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Musician Murdered and Robbed; Help Needed

Derek Rutz writes:

On June 23rd, 2009 my long-time friend and musician Keith Fessler was murdered in his Sacramento, CA home during a robbery. His house was burned, his car was stolen, and that was burned too. Several stringed instruments were stolen in the crime. His family provided me with photos and an inventory list, and I’ve been able to match the list to the photos.

The official Sacramento PD press release (link below) contains a description of the crime and photographs and details of the instruments:

Unfortunately the published list of stolen instruments contains several errors. An updated list is provided below.

The location of the Deering banjo and Mitchell MD-100 acoustic is known.

Should you locate any of the instruments listed above, please contact Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP, or text in a tip to 274637 (CRIMES). Enter SACTIP followed by the tip information. If you'd rather not talk to the police, please contact me directly at

We need to find the sub-human scum that did this. We don’t need the instruments back, but we need to lock up these animals and prevent this from happening again. Thank you for your help.

Labor Day—Back to Boulder Creek

The SFFMC campout will once again be in the redwoods at the Boulder Creek Scout Reservation, near Boulder Creek (off Hwy. 9, on Bear Creek Road—the same as this year’s July 4 campout.)

Register ahead, if you can, but otherwise just come! We send confirmation and directions if you register. Please invite your friends interested in Folk Music. You don’t need to be an SFFMC member to attend. We usually have plenty of room. There are tent spaces, tent cabins with cots, and parking for RVs.


We would like to keep up the workshop tradition at summer campouts. Several people have given workshops recently! Anyone can lead one. Just set up the bulletin board at camp near registration, or some other central area. Let people at the registration table know where it is. (There may already be a one at registration.) List the workshop’s subject, the leader’s name, place, e.g. in the kitchen, around the pool, etc.

Parking and Unloading

The parking lot holds about 95 vehicles—plenty of room. RVs park in the parking lot unless otherwise directed by the ranger. We must park in the parking lot and are not allowed to drive into campsites. A few cars at a time will be allowed through the gate, near sites—but not into them—to unload and reload. Do not drive off the paved road without permission. SFFMC volunteers will register campers and direct parking; please follow their directions. Back vehicles into spaces after unloading.

Volunteer Help Needed

Everyone over 12 years old does an hour of camp duty: registration, parking, potluck cleanup, or last-day camp cleanup. Early arrivals (check-in is 2:00 p.m. the first day) can help post signs, register and direct parking—come to the registration desk for instructions. Please show up for your chore. If you can’t, leave a note at the registration desk so we can cover the time.

Final camp cleanup includes the kitchen, restrooms and litter patrol. These jobs are essential, and we always need volunteers for them, too! Please sign up for your camp duty at the registration table as soon as you can after arriving. Or you can sign up for the following jobs in advance: email Phyllis at


Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at the outside dining area near the kitchen. We usually hold an Open Mic in the amphitheater afterwards; sign up at Registration.

You may store potluck food in the kitchen’s fridge/freezer until the potluck. Label your food, and don’t leave anything after camp. Deadline to retrieve food is posted: usually 11:00 a.m. the last day. We may use the kitchen’s stoves, pots and pans, serving dishes and utensils, etc. Bring your own plates and silverware. There’s no dish washing machine. Please clean up any dishes you use and take care of left-overs by about 7:30 p.m. Leftovers may be labeled FREE and left in the kitchen.

Garbage: Pack it in, pack it up. At camp’s end, please bag your camp’s trash into the bags on the trash cans at your site. (Extra bags in kitchen cleaning-supply drawers, or in the men’s restroom by the Dining Hall.) Carry to the ranger’s trailer near the maintenance shed. Please recycle; some bins are near the kitchen.

Miscellaneous Details

Freight & Salvage Grand Opening

Congratulations Folk Music! The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse celebrates its newest home for traditional music at 2020 Addison St. with an open house Sat., Aug. 29, noon - 5 p.m. and opening week concerts:

The new Freight is in downtown Berkeley, close to BART. It’s bigger and will include a cafe and classrooms, among other cool things. INFO: on The Freight’s exciting new spot at

Camp New Harmony News

Mark your calendars! Camp New Harmony runs Tuesday, December 29, 2009 through Sunday, January 3, 2010 at Camp Newman outside Santa Rosa.

Long-time SFFMC members may remember when Camp Harmony sold out early, and we used an application-date priority system rather than a general lottery. We anticipate having more applicants this year than Camp can comfortably accommodate, so we are reinstating the system:

Check the address label on your folknik for your SFFMC membership expiration date. If your membership expires by September 1, be sure to renew before that date to have priority for Camp! If you are not currently a member, be sure to join by September 1. You can get a membership form on our website. Membership forms must be postmarked (or submitted to the SFFMC office) by August 31 to be considered current as of September 1.

Here is the order of priority and eligibility criteria for attending Camp and for preference in housing assignments:

Registration materials and more New Harmony updates in the next folknik. We look forward to another fun-filled camp.

—The New Harmony Committee

Autoharp Workshop And Concert

Carey Dubbert, international champion in autoharp and hammered dulcimer, gives a house-concert featuring both instruments, on Sunday, July 19, at 2:30 p.m. in the community room at 20111 West Ridge Ct., Castro Valley. Suggested donation, $10, but please don’t let tight funds keep you away. At 1:00 p.m., he will also teach a workshop on useful autoharp techniques, for beg.-intermed. players. Cost is $15, or $20 for both concert and workshop. And all are welcome to come early and stay late to jam—jamming can continue during the workshop.

For information and workshop reservations (suggested): Sally Schneider, 510-690-1775 or

Musical Weekend in September

Neal and Coleen Walters from the East Coast, give a concert, Sept 5, at 2:00 p.m., of old and contemporary folk music, with traditional acoustic instruments. Suggested donation, $10. At 1:00 p.m., Neal will teach an autoharp workshop. They will sell CDs and music books tabbed for autoharp and mountain dulcimer. Workshop is $15, or $20 with concert. Jam after the concert! INFO: Sally Schneider, 510-690-1775.

Friday, Sept 4, in Los Altos, Neal gives a mountain dulcimer workshop and private lessons—with lunch. Workshop and 1/2 hour private lesson are each $15. Neal gives lessons in fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, mountain dulcimer — autoharp. Coleen gives beginning lessons in bass. INFO Donna Dunckel, 650-948-5777. More INFO on Neal and Coleen: or

Upcoming Hootenannies

Hoots are at Café International, 508 Haight St. SF, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. INFO:

Holly Tannen at Mendo Music Fest

Holly Tannen and her Entities from the Half-Astral Plane present Crazy Laughter And Other Follies—a concert as part of the Mendocino Music Festival—on Saturday July 18th, 3:00 p.m. in the Mendocino Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. Tickets are $16.

The performance features satirical songs about Mendocino life, strange and sacred songs, and Holly’s translations of the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, accompanied on Appalachian mountain dulcimer and piano with special guest Charlie Hancock on piano and accordion.

The Mendocino Music Festival runs July 11 - 25 and presents a wide variety of musical events in and around the town of Mendocino. INFO:

Fold-in/Folk Sing—August 30

The fold-in is at noon, Sunday, August 30, at the home of Abe and Joan Feinberg, 1121 Ashmount, Oakland 510-451-1122.

The more, the merrier. Help with the folknik, enjoy a meal afterwards, and make music. Bring a potluck dish and instruments.

Berkeley Old Time Music Convention September 9-13

The 42nd* annual Berkeley Old Time Music Convention is taking place in September. This event has a long and tangled history, peppered with red herrings and salted with bread crumbs that only lead the unwary into wild goose chases and snipe hunts. But Mike Seeger will be there, along with Elizabeth LaPrelle and Eric & Suzy Thompson; there will be concerts, classroom talks, a film premier, more concerts, a cabaret, master classes, and dances for big and little folks.

Briefly, this is really cool and you shouldn't miss it. Also, they need volunteers.

There'd be more here and in the print folknik, but they missed the deadline. See their press release instead, or go to

*This number should not be taken seriously. The first Convention, back in 1968, was billed as the “35th Annual”; the second was billed as the 17th.