Summer Appeal + Spring concert video sneak peek!

The Family Folk Machine had a fantastic spring concert—many thanks to all who attended! We have a sneak peek video to share before the rest of the concert videos are released by our friends at Senior Center Technology and Video! We’re so excited to share this premiere of LaTasha DeLoach singing her original song “Dreaming of Justice” with FFM: Dreaming of Justice.

If you are a Fan of the Folk Machine, could you send some support our way in the form of a donation of any size before June 30? We’re in need of assistance to finish our fiscal year in good financial shape. You can donate securely online here or send a check to
Family Folk Machine
P.O. Box 1421
Iowa City, IA 52244

Thanks in advance!

Spring concert! Dreaming of Justice: Songs for a Crowded Table, May 12

Dreaming of Justice: Songs for a Crowded Table. Spring concert of the Family Folk Machine on Sunday, May 12, 3 p.m. at The Englert Theatre.

The Family Folk Machine presents “Dreaming of Justice: Songs for a Crowded Table,” with special guest LaTasha DeLoach! The FFM, Iowa City’s intergenerational choir, will share songs new and old that reflect on our desire for a better world and our commitment to bringing it about. The concert will feature songs by Rhiannon Giddens,Tracy Chapman, Stevie Wonder, Hozier, and other favorite artists, alongside three original songs being performed for the first time and audience sing-alongs. We hope you can join us! Admission is free, with donations accepted, and all are welcome!

Press-Citizen column about Nov. 12 concert, “Homegrown Harmony”

The Press-Citizen published this column by Jean about our November 12 concert at the Englert:

The Family Folk Machine presents a fall concert, “Homegrown Harmony: Celebrating a Decade of Song!” on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 3:00 p.m. at the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City. The concert is free and open to all, with donations accepted, and we would love to see you there!

Eleven years ago, the Family Folk Machine (more accurately, the to-be-named family folk choir) was just a twinkle in the eye of a few Iowa Citians. My family had just returned from a two-year stay in the Boston area, where my small children and I had a great time singing with an intergenerational choir. I really wanted them to have the opportunity to be part of a musical experience where children and adults of all ages and backgrounds could participate and contribute equally.

When we held the first FFM rehearsal in January 2013, I was amazed by the people who showed up. The Machine has grown from that point, adding singers, instrumentalists, and leaders who brought new ideas that have taken the group in directions I never could have dreamed up on my own. The FFM has become, in the words of one participant, “a non-auditioned, intergenerational community choir that supports its members and the wider community through music, working to promote understanding, acceptance, equality, and social justice through song.”

“Homegrown Harmony” includes six brand-new original songs that are the product of the tenth-anniversary songwriting workshops the FFM held last spring. FFM kids worked with local musician Nicole Upchurch and created a beautiful song titled “I Want to Sing,” which they will premiere at the concert. FFM adults worked in groups under the direction of Christine Moad, learning about song construction and how to generate song lyrics. These workshops resulted in four wonderful group songs in contrasting styles and with widely varying subject matter. It has been a deep pleasure to experience the creativity of our singers in this new way!

The concert will also feature a new song by Janet Lessner, a Folk Machinist who had not been a songwriter before participating in Christine Moad’s workshop. Janet wrote a beautiful, moving song of support and love for the children of the FFM and all children in these times when being yourself is not always simple, easy, or welcomed. The concert also includes reflections on intergenerational relationships from Allison Russell (“You’re Not Alone”), prophetic messages from Bob Dylan (“A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall”) and Patti Smith (“People Have the Power”), and a beautiful tribute to departed FFM singers (Pete Seeger’s “Old Brown Earth”).

Hope you can join us on Sunday, Nov. 12 for this celebration of ten years of the Family Folk Machine!

FFM Through the Years: A Video Compilation

As a special event for our 10th anniversary, we are hosting a video showing:

Thursday, Nov. 2 7 p.m. Iowa City Senior Center
Please join us for “Family Folk Machine Through the Years,” a compilation video tracing our first ten years together. There will be popcorn and sweet memories! Free and open to all.

FFM Annual Appeal

It’s November, a time for reflecting on what’s important to us, to our families, to our community. Each year at this time the Family Folk Machine reaches out with our Annual Appeal, asking for your support so that our work can continue.

You can make a donation of any size today by sending a check to
Family Folk Machine
P.O. Box 1421
Iowa City, IA 52244

or by navigating to the “Donate” tab of this website.

For ten years, the FFM has been a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to shine and grow into their full musical humanity. I hope you will consider an Annual Appeal donation!

Fall 2023 Concert!

Save the date! We will perform our fall program at a concert at the Englert Theatre on Sunday, November 12 at 3:00 p.m.

Rehearsals start Sunday, August 20th at 2pm at City Park (weather permitting). We enjoyed being outdoors during Covid and continue the tradition. We move indoors to the Iowa City Senior Center October 8. Please email for information.

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song film screening on May 2!

As part of our 10th anniversary celebration, the Family Folk Machine will host a screening of the movie “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song” on Tuesday, May 2, beginning at 6:45 p.m. at the Senior Center in downtown Iowa City. This inspiring film features interviews with Arlo Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and many other folks and documents important moments in Pete’s life and work. For those interested in how songs can make change in the world, it’s a really energizing story!

We’ll provide popcorn and an enthusiastic sing-along after the film. Please plan to join us!

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