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Tom Page is a guitarist and songwriter based in Wichita Kansas. He has spent the last 20 years traveling the country making a living as an itinerate folk musician. Tom is a product of the Mid-western cultural movement of the 1970’s growing up in this environment allowed him access to many of the great folk artists of the time and sparked his interest in the roots of American music. Tom continues to play and sing around the nation as a solo act, a hired gun fpr other players, or, with his band ‘Haymakers’. This band was formed by Tom and his friend Dustin Arbuckle (a singer and harmonicist) and features double bass and 1 or 2 mandolins. Haymakers is a working band that played some 85 shows in 2019. You can also hear Tom with his ‘Tom Page trio’ band which features double bass and harmonica. In any of these formats Tom’s songwriting will be highlighted along with the instrumental chops of whichever combo is at hand.
Tom presents 1-2 hour performances featuring: Singing and guitar, historical Kansas presentations, folk music of America presentations, presentations on his experience as a blind touring musician.
The first type of performance is based on Tom’s songwriting and contains some amount of story telling (as the show demands).
The Historical performances draw more heavily on traditional music of Kansas and the range this presentation also brings more story telling to provide context to the tunes.
The last performance type is the most personal and features songs of the organized blind and stories of Tom’s travel and interesting characters who influenced Tom’s thinking about blindness.
Tom can provide a program centered on the experience of blindness. This program highlights his own experiences and the knowledge he has gained by volunteering with the National Federation of the Blind.
Tom can provide beginning to master classes on flatpicked guitar as well as song writing seminars. These programs typically begin with an assessment of the students level with the goal being that every participant can grow through the process. Once the student’s level is assessed Tom offers technical suggestions/ advice on playing and writing. The program culminates with the student’s coming together to play or present their songs.
This is in addition to his musical humanities programs designed to hightlight the folk music of Kansas, the evolution of American folk music or his own experience as a blind traveling musician. These programs rely on Tom’s knowledge of the traditional songs of Kansas and draw connections between folk music made for dance or worship to folk music designed to inform or educate. An example of such a song is found in ‘Lane County Bachelor’ an early Kansas folk song designed to entertain and inform which is based on an older dance tune ‘Irish Washer Woman’.
Tom’s presentation on being a blind musician draw upon his experiences traveling and meeting people from all walks of life. He combines song and story to briefly describe the history of blind Americans as a group and specifically highlights individuals who helped influence Tom’s own understanding of blindness.