IRONWOOD - The Friends of Miners Memorial Heritage Park will sponsor a fundraiser performance by Bill Jamerson Friday at 7 p.m. at Theatre North in Ironwood.
Jamerson will perform his show "Up in the U.P.!" featuring tales and tunes about Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Story and original song topics include iron miners, early immigrants, ski jumpers, pasties, thimbleberries and Finnish people.
"Many of Jamerson's stories are based on actual interviews with iron miners and other longtime residents of the Upper Peninsula," Friends member Paul Kostelnik said.
"The songs range from heart-warming ballads to foot-stomping jigs. The songs and stories are as entertaining as they are important, as honest as they are fun. The presentation captures the images of the northwoods and the people, both ordinary and extraordinary, who give the Upper Peninsula it's reputation of wit, charm and strength."
Original songs include "The Flying Bietilas," a story of six Finnish ski jumping brothers from Ishpeming. "Thimbleberry Jam" is about two brothers who visit their grandmother's boarding house in Republic. "New Americans" describes different immigrant groups that settled in the iron ranges, and "Miners Lunch" tells how children brought pasties to their fathers at the iron mines at lunchtime.
Jamerson has also written a novel about the Civilian Conservation Corps, produced 11 PBS films on Michigan history and has recorded several CDs.
The Friends will also premiere a never-before-seen video titled "Ironwood; The Way We Worked." The 17-minute film is the first of a series on regional mining history.
Intermission will include refreshments like Trenary toast, Finnish bread and fruit pasties.
Advance tickets are available at Northwoods Cabin and Downtown Art Place in Ironwood, the Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce, the Leather and Gift Shop in Bessemer and the Wakefield News Bessemer Pick and Axe.
Proceeds from the show will benefit restoration work by the Friends in Miners Memorial Heritage Park in Ironwood.
"The Friends seek to improve the existing trail system of the centrally-located, 167 acre park and provide informational signage," Kostelnik said. "The Friends of the MMHP executive board is developing a comprehensive plan to preserve local mining history."
For more information on Jamerson, visit billjamerson.com. For more information on supporting the park, visit fmmhp.com.