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homage to Rise Up Singing

DigiTrad:
NOT IN THE BOOK


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Peter T. 26 Dec 08 - 07:40 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 26 Dec 08 - 08:19 AM
catspaw49 26 Dec 08 - 10:02 AM
Midchuck 26 Dec 08 - 11:02 AM
PoppaGator 26 Dec 08 - 12:49 PM
Stewart 26 Dec 08 - 01:02 PM
Peter T. 26 Dec 08 - 01:25 PM
open mike 26 Dec 08 - 01:27 PM
Deckman 26 Dec 08 - 01:29 PM
Stewart 26 Dec 08 - 01:42 PM
goatfell 26 Dec 08 - 02:02 PM
Don Firth 26 Dec 08 - 02:07 PM
Don Firth 26 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM
Stewart 26 Dec 08 - 02:46 PM
Joe Offer 26 Dec 08 - 03:15 PM
Stewart 26 Dec 08 - 03:37 PM
PoppaGator 26 Dec 08 - 07:41 PM
EBarnacle 26 Dec 08 - 08:04 PM
Deckman 26 Dec 08 - 08:27 PM
Haruo 26 Dec 08 - 08:28 PM
Joe Offer 26 Dec 08 - 08:52 PM
Bill D 26 Dec 08 - 09:11 PM
Don Firth 26 Dec 08 - 09:36 PM
Stewart 26 Dec 08 - 09:43 PM
Stewart 26 Dec 08 - 09:56 PM
catspaw49 26 Dec 08 - 09:56 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Dec 08 - 10:13 PM
PoppaGator 26 Dec 08 - 10:13 PM
artbrooks 26 Dec 08 - 10:14 PM
Joe Offer 26 Dec 08 - 10:48 PM
katlaughing 26 Dec 08 - 11:55 PM
Joe Offer 27 Dec 08 - 12:09 AM
Don Firth 27 Dec 08 - 12:35 AM
Barry Finn 27 Dec 08 - 12:50 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 Dec 08 - 01:03 AM
Haruo 27 Dec 08 - 02:10 AM
Peter T. 27 Dec 08 - 09:29 AM
goatfell 27 Dec 08 - 09:50 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Dec 08 - 10:27 AM
billhudson 27 Dec 08 - 10:44 AM
EBarnacle 27 Dec 08 - 10:58 AM
Midchuck 27 Dec 08 - 10:58 AM
Bill D 27 Dec 08 - 11:04 AM
Bill D 27 Dec 08 - 11:07 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Dec 08 - 11:13 AM
Bill D 27 Dec 08 - 11:14 AM
Deckman 27 Dec 08 - 11:16 AM
Bill D 27 Dec 08 - 11:21 AM
Bill D 27 Dec 08 - 11:22 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Dec 08 - 11:32 AM
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Subject: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 07:40 AM

There's a nice little homage to Rise Up Singing today at:

http://www.slate.com/id/2207306/pagenum/all/#p2

(I know, some people hate it, but I'm with the author of this piece. One of the truly useful books published.)

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 08:19 AM

Whatever its flaws, it serves a vital purpose and has been a marvelous tool to get people singing! Thanks for the link, Peter!

Allison


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 10:02 AM

The problem with RUS is not the book but more in the way it came to be used. The bible has the same problem. Its used by Episcopalians and Fundamentalists alike but in one case it is THE ONE AND ONLY LAW and the other more of a suggestion.{:<)))

Getting folks singing is good.......No room for interpretation is bad.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Midchuck
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 11:02 AM

In a number of cases the lyrics have been arbitrarily changed to make them politically correct.

In a GREAT number of cases the chords that are given make no sense.

People bring the book to song swaps and sing into it, rather than at the other participants.

People get upset if you start a song that "isn't in the book."

I suppose it has its uses, but I much prefer my circa 1958 edition of "The New Song Fest," beat-up as it is.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 12:49 PM

from the article: "According to Blood and Patterson, a group called Sit Down Singing went to the trouble to produce its own fake songbook—the perfect tribute from one ex-hippie to another."

Hmm, I'll have to look that up!


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Stewart
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 01:02 PM

"I suppose it has its uses, but I much prefer my circa 1958 edition of "The New Song Fest," beat-up as it is."

From the preface of the old "Song Fest":
"Because the fires of enthusiasm kindled at a rousing songfest, roaring most heartily… can't be artificially preserved for I.O.C.A. posterity, this song book is inevitably a mere woodpile. The motley crew who haphazardly, and with occasional splurge of energy, have thrown the pile together, haven't bothered about a few knots and flaws in the grain. They've gone out of their way to select good rough logs, which haven't been cut up, dried, and neatly sorted like those you find on any standard woodpile. They've tossed the big timbers in next to the small ones, but have tried to stack them up for easy reference. You'll find some of them won't burn very easily unless you corral an expert hand to touch them off, but plenty of room has been left on the pile for wood of you own choosing. In brief, the woodpilers herewith toss you the torch – and the tip that, not withstanding a random shot of smoke-in-the-eyes, which you may get in the early stages, no fire will burn more brightly than the one you concoct yourself." The following P.S. was added: "A reward of one left-hand dungaree patch, guaranteed not to rip, run, rust, tear, split, melt, break, etc. is hereby offered for the pelt of the first bohunk caught surreptiously using this book at a songfest."

Rise Up Singing - It is really a fine collection of songs to sing in groups, but not to be used in group singing.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 01:25 PM

I.O.C.A. ??

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: open mike
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 01:27 PM

i used to have a songbook i think it was the "precursor" of R.U.S.
it was spiral bound with a black and white illustration on the cover.

the songs, authors were not attributed -- i think they feared copyright
problems...

any one know of this song book?

the best use i have for R.U.S. is for non-musicians
to use to get ideas for songs to request...from a
singer and picker circle...a good way to include them.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Deckman
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 01:29 PM

As far as I'm concerned, this book has RUINED "The Seattle Song Circle." As others have said, it's a good resource, but should be left at home when going to any singing event. I have stopped going to song circle because this book now dominates the evening, and I know many other singers who feel the same way. In fact, I wrote a song about this scourge:

"This is the song on page 17,
Page 17, page 17,
This is the song on page 17,
And my book's better than yours!"

"This is the song on page 18" ... on and on.

CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Stewart
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 01:42 PM

"I.O.C.A. ??"

Intercollegiate Outing Club Association
"Song Fest" was a collection of songs sung by members of the I.O.C.A., founded in 1932 and by 1954 organized at about 120 colleges and universities in Canada and the U.S. (mostly on the east coast).

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: goatfell
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 02:02 PM

I use Rise up singing and other songbooks as well, because I'm rubbish to remebmer song lyrcs, but I sometimes look at the words and then I'll remember the words to songs, so I use these things as a kind of an aid.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 02:07 PM

Rise Up Singing (in some circles known as "Rise Up Sinking") is a good collection and a fairly good source for words, but I, too, get put off when I run into those little editing jobs that attempt to make a song more Politically Correct.

I was one of the "charter members" of the Seattle Song Circle, which was really great for the first few years. Meetings were held every Sunday evening at first, and drew from 40 to 70 people! That's right, as many as 70 some evenings, including John Dwyer, Stan James, Mary Wilson, Mary Garvey, Merritt Herring, John and Sally Ashford, and Bob Nelson, who rendered his opinion just above.

We didn't all sing together, either. When you're turn came up, you could sing a solo, lead the group in a song, request a song from someone else, or just pass. In a few months, without planning to, we developed into an informal singing group that started getting invited to provide authentic music for such events as the Moss Bay Sail and Chantey Festival. Great fun!!

But then some people, newcomers to Song Circle, started coming laden with song books. When their turn came up, they'd announce that "I just started to learn this song this afternoon and I don't know the words yet and I'm not sure of the tune, but—" and you'd have to sit there wincing as the person fuddled and groped their way through the song. And then Rise Up Singing showed up, and the whole thing turned into a hymn-sing. The original people started dropping out. I don't know what it's like now. I haven't been to Song Circle for a couple of decades.

I think we boo-booed back then. We abandoned the field and left it to the Philistines. When the books started showing up, a bunch of us should have stood up and barked!!

I agree. Rise Up Singing is a fairly good source for song words (but caveat emptor;   the words have been diddled with). The major problem with it is that some people—groups now inhabiting various song circles—take it as Holy Writ.

The New Song Fest compiled by Dick and Beth Best is THE one, if you can find a copy. I've totally worn out one copy and I'm on my second, which, despite careful handling, is getting kinda ratty looking.

With both books—with any book—use it to learn songs. Then leave them at home!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM

Hey, hey hey!!

Sing Out Index for various editions! Scroll down.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Stewart
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 02:46 PM

Yes Don,
some great songs in the old "Song Fest"
and some great kid's songs too,
not the sanitized, politically correct,
boring ones you find in "Rise Up Screaming,"
but then they'd probably get in deep trouble
if they sang those at school or in church
or at other public places.

Where else would you find the words to
Newman Levy's poem 'Thais' put to music -
"One time in Alexandria
In wicked Alexandria,
Where nights were wild with revelry,
and life was but a game ..."
Oh yes, it's in the DT, and on my web site.

Or "Let Her Sleep Under The Bar"
Or "Abdullah Bulbul Amir"
Or "The Vassar Hygiene Song"
Or "Blest be the tie that binds, My collar to my shirt..."
Or...

Those are the songs we used to sing
around the campfire, or in the dorms.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 03:15 PM

For the last 15 years, I've been in song circles that use the Blue Book. The Sacramento Song Circle has continued once a month for 20 years, and the others have come and gone. We never have fewer than 25 singers in the Sacramento gathering, and often have as many as 50. We use the Blue Book most of the time, but we always have a few people who introduce new songs. Most of our instrumentalists aren't very good, but we usually have at least one good guitarist every month.

When I started attending the Sacramento song circle, it was dominated by a strong singer and decent guitarist named Bob Fitch, one of the founding members. Many of the participants were women who had dated Bob. Bob was instrumental in founding several song circles in Northern California, and one in Reno (Nevada) that still has 50 or more people attending every month.

Bob Fitch left Sacramento about ten years ago, and I suppose I replaced Bob as the Alpha Male in the group. I don't play an instrument, but I have a strong voice and legend has it that I know all the songs in the Blue Book. If I'm not there, the singing gets pretty weak, so I feel an obligation to attend every song circle. I suppose it often happens that I'm the only person not looking in the book - I keep mine on the floor in front of me to glance at if I need a memory-jogger. Still, most of the time, our singing is pretty good and we usually have a wonderful time. One way or another, we make it work. We get non-singers to sing, and we have a good time. Hoiw can you condemn that?

About a year ago, a transplant form the San Francisco Bay Area, Sharon Carl, started a song circle in Auburn, California, ten miles from my home. She modeled it on the In Harmony's Way group in San Francisco. Sharon supposedly requires participants to read and sign her rules; but I don't know anyone who actually signed them, and we take some delight in defying them. Still, we generally follow the principles set by the rules, especially this one:
    Respect the group by connecting with them in song. Songbooks or songsheets tend to break group connection and we kind of hope you won't bring them. We want to see you while you sing, not the cover of your Rise Up Singing. If you can't remember all the words, lead the song anyway. Chances are someone will know the words and can prompt you. And if nobody knows the words, make some up on the spot. Nobody will notice, because, remember, they don't know the words. And if they do notice that you're faking it, they'll admire you for your audacity. Or maybe they'll think you're being silly. Whatever.
This song circle attracts a better quality of musicians, and our music has been pretty darn good. We're not ready to make a recording like the terrific CD from the original In Harmony's Way group, but we're pretty good.

So, I'm glad I'm in a variety of singing groups - a Catholic parish choir (which is very good), the blue-book Sacramento Song Circle (which is a very friendly group that has a lot of fun), and the Auburn In Harmony's Way group.

But back to the Blue Book. Don't blame a poor song circle on the book. It takes hard work to make any singing session work, especially if you want to be open to people who don't sing all that well.

-Joe-

P.S. Later editions of Rise Up Singing include the original lyrics of many of the songs that were sanitized in the earlier editions. Most of the songs in the book have always the original lyrics, as written by the songwriter. There are very few really "traditional" songs in the book, but it's a good place to find the correct lyrics for songs like "Today" and "Sounds of Silence" and "Four Strong Winds." These are songs that lots of people know and like to sing. Not particularly innovative, I suppose - but it can be fun, if you do it right.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Stewart
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 03:37 PM

Like Bob (Deckman), I've pretty much
given up on the Seattle Song Circle.

A wise musician in Seattle told me several years ago,
"If you don't like the session you're in, start your own."

It's harder to do than say,
but I took his advice and started my own
'house jam' monthly music session.
About a dozen (more or less) musicians,
we bring a variety of instruments,
play tunes (sometimes solo, sometimes together),
sing songs, and everything in between,
back up songs, if appropriate, on instruments,
with instrumental breaks, often improvised,
sing in marvelous multi-part harmonies,
and rarely use written words or music sheets.
It's great fun!

So if you don't like your song circle,
start your own.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 07:41 PM

Joe, what's the Blue Book? Maybe I missed something, but I scrolled up the thread to see if either RUS or an edition of Song Fest hsad been identified as such, but failed to find any such reference.

Also, since my post earlier today, I Googled "Sit Down Singing" and came up empty. The only results were articles about the Catholic Mass (i.e., sitting and standing and kneeling while singing). Too bad; I was looking forward to seeing a parody of "Rise Up..."

Not my day for coming up with results. :^(

Something else I'd like to know more about is the Intercollegiate Outing Club Association. Oh, for the simpler days of a more innocent era ~ when I first read the word "outing," first thing that occurred to me was the process of revealing one another's secret sexual preclivities. But I know that's incorrect; those folks were just about going out in the woods to sleep in tents and sing around campfires ~ and doing it right, too (apparently).


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: EBarnacle
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 08:04 PM

Among the nicknames I have heard for RUS are Fall over laughing, Sit down screaming and other similar variations.

At the chantey sing in NYC, while we do not encourage using RUS, we do not actively discourage it either. Many of our participants have used it as a means to break themselves into singing in public and we would rather have the words right than wait through long pauses until someone supplies the next line.

I have spoken with Peter Blood about some of the errors in the book, both in terms of misspelled words and incorrect quotations. While he seems to encourage the critique, he has not made the changes.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Deckman
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 08:27 PM

My objections to using "Rise Up Singing", or any other book or cheat sheet, during group singing is that it stifles the spontaneity and open exchange of songs and song varients. I well remember times when someone might sing: "Froggie Went a Courting", only to have five more varients of the same song tossed in next. When you have yer head buried in a book, you can't make eye conctact with anyone ... other than the person who published the book. I've learned most of my songs, and have been led into fabulous song searches, because of the free exchange of open singing. If you stick to "Rise Up Singing", the most you'll achieve is to learn every song in that book. YIPPEE! What fun. I'd rather exchange a mix of songs with folks who value these songs, learn them, search out different versions, a learn their histories. Just my opinion. Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Haruo
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 08:28 PM

It's probably a sign of my mental illness or something, but I enjoy the Seattle Song Circle. In the course of an evening there's usually some total tripe, usually some good singing, usually something new I haven't heard before and am glad I heard, usually some oldies but goodies I enjoy singing along with, etc etc. Some participants are politically correctly inclined and some are iconoclasts, I was able to sing the Zulu King there (my version is, I think, similar to and probably ultimately based upon the one in 1954 Song Fest) and I also once sang Thaïs. People may sing in Hawaiian or Bulgarian or (yes, this would be yours truly) Esperanto, or may pass and hardly sing at all. I am oblivious to any rules about being or not being "in the Book". It meets every Sunday night, and I would be there every week if I didn't have a wife, Sunday evening church duties, and a bus dependency. I am sorry Stew and Don and Bob have given up on it, because I enjoy hearing them sing. Usually there are plenty of copies of RUS so if somebody wants to sing from the book others can join in, but several people bring their own private binders to contribute from, or even (horrors) sing from memory.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 08:52 PM

I learned to sing in church, with hymnals; and at Scout camp, without any printed lyrics. Through the years, I've come to know a lot of songs so well that I hardly glance at the hymnal, but I'm still glad I have it in hand. And yeah, I know about three hundred camp songs by heart; and I hate the thought of passing out song sheets at a campfire and have often fought parents who want them.

Still, most often I feel more comfortable if I have something to lean on if my memory fails; and I find a hymnal works best for group singing of most songs. I was raised singing with hymnals, and I guess I feel a bit offended by people say I can't sing as well as they do, simply because I usually sing from a book.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 09:11 PM

".... We get non-singers to sing, and we have a good time. How can you condemn that?"

ah, Joe...no one condemns that- some of us just think, as you see repeated several times above, that most people who use it tend to come to depend on it, and never get beyond it.

So what? you might ask....well, those folks see a mention in our newsletter for the FSGW Open Sing...which you, Joe, have attended a few times. Last month we had 6! (that's six) people wielding copies, and being bewildered when someone sang a song that 1) was not IN the book, or 2) was in the book, but had different words than those in the book. It got a wee bit awkward.

   I have my 'rule' that IF I can close my eyes and not tell if someone has a cheat-sheet or a book, I'll let it go...(yeah, I have used one at times when I had to pull up a song I had not done recently). Well....with these folks...(all nice folks)...it was obvious they were reading from the book, and there were pauses at line breaks or page turnings....and phrasing was ummmm...vague.

Now, no one wants to 'put down' people who care and are trying, but it-just-don't-work when part of the groups 'thinks' one way and part the other. We get thru it, but after 20+ years of welcoming ANYONE, we find the better singers gradually finding excuses to not attend much.

The BOOK is, simply, a crutch...and most of us need a crutch sometimes in life, but we usually like to be able to walk with the group. To extend the metaphor, if one is TRULY handicapped and can't run with the others, there are handicapped venues...like wheelchair races. I just echo what the Seattle folks have said, and IF the FSGW sing deteriorates into a Blue Book sing, I know that some of us will find other ways.

(Lordy, you wouldn't believe what our sing was like from 1975, when I first attended one to about 15-20 years ago! Pure Heaven! Then, as the % of top-notch folks went down, it became harder to keep up standards. Seldom 'bad', and often quite good....but changing slowly...for various reasons.   Now I pick & choose according to the topic and where it is to be held.

(To be clear...I HAVE a copy of RUS. I also have 100 others!)

I don't really know what to do, but I do know what NOT to do.

I am sorry if I upset anyone....but.....


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 09:36 PM

One of the very good things about the way Seattle Song Circle used to work was that it encouraged people to learn the songs before they came to the meetings, so that when their turn came up, they would have something to contribute—preferably a song that the rest of the crew had never heard, if at all possible. The result was that a lot of really good songs began to emerge.

I addition to that, and of no small importance, was that a lot of people took their first fliers at singing solo in front of that group. Generally too shy in most circumstances, but since this was a warm plunge, many gave it a shot. Once they got a taste, they beavered away at learning songs and developed into pretty good solo singers.

There would be an army of small battery-operated cassette recorders whirring softly away. One of these belong to Sally Ashford. One evening she showed up with a stack of song books that she had put together, made up of songs she'd recorded on those Sunday evenings. She had copied down the words to several dozen songs, possibly as many as a hundred or more—and had written out the tunes (standard notation on manuscript paper—the dreaded dots)! She ran the original song sheets, with the tune at the top and the words typed below, through a copy machine, then put them into inexpensive three-ring binders, and sold them to anyone who wanted them (almost everybody) for a couple of bucks, essentially what it had cost her—not counting the many hours of painstaking listening and copying she must have put in on the project. A labor of love on Sally's part and much appreciated by the whole group.

But as was intended, we learned the songs we wanted out of the book, and then left it at home, as Sally had intended.

Thaïs. I had heard Walt Robertson sing it a number of times in the early 1950s. Then, in 1955 or so, I spotted The New Song Fest in a book store, riffled through it for about three seconds, then ran squealing and giggling up to the cash register. There were lots of "AHAs!" in that book, songs I had heard Walt or others sing, but didn't know what records or song books I could find them in. One of them was Thaïs. It turned out that that's where Walt had learned it. I learned it also, along with a whole batch of other songs I'd been looking for.

When Barbara and I got season tickets to Seattle Opera, the first opera I saw was Jules Massenet's Thaïs. Yup. The song takes a two and a half hour opera and boils it down to about three minutes!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Stewart
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 09:43 PM

Whenever RUS is mentioned
half or more of the people
Rise Up Screaming!
And this forum is no exception.

So they vote with their feet,
or take the advice of my wise musician friend
and start their own session/song circle/jam.

So less screaming, and more singing/playing/jamming,
And more sessions/song circles/jams!

Cheers, S. in Seattle
maybe that's Screaming in Seattle


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Stewart
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 09:56 PM

By the way Don,

I also first learned Thais from "Song Fest,"
but always used the book, because I thought
it might not be possible to memorize all 13 verses.

Then about 40 years later, thinking about that song,
not having sung it in many years,
and with no "Song Fest" handy, I realized
I could sing it without the book, all the bloody 13 verses!
I just had to put all the lines in order,
but it was there in my head!

Now if all those song circle people
who always use RUS just tried,
they might just amaze themselves.
They might be able to leave the book at home,
and we'd all be better off.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 09:56 PM

Outside of "What is Folk?" this is about the oldest and longest running argument on the 'Cat. Ten years ago it was also the same things being said and often by some of the same people. My first post as I reacll was one of uttter contempt and condemnation of RUS but over the years I began to see it was not the book but the way its used. That's not a new thought either as I recall some people were saying that as well ten years ago.

Matter of fact, I haven't seen anything on this thread that hasn't already been argued and defended or trashed before. Everyone has an opinion and I may be one of a few who has mellowed slightly but I'm thinking we need to start a thread for each long running topic with each argument, pro or con, listed & numbered in the first post. Then we can run it every now and then for a new article like PT found or something similar and just type in the number.

I used to back Argument 7 but I have come over to the 14-B way of thinking.


LOL


Spaw


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 10:13 PM

There have always been two good sides to this disagreement, but neither side seems to wish to bend.

If someone feels more comfortable by using a book, I think it should be encouraged. Having a crutch might be necessary from some people who don't know the songs that well.   Also, given the average age of the people who attend song circles these days, having a cheat sheat isn't a bad idea for those who forget words.   I'd rather see someone with their face down in a book as opposed to someone with their face straining toward the sky trying to remember a line of a song.

At the same time, a person who uses a book should not feel upset if someone sings something other than one of the tunes in the collection. Some people mentioned that they have seen folks who seem lost when a new song is sung - which should not be a surprise. I find it incredible that someone would feel put off by a song not written in front of them.

A good song circle consists of many people. I don't think there should be a requirement either way - if you want to use a book, use it. If you prefer to sing a song from memory, you should do so.   The point of the event is to have a good time in the simple act of singing - and if you allow rules or ego to guide how the proceedings should go, you've created a situation that really is a clique and not a fun event.

Live and let live. Don't worry what the person sitting next to you is doing, and don't let your thoughts on how things should go dictate the enjoyment of others.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 10:13 PM

"... it encouraged people to learn the songs before they came to the meetings, so that when their turn came up, they would have something to contribute—preferably a song that the rest of the crew had never heard, if at all possible. The result was that a lot of really good songs began to emerge."

So ~ the exercise, then, was not nercessarily a "sing-along"? It was OK to perform a piece that no one else could be expected to know?

Would one be expected to teach the gang to participate, presumably on an often-repeated chorus? Or not even?

Sounds like song swapping, not necessarily group singing. (Not on every number, anyway). That'd be fine with me, but some gatherings of some groups might have the intention that every participant be able to sing on every selection. In that context, I would imagine that a shared "hymnal" (even a secular one like RUS) would be a basic tool.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: artbrooks
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 10:14 PM

Someone asked "what is the 'Blue book'"? It is, simply, the much maligned "Rise Up Singing"...because, until the last two (I think) editions, it had a blue cover. Personally, I prefer "The Folksinger's Word Book", if one must have a song book.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 10:48 PM

I have to confess that in our "In Harmony's Way" session, I often sing different versions of songs that are in the "Blue Book." When somebody pulls out a book and asks what page the song is on, I remind them that's against the rules. I can't get away with that very easily in our Sacramento session that uses Rise Up Singing as a hymnal. But in both sessions, I do try to push people to go beyond the book.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 11:55 PM

Joe, just a note about parents wanting lyric sheets...I have asked for them before from my grandson's preschool teacher, so that I can learn them so he and I can sing them at home, sans the sheet once I've learned the words.

Ron, I agree with you.

Spaw, great idea!:-)


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 12:09 AM

Oh, Kat, I don't mind that at all, and often provide sheets when I'm teaching songs at workshops - but song sheets at a campfire are a travesty. Besides being a mess, people start complaining that they can't read the words, or they bring out flashlights. Part of the fun of a campfire song, is the teaching. It can be a challenge, but you can make it memorable if you ham it up the right way.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 12:35 AM

PoppaGator, the idea wasn't to try to come up with songs that nobody else knew, but since there were several singers of long experience there, it was a bit of a kick for a newcomer to be able to come up with a song that the old-timers didn't already know.

We started out with the idea that there would be a lot of group singing, but not just that. We tended to gravitate toward sea chanteys and songs with choruses. A couple of sea chanteys that rocked the building might be followed by a solo singer doing a ballad. These often precipitated a swap of information. "Where did you learn that version?" "I got it from so-and-so's record." Or "It's in Lomax's Folk Song U.S.A." Then, we'd move on to someone singing verses solo, with a good chorus that everyone could join in on. There was a good mix of group singing and solo performing, and everybody had a chance to learn new stuff.

And people taught songs, a la campfire singing (without the campfire). That worked well also.

But we didn't sing out of books or from crib sheets. This encouraged people to learn the songs, not just read them out of a book, then promptly forget them. And on the deck of the schooner Wawona during the Moss Bay Sail and Chantey Festival, nobody was using a book or song sheet. We all knew the songs.

Things started coming unglued when some people somehow got the idea that they could sing solo for the group without preparation. Or that they could teach a song to the group that they didn't already know themselves. The next step, of course, was to bring a book—preferably a book that everyone else had also brought with them. Then no one would have to go to the trouble of actually learning the songs. That's when a lot of people who already had a headful of songs tended to loose interest, especially if a song someone had in his or her head either wasn't in The Book, or it was, but it wasn't the "authorized" version ("That's not the way it is in The Book!").

I'm not contending that the practice of sitting around singing out of Rise Up Singing should be abolished and those who do should be smote hip and thigh and cast into The Pit. If someone enjoys group singing out of a book, that's fine. Whatever turns your crank. But personally, I prefer a mix of solo and group singing, with the hope that I might hear something that I haven't heard before, which isn't very likely if everyone is singing out of the same book.

Even in church, the congregation may all sing together out of a hymnal, but most churches also have a choir that does a couple of songs, and frequently a soloist or two.

Variety.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Barry Finn
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 12:50 AM

My reaction to the bloody song circles that use RUS. Never saw a circle that used this book & held on to the good or strong singers, they eventually go elsewhere. This hasn't only happened in Seattle, I've seen it in Boston & San Francisco & other places.

Rise Up Screaming (by Barry Finn)
Tune: Jack In The Green (by Martin Graebe)

A pub session or a party is a very strange thing
They're all out of fashion no more do they sing
For they read from a book or copy a tape
They imitate sounds no mortal should make

There's no sound in the kitchen, no sound in the hall
There's a murderous screech that plays off the walls
Where is the music, where are the songs
In the mouths of monsters where no sound belongs

Dead pan they look as they sing in your face
They'll spit out the words and the tunes they'll disgrace
A song will be beat o'r and over to death
And in a round robin they'll resurrect it again

No more will be heard a version that's lost
Or a variant that's rare or two songs that were crossed
The borrowing or sharing of a tune or a song
Will be according to the Bible all else will be wrong

And now for the future, it's bleak for the song
No young mortal will dare to carry it on
They'll be none around who without books can sing
Or swap without tapes or rise up singing

Copyright Barry Finn 1996


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 01:03 AM

I'll jump to the bottom of the thread, without reading the testimonials (though I did glance at Don Firth's, and we both know some of that history), to say that members of the Seattle Song Circle happily shredded a copy of the blue book at the celebration of life they did for my Dad (John Dwyer). But that's because a number of them, Dad included, had a problem with people not completely knowing the songs they decided to sing in public. Dad didn't like it when people stood and sang off of the printed page, not exuding the understanding and internalization of the song they were singing. It was used as a crutch too often for his tastes.

I have spent years as a public speaker, as a park naturalist and historian, and have the same understanding about a performer or speaker really knowing their material. Until it can come across as completely and naturally your own, as something you understand and can address in a lucid conversation, it isn't ready for prime time. But Rise Up Singing was treated like a shortcut to folk performance. The equivalent would be if I stood in front of a tour at Ellis Island and read someone else's account from a book, instead of making eye contact and telling the history as I knew it to exist, from stories told to me. There is simply no comparison, and if you don't understand the distinction, then you're not ready to be singing in public. Or leading tours. :)

SRS


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 02:10 AM

Joe said, "song sheets at a campfire are a travesty", but I think they work pretty well as firestarter. Gotta crumple 'em up a bit, of course, but they'll help the kindling take.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 09:29 AM

I always thought 17-B was a good argument, until I saw AB33045, and then I realized the error of my ways, and went out and bought a capo.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: goatfell
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 09:50 AM

so what you're saying is that people like me that use songbooks aren't good enough to sing at these sessions, that's very good isn't it.

so if you have a bad memory or just learning the song then don't go to these sessions because you're shit and we are better than you.

i thought that tease sessions were for everyone, but I was wrong.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 10:27 AM

"But Rise Up Singing was treated like a shortcut to folk performance. The equivalent would be if I stood in front of a tour at Ellis Island and read someone else's account from a book"

There is a HUGE difference there, and that might be the heart of the problem. A group sing or song-circle should not be considered a "performance". IF the participants consider it such, then you've moved into an area where you do not need others joining you. A tour guide at Ellis Island IS a performer and their JOB requirement is to be knowledgeable.   A person participating in a sing should not have to pass an exam to join - if they do, then perhaps they should rethink why they want to be a part of such a snooty gathering.

The whole idea of "folk music" was that it was a participatory experience, not a exhibition of skills. There are numerous cultural and technological reasons why people do not sing in homes as much as they used to.   Musical snobs, and yes I use that term deliberatley, are more concerned with their own experience than the experience of others.

People who engage in ripping up of RUS books or banning the use of handouts are engaging in musical masturbation.   You might be having a good time, but there is a reason why their are fewer partners. Many of the same people I see in this thread have also engaged in conversations about why folk music is being ignored by the media, non-existant at festivals, and why young people are joining in.   Perhaps this is a small indication of why all of those issues are real.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: billhudson
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 10:44 AM

I got one from Pete and use it sometimes, its the words that I am after. Not a thing in this world is perfect but I notice a lot of Hudson Valley, New York musicians use this one.
I always seem to go back to this book, kind if like good food and maybe like comfort food. Now a days I am more folk & roll but always eep that book in my office.
Still Pickin'
Bill


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: EBarnacle
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 10:58 AM

One of the things about the South Street Sea Chantey get togethers is that it is a semi-social situation. Professionals and virgins try their stuff out. some pros bring sheets with them to help them over their first few performances of material before they really go public.

Sometimes the pieces get critiqued and emended on the spot. While this is qualitatively different from RUS, the same thing occurs to users of RUS in that people who use this also get corrected on some of the most egregious errors in the book.

As long as you remember that nothing is really cast in stone and authoritative, it's all a learning process.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Midchuck
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 10:58 AM

so what you're saying is that people like me that use songbooks aren't good enough to sing at these sessions, that's very good isn't it.

so if you have a bad memory or just learning the song then don't go to these sessions because you're shit and we are better than you.

i thought that tease sessions were for everyone, but I was wrong.

..........

People who engage in ripping up of RUS books or banning the use of handouts are engaging in musical masturbation.   You might be having a good time, but there is a reason why their are fewer partners.


Speaking for myself alone, all I'm saying is:

1) It's annoying to sing a song and be told that your lyrics aren't "right" because they're not the same as in The Book. Who the f*** died and made Mr. Blood-Patterson God?

2) It's annoying to start a song and have someone yell "Wait, stop, I have to find the page."

3) If one is performing, or leading, a song, one can do it better if one's head is upright, with the throat passages fully open, than if one is looking down into a book.

4) If one is performing, or leading, a song, it's nice to make some eye contact if you can. Reading lyrics rules that out.

No argument that it's better to sing using The Book than not sing. But even if you use printed lyrics, there's more than one book. Get a copy of Silverman's "The Dirty Song Book," for a starter.

Peter


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 11:04 AM

I'm sorry Goatfell....but you miss the point. It has NOTHING to do with "better than you" or "not good enough"...it is about people sharing similar tastes or abilities.

If you were a skier, you would ski mostly with folks of similar ideas of where to go and how steep or difficult the course should be. There can, of course, be some overlap, but those who want to zooom downhill at 60MPH may not be inclined to dodge those who are only interested in little gentle slides.

There are two issues involved.....there is **LEARNING** the songs and how the tunes and words go, and there is *PERFORMING** them for or with a group.

The main idea of singing with others is to enjoy the event, I'd think. If you barely know the song and hesitate in the middle or lose the tune and have to glance down at the words every line, then it will not be easy for folks to sing WITH you or to enjoy hearing you.
    If you DO know the song reasonably well, and can manage the tune similarly, then FINE.... you will be welcome most places. Folks who are 'bit' better will be glad to help....but the middle of a session meant for singing the songs is not the best time for learing & practicing the songs.

I will repeat once more my rule: IF you can sing out of a book or from a sheet in such a way that I can't tell with my eyes closed, I will tolerate it! If you almost know the song, but just need a little help to be sure....go ahead! But taking a book and picking a song that you have heard but seldom tried and reading it AT a group seldom works.

I do know that Irish instrumental "sessions" are often even more particular. They often will flatly not tolerate amateur efforts, and will expect you to learn & practice in other ways. I don't pretend to know all the rules.

Ron Olesko says above: "If someone feels more comfortable by using a book, I think it should be encouraged. Having a crutch might be necessary from some people who don't know the songs that well. "
   .....well, it simply depends on where & when and with whom. There ARE groups and places for very informal learning and practice, but there are times when singing from a book if it is not done well (so that someone with eyes closed can't tell) will ruin the mood.

You can preach 'fair' all you want, but it IS the case that if the quality of the music falls below a certain level, some folks will not participate! Others will stay out of sympathy, but suffer. If you know a song you want to hear, but can't lead it well, ASK if someone else will....then sing along and learn it! Get better...practice...take lessons...Most people can eventually manage to participate on a tolerable level.
If singing out of books is the ONLY way you wish to do it, then find a group that does ONLY that.

(I am reminded that square dance groups often have several levels...one for beginners, taught by an experienced dancer...maybe monthly, and then other nights for experienced dancers who do NOT need to be shown all the steps. It interrupts the dance when someone misses a move and the square has to stop and regroup.)

I just don't know what else to say....


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 11:07 AM

(several others posted while I was typing, I see)


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 11:13 AM

1) It's annoying to sing a song and be told that your lyrics aren't "right" because they're not the same as in The Book. Who the f*** died and made Mr. Blood-Patterson God?
I AGREE WITH YOU ON THAT POINT. FOLK SONGS ARE MEANT TO BE LIVING PIECES OF ART AND SHOULD BE ADAPATED.   PERHAPS SOME EDUCATION IS REQUIRED IF YOU ARE APPROACHED IN THAT FASHION.


2) It's annoying to start a song and have someone yell "Wait, stop, I have to find the page."
DON'T STOP. KEEP ON GOING. THEY WILL CATCH UP.   DEAL WITH THE ANNOYANCE AND THEY WILL GET THE MESSAGE.

3) If one is performing, or leading, a song, one can do it better if one's head is upright, with the throat passages fully open, than if one is looking down into a book.
THIS ISN'T ABOUT PERFORMING, IT IS ABOUT PARTICIPATING. NO ONE IS TELLING YOU TO LOOK DOWN AT A BOOK. YOU ARE NOT BOUND BY WHAT THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU IS DOING.

4) If one is performing, or leading, a song, it's nice to make some eye contact if you can. Reading lyrics rules that out.
ITS NICE, BUT IT ISN'T MANDATORY. PUT YOURSELF IN THE OTHER PERSONS SHOES AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHY THEY NEED THAT BOOK. WHILE SESSIONS ARE MEANT TO ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL, THEY ARE ALSO ABOUT COMMUNITY.

You can preach 'fair' all you want, but it IS the case that if the quality of the music falls below a certain level, some folks will not participate! Others will stay out of sympathy, but suffer. If you know a song you want to hear, but can't lead it well, ASK if someone else will....then sing along and learn it! Get better...practice...take lessons...Most people can eventually manage to participate on a tolerable level.
If singing out of books is the ONLY way you wish to do it, then find a group that does ONLY that.
YOU ARE RIGHT, I WILL PREACH "FAIR" ALL I WANT. IF PEOPLE CHOOSE NOT TO PARTICIPATE BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN EGO, THAT IS THEIR CALL. EVERYTHING YOU MENTION ABOUT PEOPLE LEARNING SONGS TAKES TIME AND PATIENCE, AND IT SEEMS THAT MANY OF OUR "ELDERS" HAVE LOST THAT ABILITY. YOU JUST DO NOT REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS A COMPLETE TURNOFF TO BEGINNERS OR THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE THE SAME INTEREST AS YOU. IF YOU WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN A CLOSED SESSION WITH A CLIQUE OF FRIENDS, YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH.   EVENTUALLY THERE WON'T BE ANYONE LEFT TO SING WITH.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 11:14 AM

Now... I WILL say that do continue to attend some of our local sings, even though they are far below the standards they used to be....I want to keep the session alive! but I can't say I enjoy all of them.....some of what I hear attempted is just painful.
Surely someone can tell when they just can't manage a song at all. Why would they want to sing it badly?


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Deckman
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 11:16 AM

"Musical masterbation" ... hmmm ... do I need my capo for this? Bob


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 11:21 AM

Ok, Ron.... I hear you, and I see your points (It didn't require all the capitals)....I just don't think that it is necessarily 'either/or'. You seem to suggest that the proper behavior is to cater to the lowest common denominator. Both sides need to TRY to be flexible.....those who can't sing well, or don't 'think' they can learn lyrics need to try to imagine what it sounds like to others.


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 11:22 AM

(Deckman...that requires a special capo....)


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Subject: RE: homage to Rise Up Singing
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Dec 08 - 11:32 AM

"(It didn't require all the capitals)...."

I typed in capitals to distinguish from the quotes as you can see, it was not shouting.

I am not saying that "proper behavior" is to cater to the lowest common denominator.   If we are talking about folk music, then the "proper" setting is to realize that in the true setting of the songs, it is not meant to be an exhibition but a participation. Granted, you can set the rules - but if producing only the BEST songs and singers is your goal, then it is no longer folk music in the truest sense.   It becomes like Little League baseball - where the best players play and the others sit on the bench and get bored. Years later, people scratch their heads and wonder why attendance and ratings for the sport drop.

All I'm saying is that we need to evaluate the purpose of our "sings".   If we truly want to keep the spirit and application of folk music alive, then perhaps we need to examine why we participate and why we want others.    Education, understanding and patience go a lot further than setting arbitrary rules that exist only for the pleasure of a few.


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