, “Village of Kindness” and “Inspiration” invite us to think and dream about kindness and follow the inspiration of people we admire.Off Square Music is excited to feature artists that have performed for us before such as Bill Camplin. He has performed in the past for both the Woodstock Folk Festival and Off Square Music. To sign up for the Café Carpe events email list, go to cafecarpe.com. In-house events are cancelled, but you can check for live-streamed events. Many fans are eagerly awaiting the day when we can go to concerts in the listening room, dine in the café and have a drink in the bar!
What folks say about Bill
“When I think of Bill, I experience his warm voice and gentle guitar that pierces the heart in the night.” ~ Corky Siegel
“Bill is one of THE nicest club owners on the planet, with a keep love of music, and a strong commitment to bringing the best music to Ft. Atkinson, WI. Warm-hearted, generous, and slightly surreal, he and Kitty provide the most simpatico and copasetic vibes possible at Café Carpe, along with great food. Not to mention his great singing voice that I wouldn’t mind hearing more of! Bill, my hat is off to you, even though it’s REALLY cold out there now!” ~ Howard Levy
Bill Camplin is one of my favorite songwriters and performers! His percussive guitar and innovative interpretations of cover songs are second only to his original material. Musician, club owner, head cook or human being, Bill is one of the best! ~ Tricia Alexander
“What can I say about Bill Camplin that you haven’t already heard on your police scanner? Well, when he’s not running from the law, he is singing soulful renditions of his own songs, delivering inventive interpretations other others’ material (most notable Bob Dylan), and accompanying himself on his Martin guitars. He makes a mean jambalaya in the galley kitchen of the beloved Café Carpe in Ft. Atkinson, WI. He is a longtime dear friend and colleague, but if you happen to see him, please remind him he owes me forty bucks.” ~ Randy Sabien“
I have been a follower of Bill Camplin’s music for over a decade. I love to sit in the dimmed lights of the listening room at the Café Carpe and get lost in Bill’s performances. He is one of those rare performing artists who seems to become one with the song–whether his own or a cover arrangement–and, in becoming one with the music, he invites us into that experience as well. To be carried away by Bill’s music is not an escape so much as a journey of emotion and ideas. With Bill, it seems to me that it’s about the music, the art; his guitar playing and singing serve the songs, amplifying their power and beauty. As a singer myself, I have extra appreciation for Bill’s vocals. His strong, passionate voice, gorgeous and true, masterfully conveys all that each song has to say, fulfilling a promise to us as listeners and, also I believe to the Muse, to Art itself. I feel enormously grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy his concerts, and even learn a thing or two from him over the years.” ~ Kaia Fowler
“Bill Camplin is well known as a singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist. He was an integral part of the Milwaukee acoustic folk scene for many years and is also proprietor (along with Kitty Welch) of the World Famous Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson. The club attracts people on the singer-songwriter circuit, and has gained a national reputation among songwriters. ” ~ Wisconsin Public Radio
Remember, if you’d like to tip our performer, Bill Camplin, or donate to Off Square Music, you may use the buttons in the right column of every page of the site, offsquaremusic.org.
Roaring reels, haunting airs, lively jigs, and songs old and new- get a dose of the real thing for St. Patrick’s Day!
The fiddle and guitar duo Karen Reshkin and Mike O’Regan love traditional Irish music-the driving reels and jigs, the haunting airs, the songs in Irish Gaelic and in English. They play and sing a wide variety of that music, from the 17th to the 21st century, in both traditional and newly-created arrangements, sharing the power, flexibility, excitement, and sheer joy of the tradition.
TICKETS: $10.00 Livestream Individual Ticket & $20.00 Livestream Package (Includes all four Spotlight Performances)
Off Square Music & the Woodstock Opera House will present “An acoustic evening with Mark Dvorak” on Friday, February 12th at 8:00 pm CST. The very special “Live & Live Stream” event will take place from the historic Woodstock Opera House, 121 W. Van Buren Street.
“The Woodstock Opera House contacted us about co-hosting a series of acoustic shows,” said Off Square Music board member Rich Prezioso. We’ll have a small audience in-house and live stream using three mounted cameras and a hand held. It should make for pretty exciting evening.”
The presentation will also feature conversation and interaction between artist, audience and curators Prezioso and Joe Pesz, who is a writer, producer and musician from Island Lake IL.
“Mark and I have been crossing paths for decades on the acoustic circuit,” said Prezioso. “He was the first we reached out to for this series, and we’re thrilled he is able to join us for our kickoff event.”
Three of the top bluegrass musicians in the Chicago area, Rob Anderlik, Pat Otto and Mike Church first met at late night jam session and felt a deep musical connection from the moment they played together. Even better, they discovered they shared a wide range of musical interests, ranging from Southern and Classic Rock, Blues, Swing, Jazz Standards, Cinematic Instrumentals, Folk Music and of course, Bluegrass. They formed a trio in 2015 and quickly built a reputation as one of the most versatile acoustic bands in the Midwest.
TICKETS: $10.00 Livestream Individual Ticket & $20.00 Livestream Package (Includes all four Spotlight Performances)