One thing about obituaries is that they remind you of everything that you had wanted to say to the person, but never got around to.
So I'd like to take this opportunity to make a public apology to Jean.
The explanation of what I'm apologizing for is complicated.
Back in the mid-80s, Rob Joel died unexpectedly. Rob was a lovely singer, and my idea of the perfect song circle leader. He was one of the people who had kept the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston going through the lean years of small membership, and he had taken many of the tasks that kept the Society going upon himself. In the wake of his death, the Society scrambled to find other people to take over his jobs. I volunteered to help out with the publicity.
The problem was, I didn't know many other members of the Society, so I turned to personal friends to help me. I asked a friend who was an artist to make up a flier for an upcoming concert, and she made a lovely flier, but she got it to me late, very late. I rushed it to the printer, then found another friend who was available to pick up the flier when it was done and bring it to the mailing company which mailed FSSGB's fliers to its concert mailing list. That friend picked up the boxes from the printer, delivered them to the mailing company, and went on her way completely unaware that she had just participated in a disaster.
You see, because the flier had gotten to the printer so late, it was there at the same time as the FSSGB newsletter. When my friend the order for FSSGB at the printer, they gave here the newsletter instead of the flier, and she had no way of knowing that they had given her the wrong order.
When the person in charge of the newsletter arrived at the printer to pick it up, they were told that it was gone, and they had no idea where it had gone to. In the meantime, the mailing company started sticking address labels from the concert mailing list on the newsletters (instead of address labels from the smaller membership list), and they ran out of newsletters. They tried to call someone from the Folk Song Society to tell them that they hadn't received enough pieces for the mailing, and when they finally got hold of the Society president he couldn't understand why they didn't have enough fliers.
The net result: The newsletters got out late, the fliers never got out, the concert received no publicity, and Jean Ritchie performed what I'm sure was a wonderfully intimate concert to an audience that would have been disappointingly small at a house concert, let alone a large hall.
I had an obligation that weekend that required me to be out of town, so I wasn't able to apologize in person then, so I'll apologize now. Jean, I'm sorry that the audience was so small. I should have made up a makeshift flier myself when my artist friend was late with hers, but it's easier to see that in retrospect than it was at the time. The blame is mine, though, and I'm sorry.