Amy Beth

Amy Beth playing fiddle
Photo by Ray Beth
"Music self-played is happiness self-made."

Amy Beth, Woodstock's own lady of story and song, is always doing something to bring people together to share music or tell tales. An accomplished instrumentalist, singer, teacher, and storyteller, Amy will make you feel good about being alive.

Here is where you can find out who Amy Beth is, what her ongoing activities are, where she'll be next, and what she can do for you. And Amy will be happy to answers any questions that you have. Call her at 815-338-4245, or e-mail her.



Amy playing violin at Masthouse
Photo by Mark Lyons
Amy playing violin at

Amy playing guitar
Photo by Ray Beth
Amy playing guitar
at the 2007 Woodstock
Folk Festival
Amy Beth always has a pretty full Calendar. Between her regularly scheduled activities, her public performances (see below), and private events, you should have no problem finding a convenient time to see her. So check here often; she'll love to see you too.

And Amy would be happy to provide music and stories for your group, activity, venue, or event. Contact her right away to make sure she is available on the dates you'd like to book her.

Amy Beth & Friends at The Corner Room, third Friday of every month:

  • May 20, 2011
  • June 17, 2011
  • July 15, 2011
  • August 19, 2011
  • September 16, 2011
  • October 21, 2011
  • November 18, 2011
  • (No Amy Beth & Friends in December 2011)
  • January 20, 2012
  • February 17, 2012
  • March 16, 2012
  • April 20, 2012
  • May 18, 2012
  • June 15, 2012
  • July 20, 2012
  • August 17, 2012
  • September 21, 2012
  • October 19, 2012
  • November 16, 2012
  • (No Amy Beth & Friends in December 2012)

Amy Beth & Friends Christmas Party at Stage Left Café:

  • December 4, 2011, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Amy's Public Calendar

Click on any event name to see a full descrioption.

What People Have To Say About Amy

“Known for her silly songs and sweet singing voice, Amy shares stories and songs. Her love of music comes naturally from growing up in a musical family.”
Family Waltz CD
“You do a wonderful job at entertaining and sharing your gifts.”
Jerrilyn, Cary Country Preschool
“Listeners from both the public and the staff have been most complimentary about your talents.”
Leanne K. Johnson
Head Of Public Services
McHenry Public Library Services
“Amy’s music and stories have graced McHenry County for years. Her humor, environmental consciousness and talent are sure to entertain you.”
Jerry Paulson
McHenry County Defenders
“Amy has a clear vocal style and presents a wide variety of music including folk, country, old timey and contemporary humor. She plays guitar, clawhammer banjo, autoharp, fiddle, Appalachian dulcimer, mandolin, bones and percussion. Amy provides individual instruction on many of these instruments.”
Woodstock Folk Festival
“She makes it look easy. That takes hard work, …but that’s Amy for you.
Christopher Shaw
“Very nice presentation. Thank you again. It was great!”
Rocky Raccoon Day Care
Cary, IL


Amy and her Dad
Family album
Amy and her Dad

Amy Receiving Lifetime Achievement Award
Photo by Sandra South
Amy Receiving Lifetime
Achievement Award

Amy and Elizibeth
Photo by Ray Beth
Amy and Student

Amy Beth was born in Columbus, Indiana, and raised in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Her father sang barbershop, and her mother played a number of instruments. Amy and all of her siblings took instrument lessons while they were growing up. Amy started her music training singing with the family, and taking piano lessons. In school she played the recorder, and for six years the viola in the orchestra. In her senior year of high school she got her first guitar and started teaching herself by ear, playing along with the songs on her records. She likes to say she took guitar lessons from John Denver.

Amy soon started playing in public. One of her earliest gigs was at the Red Herring in Champaign, Illinois, when she was going to school there. Closer to home she became a regular performer at the legendary Masthouse in Woodstock, Illinois, just a couple of years after it was founded. Masthouse inspired her to start a sing-along venue in her own home, Amy Beth & Friends. And she also served on the Masthouse organizing committee.

Amy continues to learn how to play other instruments as well. Over the years she has learned the violin/fiddle, the clawhammer style 5-string banjo, the autoharp, the fretless banjo, the cello, the ukulele, the flute, and the mandolin. And her repertoire has grown to an impressive number of songs—both serious and humorous—and tunes for people of all ages.

In 1986 Amy Beth founded the annual Woodstock Folk Festival and was the President of the Board of Directors and served as Artistic Director until she retired in 2002. In 2005 she was presented with its fourth annual Lifetime Achievement Award.

Amy plays violin in the Lake Geneva Spymphony Orchestra, joined its Board of Directors in 2008, and has been the Board President since 2009.

Amy Beth teaches music as well, both privately and to classes.

Amy is a member of the Kishwaukee Ramblers, a trio that plays traditional American and Celtic folk music, children's songs, and instrumentals.

Amy has played at numerous venues including the Two Way Street Coffeehouse, the None of the Above Coffee House, Lake County Folk Club, and Stage Left Café. She plays regularly for church services and programs, schools, pre-schools, libraries, seniors, weddings and wedding receptions, and farmers markets. And she has been featured at events such as the Woodstock Folk Festival, the Illinois Storytelling Festval, and the Off Square Music Open Mike.

Amy Beth is not one to wait for the telephone to ring, so she has created her own performing opportunities such as the already mentioned Amy Beth & Friends, and the Amy Beth & Friends Christmas Party. A standard feature of all of these undertakings is that they entertain people of all ages, and also provide opportunities for her ever growing number of music and storytelling friends.

Amy has three recordings; Self Portrait, The Family Waltz, and The Kishwaukee Ramblers.


Amy Beth plays hostess to these regularly scheduled events.

Amy Beth & Friends

Amy and Jeff Justman at Amy Beth & Friends
Photo by Sandra South
Amy and Jeff Justman at
Amy Beth & Friends

Amy with Erin O'Toole and Jeff Sachs at Amy Beth & Friends
Photo by Sandra South
Amy with Erin O'Toole and
Jeff Sachs at
Amy Beth & Friends

The Corner Room
303 Hoy Avenue
Woodstock, Illinois

Third Friday of Every Month
7:30 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.
See the Calendar section for the actual dates.
Note: Sometimes the location changes, so call ahead (815-338-4245) or e-mail Amy first.

Everyone gets to perform!

Amy Beth & Friends Christmas Party

At Stage Left Café
124 Van Buren St
Woodstock, IL 60098
See the Calendar section or Musi-Caltm listing for the time and details.
Call 815-338-4245 or e-mail Amy for more information.
Donation requested

You'll get an early start enjoying the spirit of the season by spending some time with Amy Beth & Friends as they perform the songs and carols of the holiday. Amy will entertain you with some special stories, and everyone gets to join in the singing using the lyric sheets provided. Kids are encouraged to share their talents as well. Ages 1 to 101 will be happy they came out to this family friendly evening.

The Wednesday Afternoon Jam Session

Wednesday Afternoon Jam Session, St. Patrick's Day, 2007
Photo by Ray Beth
Make any event a special occasion by having The Wednesday Afternoon Jam Session provide the music. Amy brings her own collection of instruments and is joined by an ensemble of accomplished musicians that will entertain your group with songs and instrumentals that will have people tapping their toes and joining in song. The band members may change from performance to performance, but the good feelings you experience never does.

Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra

Amy Beth is a violinist with the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra. Contact her to find out when her next appearance with them will be.


Amy Beth offers a variety of programs that present music and stories with a common theme or lesson. Contact her right away to ask for more details or to arrange a booking.

Are you looking for something that one of these doesn't cover? Contact Amy today and tell her what you need. She'll be happy to create a program especially for you or your group.

Or maybe you'd like to custom tailor one of these programs. Amy will be happy to do that as long as you book the program early enough in advance.

The Kishwaukee Ramblers – “Good music made by nice people.”

Kishwaukee Ramblers
Photo by Dianne Brown
The Kishwaukee Ramblers are multi-instrumentalists Amy Beth and Gary Plazyk, and singer-guitarist Neal Brown. They play traditional American and Celtic folk music, as well as children's songs. Among the instruments you are likely to hear at a KR performance are guitar, fiddle, flute, banjo, autoharp, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, concertina, hurdy gurdy, and didgeridoo—and that's only as of this writing. Audience participation is enthusiastically encouraged! More on their website. For booking information contact Amy or Gary Plazyk (815-568-7282/<g_plazyk at-sign>).

Introducing Folk Instruments

Amy Beth at Cary City Preschool
Do you want to acquaint your young folks with many fun, musical folk instruments?

“Miss Amy” acquaints young folks with many fun and musical folk instruments using diverse instruments, rhythm activities and puppetry. Amy plays banjo, spoons, fiddle, hambone, Appalachian dulcimer, autoharp and/or guitar. Also available as a duo with hammered dulcimer, concertina, didgeridoo and mouth percussion. Excellent for young children and families.

A Season of Song: Music and Stories for Christmas and New Years

Your group will enjoy sparkling musical arrangements. Amy Beth’s A Season of Song presents music, stories and traditional carols. Amy has presented this entertaining show since 1982. You can include a Christmas Carol singalong. You will long remember this lovely and lively celebration.

In Tune with the Earth

The earth from space
Do you need an informative, entertaining program for Earth Days? Students and adults alike enjoy this look at our home, the Earth. With banjo and guitar.

Music Across the Prairie: 1800 to 1860

Amy Beth in costume
Photo by
Ray Beth
Historic period songs and anecdotes from the Frontier Days of “El-a-Noy” give a first rate account of everyday life on the early frontier. You are taken back to the days of log cabins, prairies and Native Americans. Period costuming takes you back in time. You may find yourself singing along with songs played on fiddle, clawhammer banjo and autoharp.

Stephen Foster: Music Minstrel of the 1800’s

Stephen Foster
Explore the earliest folk music of America with a visit to the premiere American Composer.

Stephen Foster (July 4, 1826 - January 13, 1864), sometimes called "America's First Composer," was the pre-eminent songwriter in the United States in the mid 19th century. Many of his songs, such as "Oh! Susanna", "Camptown Races" and "Beautiful Dreamer", are still being sung over 140 years after their composer's death.


Learn to play:
  • Guitar
  • Banjo
  • Autoharp
  • Appalachian Dulcimer
  • Mandolin
  • Fiddle
  • Ukulele
  • And others

Looking for students interested in playing
Acoustic instruments in Woodstock, IL

Reasonable Rates--$30 per hour
Call Amy Beth (815-338-4245)
or e-mail her today


Amy has two recordings, Self Portrait and The Family Waltz, and one with the Kishwaukee Ramblers. They are all available by contacting Amy Beth.

Self Portrait

Amy Beth singing
This music is my offering to you. May it be a gentle reminder of home, of places where you are accepted and of places where you belong. Sit back, relax and enjoy.


  • One Crane, Stuart Stotts
  • Lord of the Dance, Sydney Carter
  • It Really Isn't Garbage, Dan Einbender
  • Old Jack, Bill Staines
  • Spring Wedding Song, Gardeby Lotn and Schacht
  • Southwind, Traditional
  • All of Me, Bill Staines
  • Water Song, Dave Burton
  • When the Wagon Was New, Traditional
  • Wee Kircubright Centipede, Matt McGinn
  • The Work Song, Kate McGarrigle
  • Fashioned in Clay, Elmer Beal, Jr.

Recorded at Spot 1 Studio, Fox Lake, IL
Produced by Joe Pesz and Amy Beth
Engineered by Joe Pesz
Cover Photo by Bob Roos

Available by mail:
Just Folks Music Company
P.O. Box 335
Mundelein, IL 60060

© 1995 Amy Beth
© 1995 Just Folks Music Company
All Rights Reserved

The Family Waltz

The Family Waltz
With special performing guests:
The Clefhangers
Del Hadaway
Peg Lehman
Sam Byerly
Thanks to Ray.
A Special Thanks to my parents, Bill and Vel Dysart, for singing on this Family Waltz.


  • Grandfather's Clock, Henry Clay Work
  • Old Folks at Home, Stephen Foster
  • Lover's Waltz Instrumental, Jay Unger
  • Lida Rose/Dream of Now, M. Wilson
  • Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days), Jaimie O'Hara
  • Grandpa's Secret Adventures Story, Amy Beth
  • Coney Island Baby
  • Waltzing with Bears, T. Geisel & E. Poddany, new version Dale Marxen
  • Mountain Home Instrumental, Jay Unger
  • Aunt Sue, Pete Sutherland
  • "I Never Asked" Story, Amy Beth
  • Music In My Mother's House, Stuart Stotts
  • I'll Love You Forever, Allan Power
  • When Parents Were Young, Ken Lonquist
  • Nobody Sings at Work Today, John Woodford
  • Puttin' on the Style, Traditional, new words Norman Cazden
  • Gorilla Song, John & Jay Knowles


Recorded at Spot 1 Studio, Fox Lake, IL
Mixed at Studio A Recording, Aurora, IL
Produced by Joe Pesz and Amy Beth