Club News

Musical Meetings

Musical meetings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club are held every other Friday at 885 Clayton Street, between Carl and 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.

 “There is no standard set for the singing here, but we set a very high standard in listening.”
—motto of the
An Góilín Traditional Singer’s Club, Dublin, Ireland

Date March 3 March 17 March 31 April 14 April 28
Setup Melissa Sarenac Melissa Sarenac Joel Rutledge Stephen Hopkins Joel Rutledge
Bulletin Board Yvette Tannenbaum Faith Estelle Freedman Phil Morgan Marlene McCall
Host/ess Pazit Zohar Pazit Zohar Estelle Freedman Ed Bronstein Yvette Tannenbaum
Host/ess Ed Hilton Judy Tergis Melissa Sarenac Pazit Zohar Ed Hilton
Singing Room Yvette Tannenbaum Marlene McCall Phil Morgan Dean & Jane Debbie Klein
Theme Celtic, British Isles, Irish Trees, Flowers, Plants Sun, Moon, Stars Smiles & Tears Insurrections, Anti-Establishment
Cleanup Dave Sahn Joel Rutledge Melissa Sarenac Marlene McCall Joel Rutledge
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Board Meetings

 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.

March 14: Melissa Sarenac’s house

April 11: Marian Gade’s house

May 9: Phil Morgan’s house

Abe and Joan Feinberg’s

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Club News

Ed Bronstein, a.k.a. Biggs Tinker, regularly enlivens song swaps at 885 Clayton with original songs on our preselected themes. He’s well known throughout the Club—and far beyond—for his insightful, humorous and outrageous compositions.

A number of Ed’s songs were put into a song book and now we have a DVD, Songs of Biggs Tinker, sung by, and for, members of the San Francisco Folk Music Club: Ed himself, Gail Fratar, Peter Kessler, Charlotte Meloney, Faith Petric, Augie Rath and Steve Scott.

A contribution of $5 (or more if your conscience decrees) to cover production costs is suggested. All proceeds go to SFFMC. Get the DVD from SFFMC at 885 Clayton: (415) 661-2217).

Editor’s note: This DVD has excellent photography and good sound also. If you’ve enjoyed Ed’s songs in the past, it’s one you will want to have. If you haven’t heard his songs, try them! Highly recommended.

Laurie Story Vela’s CD For 90 Years, a Tribute to Faith Petric, A Compilation of Songs Written about Faith is available from SFFMC at 885 Clayton, SF, 94117, and from Laurie at (209) 267-0166; P.O. Box 831, Sutter Creek, CA 95685. You can hear the chorus and purchase the CD on line at There are 14 songs, all professionally recorded, plus Faith’s own song, “Life”. Many were sung at Faith’s 90th birthday party at the Freight and Salvage on September 17. All expenses have been covered (Laurie didn’t charge for her time!) so a suggested donation of $5 or $10 goes to the Club!

Song authors and singers include: Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino, Ed Bronstein, Estelle Freedman, Carol Holdstock, Susan Lukas, Sonny Ochs, Bob Reed, Marilyn Robertson, Van Rozay, Nancy Schimmel, Clem Small, Aileen Vance, Laurie Vela.

Faith’s 90th birthday celebration at the Freight and Salvage on September 17 was filmed and is being made into a DVD that is expected to be available in March. A donation of at least $5 or $10 is requested to cover production costs, and, again, proceeds go to SFFMC. With little editing, the DVD covers the entire evening: Bruce Phillips MCing the whole thing; the first set of songs performed by Faith Petric and Peter Kessler, including one with Larry Hanks and one sung by Ronnie Gilbert. The second set consists of mostly songs about Faith sung by their authors: Ed Bronstein, Estelle Freedman, Bob Reid, Van Rozay, Eileen Vance and Laurie Vela, and includes special appearances with Faith by Don Burnham and Melissa Sarenac.

BY THE WAY—all of the above have been requested by Joe Hickerson for inclusion in the Library of Congress Folk Music Archives. We aren’t ignored as we quietly do our own thing out here. History is watching! The Library also gets—and stores?—all issues of the folknik.

The ever-popular Swannanoa Gatherings at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, through July and August include a week each of dulcimer, guitar, fiddle, folk, old-time, Celtic, and Sing & Swing. It pays to register early. Get complete catalog:, (828) 298-3434.

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Camp Harmony—A Review and Thank Yous

Camp Harmony was another wonderful gathering this year. The music, food, (did I mention music?), dance, jams, (oh, and the music), friendship and the music were stellar. So many folks worked to make it happen that it would be impossible to name them all. Everyone chipped in to make our do-it-yourself camp a grand experience.

Special kudos are due to August Bullock, Bob Reid, David and Mary Luckhardt, Debbie Kuslanovich, Ellen Eagan, Gary Breitbard, Jeremy Kammerer, Jessica Grist, Katie and Michael Riemer, Mary Hill and Robert Reed, who took on the difficult task of moving bunk beds in the rain and facilitating clean-up.

Physically, the camp was a bit more challenging than most in recent memory. We had to contend with heavy rains, road closures and nearby flooding. The shuttle bus had an expanded schedule this year and helped us all get around more easily. We also had an attack of fast moving stomach flu, which afflicted several folks. Fortunately, the doctors who were at camp assured us that it was not related to food.

Thanks to everyone who participated. Meanwhile, the stalwart folks who came, worked, sang, danced and generally carried on went home with a new set of happy memories to last a lifetime.

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General Meeting 2005 Notes

Recently-elected SFFMC Board Chairman Ed Hilton presided at the meeting at Camp Harmony.

Items discussed included registration, concert time. attendance and long-term support for Camp Harmony. A Strategic Planning Committee. a sub-committee of the Camp Harmony Committee, has been formed to discuss plans to ensure the future of Camp Harmony. A detailed report may be obtained from the Club office.

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Harmony Lost and Found

Lost and found items include: a set of bongo drums, a Sony Minidisc recorder with mike and attachments, an amplifier cable, a leather instrument strap, a Hohner Melodica piano, a pair of glasses, a book: The Mermaid’s Chair, a railroad museum wooden whistle, a rug, a hand-grip flashlight, a green folding camp chair, a scraper, a plastic cup, a string of Christmas lights and many miscellaneous items such as clothing and umbrellas.

To retrieve any of these, please call Marv Sternberg or Shary Levy at (510) 527-3224 or

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Hootenanny Night 2006

Every second Saturday of the month, the San Francisco Folk Music Club puts on a free folk music show at the Café International in San Francisco called Hootenanny Night. We aim to bring local folk music lovers the best acoustic music money can’t buy, right on our humble stage every month.

Over the past 5 years (believe it!), we have hosted literally hundreds of mostly local independent performers and have become an important part of the ever-expanding SF folk, bluegrass, Americana music scene. Our not-so-hidden agenda is to expose the SFFMC (hey, keep your clothes on!) to a whole new crowd of music lovers. To that end, we pass out folknik newsletters, talk up Club events and feature SFFMC performers whenever possible.

Hootenanny Night is totally financially independent of the SFFMC. All expenses are out-of-pocket. The costs of both promoting a big-time monthly music event and hosting a web site ( have shot up recently. Passing the hat at shows used to offset most of our expenses. Now it is literally, you should excuse the pun, a drop in the bucket.

This sad tale of financial woe notwithstanding, we are committed to keeping Hootenanny Night a free show. If any of you know any closet folk-music lovin’ billionaires (a la the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass guy), send ’em our way.

In the meantime, you can become a Hootenanny Night Sugar Mommy or Daddy by purchasing our brand new Hootenanny Night compilation CD called Hootenanny Hit Parade, Vol. 1. This is a really wonderful collection of some of your favorite SFFMC club and Hootenanny Night performers. To see the list of performers, go to the Hootenanny Night web site. To hear a sample of each track and purchase CDs, go to .

This year we’re going to try something a little different. Instead of presenting performer showcases each month, we’re going to alternate performer showcases with jams every other month. To see a full schedule of events, visit our website, or get on the Hootenanny Night e-mail list at

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Pacific Gap Folk Music Shop:

During the past nine years, hundreds of pre-schoolers in Chinatown have learned American folk music from Mark Johnson, a teacher at the Commodore Stockton Child Development Center on Washington Street. A skilled instrumentalist and songwriter, he has developed a system of teaching the ukulele to very young children by means of open tuning and color-coding for the chords.

In April 2005, Mark opened Pacific Gap, a folk music shop at 1218 Pacific Avenue (near Jones). There, after his regular school day and on Saturday, he gives lessons in guitar, banjo and autoharp, makes recordings, sells instruments and holds jam sessions.

Mark has been playing and teaching music for more than 30 years. The shop features his own songbook and CD, “700 Miles of Curves,” with 88 original folk-style songs.

Hours are Mon.-Tues. 2:00-6:00 p.m., Wed. 2:00-5:00 p.m., Fri. 2:00-8:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Web site: Tel.: (415) 345-1003.

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Happy New Year from Japan

The Tokyo Folklife Center in Japan has sent to SFFMC their annual Happy New Year’s greeting. The Center displays current folkniks on its bulletin board.

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Play at the Farmers' Market

To play at the Saturday Noe Valley Farmers’ Market, contact Rachel Levin at Great venue, great friends, great food and frolic. Folks listen, dance, sing along!

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Santa Cruz Song Circles

Live near Santa Cruz? There are three song circles there. Get information from Larry Joba (831) 426-0567 or

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Naming a Street after Malvina Reynolds

A movement is in progress to rename a street in Berkeley after our prolific topical songwriter, Malvina Reynolds. Malvina helped put Berkeley and social consciousness on the agenda for thousands of people during the folk revival years of the 1960s and 70s. The street now named Milvia Street, which crosses Parker Street, where Malvina lived for many years, would be named Malvina Reynolds Way. For how and what to do to support this project, contact Eleanor Walden at or call (510) 848-6397.

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Charlie King & Karen Brandow Perform

Charlie King and Karen Brandow perform at Redwood Gardens, 2951 Derby Street in Berkeley on Saturday, April 29 at 7:30. Donations $10 to $20. Details from Eleanor Walden at (510) 848-6397.

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Good-bye, old friends

Janette Carter, the last surviving child of members of the original Carter Family, died at the age of 82 on January 22, 2006. She was the daughter of A.P. and Sara Carter. Janette was tenacious about performing live, despite fighting chronic illnesses including Parkinson’s disease. The Carter Family were country pioneers with songs such as “Keep On The Sunny Side,” “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “Wildwood Flower.” Following the death of her father in 1960, Janette Carter dedicated her life to preserving not only the Carter Family music, but the folk and country music of Appalachia. On his deathbed, her father called her over and said, “Janette, I want you to continue the music the way we’d done it.”

What a singing there has been! Another decent human being, a soul-stirring singer, and bon vivant—Helen Bonchek Schneyer—born 1921, died July 16, 2005 of cancer at the age of 84. Helen’s home was a focal point for camaraderie, singing, great food, and scintillating personalities in the Washington D.C area. It probably continued to be the same when she moved to Plainfield, Vermont in 1986. Helen took in a lot of “strays”, many of whom are some of folk, traditional and blues music’s great artists.

Helen was one of many mavens of the folk movement who made community, in its real sense. She recorded three solo albums available from Timberhead Music, Box 840, Camden, Maine 04843,, (207) 236-7049.

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