Club News

Musical Meetings

Date September 2 September 16 September 30 October 14 October 28
Setup Ken Hayes Carolyn Jayne Melissa Sarenac Marissa Malvino Dave Sahn
Bulletin Board Faith Billy Stone Don Murdoch Bobbie Raymond Faith
Host/ess Ed Bronstein Yvette Tannenbaum Ron Lesson Jillian Palmer Phil Morgan
Host/ess Tes Welborn Pazit Zohar Lorraine Helms Faith Pam Routh
Singing Room Estelle Freedman Dean & Jane Melissa Marissa Malvino John Kelly
Theme Work/Labor Celebrations Names & Dates Nice & Easy Life & Death
Cleanup Jim Letchworth Marlene McCall Marlene McCall Faith Chuck Oakes

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.
September 13: Melissa Sarenac’s house,
October 11: Ed Hilton’s house
November 8: Phil Morgan’s house

NEXT FOLKNIK FOLD-IN/FOLK SING: Sunday, October 30, at Abe and Joan Feinberg’s

Club News

Don Burnham, bandleader of Lost Weekend, was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame August 14. Melissa Collard, Lost Weekend’s vocalist and guitarist, received the Will Rogers Award for Western Swing female artist of 2005 from the Academy of Western Artists.

Rick Dougherty, tenor, opera director, singer, songwriter, performer and formerly with the Limelighters is now singing with the Kingston Trio.

Sylvia Herold
& Chuck Ervin will be singing old-fashioned duets every Tuesday night at an intimate tea shop in Alameda. Mandolinist Paul Kotapish joins them in a musical revue of Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Sons of the Pioneers, jazz standards, Victorian parlor songs and classic country. This is three-quarters of the folk trio Sylvia Herold & Euphonia so they will also be performing songs from the new CD Lovely Nancy. Julie’s Tea Garden is a small, friendly hangout on Alameda’s main drag. Children are welcome. It’s fine to stop in for one set (or less) and sing along! Tuesdays, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden, 1223 Park St. (one block west of Encinal), Alameda. No cover!

“Vintage pre-plugged paleo-acoustic folksinger” Joe Hickerson will be doing a house concert at the home of Jon & Debbie Hickerson, 407 Abbey St., Winters, on Saturday, October 8. Joe is another Club alumnus; his day job, from 1963 to 1998, was Librarian and Director of the Archive of Folk Song/Culture at the Library of Congress. He’s available for a similar event in Northern California a day or so before October 8th — contact him at or (301) 270-1107, or see

Having a jam, wedding, baby, CD release, gig? Share the news with the Club —

Faith's Birthday Looms

A commemorative CD of songs written about Faith is being released at her birthday party at the Freight & Salvage September 17. The compilation disc has songs written over a span of decades and performed by various favorite folkies. Artists on the CD include Aileen Vance, Clem Small, Ed Bronstein, Estelle Freedman, Faith herself (singing her original “Life”), Laurie Story Vela with Ray Frank, Magpie, Marilyn Robinson with Paul Machlis, Nancy Schimmel, Bob Reid & Van Rozay.

CDs are available for a tax-deductible sliding-scale donation; any proceeds will benefit the Club. Send checks to SFFMC, 885 Clayton St., San Francisco, CA 94117, or to Laurie Story Vela at POB 831, Sutter Creek, CA 95685. You can read more and hear some samples on-line at

“This Land is Your Land” and Pete Seeger — Part 1

Peter Ross writes:

The September-October 1993 folknik included a letter of mine asking for some new verses for “This Land is Your Land” that are appropriate for the whole world, not just a part of it. That summer I had worked at Lake Baikal in Siberia with the Sierra Club, and we often sang at night with our Russian and Buryat coworkers. “This Land is Your Land” was our most popular song — we even made up verses in both English and Russian about Siberia — but the original verses such as “from California to the New York Islands” seemed a bit too nationalistic to some of us.

As an afterthought I sent a copy of my folknik letter to Pete Seeger, whom my chorus the San José Peace Chorale had been fortunate to sing with in a benefit concert at Foothill College (Faith was MC) in 1992. I wasn’t expecting a response, since Pete had told us during our two-hour rehearsal with him that he and his wife Toshi handled their correspondence themselves and it was becoming increasingly burdensome. But several weeks later I got a nice letter from him, naturally on 100% Recycled Paper, in which he wrote, “Arlo says it stands for the world anyway, if you go from the redwood forests to the Gulf stream waters by way of Japan & Europe”! Since then several friends have told me that Arlo now incorporates this thinking-outside-of-the-box observation in his concerts.

Our rehearsal with Pete was very memorable, partly because he shared many anecdotes and bits of wisdom, several of which he used later in the evening concert.

His suggestion of a motto for the world was “Plan, but plan for improvisation.” He said this saying came from jazz, but it also fit our concert, since partly due to our lengthy rehearsal (I expected a half-hour) our chorale never got a sound check. This motto also reminded me of my favorite Woody Guthrie quotation, also used by Pete, “Take it easy, but take it.” [A great folk trivia question: who introduced Pete to Woody’s music? Answer — Will Geer, who played Grandpa Walton on the old TV show The Waltons.]

Pete passed on humorist Russell Baker’s speculation that if Walt Whitman came back today, he would not write, “I hear America singing.” Rather, he would write that he saw America listening to expert music on marvelous Japanese equipment. David Dunaway wrote in his biography How Can I Keep From Singing: Pete Seeger, “In Sing Out!, Pete introduced songs he hoped would catch on, including one from the Georgia Sea Islands, ‘Michael Row Your Boat Ashore.’ He suggested people set up singing groups in each other’s houses: Hold potlucks and sing! If Pete had run the land, these clubs might have been a unit of government.”

That’s all we have room for this issue — read the rest in the November-December folknik.

Groups Seek Singers

Know any women in the Ukiah area who love to sing? If so, the Inland Valley Women’s Chorus may be of interest. They sing songs of peace, justice, inspiration, and fun, from easy rounds to choral arrangements, from their own songwriters to international folksongs. No experience or audition required. They meet Tuesdays from 6:30-8:00. Directed by Folk Club member Madge Strong. For info, contact Carol Gottfried at or (707) 463-0492; or Madelyn McCauley at (707) 463-0626 or
Treble Makers, a women’s vocal quartet directed by Ellen Robinson, is looking for one soprano singer. They sing a variety of music from jazz standards to Broadway, to folk, to Jewish, Country, etc. in harmony. They have “LOADS of fun” and have recently started performing at open mikes. Contact Ellen Robinson at
The World Harmony Chorus, directed by Daniel Steinberg, welcomes singers of all ages and abilities for its Fall season. Weekly rehearsals are in Mountain View and Oakland; for more information see, email or call Daniel at (650) 947-9669.

Johnny Cash Tribute Planned

The National Traditional Country Music Association is holding the first tribute to Johnny Cash in Missouri Valley, Iowa, on September 1, as part of its thirtieth National Old Time Country & Bluegrass Music Festival and Pioneer Ag Exposition For information see

Faith, Utah Hit the Big Screen

Faith and Utah Phillips appear in A Union Man: The Life and Work of Julius Margolin, a new film by George Mann (co-producer with Julius of the Hail to the Thief! CDs). Julius Margolin, now 89, is a living legend in the New York City labor movement, active since the 1930s in the CIO, National Maritime Union and the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees. A tireless fighter for justice, equality and peace, Julius has been making music and CDs since 1999 with George Mann while still hitting picket lines and organizing workers in New York City and around the United States.

A Union Man is the story of his life through his eyes and the eyes of those he’s met and worked with. This short film, with guest appearances by Utah Phillips, Faith Petric and former NMU Vice President Joe Stack, and concert performances, is a touching portrait of a rank-and-file activist still in the struggle for justice and workers’ rights. Premier screenings are still being scheduled; so far we have September 23 in Ukiah, September 24 at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists (with Faith), September 25 in San Francisco, and September 29 in Reno. For more information, see

John Herald

John Herald (September 6, 1939 - July 18, 2005) was a well-loved folk and bluegrass songwriter, solo and studio musician, and one-time lead singer/guitarist of the Greenbriar Boys.

Born in Greenwich Village to an Armenian immigrant poet and his wife, who died when John was three. John was a teenager at summer camp when he heard the music of Pete Seeger. In John’s words “[Pete] let me know that I could sing in the sense of saying, ‘Come on, sing along with this tune here if you feel the spirit and maybe you will hear your voice sailing above the crowd . . . .’” His father’s record collection introduced him to Leadbelly, Hobart Smith, Riley Puckett, and Don Reno. When he finished school, John was primed to join the nascent Greenwich Village folk music scene.

With John Yellin and Eric Weissberg John formed the Greenbriar Boys in 1959. They were the first touring bluegrass group, and the first group from outside the South to win the Galax Fiddlers Convention competition. They backed Joan Baez on her second LP and went on to record three albums for Vanguard Records.

After the Greenbriar Boys split up, John managed Bill Monroe and played sessions for Vanguard. He recorded a solo album for in 1972, then recorded an “electric country bluegrass” disc in 1978 with the John Herald Band. His last recording was “Roll On John” in 2000.

Contributions to funeral expenses, memorials, etc., can sent to the Estate of John Herald, c/o Kurt Henry, 840 Country Route 2, Accord NY 12404.