Up in the U.P. : A Musical Tribute to the Iron Miners - Bill Jamerson
Upper Peninsula based singer/storyteller Bill Jamerson will present an hour-long program of songs and stories about life in the iron mining towns of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at the Plum Lake Public Library in Sayner, on Tuesday, August 1 at 1 pm. The program is free and open to the public. The presentation is as entertaining as it is important; as honest as it is fun. It's about people both ordinary and extraordinary, with stories of strength, wit and charm. Jamerson calls the Upper Peninsula “The Alaska of the Midwest,” due to its isolation and retention of ethnic traditions.
Dressed as an iron miner with guitar in hand, Jamerson performs original songs and tells stories about the early immigrants, their work in the mines, growing up as a child during The Great Depression, ski jumping stories, the many uses of a sauna, pasty’s as the food of choice for the miners and stories about the ethnic traditions. These stories are similar to those found in Wisconsin mining communities like Niagara and Montreal.
Some of the songs Jamerson performs include The Flying Bietila’s which is about six Finnish ski jumping brothers from Ishpeming. Born to be a Miner tells the story of a youth growing up in Negaunee during The Great Depression. Thimbleberry Jam is about two brothers who visit their grandmother’s boarding house in Republic with pails of berries. New Americans describes the different immigrant groups that settled in the iron ranges and Miners Lunch tells how children brought pasties to their fathers at the iron mines at lunchtime. The songs range from heart-warming ballads to foot stomping jigs.
The Ontonagon Herald calls Jamerson, “The Upper Peninsula’s troubadour.” He also presents “History through Song” programs about lumberjacks and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Jamerson wrote a novel about the Civilian Conservation Corps, produced eleven PBS films on Michigan history and has recorded CD’s of songs. For more information about his performance, please contact the library at 542-2020 or visit his website at billjamerson.com.