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University of Iowa News Release


May 12, 2009

Dan Zanes returns with free Memorial Day family concert to support Hancher

Dan Zanes and Friends, featuring the king of Romper Rock, will present a free family concert to support the future of the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium at 3 p.m. Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, in Iowa City's Upper City Park.

Audience members should bring their own lawn chairs or blankets.

Zanes was one of the 2005 artists in "SPOT: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure," including residencies and performances in Marshalltown, Perry and Spencer, as well as Iowa City/Coralville.

He first came to public attention as the leader of the Del Fuegos, the popular '80s garage band out of Boston, but he left the rock 'n' roll world in the 1990s to record and perform for children and families -- including appearances on "Sesame Street," "Noggin" and "Playhouse Disney."

He's described as "a 21st-century version of the guy who in the old days used to conduct the town band from the gazebo, though in lieu of a gazebo he's playing places like Carnegie Hall and the Melbourne International Arts Festival, where no matter how you say it, good music is good. He is a ringmaster, introducing new songs and reconnecting people to songs that have always been there, and still are -- it's just that people forgot about them."

It was the New York Times Magazine that labeled Zanes' new venture "Romper Rock," a folk-tinged, roots-rock sound that led the Boston Herald critic to observe that his show is one of "those rare children's concerts where the grownups clearly (have) as much fun as their (kids)." His recordings have featured guests including Sheryl Crow, Rosanne Cash, Loudon Wainwright and Suzanne Vega, and he has also authored picture books for children.

The Dan Zanes and Friends "Catch That Train!" won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for Children. His guests on that CD include the Kronos Quartet, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Father Goose and the children of South Africa's Agape Orphanage.

His latest album, "The Welcome Table: Songs of Inspiration, Mystery and Good Times," is a collection of recordings of tunes drawn primarily from North American gospel traditions, assembled to create awareness for the New Sanctuary Movement -- an interfaith coalition responding to the suffering of our immigrants living in the United States.

Learn more at

Free-will donations will be accepted at the event, and donations can also be made online at

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For UI arts information and calendar updates visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.


STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell), 319-338-4274 (home)