Old Chestnuts Song Circle Newsletter

December 1996 / January 1997

Upcoming OCSC Events Jack Cole
Modabo. You may have seen them in 96. If not, you missed an intimate and thrilling house concert. Jakki Ridley's pick as "best concert ever". Well, we have them again, April 19 1997 - assuming they stay out of hospital (As I write this Jon Weaver is having his left arm operated on for a triple fracture. The other two had surgery earlier this year!) We're currently waffling between a house concert, 2 house concerts, and a larger venue. For selfish reasons I want these guys in my living room - we'll have to see. In any case I hope to start selling tickets at the next Circle. Meanwhile I'm pre-selling their next record to raise some cash for its manufacture. The CD is $20, tape $15, Modabo T-shirts (black, XL) are $20, but if you buy a voucher for the new album, a T-shirt is only $10 more. I also have a couple of copies of the first CD for those unfortunates who missed it!

I've also booked Victoria's Bill Gallaher and Jake Galbraithe (and friends) for September, although this one is still tentative. Those paying attention will remember at least two of their songs from Song Circle: Augustus and Catherine and Mary and the Seal. You might also recall that I gave The Last Battle my highest CD rating so far. They are great.

Woods Appetizers
You have all heard me praise the Woods Experience to the sky, so I won't presume to do that again this time. But for those of you who might not know.....The Woods Music and Dance Camp is a wonderful 6-day submersion in folk singing, dancing and community. It happens every summer on the shores of Lake Rosseau, and will change your life.

Information has just been released for the summer of '97, but you should probably treat this as preliminary. The Woods takes place over the August long weekend, from Thursday evening July 31 until Tuesday afternoon, August 5. This year the staff is another all-star lineup, with wonderful returnees and some exciting new folks as well. Included on staff are Rick Fielding, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, and two of my favourites from last year, Nathan (he plays everything) Curry and Becky Hill, amazing storyteller and dance caller. I will elaborate on this in future newsletters.

In the meantime a sampler of The Woods community is available in February. Last year a Winter Woods was held at the Five Oaks Centre near Paris, Ont. It was a mini-summer Woods, with teaching staff, dancing, workshops and so on. This year the folks have decided to return to Five Oaks but on a less formal basis. It will be a gathering of The Woods organizers, friends, and those lucky enough to hear about it, limited to 40. My guess is that it will be one long Song Circle, from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, with breaks for enjoying the outdoors, maybe some dancing, conversation and jamming. Accommodation is on-site, and the cost is $125. I have more information, or you can contact Matthew Shuster at (416) 446-6080, shuster@terraport.net for the real scoop.

November and Upcoming Song Circles
November's Song Circle was one of the best ever. We had a large crowd (nearly 30), several familiar and much-missed faces back in the rotation, a few new voices too, and everyone was in a festive mood! The topic, officially "Making Things", quickly became "Work Songs" - which gave everybody plenty to choose from. And there were lots of munchies (thanks to all) and a few new songs to chew on, too. Several songs handed out, including In My Backyard, by Susan Ellenton - a Kitchener native now living in Victoria.

So on to a New Year with January's Circle on the 25th. I've had a number of topics flit through my mind, but nothing that stayed there long enough (topics don't thrive in a vacuum). So.... I'm going to learn a song my father liked; maybe everybody could bring one song that was or is special to a parent or someone close and we can savour them. And sing real, real loud. Bring the words to hand out if you can.

Lori and I leave for a vacation the next morning - a 7 AM flight from Toronto. So I intend to either end the night a touch early, or go on until about 5 AM! Probably the former. So we'll be starting right at 8 PM - come early if you need to tune.

2000 Years of Christmas Jack Cole

Before I say anything else, I want to thank everyone who worked to make this concert happen. All of you who sold tickets - thank you; you turned my panic into bliss. And those who held the fort before, after and at the concert - to name names: Cathy & Dave, Dan, Jakki, John, Joyce, Kelly, Michael and Sue. And especially Lori, who put up with me through the whole thing, and took on the tough organizing when I overloaded. And the sponsors and door prize donators: Accent 100 Hair, Latte On The Loose, M & M Meat Shops (Greenbrook Dr.), Mill Race Folk Club, Readers' Ink Bookshop, Waterloo County Pottery, White Rose Nurseries (Waterloo), and Lori Cole Pottery. Please support these organizations and tell them why!!! And thanks to Zion United Church for the wonderful space - I can't imagine a better setting. And to Robert Reid of The Record, who spread the word. And to Trilogy too - nice job.

And all of you who came out and dragged people with you! From Durham, Goderich, Toronto, London, Aylmer, Cambridge. We sold about 20 kids tickets.....I hope all of your kid friends enjoyed the show.

I'm not going to do a review - there's one by James below! And Robert Reid from The Record already did a recap that was tremendously positive! But I wanted to pass on comments from the performers. Cathy Miller: "As far as I'm concerned, the Kitchener show was the best ANYONE has done in the whole three-year history of the presentation". Eileen McGann: "That show stands out in the whole tour", and Eileen also praised the venue, the audience and the organization. We sold over 250 tickets, so Trilogy went home very very happy. Me too.

For any of you that would like copies of the newspaper articles, I have some. And I would really like copies of any pictures you might have taken - especially of the Round Room - we did all that decorating and then I never took a picture! And now.......

2000 Years of Christmas : The Concert James Morgan
The two hundred and sixty people attending this concert may have been part of the birth of a new Christmas tradition: The Annual "Two Thousand Years of Christmas" concert tour by Trilogy. Trilogy is comprised of Cathy Miller, David K and Eileen McGann. The concert was more a performance piece than a traditional folk concert. It consisted of a variety of Christmas music, mini-plays and a wealth of Christmas trivia. (Do you know why we decorate our trees with apples?)

The performance on December 10th in Kitchener, under to sponsorship of The Old Chestnut's Song Circle, was part of the third annual Christmas tour of this Calgary based group. We can only hope for many happy returns. The vocal blends and musicianship were absolutely first rate. Several people to whom I sold tickets came up to me with spontaneous thanks for getting them to the performance. "Their voices go together so well that I couldn't tell who was singing which part." "They were wonderful!"

The music spanned the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Centuries. The first half of the concert included the more traditional Christmas fare such as "O Magnum Mysterium" and "The Huron Carol." It ended with a rousing sing-a-long "Light from the Lighthouse", a bluegrass spiritual. The second half moved into more contemporary and sometimes moving material such as Eileen's "Turn It Around" a song dealing with homelessness and hope, or John McCutcheon's "Christmas In The Trenches", a factually based song concerning an exchange of Christmas carols and a soccer game between the opposing sides during a Christmas truce in World War One. It also included a Canadian first: a "sea" shanty for shoveling snow!

Jack and Lori Cole, hosts of The Old Chestnut's Song Circle, are to be thanked and congratulated for bringing this delightful performance to Kitchener-Waterloo. They have expanded on the success of their two previous house concerts in moving into this larger concert venue. I can only say "Encore!,.... Encore to both!"

Upcoming Events (Check Acoustic Cafe for more!)

Jan 10 Moondance Cafe, Beverlie Robertson playing folk & blues with Poor Charlie doing guest set

Jan 18 Raintree Cafe, Poor Charlie playing trad blues with Beverlie Robertson doing set of women's blues.

Jan 18 Black Walnut Folk Club, Jester's Court, Victoria Park, Kitchener. Also Feb 15.

Jan 25 Old Chestnuts Song Circle, 111 Chestnut St., Kitchener. 578-6298. Also Feb 22.

Feb 1 Mill Race Folk Club, Ernie's, Cambridge

Feb 12 Thru 16, Folk Alliance Conference, Toronto. 5 days of music, including Trilogy, UHF, Fred J. Eaglesmith, Quartette,

Stephen Fearing, many more! Workshops, sessions, etc etc etc at the Harbour Castle. Big $$$ but big times!

Feb 23 Dave Webber and Annie Fintiman, House Concert, Toronto, Bob Biderman @ 416-483-1409

About this newsletter..... This newsletter is emailed if I have your address. It is available at OCSC and BWFC get togethers. Also available by regular mail, but for that I request a few stamped envelopes or a contribution to postage. I would love to have articles submitted, please! And event announcements are always welcome. Hope the Xmas season was good for you all, and that 1997 is full of good times. Merrick's Mariposa article returns next month!