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Ann Zimmerman sings her native prairie into universal language. Her confident Kansas style and compelling stage presence have taken her across the continent singing a hundred gigs a year – in schools, barns, concert halls, coffee shops and bus stops – for adults and children.
Her music celebrates the joy, sorrow, grandeur and silliness of life, especially life on the windy plains. She backs her rich voice with piano, guitar and the audience itself.
Her songs – winners of the Wildflower! Festival, Great American Song, and the Just Plain Folks national song contests – tell surprising stories and paint vivid portraits, leaving audiences laughing, thinking, singing.
Ann appears annually at the Land Institute’s Prairie Festival in Salina and began performing at Winfield’s Walnut Valley Festival in 2018.
With four independent recordings of her music, she is also a lawyer and mediator, she runs a horse boarding stable with her husband near Salina; and she is an elected board member of Salina public schools.
Ann’s concerts are more than spectator sport. Audiences will be singing along on songs they’ve never heard and won’t soon forget. She brings her own acoustic guitar, electric keyboard, and sound system if needed. Just add an electrical outlet to fill a space with music and human connection.
Ann tailors her concerts for each occasion. Examples of audience-selected topics include food, gardens, farms, prairies, fish, rural life, plumbers, lawyers, women, medical care, American history, human conflict, and Kansas – its history, geography, weather, culture and people.
Concerts for children can include Ann’s own songs along with traditional American folk songs and contemporary gems. Ann also does songwriting workshops, most often for upper elementary and middle school but adaptable for all ages. She has a special multimedia concert telling and singing the history of the American revolutionary war, and she does dozens of concerts yearly celebrating Kansas around Kansas Day in January.
Ann can sing additional concerts anywhere in the community – for families, elders, whole communities – with a theme worked out in collaboration with the presenting organization. Regardless of theme, the concerts will be participatory, fun and uplifting.
SONGWRITING WORKSHOP – This workshop includes visuals (PowerPoint or smart board software), has the participants discussing repetition, rhyme and vivid language and writing new lyrics to old tunes which the students perform for their peers. The workshop is generally done in two segments of about 45 minutes each. Following the workshops in schools, Ann combines new verses written by participants and emails the resulting new song back to the teacher.
SONGS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR – This hour-long program uses PowerPoint or smart board software to tell the story of the American Revolutionary War, interspersed with live, participatory period songs.
KANSAS SONGS – Ann sings through the history, wildlife and geography of Kansas in 45 minutes – or a shorter time for Kindergarten. A more advanced version for middle school includes the Underground Railroad and early women’s rights in Kansas, emphasizing the similarities of people across the ages. Ann is developing a follow-up slide show letting teachers review the Kansas concepts in the days after the program.