March 2000

v Last Month and Next Month at OCSC! - Jack Cole

Some nights are diamonds, some nights are coal. We found a diamond in February. It was one of those nearly perfect evenings, when you just wish every single person could be there to experience the thrill of the singing. Yes, there were newbies and we welcome them whole-heartedly. You folks picked a good night! And we finally broke a few age barriers, having 6 people under 20 and another half dozen (I think) under 30. There were about 32 all together - a comfortably crowded room and an abundance of excellent munchies - what more could anyone want?

Great music, of course. The theme was Dreams and it was a very popular one. We started with Dream, Dream, Dream and worked our way through just about every possible genre including show tunes, movie tunes, and Row, Row, Row, Your Boat. There were 3 songs from Rick Fielding's new CD and 4 or 5 from Bill Gallaher. And in another encouraging development, almost all requests were for specific songs that people had "dreamed you'd sing".

So we get to March, with our possibly next-to-last circle of the season. We had so much fun with ships last year and things in the sky this year, that another `classic' theme seems in order. So we are looking for songs about "vehicles with whee-icles". Trains, cars, trucks, cycles... if it rolls on wheels it's fair game. See you on March 25.

By the way, the April Circle should be on Easter weekend. Does anyone have an opinion on leaving it or moving it?

v Aengus Finnan House Concert - Jack Cole

We are long overdue for a house concert on Chestnut Street! So it is with great anticipation that we welcome Aengus Finnan to our living room on Saturday May 13. I first saw Aengus when he opened for Modabo in Brantford a couple of years ago. I was impressed then, and several of us were impressed again at Eaglewood last year. Aengus is an engaging performer, with a knack for writing great songs and another for finding wonderful traditional music. I have requested a "sing along" repertoire, and judging from Aengus' recent CD that will be no problem.

The concert will be at 8 PM, and, following time honoured tradition, members of the Song Circle in attendance will be invited to perform a song or two (please arrange this with me in advance). There will be munchies, drinks and door prizes. Tickets are sold in advance only, and are $10.

The following information is from the Aengus' web page.

Born to a performing family in Dublin, Ireland, Aengus has been immersed in story, song, and theatre all his life. Since his family emigrated in the 70's he has explored Canada as a student of Visual Arts in Victoria, an actor in Montreal, a research diver in Alberta, and as a school teacher in Moosonee. Last year he left the north and moved to southern Ontario to make his debut on the folk club & festival circuit. The response has been overwhelming! His music reveals poignant observations of common life, the subtle world of an intense dreamer, passionate interest in history and heritage, and a love for traditional folk music.

Aengus' songs have been recognized with several awards including 1st place in the James Bay WaWaTay songwriting competition, winner of the 1999 "Songs from the Heart" competition (sponsored by the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals), a scholarship in the Vancouver based "Write On" competition, and an Ontario Arts Council recording grant. His songs have earned him showcases at summer festivals, garnered him spotlights on College and Public radio folk shows, and gained industry praise in both Canada and the US.

I should mention that Aengus is also playing at Folkway Music in Guelph in late March, but that concert is already SOLD OUT! Another show has been added in April.

v Grand River Dulcimer Club Update! - Jean Mills

The Grand River Dulcimer Club is thriving! We've had five meetings now, and there seems to be a regular core of five players (a couple of Old Chestnuts among them) who show up, with a few others who come when they can. The meetings are held at Folkway Music in Guelph, and members drive in from Kitchener, Cambridge, Hamilton, Toronto and Tavistock - even in rotten winter weather - so this tells you something about the dedication of mountain dulcimer players in the area. We're looking forward to strumming our stuff on Doug Gibson's show on CKWR, hopefully at the end of April. The whole show will be dedicated to dulcimer music, with members of the GRDC playing some of our hits and talking about how we were introduced to this wonderful instrument. Another upcoming event is a proposed weekend get-together before we disband for the summer.

What began as a vague plan to get a few dulcimer players together has turned into an exciting group with a life of its own. There are lots of laughs as we navigate different tunings, strum styles and techniques. And there is also the occasional unexpected magical moment when we find ourselves making a sound that can only be described as heavenly. Last month, dulcimer friend and Folkway proprietor Mark Stutman joined us with some backup guitar and banjo, which brought a whole new dimension to our music. Lots of fun, lots of learning, lots of music. New members are always welcome, even if you've never seen, heard or held a mountain dulcimer. We'll show you what to do!

Jean Mills (519-763-8092)

v The Woods 2000 - Jack Cole

One of my most favourite places in the world - the Woods Music and Dance Camp - has announced it's staff for the camp August 15-20. Here it is. For more (especially links to the staff's Web sites) check out . (Next month I'll tell you about this year's Celtic College!)

Eldon Cooper. He called his first square dance at the age of eight, and now he's one of Ontario's busiest and most versatile dance callers. Eldon leads contras, squares, Playford, English traditional, and more...take your pick, but get ready to get moving! When he's not dancing or calling, you might catch him making music on fiddle or guitar.

Rick Fines. Rick is a talented songwriter and guitarist whose music is fresh yet steeped in tradition. A veteran of the North American folk and blues circuits, he's a former member of the award-winning Jackson Delta trio and a compelling solo artist. Give him a guitar and you'll be amazed at the blues, finger-style and bottleneck sounds he can squeeze out!

Mark Haines and Tom Leighton. This wild and wacky dance- band duo will get your feet moving! With roots in Celtic, Maritime, and North American traditions, Mark and Tom explore the outer limits on fiddle, guitar, mandolin, accordion, keyboards, bodhran and vocals. They're stomping the hardwood and leading the chorus wherever tunes are played, stories are told and songs are sung.

Peggy Seeger. Singer, songwriter, activist- Peggy Seeger is all these and more. After growing up in a legendary American musical family, she made an indelible mark on the British folk song revival with partner Ewan McColl. An esteemed interpreter of traditional material, she's also a gifted instrumentalist, and a creator of observant, playful and caustic songs.

Christina Smith and Jean Hewson. A little bit of Newfoundland returns to Muskoka! Christina and Jean carry traditions learned from the older generation of Newfoundland musicians such as Emile Benoit and Rufus Guinchard. Well-known for their engaging style and innovative interpretations of tunes and songs, they will entertain and amuse you with fiddle, guitar, voice and cello.

v Valdy Concert Review - Angie Stock

Valdy at Stratford City Hall, February 24, 2000

Paul and I have always enjoyed Valdy's music and were looking forward to a night out with friends of ours to our first Valdy Concert at Stratford City Hall. Stratford City Hall has a very nice old theater with great acoustics and even though we arrived late (full house) and were sitting in the back row of the balcony, we had a great view of the stage. Our only regret was that we only caught the last couple of songs of the warm-up performer "Ed". He had a wonderful voice! On the break we asked several people what his full name was but no one remembered and having no CD's there, we never did catch his full name. Sorry.

When Valdy came on stage, he wasn't alone. Gary Fejllgard shared the stage with him. This disappointed us a little as we just wanted to hear Valdy's voice all on his own. We soon found out that Valdy and Gary had recently released a new CD together called "Contenders" and were on the road promoting it. They also explained that they were friends (both living in the gulf islands of BC) and enjoyed sharing the stage together, and it showed. Their voices and guitars harmonized well together as they sang songs from their CD. After singing a few songs together, Valdy flipped a coin as to who would have the stage to themselves first. Gary won and performed a number of songs by himself. His years of experience shown through as he performed, as well as his enjoyment of being on stage. His songs were a reflection of his life's past experiences from life in lumber camps and on cattle drives to white water rafting experiences. He always had a great story of explanation before each song. His country-western style - complete with yodelling - was enjoyed by all.

After a short break, it was Valdy's turn on stage and what a stage presence he had. He opened with "I'm Your Man" and instantly he had the crowd riveted to his every word and note he sang. His energy was contagious as his feet never seemed to stop moving. His set was fast paced with always a funny story to tell and he was continually getting the audience involved. He encouraged and instructed us how to harmonize with him as he sang "Play Me a Rock and Roll Song" and we were the percussion section for his rap environmental song or he just simply invited us to sing along. He had an incredible wit that had us doubled over with laughter on a number of occasions. His voice was smooth, his guitar playing incredible and before we knew it his set was over! It went far too quickly! A sign of a great performance!

Gary joined Valdy for a few more songs. They came back for an encore singing "Trailers For Sale or Rent", an old Roger Miller song, which was also sung by all present.

We thoroughly enjoyed our first Valdy concert and would love to see him again!

v Gallaher Music

I'm placing another order for Bill Gallaher songbooks and CDs, if anyone would like a copy. Bill's compilation CD, The Last Battle, and his songbook have both been out of `print' for some time so it is great news that they are available again. Let me know if you would like either CD or the book as soon as you can. Not sure of the final price, but last time it was $20 for the book and $16 for CDs, plus shipping.

v Some Events in The Area (as space permits!)

Mar 17 Black Walnut Folk Club, Laurel Room, UW. $3. Open mic. With host. Third Friday of each month.
Mar 25 Old Chestnuts Song Circle Vehicles with whee-icles!!. Arrive between 7:30 and 8 PM. 578.6298.
Apr 29 Mill Race Spring Preview Fundraiser. More details next month.
May 13 Aengus Finnan, Old Chestnuts House Concert, $10. On CKWR May 10.

v About this newsletter..... It's emailed if I have your address. It's on the Web at and 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. Call 578-6298 for more information. So we're off to Carolina on Saturday!! Back on the 20th with lots of adventuring under our belts!! And maybe a new song or instrument - you may remember what happened last time!! Thanks for all the articles this month! Boy does that make a difference! See you on the 25th!

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