MCC program to explore music, history of blues culture

Enjoy a lecture and live music presentation of the spirituals, work songs, and slave songs that evolved into the blues at McHenry County College’s next Experts and Insights speaker series at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the college’s Luecht Auditorium, 8900 Northwest Hwy., Crystal Lake. “A History of Blues Culture” will be presented by Music instructor Pat Gaughan and violin teacher Nancy Maio.

The session will explore the role that oppression played in the development of the blues, from slavery to Jim Crow laws and civil rights struggles. It will also cover the Delta blues style, the migration North, and the development into the classic blues.

“Music expresses the feelings and beliefs we are experiencing at the time it is created,” said Gaughan. “The music that was written and performed during slavery and the Jim Crow era expresses feelings of oppression, sadness, and hope through its melodies and lyrics.”

Gaughan teaches World Music and guitar at MCC as an adjunct Music faculty and through Community Education. She received her Bachelor of Music from the American Conservatory of Music and her master’s in music from Northern Illinois University. Pat performs vocals and guitar on the folk music circuit throughout the Midwest with fiddler Maio.

Maio is a violin teacher and performs with several local orchestras including the Racine Symphony, the Festival City Symphony, and the Wisconsin Philharmonic. She is also a sought-after Irish Step Dance competition musician.

The session is free and open to the public. Registration is requested but walk-ins are welcome.

The next Experts and Insights session will be “Bad Boys: Why We Love (and Need) the Movie Villain” on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.

Interested participants can register and learn more at If you need an accommodation or a sign language interpreter, contact MCC’s Access and Disability Services department at (815) 455-8766 or

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