Liz Boehmke
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Liz Boehmke


Band Folk Acoustic


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"Passionate about Music"

Passionate about making music

Date February 10, 2005

Music has been in Liz Boehmke's heart and flowing through her fingers since her earliest years. Now others can listen in. The 49-year-old who taught music in Barrington schools for 24 years has recorded a disc, "Wayfarin' Stranger," now for sale locally.

The title song is essentially a signature song for the musician -- most often requested in coffee shops by those familiar with her music. A familiar face at local open mic nights, she is scheduled as the featured performer at Warren's Coffee Depot in March.

Although she lives in Riverside, Ms. Boehmke has been in Barrington for decades, both as school teacher and praise and worship director for the Barrington Baptist Church for eight years.

Her home, which she shares with her husband of 25 years, David Boehmke, reflects how music is woven through her life. A number of instruments, from a West African drum to a piano and several guitars, are part of the furnishings.

Getting started: "When I was 8 or 9 years old, I started to learn the piano. My parents wanted me to be proficient in that first. I grew up as a youngster in the theater. My mother did theater, and she did church music. I started playing the guitar in seventh grade. I went to school for music; Barrington College and Rhode Island College, with a major in guitar and choral music. Straight out of a high school, I toured for two years as part of 'Godspell' all over the East Coast."

First CD? "This is my second CD, but the first for sale. The first one was called 'Where should I go,' produced in 1995. I'm on a 10-year plan. Except the next one is half done already. This CD, 'Wayfarin' Stranger,' has as its primary focus something of the joys and trials of my life, and my hope and comfort in God. The next one will have more of a coffee house flavor."

Favorite places to perform: "I played at Caffe Lena in Saratoga, New York, in November. It's the oldest coffee house in the country. Every performer that is a performer has played at Caffe Lena. I always wanted to step on the same stage as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. For me, my feet were on history."

Writing music: "I think everything I write shows a certain kind of dichotomy; there are opposites in life. There's life, there's death, there is contrast. There is always the contrast: Love and lost love, joy and sorrow."

Teaching music: "I always wanted to be a music teacher since I was a teenager, teaching passion and the love of music. I taught in Barrington public schools for 24 years, the last 11 years as head of the music department."

Easier to teach: "I taught in every school. To be honest with you, I can't decide which level I like better. They all have their joys. It's a pleasure to teach. I loved those kids and I loved my job. Even to this day, if I'm shopping in Barrington, I will meet someone, maybe a former student who is now 26, who will say, 'I had you in third grade, and I remember, you did Baby Beluga.' "

If you could have lunch with anyone: "My grandmother; she's the person I'm named after, her name is Elizabeth. She was one of the smartest and kindest people I ever met. She always had a perspective that was fresh and new, she was funny, and I'd just like to hear her perspective on what I'm doing now. She died about 15 years ago."

Ongoing projects: "I left full-time work for health reasons, but I still love teaching, and recently took on a student to learn clarinet. I play the coffee house circuit, and am working on recording."

Spare time: "I play tennis on a women's team, and mixed doubles all over the state. I also play tennis with my husband. Before my daughter (now in college) was born, I was one of the top five tennis players in New England. I even was undefeated in the Pawtucket men's tennis league at one time. I also love toodling around the bay on our motorboat."

Favorite food: "Protein, any protein; eggs would be my favorite food."

Liz Boehmke

* Residence: Riverside

* Former employment: Music teacher in Barrington schools

* Name of new CD: "Wayfarin' Stranger"

* Available at: Barrington Books

* Musical background: Taught music in Barrington schools for 24 years, with the last 11 years as head of the music department.

* Other interests: Served for eight years on staff as the praise and worship director for Barrington Baptist Church.

"I think everything that I write shows a certain kind of dichotomy; there are opposites in life. There's life, there's death, there is contrast. It is always the contrast that I'm after."

By Cindy VanSchalkwyk

- East Bay Newspaper

"Liz Boehmke - The River"

Liz Boehmke takes her music seriously. Period. There are neither bells nor whistles, glitz nor glamour. Put simply, Liz Boehmke is folk music personified. Expounding upon the sounds and spirit of Baez, Seeger, Guthrie, et al, she creates empyreal soundscapes armed with little more than a guitar and voice which exudes insight and experience. Additionally, she is the first artist that I've ever seen with their own mission statement: "Liz Boehmke's music strives at presenting the audience with an unforgettable mix of vocal quality, instrumental excellence and winsome words." I dare say mission accomplished.
Schooled in the rich heritage of the church choir and musical theater, Boehmke culled boundless inlfuence from the sights and sounds that surrounded her in those early formative years. "Theater created other images of exciting colors and dances, pit orchestras and voices... enough to make a child smile" And like countless others who came of age during the heyday of the singer-songwriter, Liz picked up the guitar and found the ultimate outlet for disseminating thoughts, beliefs and ideals. As she recounts, "Now I could sing and play the war protest songs, the love songs... whatever... I was on my way to becoming a troubadour."
Boehmke parlayed her abilities in various forms, ranging from stints in wedding bands, teaching music to school children, and most impressively a two year tour with the musical Godspell. However, it's her new CD "The River", that seems to be the realization of this life well-lived, preserved in lyric and presented to, as she coins them, "lovers of heartsongs." Made up of mostly self penned folk songs, each of the eleven tracks touches upon various facets of her musical knowledge, ranging from bluesy numbers to standard-style hymns. One of the few covers in the offering, the instrumental "Awake Sweet Love", has shades of classical, quite possibly an homage to one of her earliest influences, Andres Segovia.
However, it is clearly the original material which represents Liz Boehmke's lifeblood. The beautiful "All is Well", the disc's oldest composition dating from 1973, has a sound that would have been comfortably heard resonating off the walls of Greenwich Village's Gaslight Cafe or the Bitter End. Another standout track, "What's Behind You" is refreshingly frolicsome without being out of context with the adjacent songs.
Boehmke is one of those rare artists who continue to reinvent the folk tradition with much grace and style, all the while never losing perspective on those who came before. Though her inspirations and concentrations do vary, her work never travels far from one recurring theme... in her own words "the ultimate topic...LOVE." - Don DiMuccio March 2, 2007


Where Should I Go? 1995
Wayfarin' 2004
The River 2007
New cd coming in Spring of 2009



Liz Boehmke Music.... Papa sang bass, momma sang tenor… well, not quite. First musical influences came from church and theater where my mom sang soprano. The church choir perched high in the cathedral loft performed ethereal, mysterious music in languages I didn’t know. While they sang, I inquisitively gazed over the railings or walked among “the giant pipes” of the organ. All the while, my ears grew accustomed to polyphonic sounds, unusual languages and beginning ideas of music were formed.

Music spoke directly to something deep inside me even though I didn’t always understand it. Music’s language was of the heart… an expression of self and something beyond self. It captivated me!

Theater created other images of exciting colors and dances, pit orchestras and voices… enough to make a child smile. From the stage, the thousand seat auditorium with cushioned, red velvet seats rising high into the second mezzanine was thrilling. The resounding of instruments and voices, tapping feet and clapping hands made the gold leaf seem trivial. Music captivated me!

Piano was the instrument my family owned, piano was the instrument we learned to play, but I had heard the strings of Segovia and the strums of Joan Baez and longed to wrap myself around a guitar. In 1969 my first guitar, a Stella Harmony, was purchased. Now I could play and sing the war protest songs, the love songs… whatever… I was on my way to becoming a troubadour… of sorts.

Songwriting became a way of processing ideas and sharing them with other people. It was a way to pour myself out. Inspirations for songs come from the magnificence of nature – particularly sea and sky, real life encounters – including heartaches and joys, travel - imagined or real, and, of course, the ultimate topic – LOVE!!!