By Emily Loughridge
Cultures and friendships drive Kyle Dillingham, master fiddler and violinist.
That is why it is unsurprising that as Dillingham was fresh off the tarmac, he agreed to play for a fund-raising concert to benefit Yukon Czech Hall, 205 N Czech Hall Road, on Thursday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Dillingham and his band, Horseshoe Road, return to their Czech roots as they look to support that cultural and social center.
In 1899, the members of Lodge Sokol Karel Havliček and WFLA Lodge Jan Žižka No. 67 partnered to build a hall where Czech people could meet and socialize.
Yukon Czech Hall is still standing after 124 years and has a rich tradition of having a good time, said Dillingham.
“There are many needs to upkeep a registered historic building like this,” he said. “For starters, the building is overdue for a fresh coat of paint – inside and out.
“This seems like a simple thing, but it’s an expense that a small organization like this needs help with.”
The upcoming concert is a way to bring new people to Czech Hall that might otherwise overlook the small white building and the dance floor within.
This is a chance to bring people out who might not go polka dancing on a Saturday night mentioned Dillingham, and the concert looks to provide a night to sit back, relax, and enjoy the music.
The hall opens its doors to the public every Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dancing.
“I really feel like this is a great opportunity to leverage our Czech heritage for the benefit of the Czech Hall,” Dillingham said as to why he and his band would be on stage, instruments ready.
Dillingham’s heritage has served him well over the course of his career, as he shared that his family along with his guitarist’s family made batches of authentic kolaches to sell at the band’s concert in order to pay for airline tickets for their tour.
The set for the Czech Hall event is stocked full of various sounds and cultures, as the Czech culture will be spotlighted with several polkas and slow waltzes.
Dillingham said the set will include crowd favorites, such as “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and “Orange Blossom Special.”
Original tunes will echo off the hall’s walls as well, as Dillingham said he planned to play “Homa,” an original song for anyone who has a place they call home.
“For me it’s a personal love song for the state of Oklahoma. This is a place that I just love so much,” Dillingham said. “My wife had actually been the one to say, ‘Have you ever written a song about Oklahoma that you could be singing all over the world when you’re going and representing Oklahoma.’”
As an Oklahoma native, Dillingham and his fiddle have traveled to over 40 countries to share his unique style of music.
One program that is close to Dillingham’s heart is with Oklahoma’s sister state Gansu province in China.
Dillingham has traveled to Gansu many times in his career, where he shares his folksy music and in return learns about Gansu’s culture.
A friendship bloomed over the years, which led to Dillingham writing a song titled “Lao Peng You,” which means old friend in Chinese.
He explained that the song intertwined traditional American fiddling and Chinese music into one masterpiece; It reflects not only the old friendship between America and China, but also the friendships that Dillingham has created with the people.
As Dillingham and Horseshoe Road take the stage at Yukon Czech Hall this Thursday, June 29, another old friendship will become evident, one between the band and their home state, as well as their bond to the Czech culture.
The benefit concert is sponsored by Primo’s and Visiting Angels.
Tickets ($15 each) are available to purchase at: https://primos-concerts.ticketleap.com/kyle-dillingham/