John Gorka 

The Old Centrum Auditorium, 1201 N. Central Ave.
Saturday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m., $17 advance, $20 day of, all-ages

Folk-singer John Gorka is playing one of the last public events at the Old Centrum before the building closes at the end of March.

Gorka came of musical age in the late ’70s in the basement of Bethlehem, Penn.’s Godfrey Daniels’ nightclub, where he was resident MC and soundman. Inspired by the folk-inspired musicians that played the club, Gorka started playing as an opener for the visiting acts.

Gorka made his way to New York City, becoming part of Jack Hardy’s Fast Folk circle that included Shawn Colvin, Nanci Griffith and Suzanne Vega. The circle became a source of encouragement and education. He won the New Folk Award at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1984 and hasn’t looked back.

Tony Maklin, vice president of the Old Centrum board of directors, explains the board’s decision to close down the Centrum and begin the search for a new owner: “The Old Centrum Foundation, the not-for-profit that has owned the building since 1999, made a conscious decision to serve small organizations and programs. Unfortunately, this mission hasn’t generated enough earned revenue or donor contributions to meet the facility’s large maintenance and renovation needs. To be the best stewards of this remarkable community asset, we’ve chosen to close the building and seek a new owner and/or anchor tenants that can bring the resources to help the building not only survive but thrive and be a true gift to the community.”

Gorka’s energetic acoustic music has earned him legions of fans and musicians covering his work. Expect multifaceted songs and a rich baritone voice.

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