The Old Chestnuts Song Circle Newsletter
September 1999


v Welcome Back! - Jack Cole

Hello again everyone, and welcome to the fall of 1999! The leaves are turning, the kids are returning, and new songs are churning, waiting for the first Old Chestnuts of the season to get underway. And that will be very soon, on Saturday, September 25!

The summer has been a productive one and we have some special things planned for the first night of singing! A few of us who were at the Celtic College in Goderich are hoping to share something we learned there. No, not how to build a bodhran (but I will be writing an article on that and the rest of the College in the months to come). The harmony singing class learned a song by Artisan that is a triumph in 3 parts. We would like to spread the joy. Now, this depends entirely on enough people showing up from groups A, B and C! And everyone's willingness to take a half hour (or more) to try it, but I think it can work! It will certainly be a new experience for OCSC! We also learned a couple of fun rounds in the same class, and I plan to teach those too. [ NOTE: if you are one of the people who know Feel The Rhyme, please try to come at 7 PM to practice].

I can't mention the Celtic College without also mentioning The Woods Music and Dance Camp. Five Old Chestnuts went to the Woods this year, and we had a blast! Jean Mills has written a wonderful account of her first ever Woods, and I will print it in the next newsletter. In the meantime, if you can't wait, check out the Woods Web site (soon), accessible through

There is no theme for this month's circle - just bring an old or new song and be prepared to sing! See you in September! (I've included more OCSC information for new folks at the end of this newsletter).

v Concerts Coming Your Way! - Jack Cole

The fall is absolutely loaded with great looking concerts! To me, fall is the time to get out and get reacquainted with old friends, and discover some new ones as well. I devote the rest of this newsletter to upcoming musical events, starting with some that are near and dear to my heart, for a variety of reasons.

James Gorden and Alistair Brown with GreenWood. This concert is sponsored by Robin Jones, who deserves a large thank you for continuing to bring such fine musicians to KW. James is the founder and, until recently, only original member of Tamarack. Not to mention the former proprietor of the first Cardin Street Caf‚ in Guelph. Alistair has performed with Friends of Fiddler's Green, and is the man behind the Cuckoo's Nest Folk Club in London. Look for a great night of traditional and contemporary music, in an interesting song-swap format. GreenWood (Jean, James and I) is honoured to be opening for them. The concert is at the Waterloo Community Arts (Button Factory), 25 Regina St. Tickets are $14.00, available at 519-699-4322 and at the door; or contact

Modabo!!!!! The Farewell Tour. Welcome, my friends, to the show about to end. It's true. In Jon Weaver's words:

"This time, I'm afraid I've got bad news from ModaboLand. After seven years of making music together, we're disbanding.

It's very difficult to explain why we're breaking up. A paragraph or two couldn't possibly tell the whole story, and to relate the whole story would take almost as long as it took to happen. All I can say is that we're three quite different cats, and the very differences that have led us to some overwhelming musical experiences are now leading us in different directions.

The performances from here to December 30, 1999 now constitute our farewell tour. We're all truly sad to think of the places Modabo won't be performing again, but we're going to put everything we've got into these remaining shows. We hope to see as many of you as possible in the next months. "

Most of you know how I feel about these guys. It says it all that I have brought them back four years in a row, and more than doubled ticket sales every year. They are absolutely the best live act in the country. I went into shock and mourning when I heard they were splitting up. I was delirious with relief to now that we can see them one more time. And I will be sick with loss when that night is over.

And that night is Saturday, October 16. Tickets are going fast - don't wait. When they played Zion United last year they called it one of their 5 best concerts ever. Great venue, great singalong crowd, great performance. Tickets are a bargain at $13 ($10 for kids. $2 more at the door, as if). Some people are ordering blocks of 10. Call me soon. By the way, Modabo is also playing in Stratford on October 15 (519/271- 9740), Brantford October 2 (519/759-7676) and London October 3 (519/642-7323) as well as Orangeville, Kingston, Perth, Belleville and Barrie.

We also talked about having workshops with the boys on Saturday afternoon. I'm not sure if this is still possible, but if you are interested in flute, percussion, harmony singing, songwriting or guitar workshops, please let me know as soon as possible.

TRILOGY: Two Thousand Years of Christmas My other favourite-oh- how-I-would-miss-them trio. David K., Eileen McGann and Cathy Miller bring their fantastic stories and songs back to Zion United Church for a third year. December 11 - exactly 3 weeks before January 1, 2000. Get into the Christmas and Millennium spirit in the nicest way I know - come hear Trilogy bring centuries of traditions and music to life. $14 ($10 for kids, $2 more at the if again!).

And speaking of Eileen McGann, she is performing on October 9 at the Acoustic Harvest in Toronto. And GreenWood has been asked to open the concert - our first trip to the Big City! If you caught Eileen's concert in August you know what a great night is in store! Call 416-264-2235 for more information. Should sell out quickly!

I've already mentioned the return of the Old Chestnuts. But the fall also brings more participation nights at the Black Walnut Folk Club at the University of Waterloo, the third Friday of each month, and the open sings sponsored by the Mill Race Folk Club in Cambridge - Ernie's on the first Saturday, and the Golden Kiwi alternate Sundays beginning September 26. And The Grand River Dulcimer Club hopes to get its dulcimers in the water early this fall - watch here for more information.

Finally, here is a lengthy list of upcoming folk music events. My apologies to those I have missed.

The Acoustic Harvest Folk Club has concerts (in addition to Eileen McGann October 9) by the legendary Ken Whiteley on Sept. 25th, and on Nov. 6th Rick Fielding in a CD release concert. Christmas festivities are set for Dec. 4th in a benefit extravaganza. In the new year look for concerts by The Sirens, Garnet Rogers, Tom Lewis, and Bill Bourne. All concerts take place at: The Birch Cliff United Church, 33 East Rd. 416- 264-2235.

The Greenbank Folk Music Society monthly jam/workshop is normally held the first Sunday of the month in the Greenbank Centennial Hall from 2pm to 5pm. This event is open to musicians. (No audience please. All skill levels and instruments welcome. Greenbank is on highway 12 about 30 minutes north of Whitby. Concert Information: September 18th, Ray Bonneville, October 16th, Rick Fielding, November 13th Willie P. Bennett, December 4th James Keelaghan. 416-421-3827

The Vital Spark Folk Club in Whitby, Ontario, is kicking off their 10th year. Their concert schedule includes: September 25 Connie Kaldor, October 23 Ken Whitely, Jackie Washington, Mose Scarlett, November 13 Enoch Kent, December 11 vox violins. All shows begin at 8 PM. For tickets, information, directions please call Alison at 905.430.2529.

Thursday October 7 at Guelph's River Run Center, Martin Sexton. (519) 824-4120. Incredible singer/songwriter.

The Flying Cloud meets at the Tranzac (292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto) on Sunday's (unless otherwise stated). Concerts start at 8 pm with the doors opening at 7:30 pm. 416-410-FOLK. Sept. 12 Friends Of Fiddlers' Green, Sept. 19 Mad Pudding, Sept. 26 Connie Kaldor, Oct. 3 Robin Laing, Oct. 4 "The Angels' Share" - Robin Laing & Charlie MacLean, Oct. 16 Swamperella Cajun Dance, Oct. 17 Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz, Oct. 24 BRIAN Mcneill, Oct. 31 Mariposa at the Cloud, Nov. 7 DroneZone, Nov. 14 Paul Morris Trio (Rose and Thorn)/ County Vaudeville, Nov. 20 Waterson:Carthy, Nov. 21: Marie-Lynn Hammond, Nov. 28 Loretta Reid / Brian Taheny, Dec. 5 Balkan Connection, Dec. 12 Mariposa at the Cloud, Dec. 19 Seasonal Celebrations.

The 3rd season of the WHITE OAK FOLK CLUB in Oakville is starting Sunday, September 12 at 7 PM at The Knights Of Columbus Hall, 1494 Wallace Road.

The Caledonia Folk Club offers an open stage and concerts. The first concert of the season will be held on Saturday, September 25 at 8:30 pm upstairs at the Caledonia Legion hall, with John Prince & A Piece of the Rock. Tickets are $12 each from 905-765-3576 or Upcoming concerts are David Mallett Nov. 13, Fred Eaglesmith Jan. 8, Garnet Rogers Mar. 11, Eric Bogle July 31. Other months have open stages on the 2nd Saturday.

The Brantford Folk Club begins its impressive season on September 17 with Mad Pudding, followed by (take a breath) Octoberfolk Oct. 2, Robin Liang Oct. 8, Waterson/Carthy Nov. 19, Trilogy Dec. 10, Jez Lowe Feb. 18, James Keelaghan May 12, Eric Bogle July 28. Octoberfolk features Modabo, Garnet Rogers, Robin Liang and more. 519-759-6331.

v The Old Chestnuts Song Circle - Jack Cole

The Old Chestnuts Song Circle is open to anyone who loves to sing or listen. We meet the fourth Saturday of each month, with some exceptions - call if you're unsure. We start at 8 PM sharp and finish about 11. If you are new, or have an instrument to tune, please come any time after 7:30 to get ready. If our living room is full when you arrive you might have to come back next month! We take a break for munchies and drinks part way through; contributions ($ or stuff) are welcome but not necessary. No corn products or perfumes please.

The rules are simple. Everyone (in order around the room) gets chances to lead a song, pass, or request a song. Every song should have a part for everyone to sing - a chorus, response, or handouts to follow along. Requests should be based on someone knowing the song well enough to lead it. There is never any pressure to lead. Instruments are welcome but should not dominate. Sing softly enough that you can still hear your neighbours. Just listening is just fine! Applaud when a song is over. Most of all, respect the music; pay attention while people are introducing or singing a song!! Children (and adults too) are welcome if they understand that simple rule!

Finally, since this newsletter is going far afield, some simple directions to our home. We are at 111 Chestnut St., In Kitchener. To reach us from the 401, take Highway 8 into Kitchener, and follow Highway 7 East towards Guelph. Exit from the expressway onto Frederick Street, and follow it towards downtown. After about 5 blocks you will see Chestnut on your right. We are just up from the corner on the left. 519.578.6298 if you get lost .

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

Sep 24 Beverlie Robertson & Poor Charlie, folk and blues at the Raintree Cafe‚ in Waterloo, evening
Sep 17 Black Walnut Folk Club, Laurel Room, UW. $3. Also Oct. 15 with Margaret Jackson hosting!
Sep 19 Mary Ann Epp & Bob MacLean, The Boathouse in Guelph 1 PM
Sep 24 James Gordon & Alistair Brown with GreenWood. See above.
Sep 25 Old Chestnuts Song Circle. No theme this month. Arrive between 7:30 and 8 PM
Oct 2 Mill Race Open Sing at Ernies in Cambridge. $3. Also Nov. 6. 8PM
Oct 9 Eileen McGann with GreenWood , Acoustic Harvest Folk Club, Toronto
Oct 16 Modabo, Zion United Church (see above). Also the night before in Stratford, and maybe workshops!!

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. What a great summer - Home County, Celtic College, The Woods, Eaglewood, Cedar Hills...more to come!

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