Fifty-three people came to Friday at the Ford at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library to hear Curtis & Loretta play a mixture of folk and original songs. About of half of them were fans who had previously heard the duo at the library or at other Chicago area locations. Though they hail from St. Paul, Minnesota, the duo plays the area two or three times a year. Before each trip they send postcards and emails to their fan list. I surveyed people as they arrived for the concert. Nearly a third of the attendees mentioned C&L's effective concert announcements.
Though it was a cold night, the crowd was warm and receptive. And Curtis and Loretta entertained them with lively stories and song. The couple often begin their concerts with Irish music, but they turned to a sing-along Yiddish folksong "Tum Balalaika" Friday in memory of Luba Tryszynska-Frederick who died in Miami on Wednesday. Luba, who saved the lives of fifty-two children in a Jewish concentration camp during World War II, was the subject of their song "Angel of Bergen-Belsen," which they sang next. Loretta completed the tribute with a song that Luba taught her "Tell Me Where Can I Go?"
Then C&L turned to the Irish song "A Health to the Company." Most of the songs that followed are found on their compact disc Just My Heart for You. Several times they invited people to sing along, too. In the course of the evening, they brought out an Irish harp, guitars, a mandocello, steel ukulele, banjo, and kazoo. They finished their set with Curtis's humorous "Ain't No Bugs on Me."
After the concert they chatted with the audience and sold a good number of CDs, which is not a given at our concerts. People only buy CDs at free admission concerts if they really liked the music a lot. Our Friday at the Ford concerts are funded by the Western Springs Library Friends.
If you get a chance to hear Curtis & Loretta, take it.