Society marks 59th season with Museum Opening Gala June 3

Historic Instruments of Illinois

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Monday, April 5, 2021 - 7:00pm

APRIL 5th — Chris Vallillo, a singer/songwriter and folklorist from Macomb, has restored and collected Illinois stringed instruments for more than 30 years. He will discuss the development of Illinois instrument building as he performs period music on more than a dozen historic instruments – from handmade masterpieces to $3 mail-order gems.

A self-taught musician who learned to play slide on a $2 turn-of-the-century parlor guitar with a warped neck, Vallillo cuts his own bottleneck slides by hand. He typically performs on six-string and bottleneck guitars, as well as harmonica. But Vallillo also has a passion for the past – restoring vintage instruments. His 2013 release, "The Last Day of Winter," featured 16 vintage instruments from his collection.

From homemade dulcimers and fiddles to mass produced guitars, banjo’s, mandolins and pianos, Illinois –specifically Chicago – has been deeply involved in the creation and production of stringed musical instruments. After the Great Fire of 1871, as Chicago began to re-build, it quickly became a national center in musical instrument manufacturing, sales and distribution, particularly with the introduction of the mail order catalogs like Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Wards. From well known name brands like Lyon and Healey, Washburn, Regal, Kay and Harmony to a wealth of small but influential shops such as the Larson Brothers, it was Chicago, more than any other city in the world, that put musical instruments in the hands of players of all levels.

To register click HERE.

Made possible by a grant from Illinois Humanities.

Upcoming events

Valor Quilt presentation

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 2:00pm

Museum Opening 2022

Friday, June 3, 2022 - 5:00pm

Vintage Base Ball Match

Saturday, June 11, 2022 - 2:00pm

FREE WEEK for residents of Algonquin

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, June 15, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, June 17, 2022 - 1:00pm
Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - 1:00pm
Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 1:00pm
Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 1:00pm
Friday, June 24, 2022 - 1:00pm

FREE WEEK for residents of Algonquin

Saturday, June 18, 2022 - 11:45am
Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 11:45am

35th Annual Heritage Fair

Sunday, July 10, 2022 - 9:00am

Heritage Fair Car Show

Sunday, July 10, 2022 - 9:00am

Vintage Base Ball Match

Saturday, July 30, 2022 - 2:00pm