Folk singer and songwriter Carol Montag performed live in concert at the Perry Fine Arts’ 43rd annual Musical Extravaganza and Ice Cream Social Saturday, bringing her country-folk style to Fourth of July festivities in the centrum of the First United Methodist Church, 1100 Third St. in Perry.
Following the program, the audience of about 100 enjoyed ice cream and other treats in the Fellowship Room of the First United Methodist Church in a tradition dating back to 1974.
Ames-native Montag said she began singing and playing as a child in church, where she grew to love traditional hymns and liturgical songs. She sang and danced most of the way through her early childhood years, she said, always imagining herself on a grand stage.
In high school she learned to play her sister’s guitar by ear while listening to such folk music legends as Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins and Joan Baez. She saved her money and purchased her first guitar, a Yamaha 12-string, at Eschbach’s House of Music in Ames.
After attending Grand View University and Iowa State University, Montag’s first paid gigs were at a local Mexican restaurant in Cedar Rapids. She was soon performing at colleges, coffeehouses, house concerts, churches and music festivals and doing live radio shows. She has recorded four solo albums and two Christmas albums with the trio known as Tribute.
In the early 1990s, Montag was commissioned by Ballet Iowa to write songs for a ballet about a farm family in crisis. The work was titled, “Swallows Return in the Spring.” She toured the Midwest with the ballet company.
While performing at a private party in Washington, D.C., Montag was invited to sing at the 2010 World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony by the World Food Prize President and former U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Kenneth Quinn.
A generous selection of her CDs were available for purchase after the performance.