v Old Chestnuts - Last month and next - Jack Cole
Appropriate for a leap year, we managed to shoehorn a few extras into the room this month! Actually, we had well over 35 people at the Circle in February, including a couple of new folks and not including some of our regulars, felled by the terrible "100 day cough" (or is that "100 year flu"?) that's going around and around and around the region and the circle. A few people had to sit in the dining room and stand in the kitchen!
But the music was great, as always, and we reminisced with a good number of Willie P. Bennett songs, including Music In Your eyes, Lace and Pretty Flowers, Trying To Start Out Clean, and Willie's Diamond Joe. We need to start doing musician themed nights more often, I think, and doing it while they are still around to appreciate. Thanks to everyone that came out and shared.
There ought to be more elbow room this month as song circle is being held on Easter Saturday, March 22. Since many people are out of town or hosting guests, I expect this to be a fairly small gathering. Bring lots of songs! Given how close we are to Easter, St. Patrick's Day, and the spring equinox, there will be a special prize for songs that feature all three! Rick? Good luck with that! Rumours of a chocolate trifle and dark chocolate Easter treats may or may not be true, by the way.
Next month's circle is on an unusual weekend, due to the Genticorum concert on April 26. We will meet on the second Saturday instead - April 12. That makes for quite a wild ride with two circles close together. Sounds like fun to me!
By the way - our piano was tuned in November and is still waiting to be played during a song circle!! Dan?
This is a good time for my annual reminder to people of some of the guidelines for preparing for the Circle.
- First, please prepare songs that you want to lead. It's not required to be a performance, but you should be able to make it confidently through the song.
- If you have not prepared something, but find a song in the songbook that you would like to request, please understand that no one may feel confident enough to lead it and it may have to wait for another day.
- Also please understand that some people may have prepared extra songs, and it's probably better to enjoy one of those than to struggle through a song that no one knows very well. So, it's okay to pass!
- Songs should be a reasonable length, especially if the hour is running late.
- Follow the song leader; respect their ideas.
- Sing so that you can hear your neighbours
- Try new harmonies; it's the only way to learn, and when it's right, it's wonderful.
- Play along when it's okay (which is "usually"), but learn when it's better to just make beautiful harmony.
- Some of our members have allergies to scents and corn (I wonder who that is? :-) ) so please keep the venue a corn- and scent-free zone.
Above all, come and sing and have a good time!!
P.S. Please read the Chequegnat note at the end of the newsletter for a special appeal.
v Crabtree&Mills Return! - Jack Cole
We were recently favoured by the winds of tradition courtesy of Joanne Crabtree and Paul Mills, as they did the first part of the evening at our recent Folk Night concert. Good news - Joanne and Paul are back in town at a house concert being hosted by Jay Linden. The concert is being held on Saturday, June 14. Jay's place doesn't hold a lot of people, so don't be disappointed, and let him know early that you plan to attend. I will post contact info for Jay here and at grandriverfolk.org when I have it.
Paul and Joanne have recently released an album together, Flight of Fancy, as well as individual solo recordings. From the conversation at the concert it sounds like another album won't be too far away. So get on out to Jay's and enjoy!
v Folk Night: Genticorum and The Dixie Flyers Are Coming!! - Jack Cole
As I write this, Genticorum is getting ready to play at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, Australia. This festival lasts four and a half days, has 22 venues, and features 150 acts. Among them this year are Peggy Seeger, Vin Garbutt, The Duhks, Judy Small, and Enda Kenny. A ticket at the gate will cost you 188 Australian dollars.
Genticorum is one of the headlining acts at this mammoth event, but on April 26 you can catch them right here at The Registry Theatre, at the next to final concert of the season. And you know what we have that the National Folk Festival doesn't? Apart from the small venue (theirs go up to 1500 people)? The brand new Genticorum recording! We will be only the second stop on Genti's release tour for their third CD. Given the success of their first two recordings - including a Juno nomination - this will be a great opportunity to be part of something very special.
Tickets are only $15 in advance and $17 at the door (but don't wait). If you think you would enjoy a mix of very hot instrumentals, traditional songs in French, and a whole lot of fun, bring your friends to the Registry on April 26. If you're not sure - trust me. Just come.
(P.S. Songwriter and one-time Old Chestnut Jack Cooper will be opening. He kind of even looks like the Genticorum in the middle! Jack's been away from KW for a bit, so it will be great to hear what he has in store for us!)
In May we wrap up our sophomore year with Canada's most venerable bluegrass institution, The Dixie Flyers, celebrating The Old Chestnuts' most venerable founding member, Merrick Jarrett. As most of you know, Merrick's family has asked us to hold a concert in his memory each year, and it is an honour and pleasure to do so. The mandate is to have a concert that features people and music that Merrick knew or would have enjoyed. Merrick and some of the Flyers go way back, almost as far back as Merrick and gospel and country music. Should be a kickin' night!
Since 1974,the Dixie Flyers have been entertaining audiences coast to coast in Canada and the U.S. with their original Canadian bluegrass. With their new album "Right On Track" – their ninth recording - the fun continues. Gospel, blues, country, folk – many styles go into the Dixie Flyers, but it all comes out bluegrass. The only predictable thing about them is that they are unpredictable. Like their heroes Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, they always looking for something fresh and different. Putting their spin on the music that they love...
By their longevity, versatility, and an evolutionary approach to the idiom, the Flyers have been Canada's most prominent bluegrass band, performing at folk festivals (like Mariposa and Winnipeg), fairs, nightclubs and universities across the country. They were the host band in 1985 for CFPL-TV's 'Bluegrass Express' and have appeared on 'The Tommy Hunter Show' and many other Canadian country TV series.
Even their lineup for our concert is flexible - there will be Kenny Palmer (mandolin and vocals) and Burt Baumbach (guitar and vocals), and other players from their ever-evolving lineup, likely to include Paul Hurdle (banjo and vocals), Blair Heddle (dobro and vocals) and Chris Ingram (bass).
Opening for the Flyers will be Nonie Crete. With five recordings to her credit, Fergus singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Nonie Crete is a rising musical force. She has toured folk festivals and house concerts across Canada and the U.S, nt to mention a coule of Chequegnat Festivals; and in Ireland Nonie was featured on BBC and opened a concert for Clannad and Altan, where the response to her music was overwhelming.
Tickets for the Dixie Flyers and Nonie Crete are $16 in advance and $18 at the door.
www.gentocorum.ca , www.myspace.com/genticorum , www.dixieflyers.ca , www.myspace.com/dixieflyers
v Dervish - Allycia Longfield
Editor's Note: Thanks to Allycia - my 12-year old great-niece, who sometimes makes it to the Circle with her mom - for this review. The concert took place in London. How can we make this sort of thing happen here?? ~ jc
On February 27 2008, the grade sevens and eights of Northdale Central Pubic School had the pleasure of witnessing the Sunfest performance of the Irish-Celtic band Dervish at Beal Secondary School along with hundreds of other students. “They were filled with energy! They made you feel like dancing!” some people said after the lively performance.
This trip (in my opinion) was included in the school curriculum so the students could better understand the Celtic genre and learn about the new instruments. In the band there are six members, Brian McDonagh on the Mandola, Liam Kelly on the flute and whistles, Tom Morrow on the fiddle, Shane Mitchell on the accordion, Michael Holmes on the bouzouki, and Cathy Jordan on bodhrán, vocals and bones. This band was the first Irish band to perform at the greatest music festival in the world, "Rock in Rio" on front of an estimate audience of two hundred and forty thousand people. Dervish interacted with the audience well and were open to questions. Coming all the way from Sligo, Ireland it was an unexpected treat. Dervish left no room for improvement , "The best band in Ireland ..." Michael Flatley. I give Dervish five stars!
Closing Notes - jc
# Chequegnat 08 has been given the green light for June 7! This happens to also be the Celebrate the Artists weekend in Waterloo Region, and what better way to do that than with a musical party? A few performers have already signed on, so mark your calendars. Please also note that this is a private party, by invitation only. Members of the Song Circle are invited - the original purpose of Chequegnat is to wrap up the season and thank the neighbourhood for its understanding - but please do not spread the invitation further. For that reason details will not be published here - you will need to come to a circle or ask me! IMPORTANT APPEAL: we will not likely have the use of the Royal Medieval Faire's sunshades this year, due to a changing of the guard. So if you have a shade we can use please let us know! If you can also being it over and set it up, that would be fantastic! Thanks.
# The Old Chestnuts have been asked to do a Circle (maybe 2) at the Latitudes Storytelling Festival in Victoria Park, June 21-22. Ballads and story songs are the (mandatory) theme. I'll be asking some of our more comfortable song leaders to participate in the 45 minute circle, and putting the call out for everyone to come sing along! Stay tuned!
# More on the Stephen Fearing concert at The Registry. It is billed as "an Intimate Evening with STEPHEN FEARING, One of Canada's finest roots/folk musicians and a member of Blackie & The Rodeo Kings (with Colin Linden & Tom Wilson) ". The date is Thursday, April 24th at 8 pm. Tickets are $20advance / $22door, available at the Centre in the Square box office 519-578-1570 ~ www.centre-square.com.
# The annual Unitarian Fair Trade Coffeehouse is coming up quickly, on Friday, March 28. A couple of the Old Chestnuts will be part of the show, which includes a medley of musical styles. Organizer Jay Moore writes: "The event is a fundraiser and an awareness raiser for our Social Action Committee and there will be some sales tables in the lobby for Fair Trade coffee and chocolate, 10,000 villages, some Mennonite Service Committee products, and more." Not sure of the fee, but it's a chance to check out their new digs at 299 Sydney St. Contact Jay for more information.
# Two (more) opportunities to perform for good causes are coming up. On March 28, at Kitchener City hall is a concert for the annual commemoration of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Billed as a "Peace Concert", the music runs from 7-10pm and up to 20 minute spots are available. email@example.com for more info. Then, Jeff Beckner sent me a notice: "Folk singer/songwriter(s) wanted to perform at the Non Violence Festival, Sunday June 8 in Victoria Park, Kitchener. Contact: www.nonviolencefestival.com and go to concert link."
# April 5 brings the fourth edition of the Waterloo Guitar Summit at the Waterloo Community Arts Centre. Performers/instructors this year will be Kevin Ramessar, D'Arcy Wickham, and Bob MacLean. Workshops occur from 11-4:30, followed by a concert at 8pm. Workshop topics so far include: Altered tunings, Developing Fingerstyle Patterns, Six things for Six Strings, The Right Hand Position. Workshops are $25 ($20 for students), concert is $15, both for $35. Not to be missed if you're a guitar buff!! Contact the WCAC 519-886-4577 for signup and tickets.
# On April 3, Julie Leahy, part of the Leahy family, brings her tour to Kitchener's Gig Theatre. Appearing with Julie will be guitarist Andy Webster and percussionist Alberto Suarez. The concert will also feature the senior choir from the Listowell High School. Should be an interesting night. Tickets are $20, available from the Centre In The Square.
About this newsletter..... It's on the Web at http://www.mgl.ca/~jhcole . Call 519-578- 6298 or write firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. I'll say it again - the winter and the cold just won't die. What did we do - besides a few hundred years of polluting the planet - to deserve this?? Well, if spring won't come (as it ought to this week) we will have to take comfort in other delights, like concerts and new Indiana Jones and Star Trek movies!!