Club News

Musical Meetings

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.

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Date March 13 March 27 April 10 April 24 May 8
Setup Melissa Sarenac Susan Wilde Debbie Klein Ken Hayes Melissa Sarenac
Bulletin Board Estelle Freedman Debbie Klein Susan Wilde Dave Sahn Faith Petric
Host/ess Paula Joyce Stephen Hopkins Al Goodwin Paula Joyce Susan Wilde
Host/ess Melissa Sarenac Joy Salatino Don Murdoch Tes Welborn Pazit Zohar
Singing Room Marisa Malvino Debbie Klein Marlene McCall Debbie Klein Tes Welborn
Theme Virtues & Vices Spring, flowers, birds Old songs, old folks Houses, buildings, cities Puzzles & jokes
Cleanup Marlene McCall Jim Letchworth Paula Joyce Morgan Cowan Al Goodwin

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.

NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN/FOLK SING: Sunday 4/26/09, at Marian Gade’s house

Camp New Harmony: Hurrah!

Patience Young

This year SFFMC moved its New Year’s week camp to the wooded hills of Sonoma County, after 20+ years in the Santa Cruz foothills, and Camp New Harmony was a delightful success! Prodigal folkies returned and faithful perennials rebloomed, contributing to a fabulous time for all. Those who attended will recognize Faith Petric’s endorsement: “It was a grand reunion!” Highlights:

Most of all, congratulations and thanks to all of us! Campers took the transitional spirit of this new adventure in stride, made the best of some arrangements that can and will improve, and provided the planning committee with a thorough list of suggestions and requests. Some folks suffered tummy troubles during or after camp; we came home to find that this virus was endemic to the entire Bay Area and not just at our camp, and we have good ideas to minimize the dreaded seasonal health woes that plague any sizeable gathering.

Attendance was WAY up, double that of the previous year, necessitating a long-forgotten situation: a waiting list, and no room for drop-ins. Despite increased requests for camperships and some new expenses beyond those of past years, plus thanks to some generous donations, the camp ended in the black. That was possible only because of the tremendous work contributed by our many talented and generous volunteers. These included, among many others:

The Harmony Committee that attended to the many details necessary to make Camp New Harmony a reality: Katie Riemer, Charlie Fenton, David and Mary Luckhardt, Jane McKendry, Ray Frank, Robert Reed, Laurie Vela, Andrea Lehrer, and Patience Young.

Not least, thanks to all those who kept alive the club’s essential silent partner, Ralph. With kudos all around, we look forward to an even better New Harmony this coming December. Reserve early! Applications will be in the Sept. /Oct. folknik. Keep your membership current to receive it!

Member CDs

Euphonia’s new CD, The Old Jawbone, is here! Euphonia (not your mama’s folk music!) is Sylvia Herold: guitar and vocals, Paul Kotapish: mandolin and vocals, Charlie Hancock: accordion, and Chuck Ervin: upright bass and vocals. (The recording also features guest musicians: Brian Rice: percussion and Ed Johnson: harmony vocals.) You can hear a couple of sample clips or order CDs on Sylvia’s website or you can order CDs by writing to her directly at Please include your name and mailing address. CDs are $15 plus $2 shipping and handling.

Lyquid Amber is Evo Bluestein, Hans York, Eva Scow, Kevin Hill, Dusty Brough, John Martin III, and vocalist Karen Marguth. Their new CD is Ritual. The music is progressive acoustic. You can listen to tracks or purchase CDs for $15 at

Sharyn Dimmick announces the release of her CD Paris, featuring traditional songs, originals and covers, with back-up vocals and instrumentals by local musicians Carl Anderson, Sadie Damascus, Carol Denney, Susan Frank, Larry Hanks, Kerry Parker, Art Peterson, Mary O’Brien, and Ed Silberman. The CD includes her songs “The Wallflower Waltz,” “Morning Shanty” and “Paris” and is available from Sharyn at

By the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond

by Marlene McCall

The “Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond,” a favorite traditional song, has a beautiful tune and lovely words, and most people think of it simply as a sweet Scottish ballad sung by a lover mourning a lost sweetheart. But when asked what the chorus means, most people can’t explain.

By yon bonnie banks, and by yon bonnie braes
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
There me and my true love were often wont to go
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Chorus: Oh, you’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland before you
For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond

‘Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen
On the steep, steep sides of Ben Lomond
Where deep in purple hue, the highland hills we viewed
With the moon coming out in the gloaming.

The wild flowers spring and the wee birdies sing
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping
But the broken heart it knows no second spring again
Though resigned we may be while we’re grieving.

In order to understand the song, you need to know that it’s connected to the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland, the Scots’ attempt to return Bonnie Prince Charlie as Scottish king. In 1746, in the last battle between Scotland and England, Bonnie Prince Charlie led his supporting clans, including clans from Loch Lomond, against the British on the field of Culloden. The British won the battle, and the Scottish clans were decimated. In subsequent purges of the highlands, thousands were lost, lands were seized, and the people were plunged into poverty and stripped of their tartans, music and weapons.

After the battle of Culloden, a great number of what the English referred to as the ringleaders of the Scottish rebellion, and the Scots referred to as their brave laddie heroes, were taken to London for a series of show trials. While the captives awaited their trials, their wives, sweethearts, family members, and friends came from Scotland to London, walking the entire distance. Virtually all of the Scottish clansmen were found guilty and executed. Afterwards, to set an example to anyone likely to step out of line, the bodies, body parts, and especially heads of the executed were exhibited on spikes at every town between London and Glasgow along the “high road” (the important road along which carriages traveled). Meanwhile, all of the families returned to Scotland the way they’d come, on the “low road” (the ordinary road traveled by commoners).

The most common interpretation of the song is that the singer is the lover of a captured rebel set to be to be executed. She grieves that she’ll never see him again, and predicts that she, taking the low road, will arrive in Scotland before his body is taken by carriage to be displayed along the high road. Another less common interpretation is that one Jacobite rebel scheduled for execution is singing to a comrade who is going to be released, claiming that he will follow the “low road” (the spirit path through the underworld) and arrive in Scotland before his still-living comrade.

If you enter “Loch Lomond” at YouTube, you can hear many, many different renderings of this song.

2009 SF Free Folk Festival June 13-14

Yes, despite rumors to the contrary, there will definitely be a festival in 2009! We will not be at City College again — we will be at Presidio Middle School in the Outer Richmond District, near 30th/Geary. Festival dates will be June 13-14, 2009.

Are you interested in participating in the 2009 festival? Please send an e-mail to the appropriate e-mail address:

Dance workshops
Music/song workshops
Dance performers
Music/song performers
Volunteering (general)

Minutes of General Meeting 1/3/09

Katie Riemer, camp registrar, gave some statistics: Camp registration last year vs. this year: 175 vs. 356. There were twice the number of campership donations; $2,000 vs. $4,000±. The maximum number of campers was set at 350, with no drop-ins allowed. The camp went a little over.

A scroll was set up in the dining hall for people to leave suggestions about the camp. The Harmony Committee will review the suggestions on the scroll and report after camp.

After this camp, the Committee will go back to its former criteria for camp registration: mandatory membership and pre-registering early. Katie will close registration early for next camp, most likely on the first of December.

The meeting was called to order by President Ed Hilton.

Faith’s gatherings: Ed mentioned Faith’s every-other-week gatherings and encouraged people to attend them.

Campouts: Fourth of July and Labor Day campouts will be held as usual at the Boulder Creek Scout Reservation. Pictures from prior campouts are posted on a bulletin board in the instrument check room.

Free Folk Festival: Laurie Vela spoke about the festival. There is no venue! City College has declined to have the Club back. Karen Imperial has told Laurie that there will be a Free Folk Festival — date and place TBA. The festival committee is considering Roosevelt School as a fall-back. Shelby Solomon suggested finding contacts at San Francisco City Hall to assist in locating a venue.

folknik: Ed introduced Phyllis Jardine, folknik editor. Phyllis gave credit to the page editors of the folknik and explained the production up to and including the fold-in and mailing. Marian Gade mentioned that credit should be given to Phil Morgan for his mailing work. The folknik crew is committed to producing the folknik as a paper newsletter as usual; on-line delivery has been discussed, but has not been established and is not feasible at this time.

Phyllis made a plug for joining the Harmony list, since it serves as a means of communication between many Club members. Faith encouraged joining the list, since it enables many members to send and receive information at once. Marlene McCall, editor of pages 2 and 3, encouraged Club members to submit news items to her for publication. Phyllis thanked Robert Rodriquez for his articles.

Miscellaneous: Ed made a plug for SFFMC T-shirts and mentioned Morgan Cowin’s photography. Morgan is a professional photographer and has taken photos of individual Board members as well as a group photo of the Board that was on display. Ed also reported that Richard Rice said the Hootenannies were doing well. Marlene mentioned camp comments; Katie responded by telling anyone with further comments to call her or send e-mail to her.

Respectfully submitted,

Thad Binkley, Recording Secretary

Camp New Harmony Lost & Found

Lost and Found is residing at the house of Mary and David Luckhardt in Richmond, or 510-233-5065, before 9:00 pm please. Anything left over after a few months is subject to donation to a good cause, so if it’s yours, get in touch!

I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.

—George Eliot (1819 - 1880)