December/January 2001

v Last Month and This - Jack Cole

The final Song Circle of the Second Millennium turned out to be one of the most fun. It was a "linking" night - something that we will be sure to do more of in the next Millennium. The idea was to link songs to Paul Simon's "I Am A Rock". Naturally, we ended up with a whole bunch of Simon's songs, which was a lot of fun all on its own. Pretty much everybody could join in on those, and it was fascinating to see that most of the songs people brought were from the early Simon & Garfunkle albums. Maybe they are the most singable. Or maybe we are mostly of "that age".

We also got other hit songs from the same year, from a list compiled by Debbie. We got "Rock" songs - Jimi Hendrix debuted at the Old Chestnuts! We got lots of down and lonely, cold and snowy songs. Some Lightfoot, and McGann and Gallaher. And 1 Newbie - yay Beth!

I am truly stupefied and amazed that there is so little hype surrounding this New Year's Eve. What about the mathematically correct dawn of the new millennium? What about "2001: A Space Odyssey" ? What about all the programmers who recklessly hacked kludges for last year's Y2K crisis, and never got around to fixing them up for this year? What about the super-heated dot- com companies that are going to take many, many more people down with them in 2001? What about global warming and way too much snow?? How can this be such an anti-climax?

Not that I really thing anything disastrous will happen; but I think it's a lot more possible than last year!

Anyway, personal paranoia aside, I'd like to tip my hat to Arthur C. Clark, who brought us the black obelisk and the baby in the bubble (hey - another Paul Simon link!). Also an unforgettable version of "Bicycle Built For Two". For January, I would like to hear songs about any of those things - monoliths, babies' (& children's) songs, classic songs from the past. "Songs for 2001".

Note 1: Due to our busy concert schedule, Mary and Barry Baldasero have offered to host both January and February Song Circles. Thank you!!! They are located just around the corner from us, on Frederick Street. Please eMail or phone (578-6298) for their exact location.

Note 2: Due to a conflict with the Winter Songfest, February's Circle is moved ahead a week, to February 17.

Note 3: Also, I would like to propose a small format change for the New Year. I suggest that we relax the "all singalong rule" after the first round. In round 1, singalong songs (or songs that can be taught) are expected so that we can all participate. After that, people are encouraged to continue with singalongs, but performance oriented selections would also be appropriate. I am hoping that this change will bring back some of the fine area musicians who enjoy entertaining more than leading. It will also allow some of the excellent instrumentalists a chance to show their stuff.

So, let's give it a try on January 27!

v Haines & Leighton

The 2001 concert season gets off to a roaring start on January 6, with the incomparable Haines & Leighton at Zion United Church. Their shows are known for excellent music, tons of laughter, and an energy that will catch you up and carry you along!

Mark Haines & Tom Leighton perform a mix of Celtic, Maritime and North American-influenced music, both traditional and contemporary. Mark sings, plays fiddle, mandolin and guitar, and is also a songwriter of sensitivity and humour. Tom plays accordion, keyboards, bodhran and whistle, sometimes simultaneously. Their original arrangements are both dazzling and complex, and their performances sizzle with energy.

Their recordings include "Optimist's Jig" and "Foot to the Floor (Repeat on Beat)". Haines and Leighton have been featured on CBC radio and television (Rita MacNeil's Kitchen Party), as well as performing across Canada, in the US and Britain at festivals, folk clubs and concert halls.

We need to sell a bunch more tickets, so please come out and bring some friends! Tickets are $12 in advance ($14 at the door) and are available at 578-6298 or at Words Worth Books in Waterloo. Opening this concert will be Spooky Moon.

(The proposed workshop did not get enough takers.)

v Pied Pumkin Returns! - jc

Legendary B.C. folk trio PIED PUMKIN is back, with toe-tapping concerts and dancing for all ages. Rick Scott, Joe Mock and Shari Ulrich combine dulcimer, guitar, violin, mandolin, flute and piano in a smorgasbord, spanning folk, rock, jazz, blues and country. The Pumkin makes community through music, delighting audiences from toddlers to seniors.

In the mid 70's Pied Pumkin was one of BC's most beloved acts, recording several albums and winning many thousands of loyal fans.

My own memories of the Pumkin come from a couple of their rare trips into Southern Ontario. One night they played the "Campus Centre Coffeehouse" at UW. At the beginning of their set they insisted that some of the tables be moved back for dancing. "Not this crowd", I thought - looking at the geeks and enginerds - "Never happen". But it did, people danced like crazy (not me, of course!) and it was magical.

After only two years together the band separated, with each Pumkin going on to a vibrant solo career, Shari first touring with Valdy as part of "The Hometown Band"

In 1998 they decided to get back together to play a few shows, just for the fun of it. As word got out, a few shows turned into 20 sold out, standing ovation celebrations. The response was so overwhelming that Pied Pumkin has since performed more than 80 concerts across Western Canada, including ringing in the Millennium with a crowd of 20,000, headlining Vancouver's First Night Celebrations.

"Plucking DeVine", a 1998 CD retrospective, sold out in a matter of months. In March 2000 they issued "Pied Alive", recorded during their previous tour, the first new Pumkin album in 25 years. Pied Pumkin was back, and loving it as much as their audiences.

Joe Mock now lives in France, Rick Scott is in great demand as a children's entertainer and Shari Ulrich performs both solo and as part of "UHF". So the Pumkin get together to play only two or three times a year, to an ever expanding fan base. In the winter of 2001, Pied Pumkin is touring Ontario for only five shows, one of which is in Kitchener on January 31st. Our concert kicks off a national tour, en route to a showcase at the 2001 Folk Alliance Conference in Vancouver.

Don't miss this rare opportunity to see this legendary group live.

Rick Scott will also be conducting a workshop on January 29 for the Grand River Dulcimer Club. Rick is a very funny and innovative performer, and this workshop should be a unique opportunity!

The concert is 7:30, Wednesday, January 31 at Zion United Church. This time I might dance.

More information can be found at .

v Winter Songfest 2001

The Winter Songfest, about which I wrote at length in last February's newsletter, is happening again the weekend of February 24, 2001. From Friday supper until Sunday after lunch, just music-making and dancing and walks in the woods and eating and sleeping. Kind of like The Woods, only there are no staff members and more sleep is possible!!

Once again the Songfest is being held at a camp just outside of Paris. More information can be got from me, or from .

v OCSC Organizational Meeting

Some of you may be wondering how the meeting turned out last month. Well, not too many folks came to talk about the future of our concerts, but I would like to thank those who did. With some phone calls and arm twisting, we managed to recruit a few people to help with the large amount of work that goes into each concert.

I divided the tasks into 4 teams: Performers, Audience, Promotion and Ticket Sales. Jean Mills volunteered to captain Promotion, and Mary Baldasaro took the Audience team. I kept Performers, and (for now) seem to be stuck with Tickets as well.

Other folks who volunteered are:
Performers: Michael, Christa
Audience: Margaret
Promotion: Christa, Wayne, Bob, Don, Charlotte, Beth, Megan, Monique, Judy, Rose
Tickets: James, Johanna, Linda, Jakki, Janice

I may have missed a name or two, so please, if I have missed you (or included you falsely) correct me!

Next month I will describe the jobs that each team will be doing. Thanks!!!


I have to admit it. I am a huge fan of Artisan. Ever since taking the harmony class at the Celtic College in Goderich in 1999, I have marvelled at their rich, a cappella harmonic blend. (They were the best harmony teachers that I have ever had at the College, although I am afraid their material is not celtic enough to keep them at the Festival).

Artisan is an a cappella trio from South Yorkshire, England. Hilary Spencer sings the soaring high notes, Brian Bedford writes much of their original material and weaves his voice around and under the high notes and Jacey provides the magic glue that blends it all together to create that magical sound.

When I found out that they were bringing the "Stuff the Turkey" Christmas Show (started in 1990) to North America for the first time, I was excited to learn that they would be in London, Ontario on November 26, 2000 at the Aeolian Hall and I knew it would be a great family show.

Just as their web page promised, it was an evening of "mirth, myrrh, music and mayhem". They have such and easy rapport with the audience. The set was mostly a simple, but effective background, painted with a fireplace, and a Christmas tree. However, the heart of their show is the singing. And sing they did, covering songs by Stan Rogers, Mike Harding, David Roth and of course their own special take on many traditional songs and original works by Brian. Until that night I did not know that you could sing "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" to so many different tunes...including the "Can Can" ...(this has been a favourite game for them to play while on the road). They also did "Big Red" with a familiar sounding chorus "Sleigh riders in the sky".

One of the highlights was a hilarious, very fast pantomime with a king that disappears leaving his daughter in the hands of the wicked queen. The play included gags and quick costume changes...curses.. and hints of the "Blair Wich Project"... (That has Jeff thinking about next years Halloween costume). My daughters loved it. Sophie (8) loved the when the princess was turned into a pig and Anna (10) said "It was COOL. A fun show for the whole family".

I had put out a very broad hint to my family that I would love Artisan's new CD "Dancing With Words" for Christmas....and I was not disappointed! I especially love the "I ain't Going Down" tune that I first heard them perform in Goderich in 1999.

If you love harmony, definitely think about investigating Artisan. The "Stuff the Turkey Show" was great family Christmas fun. Artisan's next plans include recording another CD in March and touring the US in June to promote "Dancing with Words". Their material spans a variety of styles. I am not fond of every song, but I love their blend of harmony and I what I can learn from that blend.

Check out their web page "". Jacey keeps the web page updated with upcoming tour dates. When they bring the Christmas Show to Canada again...make plans to take family and friends for a great evening of laughter and song.

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

Jan 5 Mill Race Folk Club, Ernie's Roadhouse, Cambridge. 1st Saturday of each month.
Jan 19 Black Walnut Folk Club, Mill-Courtland Centre. $3. Open mic. With host.
Jan 27 Old Chestnuts Song Circle. Arrive between 7:30 and 8 PM. 578.6298. Songs for Y2K+1. At Mary & Barry's on Frederick St.
Jan 6 Haines & Leighton! Zion United Church, Kitchener. $12 / $10 Details above.
Jan 29 Rick Scott, dulcimer workshop for the GRDC. Call Jack or Jean for info.
Jan 31 Pied Pumkin! Zion United Church, Kitchener. $15 / $10. Details above.
Feb 3 Lucie Blue Temblay, Emmanuel United Church, Waterloo $17
Feb 17 Old Chestnuts Song Circle. (Note the odd week!) At Mary & Barry's on Frederick St.
Mar 24 David Francey, House Concert, $12. Details next month.

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. Since many of you will not read this until after January 1, you probably grinned at my paranoia above. On the other hand, if I was right.. Have a Happy New Year!!! - jack

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