Posted in Community Music Making, Music Gigs, Uncategorized, tagged acoustic, Bellingham, Claire Favro, Folklore, Hank Payne, Hankster and the lovely claire, Roeder Home on March 14, 2010 |
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The Roeder Home is a beautifully appointed old mansion in Bellingham, WA, the site of many a marvelous live acoustic concert in its present incarnation as a public space for rent. The dedication of local musicians and music-lovers are keeping the live concert tradition alive.
We especially enjoyed the “Green Room” –one of the cozy bedrooms upstairs complete with private bath. Very elegant to drift down the wide staircase and appear at the appointed hour to sing and play in front of the massive fireplace in the main drawing room. We debuted a couple of new pieces, or new to us anyway — Libby Roderick’s “Dig Down Deep” and Si Kahn’s “Gone, Gonna Rise Again” — both performed a cappella. A modest-sized, but enthusiastic audience graced us with their presence and their pleasure. Several were regular attenders and a few were there for the first time. We hope they enjoyed it enough to continue supporting live acoustic music in Bellingham.
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Last Sunday Claire and I wound up the weekend in Seattle and decided to attend the Song Circle sponsored by the Seattle Folklore Society (SFS). There were about fifteen voices and song leaders that evening. This weekly circle has been going on for three decades or more thanks to the dedication of SFS members.
Singing is not icing on the cake, it is bread for the soul. Songs circles are a wonderful place to find your own voice, and enjoy the healing benefits of community singing. There is usually an opportunity to present three or four songs in a typical song circle. It doesn’t hurt to prepare a list of songs so you are ready when your turn comes around. I try to present a song for a reason … like something old, something new, something funny, something true… and occasionally something irreverent.
Something old comes from a body of shared songs everyone knows and can sing freely. A well known Bill Staines song like Roseville Fair, a ballad like Red River Valley, or a rock&roll song like Bye Bye Love, helps to open voices and build harmonies. Everyone singing freely and openly is what it is about… otherwise we might as well stay in the shower.
The circle is a great place to try out a new song. This may be an old song just learned, a new song which might stand the test of time, or maybe a recently completed original song. Like some others in the circle I believe a song worth singing is a song worth memorizing, so this is a good place to test the memory as well as try out the song. If it is a song you believe in don’t be shy about repeating it in future circles… how else will it become an old song that everyone can share with vigor?
Funny and true may be done for entertainment and that is encouraged too. That’s how you develop confidence in your voice. It doesn’t hurt though if there is a good chorus to bring the community along. Of course plans change and you may not do any of the songs you prepared. You may be reminded of a different song by one you hear, or a theme may develop and you just have to sing that one frog song in your repertoire.
What ever you sing, sing it with conviction. You will gladden those around you, and lift your own spirits through the week that follows. Hank
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Terrific event this last Friday evening in downtown Bremerton, Washington. Estimate about 200 people came to sample freshly prepared yummies at the open house of the new fresh produce shop organized and staffed by local farmers and food producers. Visionary Jean Schanen put it all together. What a project! FreshLocal will open for business soon. Hank and I sang from 5-8 or so and had a wonderful time, seeing lots of familiar faces and lots of faces that were new – the local grass-roots community is thriving!
Hankster and the Lovely Claire
Whether you caught us in the act on Friday or not, come enjoy music and community on Friday, December 11 when we’ll be doing a concert sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society. Friday December 11 from 8 to 10pm at The Wayward Coffeehouse, 8570 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle.
In the dark of winter we’ll head up to Everett Public Library to share even more of our passion for live acoustic music. Sunday, January 17, 2-3pm. Later in the winter we hope to be performing in the Bellingham, WA area.
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