Open Mic Night Returns to Tree of Life

Haystacks Open Mic is now Tree of Life Coffee House


Hello Performers,

Tree of Life UUC Open Mic is back, and will be live on January 12th, from 7-10! Musicians, tellers of funny stories, and poets are all welcome to take the stage. We have a grand piano, a PA, amps, and 3 microphones available, or you can bring your own. Our music director, Forrest Ransburg, will be running sound.

Of course, there will be free coffee, tea, and soft drinks, and we hope you will bring your friends!

We have a limited number of 10 minute slots.  Sign up by January 1st at to get yours!  Please arrive by 6:45 to check in. Update: We are completely booked. Now we just need a big audience for these fine performers. There is never a cover charge for our coffee house although we do take a free will offering to help cover the costs.

If you have questions, email or call Tree of Life UUC at 815-322-2464.

We look forward to seeing you there!

The Music Committee at Tree of Life UUC

5603 West Bull Valley Road

McHenry, IL 60050


Jim Scott in Concert October 28, 2016

jim3Pete Seeger calls him “some kind of a magician”. Jim is a composer and musical activist.

For more than three decades, Jim Scott has made it his business to create and perform music that celebrates the earth. His songs and poetry have inspired and educated audiences around the world. He has developed presentations for every age group and crafted songs that sensitize his listeners to the beauty of the earth, teaching principles of ecology in memorable verses.

“The Earth and Spirit Songbook” is an anthology of 110 songs of earth and peace, arranged and edited by Jim, including songs by many contemporary songwriters with some of his own.  From his work with the Paul Winter Consort where he co-wrote the celebrated Missa Gaia – Earth Mass and many other pieces, including his “A Song for the Earth,” recorded live at the United Nations on the album Concert for the Earth, Jim has gone on to create an extensive body of work.  His recordings “Earth, Sky, Love and Dreams” and “Sailing with the Moon” include many of his eco-anthems.

In songs, choral music, instrumental soundtracks for several documentaries and the PBS series “Body and Soul”, Jim continues to make music with a depth of artistry and craft that separates his music from that of many other singer songwriters.  Jim has also ventured into musical theater. His musical “The Tree and Me” has been given full cast productions in Jamestown, New York, and Albion, Michigan, and its songs have become anthems for activists and educators. “The Rainforest Song”, written in a workshop with elementary students, has been published by Hal Leonard Publishers. “Plant More Than You Harvest” was included in a Sony Kids CD “Put On Your Green Shoes”.

As Co-Chair of the Unitarian Universalist Seventh Principle Project, Jim helped to create the “Green Sanctuary” program and accompanying handbook for building an ecological/spiritual awareness in church congregations. He performs many benefit concerts and often appears at events, supporting environmental causes with his music.

And now Jim Scott is coming to Tree of Life to perform a Pete Seeger tribute! Friday October 28, 2016 7:30pm. Tickets are $12-$20 on a sliding fee scale and can be purchased at the door. We ask that you be as generous as possible. Contact for questions or more information: 815-322-2464 or

Haystacks Coffee House

Haystack’s Coffee House Presents Open Mic & Jam Night
On Friday, May 8, from 7 – 10 pm, Haystack’s Coffee House will present another Open Mic & Jam Night. The evening will feature local performers showing their skills as folk, R&R, jazz, classical musicians, comedians and poets. All are invited to attend. Bring your friends!! Please contact Tom Steffens at for information or to make an early reservation to perform. There will be a limit placed in the amount of performers. Admission to Haystack’s Coffee House Open Mic & Jam night is free. There will be a “free will” offering taken to cover expenses.See everyone May 8th!!

Haystacks Open Mic and Jam Night

Open Mic Night – Friday, February 6,  7 – 10pm

On Friday, February 6, from 7 – 10 pm, Haystack’s Coffee House will present another Open Mic Night. The evening will feature local performers showing their skills as folk, R&R, jazz, classical musicians, comedians and poets. All are invited to attend. Bring your friends!!

Please contact Tom Steffens at for information or to make an early reservation to perform. There will be a limit placed in the amount of performers.

Admission to Haystack’s Coffee House Open Mic & Jam night is free.There will be a “free will” offering taken to cover expenses.

See everyone February 6!!


Guitar Concert Friday, August 8 at 8:00 PM

Bert Lams and Tom Griesgraber

Internationally-touring guitarists will be performing, blending musical styles as diverse as Beethoven symphonies, progressive rock, jazz, and unique takes on well-known covers. Opening for Bert Lams and Tom Griesgraber will be the Greater Midwest Guitar Circle, an ensemble of acoustic guitarists from throughout the Chicagoland area. Tickets are available for $18 advance/$20 at the door. For more information or to order tickets, visit


Haystacks Presents Namoli Brennet with RUNE

Friday, September 20th, 7:00 pm


We are excited to welcome songwriter Namoli Brennet back to Tree of Life UU Congregation for a wonderful night of live music, along with local favorites RUNE.

Namoli  has been touring the country with her own brand of moody and inspiring folk music since releasing her first CD in 2002. Since then she’s played over 900 shows and logged over 250,000 miles on the road. Touching on often poignant themes, her music and lyrics ultimately paint a vivid and redemptive portrait. She’s a breathtaking and moving performer, and her sweet, road-weary voice is as quick to deliver her wit and humor as it is a turn of phrase. She’s been described as a cross between Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin and Sheryl Crow, and Zocalo magazine called her music, “gorgeous and introspective.”

A 4-time Outmusic award nominee, Namoli has also won the Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Award and was a finalist in the ISC songwriting competition. Her recent release ‘Black Crow’ garnered critical acclaim and was named one of KXCI FM’s top albums of 2010. Her music has been featured on NPR, PBS and in films including the Emmy-award winning documentary “Out in the Silence”, which details the struggle of a gay teen growing up in rural Pennsylvania.sum2013-4

Joining Namoli for this amazing night is RUNE, who have graced the stage of the Haystacks Coffee House several times and have quickly become a crowd favorite. RUNE is a new Powerfolk Rock band out of Chicago’s western suburbs. The band’s soulful sounds are born out of Allison Joy’s drumming and vocals with Dan Bieri’s guitar. RUNE is influenced by groups such as Florence and the Machine, Tegan and Sara, Brandi Carlile, Shovels & Rope and many more.

This event is open to the public and free. In the tradition of centuries of live music, we will pass the hat to support these amazing musicians. CDs and other merchandise will also be available at the concert.


Haystacks Presents Andy Cohen and Friends

Andy Cohen 8-13

Blues Guitarist Andy Cohen

On Saturday, September 7 at 7:00pm, blues artist, Andy Cohen returns to kickoff our Haystacks concert series with  an evening of entertainment that will benefit the Monic Children’s Center in Jinja, Uganda. he will be joined by fellow blues artists Donna Herula and Andrew Calhoun.

Andy Cohen is a fellow Unitarian Universalist from Memphis who has entertained audiences throughout the country. He mostly plays what he calls “a sort of Country Blues 101.” He’s been known to cover Rev. Davis, John Hurt, Big Bill, Gus Cannon, Frank Stokes, Memphis Minnie, Bukka White, Barbecue Bob, Charlie Patton, Ted Bogan, Henry Spaulding, or any of a hundred other blues people. Andy is currently on a cross-country tour and was able to add this benefit concert to his schedule.

Donna Herula

Donna Herula

Donna Herula is a Chicago-born singer and slide guitar player who plays a mix of songs from the early blues women, including Memphis Minnie, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith and the early Delta blues men, including Robert Johnson, Robert Nighthawk, Furry Lewis, Blind Blake, and Muddy Waters.  She also performs music from more recent blues and slide players including Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Lucinda Williams. With a percussive guitar style and soulful voice, Donna plays fingerstyle as well as blues slide guitar on her resonator guitars.

Andrew Calhoun

Andrew Calhoun

Andrew Calhoun’s music is innovative and rooted in tradition. In forty years as a performer he has evolved an increasingly varied repertoire including original songs, Irish and American folk songs, Scottish ballads, African-American spirituals, hymns, historical background, comic songs and poems and songs by writers such as Dave Carter, Mary Oliver and Robert Frost.  He has toured internationally, performing at folk clubs and festivals, pubs and house concerts. In 1992, Calhoun founded Waterbug Records, an artists’ cooperative folk label which has grown to 115 titles, bringing some of the brightest singer-songwriters and folk musicians to an international audience.

Admission to this benefit is $10.

All procedes will go to the Monic Children’s Center, an organization that provides a safe sanctuary for orphans, street children, and young people in Jinja, Uganda that teaches skills to help people (especially women) become self-sustaining, and educates the young in life skills and health and safety.