The Old Chestnuts Song Circle Newsletter
June 1999


v Last Month and Next Month at OCSC - Jack Cole

May's Song Circle was the last for the season, and we rang the year out on a happy note! "Song's that make you feel good" was a popular theme, and the 2 dozen people that came had a very good time indeed. The topic naturally lent itself to songs that most people already knew, so voices were raised very well! I think everyone left Feelin' Groovy, to the strains of the closing, impromptu song, Eileen McGann's version of There'll Be More Joy.

As our fourth season ends there are many that I would like to thank. First of all, the helpers who came early to move furniture, set up chairs, make coffee, cut squares, and all those things. Especially the Growden clan, who often stayed until the next day to reverse all of the above! To those who brought treats - and they were awesome this year - a very big thanks! Now I'm on a diet as a result, but it was worth it!! And also to those who couldn't bring something, but who threw a few dollars in the hat to help out - a big assist that was with the expenses, and thanks James for promoting it. The Baldasaro's hosted two circles, and that was a lifesaver - thanks Mary and Barry. Thanks Margaret J. for the fancy cake and many other things. And the many people who understood about Jaspur and helped us get through. Thanks for the concert help from so many people - lights, sound, tickets, chairs. It was nice to be able count on you `regulars' this year - it really helps knowing that someone will come. And the `infrequents' and newbies too - I'm pretty sure we've had newbies every single month that we've been going. Thanks to everyone who learned (or wrote) a new song just for us, and then did us the honour of passing it out so we could learn it too. That's what the Circle is really all about, and it's wonderful.

And especially thanks to Lori, who puts up with this crazy passion, and works just as hard at it! Only 3 months until the next one!!

Enjoy the summer everyone, and don't forget to come back on September 25th! No theme - just bring some favourites!

v EXCITING Concerts for the Old Chestnuts! - Jack Cole

Boy have we got a lot to tell you about!!

The first exciting news is that Eileen McGann has kindly agreed to do a small, intimate house concert for us, the weekend of August 14! This will be a very special evening to say the least. The number of tickets will be limited to much fewer than usual, and will only be available to members and supporters of the Song Circle. Think of this as a private reward for supporting Circles and concerts (or subscribing to this newsletter) over the years. Besides featuring the best traditional and contemporary singer/songwriter in the country, we are also working on ways to make this evening even more memorable, and suggestions are welcome. Place, ticket price, and day are to be determined yet.

The second leg in this stool is the Modabo concert on October 16. We recently confirmed Zion United Church as the location, and if you were there last year you will know that it rocked that night! Modabo< told me later that it was one of their top 5 concerts of all time. knowing those guys, I expect history to repeat itself! This should be the high energy event of the year.

And the anchor leg - Trilogy has also been confirmed for Zion United on December 11. After two fabulous years, we took a break from 2000 Years of Christmas in 1998, but Cathy, David and Eileen are back this year exactly 3 weeks before January 1 2000. I've seen this show four years in a row now, and I can't imagine Christmas without it. It's that incredible and that moving. And Zion is the perfect place to get in the spirit.

Tickets for all three of these events can be reserved now. Call 578-6298 or eMail me. They will all be sold out, so don't wait!!

On a more subdued note, I can't miss a chance to plug some personal things. GreenWood will be part of the Cedar Hills Festival on July 10 (3:30-8:30) near downtown Kitchener, and I will be part of the Black Walnut workshop-style concert in Victoria Park on the 11th (2:30-4:30). In fact, many OCSC members are participating in both, so come on out and sing along! On Friday September 24th Robin Jones is bringing James Gordon and Alistair Brown to the Button Factory, and GreenWood has the honour of opening for them. A night of traditional music!

v GreenWood Concert Review - Jack Cole

Well, it happened - someone let us perform for an entire concert. Now, I won't be so gauche as to review the performance, and neither was I dumb enough as to ask one of our friends for an honest opinion in writing! (Though they might have offered :-) ). Instead I thought I'd share my perspective. (Jean and James are guiltless for this, by the way).

"Amazing" is the first word that comes to mind! Mary Baldasaro and I were counting chairs in the morning to see what her place could really hold. We ended up renting chairs and selling 61 tickets, and I still can't believe it! Our original goal was 30, so Amnesty International should be pleased indeed!

And I give the audience 10 out of 10 in all departments. First of all, they stayed. Silly to ask for more, but in fact they also sang! Imagine what it's like to have 50-odd people singing back at you on the choruses! And many verses. Wonderful is what it was. That made us work hard to sing over the audience, and by the end of the first set we were feeling it! But euphoria ran high.

We learned a lot. Don't sing down to your dulcimer. Don't wait so long to return for an encore (that was pure disbelief). Get better at eye contact. If you think you've got too many songs in the set you probably do. Schedule dulcimer songs in different tunings for different sets. Don't play too slow, and don't play the chords for the chorus during the verse (sorry Jean). Give yourself a song you can do in your sleep every couple - the fun diminishes when you are sweating over remembering words or chords. Smile and laugh a lot - it really make an amazing difference. Stick mostly to your strengths and experiment with caution.

You know those musicians who party all night after a concert? Like, for example, Modabo. Don't know how they do it. I could have slept right there in the pile of chairs at Mary's place. Performing an entire concert is exhausting! But folks, while the audience sings, laughs and applauds it could go on all night.

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

Aug 14 Eileen McGann, Old Chestnuts 'private' concert.

v About this newsletter..... It's emailed if I have your address. It's 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 that's it for 98/99 - when next we meet it will be the 99/00 season - "Gretzky or Nothing"? Thanks to all the GreenWood supporters - you folks are incredible! Keep singing for the summer; see you next at Home County!!

v Summer Festival Information - Jack Cole

Here's some information about nearby festivals, scrounged from various sources. I make no promises to accuracy, but it should be pretty good!! I have hilighted some performers that I find particularly noteworthy - apologies if I have left out a favourite. Grab a blanket and a cooler and hit the road!

Home County / July 16-18 / London / Free!
My favourite, and not yet missed festival celebrates 26 years in Victoria Park! Lineup: Alistair Brown, Heartbreak Hill Bluegrass Band, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Thomas Handy Trio, David Essig, Jackie Washington, Erin Benjamin, Colin Linden, Penny Lang, Bob Snider, David Bradstreet, Nonesuch, Tranby Croft, Eric James, Finest Kind, Vox Violins, Nancy White, Joe Hall with Tony Quarrington, The Matadors, Beniji, Brenda McMorrow, Southern Comfort Jazz Band, Mosaic, Bob Burchill, Darlene Sovran, Chuck Brodsky. See you there!!

Hillside Festival / July 23-25 / Guelph / $$$
Eclectic festival at Guelph Lake. Hillside. Many musical styles. Folkies include Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Rebecca Campbell, David Essig, John Gorka, Penny Lang, The Paperboys, Ron Sexsmith, Marton Sexton, Jane Siberry, Tamarack, Ian Tamblyn, Katherine Wheatley

Mill Race Festival / July 31 / Cambridge / 623-1424 / Free!
In beautiful, downtown Cambridge; traditional music, dancing & FUN. Kickoff concert the night before. Performers include: Beirdo Brothers, Alistair Brown, Cavaan, Sunny Dale (I won't blow her cover!), Jean Hewson and Christina Smith, Nonesuch, Northern City Limits, Cindy Thompson. See you there, as I'll be MC'ing for part of the day.

Earth, Air, Fire & Water / Aug 6-8 / Goderich / 519-524-8221 / $40
Very intimate festival, follows Celtic College. Friday begins with classes from the College! Amazing lineup includes: Eileen McGann, Modabo (in a special Celtic performace :-) ), Frances Black, Black Brothers, Artisan, Puirt A Baroque, Mad Pudding, Christina Smith & Jean Hewson, Simon Mayor and Hilary James, Reid-Taheny Band, Pierre Schryer Band, Mary Anderson with Failte, Nathan Curry & Linda Miller, Don McGeoch, Glen Elg Full Moon. See you there too!

Festival of Friends / Aug 6-8 / Hamilton / 905-525-6644 / Free!
In Gage Park - a fabulous festival but some performers come only for their main stage show. Performers include: Garnet Rogers, Dick Knechtel, Kim Stockwood, Big Rude Jake, Paul Langille, Jackie Washington, Captain Tractor, Ron Sexsmith, Sneezy Waters, Sirens, David Wiffen, Doug McArthur, Steel Rail, Ken Hamm, Rawlins Cross, Jim Witter.

Heritage River Festival / Aug 14 / Burk's Falls Fairground / $15
Second year and a terrific lineup! Including Fred Eaglesmith & The Flying Squirrels, The Arrogant Worms, Cedric Smith, Cindy Thompson, Magoo, Bill Garrett & Curly Boy Stubbs, Tamarack, James Gordon, Sirens, Steel Rail, The Tim Harrison Band, Tony Quarrington, Rick Fielding, Sam Baardman & Susan Israel.

Summerfolk /Aug 20-22 / Owen Sound / 519-371-2995 /$$$
The grandpa of Ontario festivals in one of the nicest settings. Pricey, but performers include: Heartbreak Hill, Matapat, Connie Kaldor, Tim Harrison, James Keelaghan, Katherine Wheatley, Stacey Earle, Vox Violins, Cheryl Wheeler, Wrigley Sisters, Chuck Brodsky, Richard Wood, Jim Cuddy, Garrison Creek, Erin Benjamin, Artisan, Haines & Leighton, Sam Baardman, Rik Emmett.

Eaglewood Earth / Aug 27-29 / Pefferlaw / 416-481-5506 / $$
My other favourite festival, `cause of the intimate atmosphere. And what a lineup! Modabo, David Bradstreet, County Vaudeville, Aengus Finnan, Cate Friesen, Bill Garrett And Curly Boy Stubbs, Tim Harrison, Holmes Hooke, Enoch Kent, Magoo, Jory Nash, Glen Reid, Garnet Rogers, Mose Scarlett, Tanglefoot, Thomas Handy Trio, Jackie Washington, Bobby Watt.

Octoberfolk / Oct 2 / Brantford / 519-759-7676 / $20
Indoor festival (good thing!), with reserved seating. Exciting lineup of performers includes: Garnet Rogers, Modabo, Robin Laing, Cindy Thompson, Fear of Drinking, Ron Nigrini.

Other festivals close by: London's Sunfest July 9-11, Collingwood Celtic Continuum July 10-11, Stewart Park Festival in Perth July 23-25, Peterborough Folk Festival Aug 28-29, Wye Marsh Festival Sep 18-19, Fergus Scottish Festival Aug ?.

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