'House Party' Celebrates Five Years
February marks the fifth anniversary for WDCB's Monday night Bluegrass show, House Party. It was in 2013 that co-hosts Imelda Bhroga and Bill Margeson began the show. "At the time, I was doing the Irish music program, Ireland Tonight, to which I had invited in Maryann Keifer as co-host. We had a ball! But having been involved in various Irish music programs for over 20 years, I wanted a change," Bill recalls.
Bill and Imelda had both been professional musicians, and Bill's very first group was a bluegrass act in the mid-1960's in high school. "We've both always loved bluegrass. It is American music to its core, and we love presenting it," adds Imelda.
The program also features a weekly Cajun music selection or two, as well as a feature that they named, "The Gospel Blanket." The duo feels that Bluegrass music shines brightest when doing a Gospel number.
Bill and Imelda also emcee many of the bluegrass headliners who come into the Old Town School of Folk Music. "We met and introduced Dr. Ralph Stanley in concert shortly before he passed. It was such an honor," recalls Bill. Some of the other stars they've introduced include Larry Sparks, Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent, and Claire Lynch, as well as one of Imelda's top favorites, The SteelDrivers.
It is hard to tell which the duo enjoys more: the music itself, or the fun of working together to produce a show each week. Each Monday at 10pm marks another opportunity for the audience to join in some great music and a lot of the fun that Bill and Imelda share. "These are some of the best musicians in the world - they are simply stunning at their art!" concludes Imelda.
The show is one of the rare and only outlets for Bluegrass music in Chicago. As Bill frequently says at the end of the program, join them! "We'll leave the garden gate open for you."