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St. Charles duo Hoban Sisters performing Saturday at benefit show

Carly and Jackie Hoban
Carly and Jackie Hoban

St. Charles natives Carly and Jackie Hoban developed a love for bluegrass music at a young age.

Carly, 19, a sophomore at Illinois State University, has been singing since she was 8 years old and playing mandolin since she was 10. Her sister, Jackie, 17, a senior at St. Charles North High School, has been singing for eight years and playing mandolin and guitar for four years.

They perform together as the Hoban Sisters, and will open Saturday for renowned Chicago bluegrass band Henhouse Prowlers at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles.

The show is hosted by the St. Charles Noon Rotary Club and the River Corridor Foundation. Proceeds from the event will be used to fund Rotary's youth scholarships and the River Corridor Master Plan.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 60 years old and up and $15 for students. Tickets are available by calling the Rev. Al Patten at 630-584-8836 or at They are also available at Blue Goose Market, the St. Charles Park District's Pottawatomie Community Center and the Baker Community Center.

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Carly Hoban about the band.

Eric Schelkopf: How did the band get together?

Carly Hoban: Me and my sister used to play together in my grandpa's (Jim Covalsky) bluegrass band, Fox Valley Grass, when we were little. We used to sing with him and his band.

I owe everything to him because he taught me everything I know, basically. Me and my sister started doing more country music in my sophomore or junior year of high school.

ES: What drew you to the mandolin?

CH: I originally wanted to play the guitar and I was really excited about it, and my grandpa was going to teach me.

He put the guitar in my hands, and I didn't like it, because my fingers were so small and I couldn't stretch my fingers across the fretboard. The mandolin is smaller, so it was just kind of easier at the time for my fingers to hit the chords.

So I started playing mandolin and then I just kind of stuck with it. I really liked it.

ES: Do you like the sound of it?

CH: Yes. It's such a pretty instrument. And it's unique. Not everybody plays it.

ES: Do you think you and your sister really match together musically?

CH: I think so. I think we have good harmony and good chemistry on stage. It's a lot of fun playing with her. It kind of brings the family together.

ES: Does it seem natural that you are playing bluegrass? Do you consider your music bluegrass?

CH: At the Arcada, we're going to do a mix of country music and bluegrass. I feel like my comfort zone is bluegrass music, just because I've grown up with it.

ES: Do you think you will continue to play music after you get out of college?

CH: Yeah, of course. I think I will always want to perform. Obviously, school gets in the way and it's hard to play with my sister because we are in different places.

But it's a lifelong thing. That's what I love about music. Music is something you can play for the rest of your life.

ES: You're opening for Henhouse Prowlers. Are you familiar with the band?

CH: I came home last year to see them play. I thought they were amazing. It's exciting that I get to open for them, considering I saw them play last year.

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