Community Sing Song Leader
The Weavers--Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger, Fred Hellerman, and Lee Hays–were America's first successful folk singing group. Their record, Tzena, Tzena/Goodnight Irene, sold two million copies in 1950, and the songs they shared with the world are still favorites for young and old: Michael Row the Boat Ashore, On Top of Old Smoky, Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, and Wimoweh and many, many more.
Time Magazine called The Weavers, "the most widely imitated group in the business," and their musical influence can still be heard in the Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul and Mary; and in every coffee house and folk club in the country. Pete Seeger, one of the original Weavers, praises the Weavermania! ensemble for its success at capturing the sound and spirit of the original group.
Barbara Barrow, who sings Ronnie Gilbert's parts, teaches voice and guitar at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music. Chris Walz, who sings Fred Hellerman's parts and plays Guitar, toured for four years with the acclaimed Special Consensus bluegrass band and was in the cast of Woody Guthrie's American Song, a theatrical production which toured nationwide for two years. Mark Dvorak, who takes on the Pete Seeger persona and plays banjo and guitar, is an award-winning recording artist who follows in the footsteps of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Art Thieme.
Michael Smith, who sings the bass parts of Lee Hays, has extensive experience as a songwriter, concert artist, and recording artist. Two of Smith's best- known songs, The Dutchman and Spoon River, have entered the pantheon of standard folk repertoire. He is also known as the composer of the musical score for The Grapes of Wrath, and Smith was a member of the original award- winning Steppenwolf Theatre cast, touring with that show for more than three years.
Weavermania! conceived by Michael Smith and Barbara Barrow, has performed to enthusiastic crowds at art centers, folk festivals and music clubs in the United States since 1999.