Music

Performing at Opera House, Megon McDonough touts Woodstock Folk Festival

Megon McDonough will perform "A Girl & Her Guitar" at 8 p.m. July 17 at the Woodstock Opera House as part of the Woodstock Folk Festival.
Megon McDonough will perform "A Girl & Her Guitar" at 8 p.m. July 17 at the Woodstock Opera House as part of the Woodstock Folk Festival.

From her teenage years opening for acts such as John Denver, Steve Martin and Harry Chapin to her Four Bitchin’ Babes folk group, Megon McDonough always has sought to create music with meaning.

That’s the type of music she intends to perform July 16 when she takes the Woodstock Opera House Stage as a sort of kick-off to a day’s worth of performances July 17 on the Woodstock Square and at nearby Stage Left Café during the Woodstock Folk Festival.

From the heartfelt to the funny to the poetic, the music of the Woodstock Folk Festival – with acts such as Tret Fure, Hounds of Finn, Woody Pines and more – aims to entice people of all ages.

“What’s particularly sweet about the Woodstock Folk Festival is that the charm of the Square will always have a very special and warm place in my heart,” said McDonough, who grew up on the outskirts of Crystal Lake as the seventh of nine children and now lives in Wilmette, serving as the director of music for the Unity Northwest Church in Des Plaines.

“This is music that is music with meaning,” she said of the festival.

McDonough will perform at 8 p.m. July 16 at the Opera House, with tickets costing $23. The Woostock Folk Festival will take place from noon to 6 p.m. July 17. Donations of $15 for adults, $25 for a family and $10 for students and seniors are suggested.

In its 31st year, the festival includes a diverse lineup on the Woodstock Square, along with a children’s area with hands-on crafts and activities, as well as an open mic stage at Stage Left Café.

Presenting “A Girl & Her Guitar,” McDonough describes her show as a musical memoir, a variation of an actual musical memoir she’s written called “How Ringo Saved Me From a Life in the Convent.” Yes, she was inspired by The Beatles growing up.

She’s performed folk music since an early age, winning a WLS radio talent contest at age 14. Among the prizes was a recording contract with Mercury Records.

Through the years, she’s released 13 solo albums and is best known for her song “Amazing Things.”

Along with The Beatles, she said her love of music – folk music in particular – grew out of hearing Janice Ian’s “Society’s Child” on pop radio.

“I became a folk singer when I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, the lyrics are so important,’” she said.

At the Opera House show, she said she intends to intertwine her music with stories of her past and present.

“With the events of the past weeks, years, I think music with meaning is more important than ever,” she said. “Connecting to the music and stories is what this show is really about.”

    MEGON McDONOUGH – "A GIRL & HER GUITAR"

WHEN: 8 p.m. July 16

WHERE: Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St., Woodstock

COST & INFO: A musical journey of her career, starting with her early influences – the Beatles, Carole King, Joni Mitchell – followed by some of her own folk songs, ranging from the hilarious (such as the ones she recorded with the group The Four Bitchin’ Babes) to heartfelt hits such as “Amazing Things.” Tickets: $23 all seats. Tickets and information: 815-338-5300 or www.woodstockoperahouse.com.

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