Summer 2002 * Volume 8, Number 1

v Last Month and This at OCSC - Jack Cole

Well, honestly, who can remember way back to May’s Song Circle? I know there were "16 Tons" of songs about work, and we had a full house and a great night…but really, advanced “over 40- ness” keeps me from remembering any more! Sorry!

So, on to the new season! The date is September 28th, and we start singing at 8 PM. If you’re coming for the first time (or want to be sure of a space) come by 7:45!

Coming up with a theme over the busy summer was weighed on my mind all during our 16 (going on 17) days of vacation in Austria and Switzerland, trying to climb every mountain that we could see and taking in waterfalls, one of my favourite things! On one hike, as we were descending 1100 meters on a goat path, feeling like 3 lonely goatherds and watching for the elusive edelweiss, we heard the sound of music in the distance! It was alpenhorns playing a morning hymn, signaling the start of a village party. The hills were alive with townsfolk named Gretl and Maria and Georg and Kurt, playing strange games. And the smell of something good cooking on the racks. We stopped for some pictures and then had to say so long, farewell to this beautiful spot, perched on top of a waterfall in the middle of the Alps.

As our little processional wound on, following the path down, our legs began to ache. When we had started at the very beginning, we had confidence in us. By the halfway point we were hurting, but at the bottom, looking back at what we had done, we didn’t feel so bad!

But still, we needed a theme. That’s when it hit me, right out of the blue! Some of our Regulars have been bringing songs from Musicals and asking for more. Well, September is your turn. If you need inspiration, look to Oklahoma, West Side Story, Anne of Green Gables, Popeye, Annie, Brigadoon and bring your Do Re Mi’s to Chestnut Street! (Well, maybe not Popeye...)

(As always, the theme is just for inspiration! All songs that we can sing together are welcome!)

v Cathy Miller's New CD - jc

Cathy’s first quilting CD, A Stitch In Time established her as "The Singing Quilter" - or, rather, for those of us long-time fans, "The Quilting Singer". Well, she’s done it again with another fine collection of original songs about the craft, the people who practice it, and those that surround them.

The album includes the title song, A Quilter’s Embrace - one very fine song about those needing and taking comfort from the quilt wrapped about them.

Cathy has sent a half dozen of the new CD to the Old Chestnuts, and given us a very special price (don’t tell anyone, but you can save a bunch by buying a copy from me!). If you have a quilt maker in your life, pick up a copy at the next Circle!

v Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer

On Friday, September 27, the Old Chestnuts are privileged to host a house concert with one of the most respected folk / bluegrass acts around. Five-time Grammy nominees Cathy and Marcy will be playing for us in what will be a very memorable evening! Tickets are $14. The following info is lifted (shamelessly) from their Web site. jc

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are exceptional performers who have carved out a niche for themselves at the forefront of traditional and contemporary folk music.

Cathy & Marcy became a duo in 1984. They have played over 2000 shows in concert halls, schools, festivals and clubs throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Israel.

Their versatility keeps them in demand. They once did a command performance of country music and rope twirling for the Queen of Thailand, a keynote conference for the national conference of the AFL-CIO, a folk club and a family concert, all in one week!

Cathy’s professional career began in Montreal where, influenced by an active folk music community, she learned folk and old-time music on guitar and five string banjo. The banjo has become one of her trademarks, along with her yodeling (and her ability to get an entire audience yodeling with her.) She plays a Santa Cruz OM acoustic guitar and a tubaphone five string banjo with a custom "first lady of the banjo" neck.

Marcy grew up in Michigan where she learned guitar, mandolin, hammered dulcimer and button accordion while in high school. She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and settled on a full time career in music in 1978. Her instrumental virtuosity on stringed instruments has made her a studio musician in demand and a popular instructor with Homespun Tapes on Swing Guitar. She's known as the Queen of the Gibson L4 Archtop Electric Guitar!

Cathy & Marcy have won tremendous praise for their tight harmony singing, songwriting and exquisite interpretations of traditional music. They sing, yodel, harmonize, spin tales, play breathtaking instrumentals and reach out to their audience, which takes part in the celebration. Billboard Magazine described their music: “as close to flawless folk/bluegrass as it gets.

The duo's original songwriting has won national recognition and acclaim. Cathy's song, "Names", an anthem for the AIDs Memorial Quilt, has been recorded by over 25 artists internationally. Marcy was recently a finalist in the prestigious "John Lennon Songwriting Contest". Their original songs contributed to their 5 GRAMMY nominations for family albums that both kids and adults adore.

Cathy & Marcy are well respected by their peers. Christine Lavin wrote this on her WEB site after watching the duo at the Philly Folk Fest:

"Marcy Marxer and Cathy Fink did their killer set on the big stage on Friday night. They played so fast their hands were a blur. The highlight of their set for me was the Berryman song about giving a chocolate cake recipe over the phone with three kids in the background squabbling. Cathy and Marcy have developed into two of the best performers you'll see anywhere. Again, the crowd went wild."

After releasing over 15 albums between them, Cathy & Marcy received their first Grammy nomination in 1997 for their album of original lullabies, Blanket Full of Dreams and their second in 1999 for Changing Channels. A Parents’ Home Companion, their album of humorous songs about parenting, received media attention from National Public Radio and CNN “Showbiz Today”. In 1997 Rounder Records released Voice on the Wind, a favorite of folk singer, Tom Paxton. On the back of the CD, Tom said, "Cathy & Marcy are at home in a dozen musical styles. On Voice on the Wind, they swing you, jazz you, and old timey you till you just give up and bliss out."

Call 519-578-6298, or mail for tickets!

v The Front Porch Affair - Merrick Jarrett

Well, here it is, halfway through August, and already Jack is putting together another OCSC newsletter. It seems strange not to go over to his house for another monthly meeting of the Song Circle, and I don’t know about you, but we sure miss them, and it will be nice to see you all again the end of September. So, since I not only love to sing, but also to talk, and Jack says “Go ahead, write something” and he’ll put it in, here are my observations on what Lorne Browne called “an Extraordinary concert” that took place in Waterloo on April 28th.

Those of you who were part of the audience of some 300 might be interested in how this concert came about, and for those of you who didn’t make it, well, a CD is in the works as well as a video (for Merrick’s personal use only - jc).

Some time ago Waterloo photographer Carl Hiebert, author of the stunning book of photographs of Canada, "Gift of Wings", and a devoted folkie, thought it would be a good idea to arrange a concert as a "tribute" to me, for whatever I have contributed over the years to the folk music field. Jack Cole, Mary Baldasaro, Jean Mills, Mary-Eileen McClear, my daughter Kate, and others on the committee started things rolling. However, I suggested that it be expanded to a fund-raiser for HopeSpring, the regional cancer support centre.

I then ran the idea past Bram Morrison, who was here with Sharon, and they wholeheartedly agreed and, more to the point, would perform. From there it snowballed. The committee got in touch, unbeknown to me, with old friends with whom I had played in the past - all of whom agreed to be part of what obviously was to become a rare and unique concert.

Jack was the program organizer, and his problem was having to restrict the number of performers. By the time he had reached thirty-odd, obviously he had to pull the plug. As it was, by the time the concert started shortly after 2 PM, it didn’t finish until almost 6!

And what a concert! Starting off with Lorne Browne’s wonderful MC’ing, Rick Fielding then set the mood, not only with his great songs but also with his incredible musicianship. From there it moved through great artists and old friends, some of whom are known to you, others perhaps not. Beverlie Robertson, John Alan Cameron, Jerry Grey and John Hampson of "The Travellers"; Sharon, Lois and Bram (Lois, who some time ago retired from the trio, came out of retirement for this occasion), Chris White (Director of the Ottawa Folk Festival); the Beirdo Brothers; George and Peggy Linton - my oldest friends from our original "do" gang that got together to swap folk songs over 50 years ago - singer-songwriter Cathy Miller and John Bunge who were there from Victoria, Tam Kearney, one of the founders of the "Fiddler’s Green" folk club in Toronto, Ruth and Mark Pancier from Waterloo; and finishing off with Rick Avery and Judy Greenhill with GreenWood, leading the closing.

And since I am writing this article, I don’t feel guilty about telling you that three generations of Jarrett’s performed, and that we did 30 minutes instead of our allotted 15, which discombobulated Jack, who was wondering if we would ever get off he stage and stop screwing up his tight time schedule. Mary and I got very emotional, with our daughters Linda and Kate son Stephen, son- in-law John Hart, and granddaughters Rachel and Martha Hart...and when 9 year-old Rachel got up and sang "Generations", with sister Martha adding harmony and Kate accompanying on guitar, dedicating it to her grandparents… that brought tears to Mary’s eyes, and perhaps I go kinda misty-eyed as well!

Robert Reid of the "KW Record", who reviewed the concert, said that "...we turned the church sanctuary into a family kitchen or front porch", a rather nice sentiment. (The concert was held at Waterloo North Mennonite Church).

At the end, with all of us on stage, Rick and Judy led us all in that wonderful Sally Rogers’ song "Pass It On", with a stagefull of dedicated folk musicians singing and playing, and the whole audience joining in. That really choked me up.

What was most impressive about all this is that all of the artists agreed to come and contribute their talents, free of charge, knowing that they only had at the most 10 or 15 minutes, one time only, stage time….and no one complained. The atmosphere, thanks to an incredible job done by the volunteers…food trays and drinks for the performers as they arrived, 2 changing and rehearsal rooms, excellent sound, and an audience that stayed throughout the whole 3 and a half hours of music.

I think it can be summed up in what one lady who wrote us said, "We loved the concert - we came, we sang, we laughed and we cried". Robert Reid referred the "the sense of communal joy shared by the 30 performers and 300 audience members." Lorne Brown also said, in closing, "the concert resembled a family re- union or a wedding or ceilidh, in which people gather together who share something significant."

So there you are. I could have gone on for another couple of pages, but everybody tells me I talk too much anyway, so see you at OCSC in September, where I’ll exchange talk for song. How’s that?

v Song Finder - jc

The readers of this newsletter, far and wide, are a knowledgeable bunch…at least, that’s what I’ve always believed! So I’m hoping and trusting that someone will be able to help Darrell Pick, who found us on the Internet.

Darrell is looking for info about a song of the Donnelly massacre of February 4th,1880 in Lucan, Ontario. The song was featured in a book about the massacre’s aftermath, called "The Vengeance of The Black Donnellys", by Thomas P Kelley. He would like to know more of the song’s origin, it’s author and if it has ever been recorded.

A Google search turned up a quotation from the song, but no other information. Here are a couple of verses - more is in the Web version of the newsletter. If you know anything about this song, please drop me a line.

It happened, God alone knows why,
In Lucan long ago.
Dark clouds were on the moon that night,
The fields piled high with snow.
As the mob killed old Johannah,
She cried with her last breath,
Your murderin’ souls will roast in hell-
You’ll all know a violent death.

Then as the shades of night draw nigh,
While parents quail and children cry,
The ghosts of the Donnellys ride by,
Out on the Roman Line.

v Royal Medieval Faire - Jack Cole

A Call to Arms! .... And hands and legs. The Royal Medieval Faire is looking for volunteers - both t-shirted & costumed kind. T- shirted kind are to run gates, security & setup, the costumed kind are to run games. It's a fun day (as you'll find out!!) - Saturday September 21, 2002. If you would like to help, e-mail for more info to

For more on the festival itself: Drop by and see the story unfold, and hear a tune or two from Medren and Mellisonde (tentatively scheduled at the tavern at noon, the main plot at 12:30 and throughout the park during the day)! Also appearing in the musical part of the Faire will be Nonie Crete (also at noon - poor Nonie!), Jakki Ridley, Bob McLean, Geoff Lewis, Floating Widget and more. The Faire is at Waterloo Park, starting at 11 AM. $5 for adults, $2.50 for 10 and under.

v Some Events in The Area (as space permits!) Check out the Grand River Folk Conspiracy site for more.

Sep 7 The Mill Race Open Singaround, Ernie's Roadhouse, 7 Queen St. W. Cambridge, 8 PM, $3. 621-7155
Sep 12 The Backstabbers. Paris Plains Church. Paris, ON. 8pm. $15. (519) 442-0652 /
Sep 15 The Mill Race Traditional Sessions, Golden Kiwi Pub, Dickson St. Cambridge, 4 PM. Every second Sunday.
Sep 19 Bluebird Connection 2002, Registry Theatre, 7 pm. Local songwriters Matt Osborne, Scott Deneau, Ian Smith, Mary Anne Epp, Greg Upshaw, Punam Ahuja, Paul McInnis and Adam Miner, hosted by Merrick Jarrett. This showcase is in preparation for an upcoming trip to show off their talents at Nashville’s Bluebird Café! 519.569.7086.
Sep 20 Black Walnut Folk Club, Mill Courtland Centre, Kitchener. $3 Sep 21 Bob Fox. Mill Race concert at 13 Main Street Grill, Cambridge. $10. Open stage at 8pm, concert at 9pm. (519) 621- 7135
Sep 26 Chris Coole & Arnie Naiman. Paris Plains Church. Paris, ON. 8pm. $15. (519) 442-0652 /
Sep 27 Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Old Chestnuts House Concert, 8 PM, $14. See above for details. 578-6298.
Sep 28 Old Chestnuts Song Circle. A new season featuring Musicals! 578-6298. 111 Chestnut St. 8 PM

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 or write for more information. If you are getting this by mail and have eMail, please let me know! My summer turned out to be a dark blur, and I can’t believe it’s September. Hope yours lingered...and was good. Yikes - it’s August 29 and at 3 AM this morning our house was hit by a car!! Significant structural damage - better be all better by the 27th! Hope to see you’s a GOOD night to support folk music! - jc

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