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.

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
Date November 7 November 21 December 5 December 19 January 2
Setup Joel Rutledge Susan Wilde Debbie Klein Melissa Sarenac Susan Wilde
Bulletin Board Marisa Malvino Jean Oggive Stephen Hopkins Kathy Lutes Debbie Klein
Host/ess Debbie Klein Cynthia Johnson Debbie Klein Mallory Saul tba
Host/ess Susan Wilde Elazar Friedman Pazit Zohar Marisa Malvino tba
Singing Room Marisa Malvino Melissa Sarenac Marlene McCall Paula Joyce Debbie Klein
Theme Reflection/Solitude/Enlightenment Willie and/or Nancy Disguise & Deception Gifts given & received Winter, snow, cold
Cleanup Marlene McCall Dave Sahn Dave Sahn Marlene McCall Morgan Cowin

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: Saturday (NOT Sunday), December 13 , at the home of Joan Hall & Abe Feinberg,

Club News

Folk club member Adam Miller -- folksinger, storyteller and autoharp virtuoso -- has issued a long-awaited solo autoharp album, Bare Fingers -- The Solo Autoharp Artistry of Adam Miller. You may order the recording at www.folksinging.org/bare-fingers.html.

Euphonia, a café-style acoustic combo composed of Sylvia Herold on guitar and vocals, Paul Kotapish on mandolin and vocals, Chuck Ervin on bass and vocals, and Charlie Hancock on accordion, is close to completing its latest CD. It should be available by early December. Send Sylvia an e-mail at if you're interested in getting a sneak preview of a sample cut, "Cotton-Eyed Joe," and she'll shoot you an MP3.

Evo Bluestein writes to tell us about the Sparrowharp, a smaller version of the 15-bar Evoharp that's ideal for adults or children wishing to play in the common upright position. Order at www.evobluestein.com/Sparrowharp.html. Questions: (559) 297-8966. Also, you can hear and purchase digital tracks of Evo's music at these MySpace pages: myspace.com/genebluestein, myspace.com/evobluestein, and myspace.com/lyquidamber.

You can view a series of seventeen amazing instructional harmonica videos from Sam Hinton, edited by George Winston and Adam Miller, on YouTube at www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=DancingCatProduction&p=r. Sam Hinton was a tremendously important figure in West Coast folk music history of the '60s and following years. He was a folklorist of renown, an incredible performer, and one of the nicest people living. His harmonica playing was exceptional. He is now living in Berkeley, but is somewhat incapacitated. However, he loves getting letters and welcomes visitors any time. If you are so inclined, bring your instrument and sing a song or two with him. He is at Raksha Lovingcare Homes, 906 Cornell Ave, Albany, CA 94706.

Ron Adams, longtime SFFMC member, who likes to remember camps at Arequipa, Kirby Cove, Cutter, Boulder Creek, Harmony and many more, is currently staying at Eskaton Manzanita Care Center, where he enjoys the daily exercise program, many music events, the care he receives, and his many visitors (he always appreciates and loves to have visitors).

He was interviewed there recently for a story in the Parkinson's Association Northern California (PANC) newsletter, with the help of Jane Jackson. Below are some edited excerpts from the interview.

Beloved PANC Member, Star Motocross Racer, and Much More

By Lauren Hopson

Q: You have some amazing thoughts and stories that I want to share with the Parkinson's community. First I wanted to let the members know your exact diagnosis.

A.(Jane) He was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy, a Parkinson's type movement disorder, in 2006.

Q: You recently won an airplane ride over Sacramento, just you and the pilot! What was that like?

A: (Ron) It was exciting because I love airplanes and birds (and he got to be in the air with both).

Q: I understand you have an interest in car and motorcycle racing. What made you so interested?

A: (Ron) I always had a natural desire to twist wrenches and tinker with motorcycles. I drag raced in the late fifties in my black LaSalle convertible. They used to close off the streets on Catalina Island so we could race our motorcycles.

Q: I know you were also very interested in music growing up. Did you play any instruments?

A: (Jane) He played the dobro and autoharp. He also sang with the San Francisco Folk Music Club and Sacramento Song Circle.

Q: I wanted to make sure to acknowledge your caregiver Jane Jackson, who has been an amazing source of support for you over the past 22 years. How did you and Jane meet?

A: (Jane) We met hiking in 1986 at Granite Lake in the Sierra, and there were many trips afterward.

A: (Ron) I loved hiking and backpacking. (Ron also participated in cross country skiing and whitewater canoeing)

Q: Our caregivers are extremely important to us at PANC so I wanted to take a minute to thank Jane for being here during the interview to help Ron communicate. Ron and Jane, thank you so much for doing this interview with me.

Ron Adams can be reached by mail at 6224 Wildomar Way, Carmichael, CA 95608, e-mail at cell phone: (916) 616-7240.

New Mojo at New Harmony

by Sylvia Herold

Getting a new location for Camp Harmony has got me excited! I expect it to be the same -- but different. It's an opportunity to make it whatever we'd like it to be. I'm envisioning tawdry country weepers and bass-slappin' honky-tonk songs, Western swing and cowboy ballads, jazz and old pop songs, and, of course, gobs of glorious choruses about booze and death. I imagine myself getting lost in the music with my people: dedicated, fun-loving musicians and singers.

With that in mind, I've made a few phone calls to folks who used to attend and who I've missed in recent years. I've also told a couple of (non-folk club) singing buddies about it. I hope you'll spread the word as well. I've heard great things about the new venue and I've got a good feeling about it. There has never been a better time to reconnect with community and sing and play folk music. Let your friends know that they can get details about the San Francisco Folk Music Club and New Camp Harmony at: www.sffmc.org.

Can You Host a Pickin' Potluck

Urgent! Houses wanted! The East Bay Fiddlin' and Pickin' Potlucks needs large houses for the winter months in 2009 to host potlucks. Events will have to be cancelled if no houses are available. The potlucks are held noon-5 pm on the second Sunday of every month. Please e-mail Joan Feinberg or phone her at (510) 451-1122 if you can offer your house.

July 4 and Labor Day Camps, 2009

Hurray! We've made reservations for both July 4 and Labor Day camps at the Boulder Creek Scout Reservation (BCSR) for 3 nights each. Mark the dates on your calendar!

July 4 WeekendLabor Day Weekend
Thursday, July 2Friday, September 4
Friday, July 3Saturday, September 5
Saturday, July 4Sunday, September 6

Now, it is up to you, the members, to help us afford the $1,200 per night fee for the second and third nights -- $2,400 for each camp. The fee for the first night is figured per person.

For July 4 especially, we need enough attendance to cover the fees for the camp. Invite friends who enjoy folk music. Spread the word to publicize the campout. Remember -- although we encourage it, it's not necessary to be a member to attend the camp.

Another idea: sign up to lead a workshop, song swap, or jam. Your favorite singer or songwriter, your favorite kind of songs, a music instruction workshop, or a fun kids' program -- or what else? Any other suggestions? We'll have a signup board at the camps. If you have an idea, contact me ahead of time at the e-mail above. Other ideas to increase attendance at camp are welcome too; send them to me as well.

Recycle Guitar Strings to the 3rd World!

Faith Petric

When visiting a restaurant in Cuba, we noticed that the entertainer's guitar had strings with knots tied in them to repair breaks. One of our members gave the player a set of new strings, which he received with tears of gratitude. And even at home, I have seen Doc Watson recover and rewind to take home mandolin strings that were discarded by someone who had changed them.

Used guitar strings (complete sets) can be sent to Kevin Deame, 28 Ladd Road, Ellington, CT 06029. These are truly needed and appreciated. Project organized by Darryl Purpose and Kevin. More information at secondstringsproject.org.

Play Well with Others

Play Well with Others, the musician's guide to jamming, is now in print and available from How High the Moon Publishing LLC, 9826 James A. Reed Road, Kansas City, MO 64134, www.hhtmp.com. Price $16.95. This is a book both for the musician wanting to jam with others but afraid to try and for the experienced jammer. It will improve your musicianship and your manners, and it's fun to read!

Seattle Autoharp Week -- Sept. 21-27, 2008

Steve Gilford

From the Oct. 5 Cyberpluckers, an online forum for autoharp related topics:

I've recently returned from the third annual Seattle Autoharp Week, or SAW. I had been to the first one in 2006 and had really enjoyed it.

Of course, most activities centered around autoharping, but a significant number of people also brought guitars, drums, whistles, fiddles, harmonicas, a bass and even a nyckelharpa. There was always a variety in the informal jams that formed when there was a bit of free time. The instructors often joined in, so we had the opportunity of jamming with some of the best autoharpists around.

On Monday through Friday, in the mornings, there were classes that were divided by skill levels and organized into two sessions. The faculty was the same as previous years: Bryan Bowers, Cathy Britell, Karen Mueller, and Richard Scholtz. The person who kept things organized and running was Laura Gregg. It was not only a star-studded group, but an effective one -- and fun!

In classes, as well as in performance, the teaching staff is amazingly diverse in approach, sometimes even contradicting one another but always being careful to point out that there is no "right" way, only the way you choose after being informed of some of the possibilities available.

While the classes were of major value, my favorite portions of the week fell later in the day. After lunch there was a free period -- time to put together a pickup group and play some music.

During that time, the teaching staff met and compared notes. They analyzed their experience with us and made adjustments in the material and approaches. This gave the week a very fluid and reactive feeling.

In mid-afternoon, there was often a concert by the teaching staff. This was particularly enjoyable, as we could see and hear the styles of each of them, judging what we liked and wanted to emulate. Besides, the music was terrific. Imagine a house concert with four musicians like these -- and they took requests!

The most special parts of the week were the evenings, two in particular. One was Hat Band night.

Strangely enough, this oddly-named activity has to do with both hats and bands. The names of each of the participants at SAW are put into a hat and drawn out in groups of about four or five. Then each group has an hour to put together a musical entertainment and present it to the rest of the group. It turns out to be a great deal of fun, both to participate in and to watch. The creativity is very impressive.

The first year I was very nervous about appearing, even as a part of a group, in front of my fellow students, but the atmosphere is so absolutely free of judgmental feelings that I ended up feeling quite comfortable. This year, I took a more active role in the selection of the piece we did, which was a performance of "Flower of the Wildwood," a Homer and Jethro tune from the '60s based on "Wildwood Flower." It was funny, and we all enjoyed performing it, taking special delight in the line, "like putting lipstick on a pig."

A bit more about performing at SAW. No one is ever put into a position where he or she is pressured to appear in front of others. It is a very supportive environment and a carefully nurtured atmosphere. Richard Scholtz seems to have given this aspect a great deal of thought about making this the lowest pressure environment imaginable.

The big performances are on Saturday night. On the final night of the week, students are given the chance to perform alone or in groups (or not at all). Many do get up front, often solo. You can perform anything you like. Most, of course, play music but some, such as I, opted to tell a story. I was a bit nervous about appearing "on stage," but as soon as I started, those feelings dissipated. I could tell that everyone in the audience was rooting for me, as they did for everyone.

One performer that night forgot the words in the middle of his presentation, but instead of being an embarrassment, it was a reason for laughter in which he could unselfconsciously join. Then, since it was a song we all knew, we joined in and sang the song together.

SAW was a well-organized, well-thought-out week of learning new music, making new friends, eating good food, and luxuriating in an atmosphere of literal and figurative harmony. As we left, people were making reservations already for next year! I expect I will be one of them.

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

Maya Angelou