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Camp Harmony -- Ring in 2008

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.

New This Year: Due to declining numbers and rising costs, we are renting only two cabins on the Camp Harmon (Dining Hall) side. These will be filled by pre-arrangement only! They must be reserved for those campers with special needs. If you require a toilet in your cabin, you must let Katie know as soon as possible: (510) 548-4727 (no calls after 10 p.m., please.) READ YOUR CONFIRMATION LETTER CAREFULLY.

While only a few people will be sleeping on the Camp Harmon side, everyone will be eating there, as usual. Again, to cut costs, we eliminated the bus between camps this year, but anyone, especially those with disabilities, may drive between camps for meals. We will be encouraging those wanting to drive to carpool.

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

2:00 p.m. Thursday, December 27, 2007 to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at Camps Campbell and Harmon on Hwy 9 near Boulder Creek (a map comes with your acceptance letter). The facilities include heated cabins each holding 10-16 people.


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. Registration forms are available at Or call the registrar, Katie Riemer at (510) 548-4727 (before 9:00 p.m., please.)


Early Bird Full Camp Rate: Adult = $355, Kid (age 3 - 12) = $215. Application must be postmarked on or before Nov. 10.

Early Bird Day Rate (1 - 4 days): Adult = $80/day, Kid = $48/day. Application must be postmarked on or before Nov. 10th. Nov. 10 - Dec 5 Rate: Adults = $88/day, Kid = $53/day MEALS ARE NOT GUARANTEED TO FOLKS WHOSE APPLICATIONS ARE RECEIVED AFTER DEC. 5.

On-Site Registration Rate: Adult = $66/day, Kid = $33/day (no meals). Some meals may be available for purchase. Every camper over age 6 is expected to do 1 chore per day as part of his/ her participation in the camp community. (Giving a workshop does not count as a chore.)

Confirmed Activities for this Year

John Barleycorn, Songs of Spirit, Worship in Song, Easy Rounds, Irish Ceili and Set Dance Friday Night, Contra Dancing Thursday & Monday Night, English Dancing, Open-Mic Concert every night. Check out for updates on activities or call Katie at (510) 548-4727 for more information. Hope to see you at Camp Harmony!

Solsthannukhamas Party

Starting at 8:00 pm, on Dec. 21 at 885 Clayton, San Francisco, 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.

In Harmony's Way Concert

The In Harmony's Way Winter Concert tradition continues for a 3rd year: December 21, 8:00 p.m., at the Freight and Salvage Coffee House. IHW concerts are fully participatory so come warm up the first night of Winter with plenty of singing. Tickets are available at the Freight website:

Information on In Harmony's Way is available at The In Harmony's Way monthly a cappella singing session also continues to thrive. The first Wednesday of each month, from 8:00 - 11:00 p.m., singers gather at the cozy Epic Arts Center in Berkeley to raise the rafters with chorus songs from the American and British Isles tradition. Sessions are free, though the hat is passed to help pay for the space. Epic Arts is at 1923 Ashby Ave., at MLK, (across from Ashby BART); info at

Ragtime Riches

SFFMC Member Yorkman Lowe waxes nostalgic about the West Coast Ragtime Festival. Many attendees dress in 1900-era (Edwardian) attire. Clothes DO make the man (or person), and Edwardian attire gives both men & women a striking & impressive appearance that even today's best clothes (even $1000 suits) cannot afford. It's like walking into a scene from the movie Titanic. Most impressive -- and not evident from either a photo or a single live model -- is the overwhelming effect of a ballroom full of both men & woman in splendid 1900-era fashions -- with nearly half the men wearing black cutaways, frock coats, or tailcoats, and many with silk top hats. Yes, I loved the music, of course, but aside from that, consider:

  1. The very romantic atmosphere -- a great place to bring your special sweetie.
  2. The civilized atmosphere, so unlike the American scene today.
  3. The dancing, not only to ragtime but also waltzes, tangos, early foxtrots, and sentimental "parlor" songs.

At the 2006 festival I saw a rather dumpy-looking man, then mentally re-dressed him in a frock coat & appropriate accessories, so now he resembled Theodore Roosevelt.

All Carrying His Own Tune

David Dary has recently edited the 1868 journal of Texas cowboy Jack Smith as A Texas Cowboy's Journal Up the Trail to Kansas in 1868 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006). Smith (?1868 - ?1899) records the following for Sept. 13: "Had a general singing in camp last night. Every boy singing at the same time and all carrying his own tune. Gus sung us some Bean Creek [Texas] songs. Bean sung the Beaver Cap. Gus sung so solemn we got to groaning for him. Dud sung some very good songs, and by the by. He is a good singer. He also sung several comic songs which were good. It was midnight when we went to sleep. Old Lady [Mrs. McCabe] dident [sic ] like it a bit. She holered [sic] at us several time [sic] but the more she holered [sic] the louder we sung."

Dary cites Randolph's text of "The Beaver Cap" in Ozark Folk Song, III, No. 355. It must have been funnier back then. Smith should have mentioned more titles.This may be the earliest contemporary record of cowboy singing yet discovered.

Folk Music & Beyond Winter Programming

Public Radio station KALW, 91.7 FM, hosts locally produced Folk Music & Beyond every week from 3:00 - 5:00 pm.

Redwood Dulcimer Gathering

The next quarterly Redwood Dulcimer Gathering is coming up on Saturday, November 10, noon - 5:00 p.m. at the Boulder Creek Methodist Church (west from Route 9 on Mountain St. to corner of Boulder St.). This Gathering's Workshop features Early Music and a Few Surprises and closes with our annual Town Hall meeting. $5 donation at the door. RSVP to Ron Beardslee,

Our workshop leader this month is Don Vaughan, a dulcimer, piano and recorder player from Kensington. Don has been arranging Early Music for the dulcimer for a couple of years now and his material is interesting and accessible. As for the "Few Surprises," Ron can only say that Don's interests are quite varied and this could mean anything! Don has a teaching background and is very pleasant to work with. This workshop is suitable for Advanced Beginner as well as Intermediate players.

Approximate Schedule:

Redwood Dulcimer Gatherings are intended to be very informal and relaxed occasions where dulcimer players can meet to play and share information on our favorite instrument. Beginners are particularly encouraged to attend and meet other dulcimer players. Please contact Ron Beardslee, if you have any questions or if you need directions.

Sea Music Concert

Join the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Association for this year's last concert in their series of traditional and contemporary songs of the sea.

Tom Lewis: Saturday, November 10, 8:00 p.m.

With a powerful voice and razor wit, Tom Lewis brings 20 years of Royal Navy experience to every performance. He accompanies himself on accordion and ukulele.

Concerts are held aboard the historic sailing ship Balclutha, berthed at Hyde Street Pier, on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. Wheelchair accessible. Tickets: $14 general, $12 San Francisco Maritime National Park Association members. To purchase tickets, please call (415) 561-6662, ext. 33.