Valentine’s Event | The Black Velvet Band

Celebrate Valentine’s Day Early

Sunday, February 12, 2017 | 3:00pm

Refreshments and Fun for All!

Suggested Donation |$10 per person


 “Her eyes, they shown like diamonds, you’d think she was queen of the land,

 With her hair thrown over her shoulders, tied up with a black velvet band.”

The headwaters of the Black Velvet Band were at an annual St. Patrick’s Day party in Maquoketa, where Rob Deegan, Chuck Jorgensen and friends strummed and sang songs of the season in the misty ‘70s. Over the decades there were many people who sat in with them at those parties, and eventually a loose group of minstrels started sharing their music in other community venues. In 1997 we took our name from one of our favorite songs, and BVB was born. During those years we were fearless, playing a wide variety of private and public venues in and around Maquoketa just for the joy of sharing music. Eventually our playbooks were stuffed with over 300 songs that we’d performed, expanding the scope of our music beyond our Celtic origins into the American folk and folk-style traditions as well as our own material.

By 2002 the cast of characters stabilized at six: Rob and Chuck with their guitars, Curt Lichter playing bass, Dan Caraway on mandolin, Dale Kilburg and his box of harmonicas, David Manning with flute, whistles, banjo and autoharp, and everyone singing. Each of us have stretched our comfort zones learning new instruments and styles, and each brings essential skills and talents to the on-going party that is BVB (which, in case it isn’t obvious, is all about us having fun).

Producing a CD in 2009 fundamentally changed our band. Live audiences, especially noisy ones, are often forgiving. The recording process, by contrast, is cruel, forcing us to listen to ourselves critically. We had to carefully choose our songs, arrange them to suit us, and improve our performance technique. Curt and Dan brought past recording experience to the studio and got us through it and back to live performance. Rob’s continuing decline and death in 2012 were hard times for us all, but his spirit lives on in the band.  We have continued to pare down our song list but invest more of ourselves in each one. Lately we’ve been working on new material, a process that we love almost as much as performing.