Halftime with Billie J Comedy
Billie J’s original stories are told with humor and theatrics. Drawing on fifty plus years of experience in too many jobs to count, many family situations, and multiple life lessons. You can’t believe all the material that just falls in her lap! From childhood blunders, to marriage of 30 years to the same man, and two grown children, Billie J has more than enough in her collection to entertain for hours!
David sings, plays over a dozen instruments, teaches private music lessons, and conducts workshops, most notably in harmonica. Combining his passions for music, history, and storytelling, David has presented Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau programs since 1997. He is a master artist with the Nebraska Arts Council’s Artist in Schools/Communities Residency Program (over 30 years).
“Nebraska Territory Stories”
In this upbeat presentation David performs folk music that existed at the time Nebraska became a state on March 1, 1867. Between tunes he discusses how these songs provide glimpses into history by telling stories of life during the 13 years before Nebraska statehood. This cheerful show works particularly well for family audiences as it has opportunities for volunteers to come up front and participate. Instruments featured are banjo, harmonica, whistles, and mountain dulcimer.
“Train Songs and Tales”
What is it about trains that so easily engages one’s imagination? Climb aboard with David as he shares a variety of railroad inspired songs and stories that offer peeks into the past from a wide variety of points of view. This upbeat excursion is accompanied by guitar, banjo, ukulele, harmonicas, whistles, and a sing-along or two. Songs include “Wabash Cannonball”, “John Henry”, “Wreck of the Old ‘97”, “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”, “Freight Train”, “Rock Island Line”, and “City of New Orleans”, amongst others.
Barbara Lepke-Sims, Professional Harpist
Barbara W. Lepke-Sims is an active and well-known professional harpist in the Denver area since she earned her Master of Music at The Juilliard School in 1978 studying under Susann McDonald.
Barbara is currently an Affiliate Professor of Applied Harp at Colorado Christian University and Regis University and also teaches out of her home.
Barbara performs in many capacities as a soloist, with chamber ensembles and as a regular member or guest of many orchestras and choirs in Colorado. President George H. W. Bush called Barbara the Harpist of the Presidents because of her experience playing for Presidents, Dignitaries and VIPs.
She has been very active in the American Harp Society having served as Chairman of the Board, Chairman of the 1988 National AHS Conference in Denver and in many other roles over the past 30 years. In 2019, Barbara was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of the USA International Harp Competition (USAIHC). She is currently serving as Vice-President.
Barbara’s passion for playing the harp has evolved to serve others in a healthcare setting. Since 2009, when she graduated as a Certified Music Practitioner, she has played at many local healthcare facilities. Barbara is currently the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP) Colorado Area Coordinator and has also served on the MHTP Board of Directors and National Program Council.
Rebekah recently graduated summa cum laude from Chadron State College and was honored for her outstanding work in Rangeland Management. She grew up on a small farm near Grand Island and was home schooled, which allowed her to follow her two passions, music and horse training.
From the time she was small, her goal was to become an organist. Her first piano teacher also played the organ, and over the five years she took lessons, gave Rebekah an introduction to the organ as well as honing her skills on the piano. Rebekah then studied under Sharon Pfenstiel from 2012 to 2016, studying the piano for two years and the organ for three years. In 2016, she attended a beginner organ workshop at Concordia Theological Seminary at Fort Wayne and later took an advanced organ workshop class at Concordia. She continued her music training at CSC under Dr. Hafey from 2018 through 2020.
During her college years she participated in the Keyboard Ensemble in 2018-2019. She played the cymbals in the Drum Line as well as the bass drum. Rebekah served as the student leader for the drum line from 2021-2022. She played percussion in the CSC community band and wind symphony 2019- 2022
Rebekah started serving as organist for churches in 2014 and has played for worship services and funerals from Grand Island to Harrison
Gifted with a beautiful singing voice, she sang in church choirs from 2012 to 2018 and sang in the CSC Concert Choir in 2019. She loves to perform and taught herself to play the gutar. She is truly a master of many instruments.
Gordon-Rushville Cheer Team
We are excited to have the Gordon-Rushville school cheer team and tumblers join the festival for performances on the Community Stage and outside at the Gazebo!