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Location: Charleston, Illinois

Travel Radius: 300 miles

Surrounding Area:
Mattoon, Champaign/Urbana, Decatur, Effingham, Marshall, Paris, Terrehaute, IN.

Category: Acoustic guitar, banjo, singer, inspirational speaker.
19th Century, Tin Pan Alley, 30s-50s, 60s hits, 70s hits, 80s-90s, Original, Sing Along, Folk, Oldies, Pop, Easy Listening, Love Songs, Children’s, Christmas, Summer/Beach/Island songs.
Available For:
Awards nights, Banquets, Children’s Parties, Christmas Parties, Coffee Shops, Community Events, Country Clubs, Corporate Functions, Dinner Music, Festivals, Fund Raisers, House Concerts, Memorial Services, Private Parties, Restaurants, Weddings and others.
Performing Since: 1965
Pay Range: $100-$500 per job.
Influences: John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Diamond, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, Simon & Garfunkel, Jimmy Buffett, The Beatles and Dan Fogelberg.
Description: Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist, Banjoist, style similar to John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Diamond, Paul Simon. Original songs and style are up-lifting, motivational and high energy. Tom loves to interact with the audience and has background and/or inspirational stories for many songs. Both original and cover songs reflect an upbeat, feel-good energy that a wide variety of audiences enjoy. Played in bands in college in the mid to late 1960s, in an acoustic group in the 1980s and has worked as a soloist doing musical programs for various types of groups since then. He has recorded two Christmas CDs with his daughter Erin and is working on a CD of Children’s songs entitled "It's Great To Be A Kid"  and a CD of his original songs entitled “Prairie Minstrel”.

Program Venues:


ORIGINAL SONGS & WRITINGS – Tom has written over 50 original songs and numerous Wit & Wisdom essays which can be combined for an inspiring and thought provoking program that speaks directly to the heart and to personal and spiritual issues. He combines ageless wisdom with humor and music to leave a lasting impression on the audiences that he touches.
POPULAR EASY LISTENING COVER SONGS – A large repertoire of songs include a variety of periods. Strong emphasis is on the 1960s and 1970s, but also includes earlier and later period songs. Songs are easy listening and can be done as background music for dinners or events or can be more of an interactive performance which engages the audience.
SING ALONG PROGRAM – A “Sing Along” song book makes this an enjoyable program for small and large groups. The program includes popular songs from the 1800’s through the late 1900’s - songs that we all grew up with. Many of the 1800s songs are accompanied on the banjo.
CHRISTMAS SONGS – Tom has a repertoire of over 50 Christmas songs including three originals. He also provides Christmas song books which allows for a sing along program.
CHILDREN’S PROGRAM – This includes a variety of children’s songs adapted for different ages of children and includes 6 original songs. The program includes common 19th century songs with a discussion of the stories told by the songs and the role of songs in the lives of children in the past. The song Way Down Yonder in the PawPaw Patch, for example, not only includes some of the children’s names in the song, but the introduction talks about what paw paws are and the role of children in gathering them as part of the family food supply.
HOUSE CONCERT – This is a different way to experience folk music by hosting an artist in your home and inviting friends over to enjoy an evening of intimate music, food, and conversation. Guests bring a donation for the musician (usually around $10) and often some food or snacks to share. This can involve any of the types of music offered.
STROLLING MINSTREL – This is effective in historic settings with 19th century songs and Tom’s historic clothing (see photo gallery) or can be done with songs of later periods. A list of songs on cards can be distributed at tables, for example, and guests can pick a song to hear when the minstrel comes by.

Pick the Type of Music and Your Favorite Songs:

You can customize your program by indicating desired types of songs like 60s&70s, love songs, folk songs, old time songs, etc. and you can also indicate specific songs you would like included (figure about 15 songs per hour). You can also request songs that are not on the play list and we will let you know if they can be added. The more advanced notice we have of the event, the more time we will have to work with you to customize it to your needs.

Program Cost:

Cost for programs is generally $100 for the first hour and $50 per additional hour plus travel expenses if the event is outside the Coles County area.

To Schedule A Program:

Contact:  Tom Vance;  phone: 217-348-8603;  cell: 217-549-1845;  email: