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Solsthannukhamas Party

Starting at 8:00 pm, on Dec. 22 at 885 Clayton, SF, everyone is invited to our annual observation of Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas and other observations of the holiday season. Bring favorite treats — finger foods and drinks — and good cheer and heartfelt songs. Non-alcoholic and wine grog are provided by the Club.

Camp Harmony - Ring in 2007

(And thoughts about last year.)

It's almost time for SFFMC's annual New Year's bash, Camp Harmony. This music/dance/tribal meeting/party for club members and their families is brought to you by you and me and everyone who participates; first-timers, old-timers, pros, beginners, kids, friends, singers, musicians and dancers. FIRST-TIME ATTENDEES ARE ESPECIALLY WELCOME! If you've never been, we hope that this is the year you begin.

What it is: Harmony is a do-it-yourself camp where everyone is welcome to participate in any activity. We eat, play music, work together, sing together, eat, visit, get acquainted, dance, attend workshops, eat, give workshops, do arts and crafts, did I mention that we eat, too?

When, where: 2 p.m. Wed., Dec. 27, 2006 to 2 p.m. Mon., Jan. 1, 2007 at Camps Campbell and Harmon on Hwy 9 near Boulder Creek (a map will arrive with your acceptance letter). The facilities include heated cabins each holding 10-16 people, many with indoor plumbing.

Registration: This event is for our members. But you can join the club when you register for camp. Please pay your dues with a separate ($10) check. Any club member is welcome to bring family members to camp on their registration.

Cost:

Thoughts on Last Year: Last year's camp was the most difficult in recent memory. Weather and illness made for a camp we will not soon forget. The Harmony Committee consulted with doctors who gave us the verdict that the illness was almost certainly NOT food borne. They based their conclusion on several presenting facts: Many people got sick who didn't eat the food. Many people stayed healthy who did eat the food. Similar outbreaks had been occurring at other locations. Even so, we will be working with the kitchen staff to confirm that kitchen sanitation is as good as possible.

Remember that any tight cluster of people can foster the spread of disease. Hand washing and other sanitation procedures are of utmost importance in such intimate surroundings. This year, additional hand sanitizers will be available near all food and beverage areas.

Special Note to Old-Timers: Harmony's future depends on you, our long-time campers. Without your support, camp could become unviable. To help insure the long term survival of camp Harmony, please come back and encourage your friends to come, too. If half of our participants bring just one new person, our future would be assured.

Annual Sea Music Concert Series

San Francisco's Maritime National Park presents its 18th annual Sea Music Concert Series. All concerts are presented aboard the sailing ship Balclutha at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park's Hyde Street Pier, at Fisherman's Wharf.

Tickets: $14 general, $12 SF Maritime National Park Association members.

Tickets are available at the Maritime Store, 2905 Hyde Street. You can also order tickets: call the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Association at 415-561-6662, extension 12, or send a check to: SFMNPA, P.O. Box 470310 SF, CA 94147-0310.

INFO at the Maritime Association website: www.nps.gov/safr/historyculture/seamusicconcertseries.htm

If you send in a check, please indicate on the check which concert(s) the purchase is for. Please also include your address, phone number, and email.

Fold-in/Folk Sing December 17, Noon to 5:00 pm

The fold-in is at a NEW place: The Friendship Room, Piedmont Gardens, 110 41st Street, between Piedmont & Glen, Oakland. Free parking on streets and in the lot off 41st Street, between Piedmont & Howe Streets The more the merrier. Help with the folknik, enjoy a meal afterwards and make music. Bring a potluck dish and instrument, also any dishes needed for heating food. INFO Jean Brown, (510) 653-3204, before the day of the fold-in.

Strange Musical Instruments

Ever hear of the Kaval or the Tsabouna? How about the Electronic Bagpipe? Find these and many more on this website photo gallery of weird and wonderful musical instruments—some traditional (like the Shakuhachi flute) and some new creations (like the Bikelaphone). The site includes sound samples and links to more information about the instrument and its musicians or creator. Check it out at: oddmusic.com/index.php. Toot your own horn!

La Peña Fall Music Classes

La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley hosts a wide variety of free or low-cost music classes, workshops and sessions. Drawing on the diverse talent of the bay area, they cover a variety of instruments from Djembe to Norteño Accordion, several vocal ensembles and choruses, and an eclectic mix of dance from Hip Hop to Bomba.

There are classes for kids, teens and adults—all at La Peña, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley. INFO: 510-849-2568 or visit
www.lapena.org. To register, call (510) 849-2568 x20.

Folkies in Stereo

Anybody still have one of them spiffy, red Viewfinders? Yorkman Lowe has discovered a really cool website that has posted 70 stereoscopic photographs of the 2003 SF Free Folk Festival (and many other events and festivals). Does this mean nobody was playing flat? Take a look at: www.kronoma.com/html/events.html

On Health and Harmony

I've been having a lot of the same conversation lately: "Are you going to Harmony this year..." followed by a sometimes spoken, often unspoken, "...after what happened last year?" The answer for me is an unqualified "yes" and I hope it is for you too. I can't remember the name of the writer who compared the modern trend of defining community as a group of people drawn together by a common interest to the older use of the word community—meaning a group of people working together to find ways to overcome difficulties and differences in order to survive. Camp Harmony is most certainly the first kind of community; we meet together once a year to pursue a common interest. Nonetheless, the survival of even that kind of community requires some struggle with difficulty. Like many people, I got ill at Harmony last year. I was sick for half of a night and most of the following morning. I spent 24 to 36 hours resting at home letting my body return to normal. When I compare that experience to the thousands of hours of pleasure and connection I've enjoyed at Camp Harmony I can unequivocally say I've gained much, much more than I've pained. Even compared to other times I've gotten sick at or immediately after Camp Harmony—or other difficulties I've experienced at Camp Harmony—the plus column is still much longer.

Look...We've all been sick before and risen and gotten back in the game. Even the Legionnaires went back to Philadelphia. What happened last year ain't gonna again. Lightning doesn't strike twice, and it can strike anywhere. Magic, on the other hand, doesn't occur just anywhere—it depends on the right combination of circumstances and personalities. The notion that Camp Harmony might lose that magic, those combinations—might even cease to be—in reaction to what happened last year makes me very sad. Very sad indeed. If you have loved this camp, don't let that happen. Not on account too, of one bummer year. That would be giving bad luck a victory.

-Ed Silberman

East Bay Fiddlin' & Pickin' Website

The East Bay Fiddlin & Pickin Potluck schedule is now online at: www.pickinpotlucks.com. In addition to the schedule—with locations, maps and contact info—you can find pictures of past potlucks and some interesting links.