Musical meetings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club are held every other Friday at 885 Clayton Street, between Carl & Parnassus Streets in San Francisco. Singing and jamming in three separate rooms start at 8:00 p.m. Snacks are provided through $1 food kitty donations or finger food contributions. Guests are always welcome, no one is expected to “perform” and there is no charge.
|Date||July 12||July 26||August 9||August 23||September 6|
|Food Setup||Kim P||Melissa S||Margaret B||Kim P||Debbie K|
|House Setup||Bob A||Forrest Mc||Joel R||Bob A||Dave S|
|Host/ess||Debbie K||Yvette||Paula K||Glen V||Tom S|
|Host/ess||D. Nunns||Debbie K||Lyla||Tes||Glen V|
|Singing Room||Estelle F||Marisa M||Melissa||Debbie K||Estelle F|
|Theme||Sights and Sounds||Wandering/ Wondering||Summer/Fall||Water—any form||Labor|
|Cleanup||Glen V||Kim P||Kim P||Glen V||Kim P|
The SFFMC board meets on the second Tuesday of each month — potluck at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 8:00 p.m. All Club members are welcome to attend the potluck dinner and the Board meeting.
NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN/FOLK SING: Sunday, August 25 at home of Hali Hammer,
by Estelle Freedman and Tes Welborn
It has been a year since Faith Petric turned over the reins of the Friday night musical meetings to all of us. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered over the past year and especially to those who regularly sign up, make food, bring food, and clean up!
In May, Faith checked in about how are doing and came up with a short list of reminders (below). A few days after we spoke, Faith took a fall. Nothing is broken, thankfully, but she is not taking the stairs. The front sitting room will not be available for music making while Faith is staying there. The singing room is going strong, though, so come join us! There is jamming downstairs, too.
In addition, we are no longer using the back hall “porch” for storing folk club furniture, food, and printed materials, or storing instrument cases. We’ll keep folks updated on other changes via the Harmony e-mail list and in future folkniks. Meantime, here are updated reminders:
As a courtesy to Faith’s neighbors please do not congregate out front—it wakes the children.
The job of Bulletin Board has been eliminated. It is now the job of the hall hosts to clear outdated material and post new items (from the clipboard in the front hall, which also has instructions for volunteer jobs and before and after pictures of the house setup for musical meetings). Instead of the moveable cork board, we are posting notices on the wall bulletin board. We have eliminated the white shelf that housed free brochures.
Please put instrument cases and coats in the basement, but away from the jamming seating areas.
Don’t forget to feed the kitty in the kitchen (we’ve been running low on reimbursements for food purchases).
Please keep the toilet room clean—and the floor dry! If you leak, dry it up!
New end time: The club’s Friday night musical meetings will be ending at 11:30 p.m., with everyone out by 12 midnight. Please don’t continue visiting outside as this disturbs the neighbors. Jamming can be done downstairs until 11:30 p.m.
The club office upstairs will be available for limited hours. The office is also a bedroom; if you need to use it or retrieve something, please check with Carole ( ) or call the house phone or her cell 415-596-0038. No late night use, please.
Finally, in response to inquiries about visits, please note that Faith needs to rest a good deal, though she does like visitors and hopefully will be up seeing people on Friday nights (check that night). Visits with Faith at other times can be scheduled by calling her or her daughter Carole (if you book with Faith, it might be a good idea to e‑mail Carole at as to day and time). When you visit, please remember that Faith is going on 98, and may not remember your face, so please say your name. She’s not talking much, though what she says is to the point. She loves stories, so please tell her some news or share something interesting. Sometimes she likes to be read to.
We have been privileged to be meeting at 885 Clayton Street, a beautiful and welcoming space where folks have been making music for well over 40 years. For as long as we can, we’ll keep up the volunteer work of keeping the club going, the house in good shape, and the music flowing, as Faith has long made possible.
July 4 weekend:
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, July 4, 5 and 6.
Location: Boulder Creek Scout Reservation
Cost: Adults $17/night. Kids under 16 $8/night. Babes in arms free. Day use $10/day
Labor Day weekend:
Friday, Sat. and Sun. nights, Aug. 30, 31 and Sept 1.
Location: Boulder Creek Scout Reservation
Cost: Adults $17/night. Kids under 16 $8/night.
Babes in arms free. Day use $10/day
Camp New Harmony:
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights, December 27 through December 31.
Location: Camp Newman, between Santa Rosa & Calistoga
Cost: To be announced later
More details in flyers attached to printed folkniks or view information online at www.sffmc.org.
by Marisa Malvino
Faith Petric turns 98 on September 13th! Although she isn’t running any marathons these days, she IS doing her best to make the best of things, even when her body doesn’t always want to cooperate. At this year’s 37th Annual Free Folk Festival, Faith decided that it was time to let others sing for her and sing they did! On stage, eager to share their love of song and pay their respects, were Art Peterson, Bob Reid, Don Burnham, James Byfield, Nancy Schimmel, Patrice Haan and Tony Marcus.
The audience, which included many folk club regulars, sang along to songs that Faith has held dear for many years, that have become our favorites as well: “Little Red Hen,” “Rock Me To Sleep,” “Man Walks Among Us,” and “Your State’s Name Here.” Art shared the satirical “Trusty Lariat” while Patrice sang a beautiful rendition of “Who Will Watch The Home Place.” When Nancy sang “Bring Flowers,” a song written by her mom, Malvina Reynolds, many friends placed flowers at the edge of the stage as a sign of their gratitude “to the one who is still on her feet.”
The closing song was “It’s A Pleasure to Know You,” and indeed, Faith, it truly is a pleasure. You have opened up your home for over 50 years, providing a space for our musical community to thrive, a place where both friends and many a wayfaring stranger could gather, swap songs, catch up on the latest, or simply come in from the cold. Your home is a place where we feel a sense of belonging and where people from many walks of life put aside their differences and make a musical and heartfelt connection for a brief spell. Your living room (the singing room) has became a place where we practice tolerance, acceptance, and where singing in tune isn’t a requirement. It is a place where we can leave our troubles on the doorstep and just simply be ourselves.
It is my hope that as we continue down life’s path, faced with its many challenges, we can carry with us the songs, memories, and lessons we’ve learned at 885 Clayton Street.
by Margaret Miles
Thanks to Will Wheeler, programmer extraordinaire, we will have a new online registration system for Camp New Harmony! This will result in faster paperless notification (no more self-addressed stamped envelopes!), a very easy registration process, and much less work for our registrars. Look for more details in the September/October folknik.
by Marisa Malvino
Faith’s daughter, Carole, has said she would like the club to continue meeting at 885 Clayton Street as long as Faith wants it to, but there is a point in the future where that may no longer be possible. At some time down the road, we may be faced with having to relocate our beloved club. We have been blessed to have had such a lovely place to call our own for so many years.
In an attempt to be proactive and to assure that our club meetings continue uninterrupted for years to come, we invite you to help us think of creative and realistic options to put in place down the road.
Feel free to share your ideas and input by sending them to We are especially interested in knowing who might consider hosting club meetings, or who knows of a church or public venue with parking that might be open to having us. We will not be able to respond to your suggestions, but do know that they will be read and used in the decision-making process if and when the time comes.
by Marlene McCall
Flush with success and joy from the wonderful festival just ended, we are already (once again) looking to learn from the past and plan for the future. Please e-mail us at (an e-mail address that reaches all three festival co-directors: Richard Rice, Robin Cohen, and me), while the experience is fresh in your mind, to:
Let us know what you thought of SFFFF 2013: specific performers, workshops, or jams; the new film program; the new “Music as Vocation” workshop series, the venue itself; the food vendors; the family program. Anything you’d like us to know.
Make suggestions for 2014: Want to see or hear something or someone new you haven’t seen or heard at the festival before? Have a change you’d like to suggest in what we’re already doing?
Tell us if you might be interested in having a volunteer role planning the 2014 festival: Don’t worry if you’re not sure what role might best suit your skills and wishes. We’ll help you figure it out.
John Kelly, after many years as both online folknik editor and music page editor, has resigned. Now we need two new editors.
If you are interested in and qualified for either of these positions, please e-mail Alan Ackerman, our volunteer coordinator, at
by Robert Rodriquez
In an English tale, the dancers of Stanton Drew, a town in the county of Somerset, discover the very power and malice of the prince of Hell. A certain piper hired for the dance following a local wedding refuses to continue to play after midnight, for it is now Sunday, and he doesn’t wish to disobey God’s command about making merry on his day of rest. A stranger with a fiddle enters, offers to play for one and all, and in the end, punishes the entire party, including bride and groom, by turning them all into a circle of standing stones, there to this day.
Everybody loves a Saturday night, or so says the old familiar campfire song. And everybody loves to dance, whether it be gods, demigods, mortals, other-world denizens, and yes, Virginia, even all God’s critters.
A cat, having grown old in body but still cunning in mind, hits upon a clever scheme to get the mice within his power. He calls them together and then tells them he has been to paradise and Allah has sent him back to teach them a new and wondrous dance. While they dance, they must close their eyes, and only then will they also get a glimpse of paradise. So the cunning feline begins to play the oud, the mice begin to dance, and one by one he begins to pop them into a large sack brought for the occasion. One mouse, however, growing suspicious of the goings-on, opens one eye, sees the terpsichorean slaughter taking place, and shouts a warning. The remaining survivors flee for their lives, but ever since, so say the Arab raconteurs, mice lived in tiny mouse holes in fear of their very lives.
The tale crops up in various other places, from Nigeria to the Philippines and from North Africa to Vietnam. Meanwhile, half a world away, it is quite popular in North America, from the Canada’s arctic regions to the U.S. Southwest, from Mexico and the West Indies to Bolivia and Chile. Among certain first-nations folk, the duped critters are ducks and the villain is the trickster Nanabush. He tells the ducks that if they open their eyes while dancing, their eyes will turn red. One by one he adds them to his sack, but again, one duck becomes suspicious, opens his eyes, shouts a warning, and the remainder take flight. But ever since then, some ducks do indeed have red eyes as a result of their disobedience.
Meanwhile, further west, the trickster may be an Old Man, Napi, Sainday, or Ichtemi, and the duped critters are usually prairie dogs or some other smaller rodent-like creatures. In the Arctic, it is Raven or Chulyen the crow, while the critters tricked are hens; and in the Southwest, Coyote plays the same trick upon a group of road runners. Sometimes a magic song is chanted, while the musical instruments may include a drum, flute or a whistle.
Those critters are duped into dancing by a nefarious trickster bent upon a juicy snack in between meals, but the inhabitants of Elfland need no encouragement to dance, for dancing is considered a delightful activity in their realm. The faerie hosts organize elaborate revels, with dancing an integral part, during celebrations of solstices and other holidays. While they have their own musicians and are no slouches at making music, the folk of Elfland often bring in mortal musicians to help during their celebrations, especially players of the harp, fiddle, and bagpipe.
A Scottish piper, a traveler, disappears from his home, but his wife never gives up hope of finding him. Twenty years after he disappears, she finds him in a faerie dwelling, playing for a dance, and when she’s able to extricate him from the elfin clutches, he has not aged a day. Indeed, he thinks only one night has elapsed, and when he discovers that she has aged twenty years, he strikes her, calls her an old hag, and leaves her in the road to die of sorrow and bitterness. The devil eventually claims his body and soul, so some justice occurs in the final analysis.
In a tale from the Isle of Man, a mortal fiddler plays so well for a faerie dance that the local elf lord makes him his son-in-law, and he is never again seen in the world of mortals from that day forth.
One of the strangest tales involving dancing can be found in the collection of ballads compiled by Francis J. Child. Child 220, known as “The Bonnie Lass of Anglesey,” tells of a king’s champion, a young lass, who engages a group of fifteen knights and lords in a dancing contest and not only manages to take all their wealth and possessions, but also outwits the King himself after she refuses his offer of remuneration. She dances away with all his wealth and goods, which is certainly better than what happened to the wicked queen in Snow White when she was forced to dance in red hot iron shoes until she dropped dead from sheer exhaustion. A fate no doubt she more than justly deserved.
(To be continued in next folknik)