Riversongs will celebrate local music, work of PVCA

The Up Texas Chapel Choir, pictured above at the Millheim Mayfly Festival in 2014, will perform April 24 at the Riversongs festival.
The Up Texas Chapel Choir, pictured above at the Millheim Mayfly Festival in 2014, will perform April 24 at the Riversongs festival. Centre Daily Times, file

To honor Earth Day and to kick off the fishing season, Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim will host the 6th annual Riversongs Festival, a fundraiser for the Penns Valley Conservation Association that features local musicians on April 24.

The PVCA has organized several events during the next two weeks for the community to care for the environment and celebrate local music and culture. To kick it off, PVCA will join forces with a nationwide initiative for the Stream Bank Clean Up in Coburn from 9 a.m.-noon on April 23. On April 30, a Community Learning Day will meet at a farm in Woodward to explore Homesteading skills, including vegetable fermentation, gardening with children and caring for newborn animals.

Gary Gyekis, one of the main organizers and emcee of Riversongs, lives near Coburn in Penns Valley. Gyekis has been a woodworker, home builder and designer for more than 40 years. He has been an avid fly fisher and musician for even longer.

“Riversongs is a fundraising, fun-filled event meant to engage and entertain,” Gyekis said. “It’s also meant to inform folks of all ages about the work being done by the PVCA.”

The PVCA is a membership-based watershed association headquartered in Millheim. Since 1993, the PVCA has relied upon the support of community members, local businesses and grants to protect and conserve Penns Valley’s waters, farmlands, forests and the heritage upon which its vibrant rural quality of life depends. Functions of the PVCA include stream bank restoration and implementation of best management practices with local farmers, economic and cultural engagement and environmental education in the local school district and community.

This event will include live music, craft beers and foods available from Elk Creek Cafe and an opportunity to support the PVCA by making the suggested donation of $10 at the door. Musicians will include Andy Tolins and Haystack Lightning, The Up Texas Choir, Swampfoot, Wigloff of the Mountains and others. Also featured will be local fishing rod craftsman, Jim Downes, who will speak at Riversongs to kick off PVCA’s annual J.L. Downes Fly Rod Raffle. There will also be 50/50 raffle tickets for sale to further support the Environmental Education program offered by PVCA to the Penns Valley Area School District.

“The feature act will be Haystack Lightning, an all-star four-piece Bluegrass ensemble headed by the peerless Andy Tolins,” Gyekis said. “In a variety show format, there will be short interviews, monologues and musical interludes including the Up Texas Choir, Swampfoot and Gus Tritsch and more.”

Gyekis expects a large crowd of music lovers for Riversongs and would be pleased even more to receive their full support for the PVCA.

“A full house, smiling faces and generous contributions would be terrific,” he said.


  • What: Riversongs 2016
  • When: 3-6 p.m. April 24
  • Where: Elk Creek Cafe, 100 W. Main St., Millheim
  • Info: www.elkcreekcafe.com