The Dellora A. Norris Cultural Arts Center

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Lee Murdock’s Annual Christmas Ship Concert

November 18 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

| $30


We are excited to present “Lee Murdock’s Annual Christmas Ship Concert.”

Turn back the pages of history to an early 20th century Chicago Christmas and let Lee Murdock take you on a musical journey to the bustling port of Chicago. Where today you see steel and glass skyscrapers, imagine brick, stone, and wood buildings rising three or four stories and more, lining the Chicago River.

Tall ships were an everyday occurrence in the warmer months in Chicago, as they docked along the river bringing the limestone, lumber, coal, and other commodities needed to build and supply the residents of the growing city. In November, as the weather became more unpredictable, shipping on Lake Michigan slowed, making the arrival of the Christmas tree schooner even more momentous.

Captain Herman Schuenemann docked his three-masted schooner, the Rouse Simmons, at the Clark Street bridge. Chicago residents scurried down to the dock to chat with the captain, enjoying the scent of fresh-cut Michigan pine thick in the air as they picked out their Christmas trees.

Lee’s song about the Rouse Simmons is the centerpiece of this concert, a story and song of hope and tragedy, of loss and renewal, as the famous ship struggled into a raging winter storm in November of 1912. The narrative of the Rouse Simmons comes to us through the eyes of a young child growing up in Chicago at the turn of the century. Capturing the indomitable spirit of those hard-working sailors and lumberjacks, Lee’s song is also a tale of loss and renewal, and a celebration of a Chicago tradition carried forward by the Captain’s wife, Barbara Schuenemann.

“Lee Murdock’s Annual Christmas Ship Concert” has evolved into a not-to-be-missed event, heralding the advent of the holiday season. It combines music and stories of the Inland Seas with holiday songs to inspire the young and the young-at-heart.

Please note, your ticket for this concert includes complimentary beverages (wine, beer, soft drinks) and light snacks.

About Lee Murdock

The premier interpreter of songs and stories about the Great Lakes, Lee Murdock has uncovered a boundless body of timeless music and stories in his home region. Lee seamlessly blends traditional songs from the days of sail alongside some of his own musical compositions – all depicting some aspect of history and life on the Great Lakes.

It was early in his songwriting career when Lee first discovered the story of the Rouse Simmons. He wrote his song “The Christmas Ship” in 1988, first recorded on his CD “Fertile Ground” in 1989.

“I’m interested in finding the life in these songs; in making music that’s exciting to people today,” Lee says. “I look for the songs and the interesting stories, not only for the people who already enjoy folk music, but for those who think they don’t like folk music.”

Murdock has recorded 21 CDs and/or books to date, and is a regular participant in the annual remembrance of Chicago’s Christmas Ship. For more information, visit



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