Club News

By my oversight, half a dozen stories were left out of the previous online issue— profiles of four Folk Club members, an obituary of country singer Kitty Wells, and a humorous piece about British folk ballads. That material’s been belatedly added; to see it, click here.

—John Kelly, online folknik editor

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 is a release from the tyranny of conscious thought.”
—Thomas Beecham

Date 11/16 11/30 12/14 12/28 1/11/2013 1/25 2/8 2/22 3/8 3/22
Food Setup Melissa S. Melissa S. Melissa S. Kim P. Help needed Melissa S. Help needed Melissa S. Help needed Melissa S.
House Setup Kim P. Bob A. Joe L. Forrest Bob A. Forrest Glen V. Help needed Help needed Help needed
Bulletin Board Rick M. Marcia W. Yvette T. Marisa M. Estelle Help needed Help needed Help needed Help needed Help needed
Host/ess Lyla M. Glen V.L. Forrest Glen V.L. Estelle Help needed Help needed Help needed Help needed Help needed
Host/ess Bill K. Joel R. Mary C. Tes W. Help needed Help needed Help needed Help needed Help needed Help needed
Singing Room Marisa M. Betsy B. Yvette T. Marisa M. Help needed Help needed Help needed Melissa S. Help needed Melissa S.
Theme Nature/Nurture Days, Months, Years Celtic/Brit/Euro TBA TBA TBA Love TBA International Women’s Day TBA
Cleanup Glen V.L. Kim P. Kim P. Kim P. Morgan C. Help Needed Help Needed Help Needed Morgan C. Help Needed
<< Use the scrollbar below to see all the dates >>

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, October 28 at home of Joan and Abe Feinberg,

Dear Members

The Board appreciates the passion that so many volunteers bring to help make our events broadly accessible to diverse participants. We take feedback seriously and our committees work diligently to make our events and activities better every year.

All of the Club’s activities depend upon the efforts of many, many volunteers. (We cannot say thank you enough.) Each of our sites was identified after many hours of volunteer scouting and negotiations to secure terms and conditions that allow our activities to be affordable and accessible to as many people as possible. From our experience, it typically takes several years to settle into a new site and build a strong relationship with the facility staff. Several of our sites are relatively new and we have been working each year to improve the experiences. Most feedback has been highly positive.

Recently, some members have suggested finding better sites for some of the Club’s activities, but no one has volunteered to conduct new searches. If you are interested in helping find better sites for any of the Folk Club activities, committee leaders can provide a copy of the site criteria. Any Board member can help you find the right person to contact. Currently, all our activities are managed by relatively small groups of volunteers. Additional volunteers will help ensure that we can continue improving the experiences for everyone. If you have not yet volunteered to help in some way, please join us.

SFFMC Board of Directors

Dear folk music lovers

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I just returned from playing West Virginia’s Augusta Music Heritage Festival, where community is so strong it is like the leaves of a single tree.

It’s beautiful to see younger players’ deep appreciation of the regional traditional music. Many of them dedicate their lives to honoring the indigenous music of the mountain regions of Appalachia.

But the real inspiration of the efforts to preserve these living traditions is the participation of the oldest generations of players and the wisdom of the organizers who know that without these, often the most physically disabled group in the community, the community’s knowledge of such traditions would be greatly diminished, and the loss would be tragic.

We owe ourselves, our communities, and our children a very real dedication to making sure our summer and winter events include these most valuable voices whose stories and music illuminate our history, our lives, and our souls.

In West Virginia, in the community I share, it would be unthinkable not to include the disabled, which often are the most representative voices of our history. Let’s work together to make sure we find more inclusive settings for our events, so that these voices are not inadvertently silenced.


Carol Denney

Club News

Hali Hammer writes:

Our beloved Julie Bidou, who’s been a member of this folk community forever, and has given her time and energy for many years, is now in need of your support.

Julie is now 93, and is becoming very frail. She still has her vibrant smile, and tries to get out into the community she loves, but this is becoming increasingly harder for her to do. She sometimes feels lonely and is apprehensive about being by herself.

Ann Kositsky, her nurse care manager, is going to coordinate a calendar of who can visit her (at Strawberry Creek Lodge in Berkeley) and when, so we all don’t descend on her at once, and so we can make this as effective as possible.

Please call Ann at or e-mail her at to get on board. Julie is as sharp and clever as ever, and is always fun to be with. Go ahead, make her day!



KALW in November and December

JoAnn Mar, KALW Host and Producer, 91.7 FM

Below is the schedule for Folk Music & Beyond (airs every Saturday 3-5 p.m. on 91.7), the KALW On-Air Folk Festival on 11/3, and a Leonard Cohen special featuring the Conspiracy of Beards on 12/1.

Dance, Then, Wherever You May Be

Part One

Robert Rodriguez

There is a strange and somewhat haunting legend that has cropped up at various locales on the American frontier during the second half of the nineteenth century, and more specifically at frontier outposts where cavalry regiments were stationed. The story is said to have happened at posts including Fort Riley in Kansas, Fort Sill in Oklahoma, Fort Davis in Texas, Fort Laramie in Wyoming, Fort Apache in Arizona and Fort Union in New Mexico. It tells of a handsome dashing cavalry officer who has become engaged to a young woman living on the post, often said to be a close relative of the commandant himself. A week before their intended wedding, his company is sent into the field in search of hostile Indians. She tries to convince her beloved not to go, telling him she has had a premonition that she will never see him again in this life. He says to her that he will return to her, no matter what, even if he must do so from beyond Hell itself. His company becomes involved in a fire fight with hostiles and they are almost cut to pieces.

When the survivors return to the post, it is discovered that the officer is missing, and although his body is not found, he is presumed dead. After a time of grieving for her lost love, the young woman catches the eye of a young lieutenant newly arrived from the East. In time they become engaged and a wedding is planned.

To celebrate the nuptials, a dance is held in their honor and all goes well until a gaunt figure enters the hall. With shock it discovered to be the very missing officer, travel-stained, looking as if he had been in the saddle for days. He asks the new bride for a dance. The orchestra begins to play a waltz, but something unusual happens. The music quickens and a strange alteration takes place in the figure of the officer. He holds the young woman tighter, and she attempts to extricate herself from his embrace. Suddenly there is a muffled scream, the lights go out in the hall, and two bodies hit the floor. The hall is thrown into confusion, the music stops, and when order is restored, both bride and officer are dead. She succumbed to a sudden heart attack and has died of both shock and fright. As for the officer, it is discovered that he is little more than a gaunt skeleton, a mass of bones covered in bits of skin, and that he has been long dead.

Some days later, his actual body is discovered miles away, and both he and the new bride are buried together a few miles from the post.

Since music and story are inextricably interwoven with one another across the world and down the centuries, it is no surprise that dance and story are also frequently tied up with one another in world folklore. Thus, while the above-retold legend seems to be more prevalent within the U.S., versions of the ghost attending a dance may be found in Germany, Greece, Switzerland and Denmark, as well as other variants outside of Europe reaching as far away as the Philippines and Korea.

Much more prevalent is the tale of the Devil at the dance, a story which, in one form or another, may be found from French Canada and the Canadian maritimes to the Hispanic Southwest and from rural England to the shores of the Adriatic and the nearby Balkans of Southeastern Europe. It is often told as a cautionary tale to warn young girls against the sins of vanity and pride. In a version from South Texas, a young girl, thinking herself too good for local young men to dance with, spurns all who ask her to dance, and finally a stranger enters the dance hall and she is taken with his looks and dashing appearance. She begins to dance with him and dances each dance with him and no one else. In the end, he reveals his true demonic nature and in many versions of the story, they both vanish in a clap of thunder, leaving behind a sinister smell of brimstone and she is taken to her final (and according to the teller, her just) reward in the infernal regions down below.

In a version popular in French Canada, the girl is saved at the last minute through the intervention of a young child who has never committed a sin or an elderly grandmother carrying a rosary or crucifix.

When the Devil departs, however, he plunges through a nearby wall, leaving a gaping hole, which, try as they might, they can never repair.

Also, the place where the demon’s horse’s four feet have stood, even though it is snowing heavily, is covered in a great pool of hot steam, again to remain thus for a very long time after.

The dancers of Stanton Drew, a small town in the English county of Somerset, soon discovered to their ruin the very power and malice of the prince of Hell. A certain piper who had been hired for the dance following a local wedding refused to continue to play after midnight, for it was now Sunday, and he did not wish to disobey God’s command about making merry on his day of rest. A stranger with a fiddle enters, offers to play for one and all, and in the end, punishes the entire party, including bride and groom, by turning them all into a circle of standing stones which is still there to this very day.

(To be continued in Part 2)

Emerging Performers at Hyde St. Pier

As part of its 2012 concert series, the Maritime Museum at Hyde Street Pier presents a concert of Emerging Performers on Saturday, Nov 17, 8:00 pm, aboard Balclutha, berthed at Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco. Concerts are wheelchair accessible.

Tickets are $14 general, $12 members. Tickets and information: 415-561-6662, ext. 16, or e-mail info:

Emerging Performers showcases a new generation of singers and instrumentalists. Performing are: Miriam Rubenson; San Francisco’s newest Irish music group The Jammy Dodgers; Jeremy Friedenthal; and the newest sea music band, Month’s Advance.

Welcome New Members!

Welcome to new and returning members who have joined the SFFMC since August, 2011.

These names and contact information will be in an additions and corrections insert in the folknik, to be printed in the near future. If you do NOT want your contact information included in the additions and corrections list, please notify Thad Binkley at

Martha Naomi Alt, Doris Atkinson, John Berglund, Jennifer Block, Stan Boghosian, Galen Brandt, Nancy Breslin, Barbara Burton, Ian Child, Stevie Dale, Sharon Danann, Joannne Davis, Winifred Davis, Francesca Declich, Michael Deely, Nancy Dickinson, Jay Doane, Carolyn Edwards, Jane Fallon, Lisa Fitch, James Fowler, Diana Fredrich, Susan Giba, Wade Gray, Harmony Grisman, Johnny Harper, Johnny Hernandez, Cyndie Holmes, Rick Homan, Les James, David Jones, Doug Jones, Steve Jones, Leslie Keir, Kathy Ketman, Jennifer Kreger, Tom Levy, Carrie and Tom Lindemuth, Lorraine Lucas, Marc Maria, Joanne Mathias, John McCord, Deborah Moses, Linda Muller, James and Cathleen Myers, John Neal, Ralph Nelson, Sharyn Peterson, Juliane Poirier, Barry Prince, Jennifer Robb, Bruce L. Roberts, Cammile She, Shelly Siegel, Lael Sigal, Tom Sleckman, Wendy Steel, Robert Summers, Alanna Taylor-Tobin, Tom Thorner, Tatiana Tilley, David Wayne Trese, Elizabeth Tsai, Virginia Turner, Janeen Wagner, Karen Ward, Beth Weil, Marcia Weisbrot, Molly Whiteley, Natalie Wisniewski, Michael Zisman, Cheryl Zuur.