Charlotte Folk Society logo celebrating 30 years

Dedicated to promoting the ongoing enjoyment and preservation of traditional and contemporary folk music, dance, crafts and lore in the Carolinas Piedmont,
since 1982.

October 10th CFS Gathering
Features Sparky & Rhonda Rucker!


Friday Evening, 7:30 PM

The Charlotte Folk Society is pleased to present Sparky & Rhonda Rucker in concert at our next Gathering on Friday, October 10th.  Please join us in the beautiful listening room of the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in the edge of Uptown Charlotte.  The evening gets underway at 7:30 PM.  Doors open at 7 PM; arrive early to be sure of admission.

SparkyRhondaSeated

Sparky & Rhonda Rucker

The husband-and-wife duo of Sparky & Rhonda Rucker perform throughout the United States, as well as overseas, singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition.  In doing so, they share with their audiences the history of our nation.  Sparky Rucker has been performing over forty years and is internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller, and author.  He accompanies himself with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, banjo, and spoons.  Rhonda Rucker is a musician, children's author, storyteller, and songwriter.  Her blues-style harmonica, piano, old-time banjo, and bones add musical versatility to their performances.  She and Sparky began performing together in 1989.  Visit their website at http://www.sparkyandrhonda.com/.

A concert by Sparky and Rhonda Rucker is a testament to the ongoing struggle for liberty in the United States.  Their October 10th program, which showcases their most recent CD, Let Freedom Ring, includes songs and stories that trace the nation’s history from slavery and the Underground Railroad, through women’s suffrage and the founding of the United Mine Workers of America, to the Civil Rights Movement. 

Sparky and Rhonda have performed at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C., as well as on NPR's On Point, Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, and Morning Edition.  Their recording Treasures & Tears was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award, and their music is also included on the Grammy-nominated anthology, Singing Through the Hard Times.  The Ruckers have been featured tellers at the International Storytelling Center and Festival and their performing credits include the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, the Clearwater Folk Festival, the Vancouver Folk Festival, the National Folk Festival of Australia, and the Robert Johnson Memorial Blues Festival.


Stranger Blues

James “Sparky” Rucker grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and began playing guitar at age eleven.  His mother and father raised him to love singing.  He is descended from a long line of Church of God, Sanctified, preachers and law enforcement officers, and his sense of justice stems from both traditions.  Sparky got his start in folk music in the 1950s during the Civil Rights Movement, marching shoulder-to-shoulder with SNCC Freedom Singers Matthew and Marshall Jones and playing freedom songs at rallies alongside such luminaries as Guy Carawan and Pete Seeger.  He brings an authenticity to the music that can only be obtained by first-hand experience.  Pete Seeger said it best:  "Sparky Rucker is unique!  He'll make you glad to be alive and struggling."


Reubens Train

Rhonda Hicks Rucker grew up in Louisville, Kentucky.  She began taking piano lessons at the age of four from Fannie Woods Mansfield, an elderly woman who was both a ragtime composer and an organist at the local Baptist Church.  Mrs. Mansfield's influence is evident in Rhonda's barrelhouse piano playing as well as her rocking gospel melodies.  Rhonda practiced medicine as a board-certified internist before becoming a full-time musician, storyteller, and author.  Her debut novel, Swing Low, Sweet Harriet, was published by Motes Books in October 2013.  The book is based on Harriet Tubman’s work as a spy and scout during the Civil War when she helped lead African American soldiers on the Combahee River raid in South Carolina. 
Free parking is available in the surface lot adjacent to the Stella Center and in the Fourth Street county government deck, accessed from the surface lot as well as from Fourth Street.  Elizabeth Avenue is now open from both the Kings Drive and the McDowell Street intersections.  Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the building.  Drivers may park temporarily to discharge passengers needing that entrance; a CFS volunteer is available to assist those folks into the building.


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The Blue & Gray in Black & White

Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to our presenting concerts in the Stella Center.  Refreshments, a song circle, a slow old-time jam, and the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club follow the hour-long concert.  Visitors are welcome to take part in activities or simply enjoy listening.

Don’t miss this special concert!  The Ruckers’ performances are powerful, entertaining, and educational, all at the same time.  See you there!

Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to our presenting concerts in the Stella Center.  Refreshments, a song circle, a slow old-time jam, and the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club follow the hour-long concert.  Visitors are welcome to take part in activities or simply enjoy listening.

Arts & Science Council / NC Arts Logo

CFS Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.