Old Chestnuts Song Circle Newsletter

November 1996

October and Upcoming Song Circles Jack Cole

PLEASE NOTE! Because the December Circle would fall between Christmas and New Year's, and It's a very busy time for everyone, there will not be a Circle in December. Therefore, the next OCSC will be Saturday, November 23, 1996 and we will not meet again until January 25th, 1997. I hope everyone has a very merry and musical Christmas, and that the feelings spill over well into the New Year.

October's Song Circle was lightly attended again. At 7:40 there was no one but me - even Lori was upstairs making pottery (for her upcoming Open House and Sale). By 8:00 there were just nine of us, but we started in with songs about "Growing Older". Three more joined us by 8:30, and then four more at the break so we ended with 16. It was nice to hear the piano (thanks Jack2) and meet four new folks, including Emily with her harp (she tried to stop playing Scarborough Fair after one verse, but we wouldn't let her) and Deborah from Goderich with her 2 binders of songs. And the return of some long-missed faces too. BUT, we seem to be missing most of the 'regulars' from last year. If there's a specific reason that I can remedy, please let me know what it is! Otherwise, hope to see you when you can!

Since November's Circle is the same day and place as Lori's pottery sale, I thought that a good theme would be "Making Things". This would include the things we make, the work we do, why we do it and so on. Work with it if you can, and if you can't pick songs some other way, but please try to come with a song or two prepared. See you then!

2000 Years of Christmas, Trilogy, December 10, 1996

Well, this is it; time for my big, hard selling job on this terrific show. Several of you have bought tickets already, or have even taken a block of tickets to sell, and I really appreciate that. But there are many more who I have not seen or heard from in the last couple of months, and who I know would love this show, and have friends, family and co-workers who would love it as well. So here's some inspiration to pick up the phone and call!! We need to sell 100 more tickets!!

Many of you know Robin Jones. He bought a couple of tickets last week, and I over-heard him telling people that this is a must see event. I have to agree completely. Eileen McGann, Cathy Miller and David K. are not only three of the brightest lights in the singer/songwriter sky, but they are also three of the nicest, funniest, most thoughtful and dedicated people you will run across. They have crafted this program from a collection of seasonal songs from the 15th to the 20th centuries, combined with well-researched tales of Christmas traditions and customs. They are so well-researched that they invite the audience to challenge them with Christmas tradition trivia! When we saw the program in Brantford last year we all agreed it was an inspiring way to begin the Christmas season, and what a great evening it was.

This is the third year that they've taken the show across Canada. It's been on Morningside and was part of the CBC Radio Boxing Day special last year. The soundtrack has just been released, but quite frankly you'll get so much more out of it once you've seen (for example) Eileen McGann with a cow where her hand should be. How many touring Canadian 'folk music' shows can you think of? Or be a part of? Stops this year include Harbourfront in Toronto, Calgary, Yellowknife and Ottawa. And our own concert on Tuesday, December 10 at Zion United Church in Kitchener. Since it's a 'school night', we've set an early start time of 7:30, so that people can be home by 10. Come on out!!

Here are examples of what you'll hear: Magnum Mysterium (16th century), Gloucester Wassail, Coventry Carol (15th century), Cherry Tree Carol (Child Ballad #54), Huron Carol, Dona Nobis Pacem, Who's The Fool Now?, Light From the Lighthouse (spiritual), Tonight Is For Christmas (Cathy Miller), Turn It Around (Eileen McGann), Christmas In The Trenches, You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.The CD will be available at the show and at Readers' Ink Bookshop in Waterloo.

Tickets are $12 in advance; children 12 and under are $8. Both are $2 more at the door. Older children and those who love music will enjoy the show. So will you! Tickets are available at: Readers' Ink Bookshop, from me at 519-578-6298 / jhcole@mgl.ca, at November's Circle or from many Song Circle members. (Note to those selling tickets and to those who volunteered to help: please report in by November 23).

Some Reflections on Mariposa-By-The-Shore, Cobourg, 1996 (Part 3) Merrick Jarrett

Merrick was a performer at the first Mariposa, and played his retirement gig this year in Cobourg. He has very kindly put his thoughts on the matter to paper, and has been even kinder in allowing me to serialize them in the newsletter. This is part 3. (For those who can't wait, Merrick's entire text is available on the OCSC site.) Jack

(Merrick has been describing some of the workshops at Mariposa '96............)

Back to the Festival, this time about family traditions.

Those of us who are lucky enough to have children who have followed along in our musical footsteps, whether it be instrumental, singing traditional folksongs, perhaps becoming singer-songwriters, get nice warm feelings when they perform with us. We feel that we are "passing it on" to future generations.

So who can blame us for being proud when we see Caitlin Hanford and her husband Chris Whitely, along with Dan and Jenny; Paul Mills and his son Trevor; Kevin Kennedy and his daughter Samantha; Martha Wainwright, Louden Wainwright and Anna McGarrigle's daughter; my daughter Kate and her husband John Hart; and doubtless there will be others coming along at future festivals. Isn't that a nice legacy?

I was thrilled to participate in a workshop on "Mariposa Reflections" with Sid Dolgay, one of the original members of Canada's own folk group, "The Travellers", Estelle Klein, whose contributions as Artistic Director for many years blazed a path, not only for Mariposa, but for other festivals, and Bill Garrett, whose musical contributions are legendary. Estelle has a complete set of programs from the first Mariposa in Orillia in 1961 on; and what a treasure that will be for anyone delving into the Mariposa years!

A good workshop, touching on what Mariposa has been and where it is going.

I have mentioned various performers, and I don't like singling out some over others, but one of my own magic moments came when listening to Rick Fielding. Rick is one of those people who has been under-appreciated by the public, having spent much of his career playing northern Ontario bars trying to make a living, teaching guitar, etc. So fame and fortune haven't completely touched him yet. But Rick, like Gordon Bok, Pete Seeger and others, bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary. Listening to Rick and his superb accompaniments was something to be remembered.

Two other magic moments were Sylvia Tyson ending the Sunday concert with a beautiful set of numbers, sung in her inimitable style that has made her one of our outstanding singer-songwriters, and a stunning performance by Tom Russell, singing his own songs, accompanied by some amazing guitar work by Andrew Hardin.

Remember Navajo Rug, sung by Ian Tyson on one of his cowboy history albums? My family fell in love with this song, as did I. I didn't know Tom had written it until I read about it in his and Sylvia's book, "And Then I Wrote...."; and hearing Tom sing this, and other equally great songs of his....well, the performance was memorable.

Who can forget the magic moments following the Sunday evening program, when Sylvia, following her set, and with most of the Mariposa performers on stage, led us all in Will The Circle Be Unbroken, followed by Chris Whitely leading Good Night Irene, and Sid Dolgay and I ending the festival with This Land Is Your Land, with the audience and the performers singing their hearts out.....and since Sid, who is one of the original Travellers who wrote the Canadian version of the Woody Guthrie classic was on stage, that made it even more memorable. Truly, a night to remember.

(And here, my abject apologies to those who heard me blow the lines to This Land Is Your Land. I guess I got carried away emotionally by it all, and lost my concentration. Too bad that I'll be known as the guy who forgot the lines to Canada's national folk song, a song I've sung dozens of times...."c'est la vie", but we finished up OK!)

I feel very sorry for those of you who didn't make it to Cobourg. I wasn't at the Bracebridge part of Mariposa, but from all accounts it was the same; a happening, a joyous meeting of public and performers, a warm, friendly atmosphere, great talent, interesting workshops, beautiful surroundings - all of which go to make a folk festival.

(Merrick concludes next month with thoughts on where Mariposa might be heading.)

Upcoming Events (limited by space. Check Acoustic Cafe!)

Nov 14 Thursdays at Angies, Open Mic, no cover, with Beverlie Robertson. Angie's on Erb St., Waterloo

Nov 15 Borealis Records Launch, CBC Building, Toronto. Eileen McGann, Grit Laskin, the Whitelys and more. $15

Nov 16 Black Walnut Folk Club, Victoria Park, Kitchener. 8 PM. $3. Also Dec. 21.

Nov 16 Jeremy Greenhouse with Beverlie Robertson, Waterloo Community Arts Centre. Tickets $10 at 12th Night Music.

Nov 16 Don McGeoch, Button's House Concert Series, Aylmer. $12 519-773-7139

Nov 22 Pierre Schryer & Friends, London. $10. 705-246-0449. Incredible fiddler + 7 other performers!

Nov 23 Old Chestnuts Song Circle, 111 Chestnut St., Kitchener. 8 PM. 578-6298 (Lori's pottery sale all day long!!).

Nov 23 Ian Tamblyn, The Grindstaff's, London, 519-472-7622

Nov 30 Brian Taheny & Loretto Reid, Goderich, 519-524-2400

Dec 1 The Battlefield Band, Flying Cloud, Toronto 416-410-FOLK

Dec 7 Mill Race Folk Club Singaround. Christmas Wassail. Ernie's in Cambridge. Also Jan 4.

Dec 10 2000 Years of Christmas, Kitchener. See above for info.

Dec 14 Anderson & Brown Christmas Concert, Goderich. 519-524-2400

Dec 15 Traditional Music Sessions, Golden Kiwi in Cambridge. Also Jan 12.

Dec 21 Garnet Rogers, The Grindstaff's, London, 519-472-7622. Also Dec 22 & 23. (The Grindstaff's final concert after 12 years.)

Jan 25 Old Chestnuts Song Circle, 111 Chestnut St., Kitchener. 578-6298

About this newsletter..... This newsletter is emailed if I have your address. It is 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 would love to have articles submitted, please! And event announcements are always welcome. Hope to see more of you in November, and at 2000 Years! Seems like many places have declining attendance....too many choices?