Recollections of a riverboat captain, a ukulele performance of “Proud Mary” and the audience singing of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” are among the highlights of a program that will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, at the Bettendorf Public Library.
Titled “Q-C Water Lore,” the program is a celebration of the community’s connection to water and the Mississippi River. It was developed by information librarian Hedy Hustedde.
The evening will begin with refreshments — fish-shaped cookies and water — and then move into members of the community telling personal stories of their connections to water in general or the Mississippi River, plus readings by winners of the program’s essay and poetry contests.
Winners of the songwriting contest also will perform, including Ellis Kell, perhaps the best-known guitar player in the Quad-Cities, and Nick Vasques of the Davenport-based blues-funk-soul band The Candymakers, who tied for first place in that category.
The winner of the youth essay contest was Jake Byrne, a 14-year-old Davenport Central High School student. He has been writing short stories for about two years and has compiled three short books, bound with plastic coils, about the adventures of secret agent chimpanzees.
“They are widely appreciated by my friends and family,” he said.
For his winning essay, he wrote about ripples.
Contest judge Lirim Neziroski, an English professor from Black Hawk College in Moline, said Byrne’s essay “presents a new way of thinking” about ripples using sustained personification.
The winner of the adult essay contest was Roger Pavey, a LeClaire resident who is the executive director of Community Action of Eastern Iowa, a social service agency in Davenport.
His essay is about a young boy wandering along a fog-shrouded river on a November morning when he should be going to school.
Contest judge Michael Hustedde, an English professor at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, said Pavey caught him with the opening paragraph and transported him “to the conflict we all face between formal education in a classroom and the education our world provides if we open our eyes.”
Pavey’s other work has included a historical fiction novel about the Black Hawk War.
Community representatives with stories to share will include Mik Holgersson, who has researched turtles in Davenport’s Nahant Marsh; Roald Tweet, the originator of the radio program “Rock Island Lines,” and his musical partner Chris Dunn; and Harry “Duke” Pelton, a riverboat captain.
Music will be provided by Bee Sharp, the men’s a capella ensemble from St. Ambrose University in Davenport; the Quad-City Ukulele Club; Dwayne Hodges of Davenport, singing his rendition of “Ol’ Man River,” and Jon Eric, an Iowa City banjoist.
The water lore program is a component of the Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion series presented by the library and River Action Inc. It was made possible with funding from the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute with local support from the Friends of the Bettendorf Public Library, River Action and Augustana Public Radio station WVIK-FM.