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First Appearance in Public?

John in Brisbane 08 Feb 98 - 10:53 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 98 - 01:28 AM
Art Thieme 09 Feb 98 - 01:44 AM
Jon W. 09 Feb 98 - 10:47 AM
Bill D 09 Feb 98 - 11:19 AM
Bob Taylor 09 Feb 98 - 12:41 PM
Art Thieme 09 Feb 98 - 02:44 PM
Jerry Friedman 09 Feb 98 - 06:32 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 09 Feb 98 - 06:47 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 09 Feb 98 - 06:51 PM
Paul Stamler 10 Feb 98 - 01:00 AM
Earl 10 Feb 98 - 05:15 PM
Jack mostly folk 11 Feb 98 - 02:26 AM
Jaxon 11 Feb 98 - 11:28 AM
Bill 12 Feb 98 - 12:32 AM
Susan-Marie 12 Feb 98 - 07:52 AM
Bert 12 Feb 98 - 11:27 AM
Humdinger Folksinger 26 Feb 98 - 02:44 AM
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Subject: First Appearance in Public?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 08 Feb 98 - 10:53 PM

A recent thread reminded me that the first song I ever sang on stage was 'Sink The Bismark' at a school concert in about Grade 3. Not really an auspicious start to a life long interest in folk music - but the idea of a story to tell in words and music is still appealing.

Any other experiences from fellow Mudcatters?

Regards John


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 01:28 AM

Well, when I was in fifth grade in the St. Rita School choir in Racine Wisconsin, Sister John Bosco said that Ronny Benedict and I were "really sharp." At the time, we thought it was a compliment, and we thought it was really cool that Sister liked our singing. By the time I finished eighth grade, I had actually learned something.
It was just kind of expected that everybody would sing, not only the kids in the choir. Too bad it isn't that way nowadays, but I was pleased to sing Friday with a kindergarten teacher who says she sings with her students every day.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 01:44 AM

First gig was 1959 at coffee house in the old artist colony on 57th St.(Hyde Park). These were east of the Illinois Central tracks.The coffeehouse was called the Limelight. I was to get 25% of the door. ONE CUSTOMER CAME> I went home with .25! The artist Colony were old, cold water store fronts left over from the Columbian Exposition of 1893. We tried to save them in 1962 with a folk festival & street fair. But the city demolished them shortly after that. Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Jon W.
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 10:47 AM

When I was sixteen and had been trying to learn bass guitar for a few months, I got a group together to play a talent show at the church. We billed ourselves as "Airsick Clifton and Sour Cream." We played "The Nighttime is the Right Time," an old Ray Charles song which I knew from Creedence Clearwater Revival (my first favorite group). We arranged for several of the girls in the audience to mob the stage screaming (ala Beatles). It was a hoot.

Another appearance about the same time (I really can't remember which was first) and with many of the same folks was in a jug band. I played Jew's harp, we had kazoos, and a garbage can bass (like a washtub bass but much taller) and we played "Turkey in the Straw" and "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain." Ah, the good old days.

PS my entire musical "career" has been limited to similar situations.


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 11:19 AM

I had almost NO musical life beyond playing clarinet in the band...until I was over 21, and along came the folk-scare, and in about '61,Pete Seeger, The New Lost City Ramblers, and the Beers family came to Wichita within a few short months, and it sort of caused the few members of the local Classic Guitar Society who also played 'folk' to split and form a folk group...and I knew one of them...and soon there were Hootenannies and coffee houses...And somehow, the owner/manager of of a very small local FM radio station heard about our little Sat. nite group, and we were invited to put together a 'live' radio program....so I guess my first 'really' public appearance...other than sitting in living room singing "SinnerMan" and 'Buffalo Gals' (I mostly played the recorder and sang on choruses in those days)was on the radio (still playing the recorder)! And then one night I was at a bar and some guys who had a little band and who had seen me at a party with my new autoharp, invited me to come play a couple of things with them.....foolishly, I agreed, and got up in front of a microphone and totally butchered 'Wildwood Flower'. Since then, I have pretty much limited my playing to those living rooms and groups of friends....seldom with microphones present....those things change EVERYTHING *grin*.

Oh...just as an aside...I did once play at an open stage at the Red Fox Inn in Bethesda, MD, on the same night that Art Thieme was the featured set...I actually still have a tape I made under the table of Arts set! This was about 1978..


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Bob Taylor
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 12:41 PM

The year would have been about 1966 or so. My friend learned to play the guitar, and I learned the baritone Ukulele. We thought we were pretty good for a couple of young teenage kids. We were asked if we would play and sing for the Baptist Mens group at the local Baptist Church. We accepted the invitation and carefully selected our songs. We sang a bluesy version of "Jesus Met the Woman At the Well" and we saw a lot of negative head shaking. Unfortunately, we had only prepared two songs, so even with the negative feelings about the first song, we had no choice but to plow ahead into the second song.

Then we sang "Sampson," the one with a line in the chorus about "If I had my way, I would tear this building down….." Well unfortunately, the chairman of the Board of Deacons thought we were advocating tearing down the Baptist Church. Cries of religious anarchy were raised. Our performance was stopped, and we were asked to leave, even before we got our ham, mashed potato, and green been dinner, as prepared by the ladies of the church. Many of the church members offered to pray for us, and we understand that our names were mentioned at Wednesday Night Prayer Meetings for years.

We were never invited back.


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 02:44 PM

I still have the poster/flyer for that Red Fox hoot. Joe Hickerson & Gus Mead were in a group that sang that evening; I know 'cause I took a slide of them. The older we get the better we were! Thanks for reminding me Bill. Art


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 06:32 PM

My only public musical performance occurred when I was about 10, I guess. I played piano to accompany my friend Mitchell Cronig's violin rendition of "Lightly Row". We were both very nervous and not very good.


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 06:47 PM

My first musical performance in public was playing the piano at a kid's music festival in Dalhousie, NB. I didn't play the piano very well (I hated to practice) but I didn't place too badly. Prior to the event a boy next to me told me that his mother told him that if he didn't win, he'd have to quit Cub Scouts. He won. I was quite glad for him.

I hated piano and gave it up as soon as I was allowed enough personal responsibility to make that decision. However, it was from my piano teacher that I heard my first broadside ballad (at least that I can recall) a song about the capture of the fortress of Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island, by an Anglo-American force. ("Prepare British boys, your hearts for new joys/ For Cape Breton and Louisbourg's taken . . .") I had found a copy in the house and had the teacher play and sing it because I had been to the reconstructed fortress. I haven't heard the song since.

After I gave up piano, I still sang in choirs at these festivals, mostly doing pseudo-Jacobite tunes about Bonnie Charlie and such, and a few carols at Christmas. It was a lot of fun, especially because our choir teacher was a no-nonsense French-Canadian ex-nun, whose high standards meant that we won quite often.


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 09 Feb 98 - 06:51 PM

Wasn't the first appearance on TV of Led Zepplin's Robert Plant occur as a young boy in a skiffle band?


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Paul Stamler
Date: 10 Feb 98 - 01:00 AM

As far as folk music is concerned, my first experience in public came at a small rank-and-file labor rally in St. Louis, somewhere around 1973. A friend and I worked up a short set, with me playing an electric guitar since my acoustic one had been stolen. We alternated the singing; I sang Joe Hill's "Casey Jones" and a few others which I now (thankfully) forget. She sang a lovely, bluesy version of "Careless Love", which would have been even lovelier if I hadn't played the outro a verse too early...had to start up again. Same damn thing happened tonight, when I was playing for the dance. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Peace. Paul


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Earl
Date: 10 Feb 98 - 05:15 PM

My first public apperance was in a high school "talent" show in 1968. I played banjo in a jugband called the P.F. Fliers. The songs were "Plastic Jesus" and "San Francsico Bay." At the time no one had the guts to sing so one of us played the melodies on a chromatic harmonica.


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Jack mostly folk
Date: 11 Feb 98 - 02:26 AM

My first public appearence was fifth grade choir and class room stuff. grammer school in those days had singing and everyone seem to love it. California had an official song book that included W. Guthrie,s "This Land","Columbia Roll On", Happy Wanderer and Forty Niner. Singing and music should be as mandatory as english and math subjects. Of course it's not for everyone, neither is football, track, basketball, but I think we all had some form of required PE classes that helped build us into functioning citizens. I was a late bloomer as a singer of songs. My wife bought me my first guitar for my thirtieth birthday and created an instant monster. I've got 20 plus years of singing and playing and love every minute of it.Thank you California school system for introducing music in the school. Would'nt that be a great program to re-introduce? I wish more people could be like us and sing out their frustrations and ventilate their angers with song instead of violence. Jack mostly folk


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Jaxon
Date: 11 Feb 98 - 11:28 AM

I didn't pick up the guitar until age 42. At 46 I ran into a friend who runs an Irish art gallery in the Boston area. She asked if I had learned any new songs and I mentioned that I had finally memorized the lyrics to "Kilkelly". She said she loved that song and would I come and sing it to her at the gallery on Sunday. I said yes, not knowing she would bring in 25 people to my first "concert". She had a lot more faith in me than I did. Many gigs later I know I probably never would have started if she hadn't set me up.

Jack Murray


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Bill
Date: 12 Feb 98 - 12:32 AM

I happened to drop in at an outdoor music festival in Galena, Illinois back in about 1977 or so. My friends persuaded me to clamber up on stage to entertain them. I went up to the free mic and introduced myself to a handful of curiosity seekers. Part way through my debut performance of "Risin' River Blues" I was mobbed onstage by a two year old female folk enthusiast. She helped me with the strummin and harmonizin and we ended to a rousing applause from an audience which had grown to about twenty-five people. Its never been the same since. I sometimes wonder where that ardent admirer is today.

Bill {;^/=


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 12 Feb 98 - 07:52 AM

I vividly recall my first public solo singing in the school basement for my Brownie troop. I'd seen "Alice in Wonderland" on TV and had learned the song "What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?". It's funny that I don't remember being nervous as I sang it - these days when I sing solo my legs are usually shaking. So, maybe the answer to my stage fright is to pretend I'm 8 years old again?


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Bert
Date: 12 Feb 98 - 11:27 AM

When I was 9 years old at a Saturday Morning movie matinee for kids. Remember those?

They had what we would call nowadays an open mike.
My buddy & I got up on stage and sang "Old Dun Cow".

That experience lasted me until I was 13, when, at our local community's Coronation Celebration I sang "Bobbing up and Down", again with the security of a friend. We got out of sync with our bobbing up and down much to the delight of the audience.


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Subject: RE: First Appearance in Public?
From: Humdinger Folksinger
Date: 26 Feb 98 - 02:44 AM

My first public appearance ... Wow ... it was 1965 ... I was 16 ... it was a bowling alley amateur night contest in Merritt Island, Florida ... my partner was a guy named Bob Busk ... he played guitar and taught me the words to "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" "Four Strong Winds" and "Good Drunk and Boozy" and I arranged the harmonies ... We won the $100 jackpot! I decided right then and there that I wanted to "be the boss" so my dad bought me a Gibson B25, which I still have, and I taught myself to play. Humdinger Folksinger


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