Signature Sponsor
Coal Miner Songs to Be Celebrated September 17


September 15, 2023 - The Illinois and Michigan Canal boat in La Salle will be the site of music and history Sunday, Sept. 17.

The Canal Corridor Association is hosting a free Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau presentation from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. entitled “Down in the Mine: American Coal Miners and Their Songs, 1890-1960″ by Bucky Halker.

Coal miners in Illinois and the rest of the U.S. have a tradition of writing poetry and music related to their occupation. This program brings that tradition to the forefront through the combination of music performance (guitar and vocal) and spoken commentary, placing this important folk tradition in a broader historical context and offers details on coal mining, coal-miner bards and songwriters, early country music and individual songs.

Halker is a songwriter, performer and historian with 15 albums, including “Anywhere But Utah: Songs of Joe Hill” (2015), a musical tribute to martyred labor songwriter Joe Hill (1879-1915), and “The Ghost of Woody Guthrie” (2012), an original music tribute to the legendary folksinger.    

Registration is required, as seats are limited. Sign up for this and other 175th canal anniversary events at the Lock 16 Visitor Center, 754 First St., La Salle, or visit the event calendar at