University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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Mark Revenson to Present Jewish Music
And History at UW-Eau Claire

 MAILED:  April 21, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — Mark Revenson, a highly praised and popular performer known as “Lil’ Rev,” will perform “The Jews of Tin Pan Alley” at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, in Schofield Auditorium.

Performing on banjo, guitar, ukulele, mandolin, harmonica and recorder, Revenson will highlight the work of such well-known Jewish performers as Sophie Tucker, Fanny Brice, Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, the Gershwins and Irving Berlin. A music researcher as well as a performer, Revenson will include in his presentation stories and explanations of the development of the music. His performance piece, which was developed for the International Arts Festival Celebrating Jewish Heritage held in Milwaukee in 2000, is based on research he conducted funded by grants from the Jewish Community Foundation and the Helen and Bernard Soref Philanthropic Fund.

Revenson will explore the tremendous impact that the Tin Pan Alley music industry has had on American popular culture and the overwhelming predominance of Jews in the industry. At least as crucial to the industry’s success as the famous performers and song writers were the sheet-music publishers, song pluggers, lyricists and arrangers — many of them Jews — who turned American music into big business. Revenson also will discuss one of Tin Pan Alley’s greatest achievements — its popularization of African-American music forms such as ragtime, the blues and jazz.

Revenson earned a bachelor’s degree in community education from UW-Milwaukee in 1993 and then traveled around the country for seven years performing at music, folk and art festivals, coffee houses, and other venues. He has studied a wide variety of music genres, including the music of Tin Pan Alley, blues, folk, Celtic music, labor songs, polkas and waltzes, and various newspaper reviews have noted both the breadth of his musical knowledge and his ability to educate his audiences.

Revenson has received a number of awards, including the 1996 Hohner National Blues Harmonica Champion; 1996 and 1997 Shepherd Express Readers’ Choice Best Acoustic Act in Milwaukee; and the Wisconsin Area Music Industry award for best acoustic act in 1996, 1997 and 2000. He was inducted into the Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003.
Revenson also teaches music at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School and American popular music and history (with a special emphasis on the blues) at UW-Milwaukee.

The concert is supported by the UW-Eau Claire Academic Affairs Professional Development Program, and the departments of music and theatre arts, geography and anthropology, and history.

Admission is free. For more information, contact Dr. Helaine Minkus, associate professor of anthropology, at (715) 836-5481.


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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Updated: April 20, 2004