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Neighbors of Kane County

Batavia Library lecture to highlight Aurora’s role in Blues history

Jun 06, 2016 09:56AM ● By Neighbors Magazines

The Library’s next New Lyceum Lecture Series program, “The Leland Bluebird Recording Sessions,” will be presented Tues., June 14, at 7pm. Steve Warrenfeltz, owner of Kiss the Sky in Batavia, and professional musician Scott Tipping will co-present the lecture.

According to Warrenfeltz, more than 300 songs were recorded by the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Joe Williams, Tampa Red, Washboard Sam, and others prominent in the pre-war Chicago and St. Louis blues scenes from May 4, 1937, to December 19, 1938, in the Sky Club, which was atop the Leland Hotel in downtown Aurora.

During these recording sessions, a new approach to making records was created and subsequently embraced by record labels representing blues, R&B, and rock ’n’ roll artists. Rediscovery of these historic recordings in the 1990s were responsible in part for the formation of the Fox Valley Blues Society, which in turn lead to the creation of the annual Blues on the Fox Festival, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The New Lyceum Lecture Series is sponsored by the Batavia Public Library Foundation. Registration is required. Please register online at or call the Reference Desk, 630-879-1393, ext. 200.