Old Chestnuts Song Circle Newsletter

March 1997

February and Upcoming Song Circles Jack Cole

What can I say about February? When 8 people (4 from one family) turn up for OCSC there must be something wrong. I'm going to hope this was just a bad night, and that we'll have a few more in March! On the plus side, the topic of "songs with animals in them" was represented in almost every song - it looks like I finally hit a topic that had universal appeal (or at least a billion songs to choose from). Thanks to those who came, and for the new record munchies per head ratio.

March 22 and May 24 are the final Circles for the season. For March I'd like to propose, as a topic, songs about spring or at least warmer weather! See if you can bring at least one song to fit this (rather easy) topic.

Dear Doris ( doris@freenet.milton.on.ca )

Hi honey, it's me reporting in from The Woods! I'm writing this in the Windstar so as not to disturb my cabin mates with key clicking. THANK GOD I thought to bring the cellular modem so I can get this off to you - as predicted there are no phone jacks in the cabins! Can you believe it?? Anyway, I hope all is well in Milton, and my love to Zack and BryAnna etc etc.

The drive up was uneventful, except that I missed the Rosseau turnoff and got here late for the intros, but there was still wine left so it wasn't a total loss ;-). Lots of people seem to be 'regulars' - they were all hugging and kissing and catching up on old times. I wandered around reading name buttons and looking for other newbies - about a third of us are. There was lots of singing and dancing too, but after a long day of programming I decided to pack it in early. Hard to sleep without the restful babbling of the 401, though.

My roommate (Rick) had already claimed the bottom bunk so I'm stuck with the top. Yes, I said 'bunk'! The cabin is similar to ours on the Pacific Princess - NOT! It's rustic, but dry and clean - reminds me of the cottage before we put the guest wing on! Anyway, there are 5 rooms in the cabin, plus the bathroom, which has (I kid you not) a sign to indicate which sex is using it at the time! (Oops - I guess I didn't mention that these are co-ed residences! Just like at Guelph, remember? On second thought, maybe you should try to forget!!! :-) )

So today was my first full day as a 'Woodie'. I rolled out of the bunk (clunk!) at 7:55, in time for breakfast at 8:00. It's a buffet, with all the usual breakfast-type things, and a healthy option or two. (No fresh squeezed though - I should have brought the juicer). But the most interesting thing: in the middle of breakfast, a guy named Bob jumps up and starts singing about liking to "rise when the sun she rises", or something! Right in the middle of breakfast! And you know what? Half the people stopped eating and started to sing along! Right about then I started to wonder what I was in for!

Then comes the first class. Now, last night they posted a list of the classes and workshops, but I _just_couldn't_decide_, so here I am at 5 minutes to 9, choosing between Songwriting and Beginner Mandolin. And, honey, I know you went to a lot of trouble to borrow the mandolin from your Jazzercise teacher, but how could I not try to write that song??? The class was fun but the teacher wasn't able to get the song out of me that first day - maybe she'll do better tomorrow. Her name is Eileen something - poor girl, all _her_ songs sound like they were written a couple of hundred years ago. Now, how hard can that be? She played one 'modern' one, that went "there's another train, there always is" - guess she doesn't use GO Transit! She gave us homework - write a song with a rhythm - but this is all I could come up with:

1) Hail BryAnna! Howdy do, Zack!
I'm at Yon Woods, in the Outback!
Bard is playing, peasants singing.
Is it any wonder ears are ringing?

2) Whence came I here? I remember.
My Big birthday, 'twas December.
Mom and offspring, bought admission.
To avoid a mid-life crisis, their ambition.

(Bridge) Take me home, Zack and BryAnna.
Take me home. This is Nirvana,
And I fear that when the last day comes
I'll wind up just a folkie bum!

Could you add some clip art, print it on the colour DeskJet and have it by their bagels tomorrow? Thanks XXOX

Next is 'Community Time', where everyone gathers in the food hall to do 'Community Building'. You'd like it. There's a topic; some people prepare stories and songs, and others can join in. The topics look like they're usually intended to make you _think_ about something (hey! I'm on vacation!) but today's was "Songs that make us laugh". I was toying with singing that 'Nikon F' song, but it turns out that the guy who WROTE it was leading the workshop!!! DAMN, that was close! And he's a short, balding little guy - even worse than me! So tomorrow I'm switching to writing funny songs - if _he_ can do it…….

Then we had lunch (falafels - I like yours more) and off to the second class. I tossed a Twoonie between Harmony Singing and Ballads, and went to Harmony. Good call. We were divided up into small groups, and after 10 minutes of 'warming up our voices' (like, I need that!) we are learning to sing our parts. At the Campers' Concert on Tuesday we'll perform for _everybody_. I'll get Rick to take a picture for your wallet.

After class there are workshops, a couple of different ones to choose from every day. Today I went to 'Storytelling'. The teller (Becky) was funny & amazing - eyes that drill right through you. The hour was over before I even knew it. I was LOL! We have _got_ to get one of these people for our next Soccer banquet!

Next comes…..FREE TIME! That's when I do the swimming, tennis playing, canoeing, hiking…..ha! I did my songwriting homework and was headed for a coffee when I found a bunch of people gathered around a picnic table playing country songs. Next thing I knew I was in the middle of it all! What a great time! I met this kid (I have underwear older than him!) who's a whiz on the mandolin - well, on anything, really! - and he's going to give me a quick 'open string mandolin' lesson (??) same time tomorrow! And we're "jamming" again, too!

After supper there's an open stage for us Campers to perform, then some of the staff give a full-blown concert. Tonight it was a couple who play guitar and a funny looking thing called a dull-scimitar (I think). They were amazing; some of the guys were crying (not me, of course). Then the chairs went back and the dancing started. You know I'm not much for dancing, Doris, but Becky doubles as the call girl, and you wouldn't believe the moves she had us doing! Since we're short men, some of the ladies strap on neckties and do the man's thing. You should have seen us doing the Cheater's Swing, or was it the Swinger's Cheat…whatever.

Well, 3 or 4 hours of that wore me right down - I tell you, sweetie, I haven't worked this hard in _years_! By now it's almost midnight, and the "Song Circle" is going. Half the camp was there….I had to sit out in the hallway! Don't these people _SLEEP_!!! Anyway, everybody in the room gets a chance to sing or request a song or pass. Most people DON'T pass! There was _so_ much talent in that room I was glad I stayed in the hallway!!

So the Circle was still going strong when I came to eMail you. It's a beautiful starry night - sure glad we opted for the power sunroof. And the CD player - there are NO Classic Rock stations up here, naturally. But you know, I didn't even put Zeppelin on - somehow that Ian Tamblyn bird thing seemed about right.

Well, I'm gonna close now, dial the cellular and send this in. Rick just found me in the van - a bunch of them had a 2 AM swim, and they're going back down to the lake to sing and watch the Northern Lights. He asked if I'd like to join them! You know, if word gets around that I can check email I'll probably have _everybody_ wanting to use the Toshiba…..so, maybe I'll pack it away in the Windstar and just phone you tomorrow or Sunday, latest. Hope that's okay! And thanks for the birthday present.

Love and cuddles, Jim

OCSC Concert News

Modabo tickets are selling at a reasonable pace. There are about 10 left for Saturday (April 19, 8 PM) and 25 for Sunday (April 20, 2 PM). I've already sung the praises of Modabo to the sky, so I won't do it again. You know how much I recommend this concert. If you want tickets call 578-6298 ($14 each, advanced tickets ONLY).

Now, about Bill Gallaher and Harmony Road. As things stand right now they are only available to us on a weeknight, or either the Friday or Saturday of Labour Day weekend. Would you be interested in a concert on either the Friday or Saturday of Labour Day weekend? I'm not looking for a commitment, just an inclination. Please let me know at OCSC. Merrick Jarrett, by the way, says that he would do anything to hear these folks play. I agree - they are wonderful songwriters, and don't get this way (from Victoria) often. Please consider.

Finally, Two Thousand Years of Christmas, 1997. We are currently firming up plans with Trilogy to host them again next December. They have given us first choice on a date - congratulations to everyone involved; we really made an impression. We are leaning to a single concert on Saturday, December 6th, or two concerts on December 7. Thoughts?

Mariposa News

Merrick faxed me a couple of letters about difficulties with this grandparent of festivals. They open with "Mariposa is dying". It seems that, despite the fact that last year's events were the first in 2 decades to make money, a vacuum of involvement may kill Mariposa. The Board of 12 members is down to 7 very weary volunteers. There is no major sponsor. The staff of 5 is gone in cutbacks. Not enough people showed up at the Annual Meeting to elect a new board. The president sounds burnt out, and is resigning. If you are a fan of Mariposa, you can do something very worthwhile by attending the next meeting on March 23, 2PM, at the Tranzac, 262 Brunswick Ave. Toronto and offering to help. From the sounds of the letters this may well be a very political meeting, but surely someone can rise above that? Can't they?

Upcoming Events (Check Acoustic Cafe for more!)
Mar 12 Ian Tyson, Centre In The Square, $21 - $29
Mar 15 Black Walnut Folk Club, Jester's Court, Victoria Park, Kitchener. Open stage, 8 PM, $3. & April 19
Mar 15 Mill Race Folk Club Medieval Feast fund raiser, $15, 624-1175 for info.
Mar 21 Spirit of the West (with KW Symphony) Centre In The Square
Mar 22 Old Chestnuts Song Circle, 111 Chestnut St., Kitchener. 578-6298. 7:30 PM Also May 24.
Apr 5 Mill Race Folk Club open singaround, Ernies in Cambridge. $3. 8 PM.
Apr 7 Bruce Cockburn, War Mem Hall, Guelph
Apr 19 and 20. Modabo House Concert. $14. Call 578-6298 for info.
May 24 (Tentative) Phil Ochs night and Woods Scholarship fund-raiser, Toronto (more info as I have it)

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. I didn't get any articles submitted, so you got stuck with my fiction! BTW, LOL means Laughing Out Loud. FYI, BTW means By The Way. JSYK, FYI means……… Jaspur is a bit better, but still a worry. In lieu of catnip send KFC.