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Do singarounds need someone to run them?

Mr Red 16 Sep 03 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,MMario 16 Sep 03 - 02:39 PM
Herga Kitty 16 Sep 03 - 02:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Sep 03 - 03:06 PM
Bill D 16 Sep 03 - 03:08 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Sep 03 - 03:18 PM
Harry Basnett 16 Sep 03 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 16 Sep 03 - 03:43 PM
Jeanie 16 Sep 03 - 04:14 PM
MartinRyan 16 Sep 03 - 04:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Sep 03 - 04:45 PM
Mr Red 16 Sep 03 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Les B. 16 Sep 03 - 06:06 PM
Mark Dowding 16 Sep 03 - 07:40 PM
Joybell 16 Sep 03 - 07:46 PM
Gurney 17 Sep 03 - 06:39 AM
Noreen 17 Sep 03 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Spot the Dog 17 Sep 03 - 11:12 AM
Noreen 17 Sep 03 - 11:26 AM
GUEST 17 Sep 03 - 11:41 AM
John Routledge 17 Sep 03 - 03:54 PM
Deckman 17 Sep 03 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 17 Sep 03 - 07:20 PM
Deckman 17 Sep 03 - 07:31 PM
John Routledge 17 Sep 03 - 07:33 PM
Bill D 17 Sep 03 - 08:24 PM
Deckman 17 Sep 03 - 09:28 PM
GUEST,Spot the Dog 18 Sep 03 - 07:39 AM
Deckman 18 Sep 03 - 09:28 AM
Les from Hull 18 Sep 03 - 10:21 AM
brid widder 18 Sep 03 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,skippy 18 Sep 03 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Les B. 18 Sep 03 - 01:15 PM
Sooz 18 Sep 03 - 01:21 PM
Les from Hull 18 Sep 03 - 02:15 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 18 Sep 03 - 02:17 PM
the lemonade lady 18 Sep 03 - 02:27 PM
Zorg 18 Sep 03 - 03:00 PM
Deckman 18 Sep 03 - 03:39 PM
wilco 18 Sep 03 - 04:48 PM
Deckman 18 Sep 03 - 05:05 PM
VIN 18 Sep 03 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,Les B. 19 Sep 03 - 06:49 PM
Wincing Devil 22 Sep 03 - 07:34 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Sep 03 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,KB 23 Sep 03 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Mick 23 Sep 03 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,KB 23 Sep 03 - 07:22 AM
Bill D 23 Sep 03 - 11:14 AM
tuggy mac 23 Sep 03 - 11:56 AM
tuggy mac 23 Sep 03 - 12:08 PM
Bill D 23 Sep 03 - 01:09 PM
Deckman 23 Sep 03 - 04:14 PM
Les B 24 Sep 03 - 01:44 AM
GUEST,KB 24 Sep 03 - 04:48 AM
Dave Bryant 24 Sep 03 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Mick 24 Sep 03 - 07:02 AM
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Subject: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 02:33 PM

A question mooted recently in connection with a real situation and rather than wade in with answers myself I thought I would duck behind the parapet and listen to the shrapnell ricocheting.

Discus.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 02:39 PM

I would think it depends on who is at the sing-around. I can think of many spontaneous sing-around sessions that I've been to that had no one "organizing" them. But I know in other groups nothing would have occurred without someone to push and prod.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 02:50 PM

Depends whether you're happy for the strong and confident singers to hog the whole session, and whether it's just an ego trip for the singers or fun for the audience too - and who if anyone is running a singaround. I enjoy the singarounds I run at festivals, and from the feedback I've had so do the singers and audience... not to mention the Anchor Middle Bar sessions at Sidmouth!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:06 PM

Singarounds need a shared agreement as to how they should work. Having someone in the chair is one way to do it. Someone with a knowledge of the people in the room, and an eye to recognise strangers and bringbthem in, can make a session special. But it can be done other ways, if people have a bit of sense and courtesy.

However it's done, it shouldn't be about control, it should be about support and enablement. (And occasionally reining in someone who needs it.)


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:08 PM

it helps to have someone, even if it's just the host, to restore order at times..*grin* Personalities vary a lot and some would rather talk than sing. If there are stardardized rules for the group, it is a bit easier.

If it is done as a 'circle', when everyone takes turns, you usually don't have as much to do, but if it is a free-for-all, you WILL get people who feel that their turn comes every 3rd or 4th song! The problem(s) are worse if there are constantly new folks who don't know the routines and expectations. Do you encourage 'the book', dis-allow the book, or just shrug? What about noodlers? Who beats them? *S*


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:18 PM

A short answer: yes.

A qualification: the better the event, the more difficult it should be to spot who it is.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Harry Basnett
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:42 PM

Yes they do...but the organiser bears a weighty responsibility to make sure everybody is included and there is no favouritism. It must be far more crushing for a singer to be left out of an organised singaround then to merely miss out ona more informal occasion.

Please note I did use the word 'favouritism'...or perhaps 'selective' would be better...I am not referring to a case where the organiser may miss a singer out due to confusion in running order.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:43 PM

If it is a planned and publicised event then definitely. Somebody must be responsible for ensuring newcomers are involved and that nobody dominates to the detrement of other singers.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Jeanie
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 04:14 PM

I would say yes, most definitely. It's a job that requires a great deal of "tact and diplomacy" at times, too. People come to singarounds to *sing* ! My feeling is that the best chairpersons of singarounds organise it so that everyone that wants to sings one song at a time, around the room, and subtly and tactfully encourage mainly chorus songs, or only *short* non-chorus ones. Singarounds are not concerts or folk club floorspots.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 04:39 PM

Malcolm

I agree completely with your "qualification"! I remember being at a very good session a few years ago where things kept ticking over nicely without any apparent management. I finally realised that the two apparently morosely drunk guys at either end of the bar were in fact quietly giving the nod to people they knew or suspected were singers, whenever the momentum flagged!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 04:45 PM

That's the best kind of organising in most situations.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 05:25 PM

Head above parapet to agree with the majority

Who champions the event outside of the actual singaround - publicity - dragging people in, reminding people - liaising with the landlord - shutting-up (in the nicest possible way) the insistent shaky egg layer. It is usually down to one or two people who by and large agree how it is to be done. And better still a regular event benefits from a caucus of three groups of willing runners - so that if one is sick, tother at a festival it will still happen.
Word on the street is "one missed night" = "finished" - I collect this kind of info and have to read into such glib generalisations.
Events at festivals usually get a greater authority choosing the runner but regular pub events usually default to the willing and die without some guiding hand even if it is only the landlord.

But as GBS said - the golden rule is that there are no golden rules.

Head below parapet.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 06:06 PM

We do a singaround at a local coffee shop. By default I'm sort of the "prompter" when I'm there. Ours is go around the circle style for those who want to sit in the circle - sing/play, pass, or request. Those outside are welcome to singalong, but aren't invited to sing or play unless they sit in the circle.   

I'm always amazed at the people in the circle -- and most of the same people are there every week -- who seem oblivious to the fact that its their turn and will want to stop and talk unless I, or someone else, pointedly says "OK, Joe it's your turn!" It's like they're perennial virgins - "who me, oh my, I just don't know, that certainly came around quick, etc !!" Sometimes I just want to whack 'em up along side the head and say "Did you not hear the person to your right just do a song !!" But that doesn't lead to a fun time.

So, YES, someone needs to be constantly "nudging" the organizationally impaired people in a singaround situation - it's human nature.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 07:40 PM

I think someone "in charge" - especially at festival singarounds where the people in the room tend to come and go is a must. There's nothing so soul destroying as being first to get to the event only to find that as the room fills up then your turn gets further and further away because you're sat in the wrong place. If I'm running a singaround, I make a mental note of who comes in when and I'll miss out the people who stand at the door then jockey for position to get the next spot then bugger off when they've sung - I'll let people have a go who have been waiting then come back to the Johnny-come-latelys after they've had a good listen. I also think it's a good idea to have a bit of banter with the punters - ask them their names then everybody knows who they are, how people are finding the festival, etc. It makes it go along and you're not just sat there on the singing Merry-go-Round. I find that the "jump in when you like" type singaround is a bit offputting when if like me you like to take a second or two to compose yourself before launching into song then find someone jumping in before you.
Favouritism (thanks for bringing that up Harry) pissed me off at a recent festival. I indicated that I was willing to do something when someone else declined but I got ignored by the organiser. I shall say no more about that.
Put me down for a "yes" vote on this one

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Joybell
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 07:46 PM

I recently put a pile of numbers into the centre of the ring before the singers arrived. Rather like the supermaket deli idea. As singers arrived they took a number. That way the turns came around in a civilized fashion.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Gurney
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 06:39 AM

Joybell, I think we call that a Blackboard Concert here, same principal but with the names on a blackboard. But that is 'organised' and the most memorable singarounds I've attended were less formal.
Politeness and respect are required in an informal situation, and sometimes a known 'organiser' can use his/her Mana to restrain the over-enthusiastic, which is really the only problem. The excessively shy must bring a friend who knows they sing.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Noreen
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 09:52 AM

There is also the danger of over-organisation...

At some festivals here in the UK, the festival committee think they are doing the right thing putting a group or a singer into every pub to ensure music all over town. Sounds great- but there are quite a few of us who like to get together and start a spontaneous singaround/chat/tune rather than being straightjacketed into a programmed singaround by a possibly insensitive host... (sorry, bad memories flooding back!)

So, folk-friendly pubs that DON'T have anything officially organised need to have some place in a festival.

I suppose this only applies to festivals, as an over-organised singaround run on a regular basis would likely piss eveyone off and cease to be.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,Spot the Dog
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 11:12 AM

Should everyone who wants to sing be allowed to sing. Should better performers be given more songs. Should better song collectors have more time and should poor performers be stopped. Should poor peformers be made to do more. Should it be singing only (no musical instruments but voice). Should there be any censorship of offensive or political songs.

Could go on for a long time.

Spot


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Noreen
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 11:26 AM

Yes
no (or sometimes, depending...)
no, usually
no
NO (why???)
depends on the singaround- if there are conditions, they should be stipulated at start.
possibly

You're feeling querulous today, Spot old bean. Long time no see!


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 11:41 AM

Feel fine Noreen just exhorsising my ghosts about singarounds. Poor performers may just improve given more floor time. Good singers should be run past more often , I have often been at Singarounds where I could listen to some performers all day. My problem with these events is that democracy and even handed management don't always work better than a benign dictatorship.

The nice ones are spontaneous and short lived. (IMHO)

Spot.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: John Routledge
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 03:54 PM

Great point Noreen about folk friendly pubs which have nothing
officially organised. To my mind such pubs are most likely to produce a memorable time.

Hi Spot!! The difference between the best and worst singarounds is so vast that I wonder how this occurs. I have no answer other than a discernable element of spontaneity which is there in all the best singarounds.

Hoping for some great singing in Otley!!


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 04:32 PM

"Bride Judy" and I just had a large gathering a couple of weeks ago. We probably had 30 musicans here. As friends, some of us go back 45 years together. This means that we all know, love and respect each other and each others' music. And, as host, I had little to do to guide the hoot, other than keep the pot bellied stove burning.

I'd like to mention another aspect that I don't think has been mentioned yet: performers and non-performers. At our gathering, we had a small number of friends that were non-performers, listeners.

The day after our hoot, I received a call from one of the listeners. He asked if next hoot, he could bring several of his friends to listen. I thought about it and turned him down. I said "No" because adding a number of listeners to a hoot changes the complexion of the gathering. Most of our music friends are professional performers who appear on stage several times a week. Adding more listeners builds an "audience", and it could start to feel like just another night at "work."

Does anyone have an opinion on this? CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 07:20 PM

Like all these terms "singaround" can mean anything from a truely spontaneous sing when people have got together for another reason through to something pretty close to an open mic session. The amount of organisation required varies accordingly.

Non-performers is an interesting question. If you don't want non performers you don't sing in a public place or advertise the event to the public. One thing that pisses me off is what are clearly intended to be "performers only" singarounds advertised to the public as folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 07:31 PM

Good point, Peter. The old comparison of apples and oranges. Bob (I don't care what my neighbors say, I'm REALLY a nice guy!).


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: John Routledge
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 07:33 PM

The atmosphere changes - rarely for the better - with an audience.

I think you have made the sensible decision in your particular circumstances Bob.

The smaller the proportion of singers the less chance there is of the unexpected happening - musically that is :0)

I find the unexpected likely to be the most magical.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 08:24 PM

You were very wise, Bob...years ago, I posted MY true story of what can happen to a hoot if care is not exercised..

read and and be VERY afraid!


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 09:28 PM

Bill D: That's an absolute classic story, and very well told, by the way.

I hope that I am NOT creating a thread creep here.

If you are hosting a "sing a round", someone, probably YOU, has to consider these issues: how do you be fair to both your guests and your newcommers?; how do include people equally that might be 65 years apart in age?.

These are all good questions and there are no simple answers. Look at the reality of it, if there were really simple answers ... we wouldn't need folk music, right? CHEERS. Bob


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,Spot the Dog
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 07:39 AM

It looks like a good question would be what is the "singaround" for. Or maybe what are singarounds for in general?

Spot


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 09:28 AM

To our circle of friends over here, a "hoot" is a gathering of singers sharing our music with EACH other. There will always be some non-performers there: spouses, the pretty blond someone brings, but it's basically the place where performers let their hair down and jam with each other. Bob


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 10:21 AM

There's lots of interesting stuff in this thread - thanks for your views everybody!

I find that most people are saying what I feel. In a larger singaround (like when it takes about three hours for everyone to sing once) there has to be somebody in charge and it's only fair to give everybody an equal chance to sing, although favouring the people who've been there all the time over someone who's just popped in. Going round the room means that people should know when it's their turn and be ready.

A smaller impromtu gathering can look after itself (but it's a good idea to note that if someone isn't getting a go to invite them to sing).

The rest of this works by concencus. Accompaniment (and tunes) are allowable if the majority of people in the room want them.

At the risk of a little thread creep I would ask singaround participants to be ready. The idea of going round the room in order means that you can work out when your turn is and pick your time to go to the bar and/or the toilet. You should have more than one song in mind, in case the mood needs changing. Your instrument (if any) should be ready to play, and not in its case on the other side of the room in the wrong tuning. If the person whose turn it is announces what key the song or tune is in, then other people can join in the accompaniment (and not take over!)

I have lots of fun in singarounds and general sessions both locally and at festivals and I find that they nearly always work very well - partly because people know each other and also because there's plenty of respect around.

Les


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: brid widder
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 12:31 PM

I'd say yes... although as Beardy as just said it does depend what you mean by 'run' there is a difference between guiding & controlling... we have some big egos in our midst!!. I'm fairly sure that Les gave me my first invitation to sing...(not the big ego type) if not Les then Maggie. I had very little confidence and needed an invitation... I have more confidence now but still prefer to KNOW it's my turn...I quite like to know a couple of songs in front... so I can be ready... either because we are going round the room or just by a nod. The idea of just jumping in is impossible for anyone without a lot of confidence... and apart from joining in how do we ever gain confidence. Also anyone who goes to Whitby week regularly might know of a singaround which happens all week in a packed bar where about 75% of the songs are by 3 or 4 people... jump in at your peril!!


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,skippy
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 01:05 PM

straight vote_: YES


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 01:15 PM

I would second what Les From Hull said, heartily! One should be thinking of two or three choices of what you're going to sing or play next as soon as your turn is over. Then, given what the person just before you does, you can offer a change of pace or mood.

Some other comments based on above postings; While too big an audience can be a detriment, I think you need at least one (hopefully the pretty blond !. We all play better when someone is listening - besides other musicians.

On this side of the pond (USA), in the singaround/jams I attend, it's pretty rare to hear unaccompanied singers. Most of the musicians in our circle play an instrument and expect to join in with the singer. Once in a while you get someone who is not very good about backing off when a soft voiced singer is up, but if the singer doesn't give them "the eye," it may be mentioned to them afterwards to be more sensitive about their volume.

Our group is fairly ambivalent about taking individual lead breaks between the verses. Usually banjos, fiddles and mandolins can sketch something out, guitars not always. We generally know who is a "lead" player and who is not. Sometimes we do it unison style. It all depends on good musical manners, and generally, in setting a good example.

We tend to call the more unorganized, jump in when you get a chance, type of jam an "animal jam" - they tend to be full of testosterone & egos, but can be real fun with the right amount of libation.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Sooz
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 01:21 PM

I totally agree Les! Those who don't work to those simple suggestions cost us so much time.
Here's a secondary question:- should a duo sing two songs, a trio three etc or is it one "act" one song? Mike and I are a duo and usually decline if it is suggested we do two songs so that everyone gets a fair crack of the whip, but not everyone agrees.........


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 02:15 PM

Good point about duos, trios, Sooz. Maggie and I will usually do one each, although often backed by the other. I think it's fine for duos to do two if they alternate the lead vocal. Otherwise someone might come in with three bongo players and expect to do four!


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 02:17 PM

Some more tips:

10 Commandments of Open Mikes
JAMS, SONG CIRCLES, AND MUSIC PARTIES (for Fun and No Profit


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 02:27 PM

I hate having to 'jump in' when at an SAR. I much prefer to wait til it's my turn, or be asked by someone who is in charge. I like the idea of the twig in the Middle Bar at Sidmouth and Wareham.

Sal


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Zorg
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 03:00 PM

Generally speaking, Yes. At Herga on an 'Open Night'everyone who wants to sing gets a chance whatever their ability and we do have some great singers, I usually work first through the door method and have had no complaints (so far) and no favourites. Zorg


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 03:39 PM

I have to comment on another aspect of this thread, and it is such a wonderful thread full of thoughtful and meaningful comments.

I do NOT travel. I do not ever expect that I will end up in your part of the world. I know that it is MY loss, not yours, but that is my nature.

But, reading all these fine comments, I do know that if I were arrive at one of your fine "singarounds," I know that I would be made welcome. And I also know that I could contribute some of my music in a manner that would make some of you laugh, perhaps a giggle or two, but most of all, just make you quietly smile in understanding.

Ain't mudcat great! CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: wilco
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 04:48 PM

Someone has to be in charge. In the US, it is rare to find someone who sings that doesn't play an insturment.
    Here in bluegrass country, we have another problem. EVERYONE wants to take breaks on the song, doing something with their insturment. The problem occurs when you have fifteen people wanting to take breaks on a song. Something like "Mama Don't allow" lets people perform, but it's no fun for the person who wants to actually sing a song unaccompanied. If you try to play something like John henry, you'll be there all night!!!
    Whoever is in charge needs to be sensitive, considerate, encouraging, and fair.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 05:05 PM

I also enjoy singing the occasional acappella ballad. Remember that the voice is also a musical instrument. If I start an such a solo. and someone in the crowd is dumb enough to try to find my pitch on an instrument, I simply stand up, keep singing, and walk over and put my fingers on their fingerboard: smiling and singing all the time. It doesn't happen twice in the same night. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: VIN
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 05:56 PM

All in all i rekon the ayes have it - yes, tho if the crowd gets huge its easy to get confused as to whose turn it is but i would'nt mind that, i'd be there for the music anyway.

Nowt wrong with a spontaneous sing-a-round tho! (or sing-a-round-session-unacommpanied-instrumental-type thingy!)


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 19 Sep 03 - 06:49 PM

Interesting question about duos, trios, etc. In our circle we have a husband & wife who do duos and they each get a turn - One person, one song(or instrumental)we figure! And, because she's the only steady bass player our circle has, we don't want to rock the boat with exclusionary rules !~!:)


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 07:34 PM

I like the way our Chantey Sings are run at the Royal Mile & Annapolis (which I'm skipped last Thursday, thanks to #$%^*! Isabel). There is a MC (Master of Chanties) who starts it all of with the first song, explains the setup to newcomers (there are always newcomers) and directs the "Fickle Finger of Chantey Fate" around the room. Everybody is asked if they want to sing, request a song, or take a pass. At the Royal Mile, we usually get two laps around the room, but last month, we barely made it around once! In Annapolis, we get several laps.

The Alexandria Chantey Sing & Sail is a different kettle of fish. Smaller crowd, plus we have to actually to some sailor type work, haul lines, shift booms etc. You sing when the feeling comes upon you, and the engine isn't running.

Great fun!


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 09:24 PM

YES, YES, YES! To make sure that everyone gets a turn and especially to make sure that the jerk who THINKS they can play lead guitar from playing along badly and messing up any subleties, is told "Not to".

Rick


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 05:11 AM

I like our local pub singaround/sessions - they start off fairly well organised & descend into free-for-all mode later on as the organiser subsides into his pint glass. SO - you pretty much get the best of both worlds. There is a core of regulars, but everybody in the pub will be asked if they'd like to do something (and we do get some wonderful unexpected gems) & there is little favouritism. There are some ego-twats, but they are kept reasonably under control.

When Om (daughter) is there I mostly sing together with her - and it varies whether we get one or two shots. Sometimes we separate out later on when she's feeling more confident & the bar has quietened down. Ironically, that will be the point where we only get one shot, so I miss a turn.... (sob). If its a busy night & everyone is having to wait ages for it to "go round" then we'll pick songs where we have equal vocals & decline the extra go if offered (public-spirited or what!).

What I find really awkward though is if I'm in a bunch that all tend to play together on eachother's go - so that then it feels like people must be really fed up with the ensemble by the time we've each had our turn. I suppose the only cure for that is to break it up so that its not 4 songs in a row.

Anyway - better get back to work now ...so I'll stop rambling


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,Mick
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:08 AM

"The atmosphere changes-rarely for the better-with an audience"!

What kind of stupid comment is that? So everybody sits in a circle in a darkened room with drawn curtains singing songs at each other...and then come on here and bleat about there being no interest from the general public in folk music!


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:22 AM

Mick, it depends what you're doing. If you are a bunch of musicians on a night off, just wanting to let your hair down & play informally, then you are not going necessarily to want an audience. If you have too many non-participants then it can change the feel of the evening into more of a performance thing.
Also - an audience can put pressure on less confident performers & put them off. Ad hoc audiences at singarounds/sessions sometimes don't quite "get it", and may want more of one thing & less of another - sometimes loudly.
I think maybe you took the comment a bit out of context?


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 11:14 AM

well, Mick...we have a VERY democratic, fair, open system at our advertised sing---and that is killing it slowly! It has run for 30 years or so, but with folks moving away and deaths and lack of 'easy' places to accomodate it, it is hard to get a majority of 'tolerable' singers right now...and there is simply no room for lots of 'audience' in most of the living rooms we are using these days. We struggle on out of loyality, and sometimes it goes just fine, but frankly, some nights are ghastly. (and 'audience' members seem to want to do their part by talking a lot!)

It is wonderful to have a place where beginners and amateurs can learn and test their ability to sing with, and in front of, others, but if ¾ of the bunch are reading out of books and attempting songs they haven't practiced and butchering the tune, I can assure you that before long they will be almost the only ones there! I personally am NO pro or advanced singer/musician, but I can tell if I am not 'ready' to do a particular song, and I try very hard not to inflict early attempts on others.

.......so, if some folks want to have a private session where the average level of the music is pretty darn good, more power to 'em! I wish it were easier to juggle this situation, but it isn't.+


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: tuggy mac
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 11:56 AM

ref to joybell,and supermarket numbers. i took a number at my supermarket deli and was the only one with a ticket and was ignored .I was the last of 4 to get served!


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: tuggy mac
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 12:08 PM

Its nice to know there are people out there willing to put up with us book readers.and we humble in the company of those who have great memories.

All the best tuggy.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 01:09 PM

tuggy mac..I wish people did not need to use books, but *I* do not shut them out because of this, and our song circle does not exclude them (and I have resorted to cheat sheets myself on occasion)...what we are concerned with is those who cannot do the song WITH the book! If I can close my eyes and not realize you are using a book or notes, I will not complain. Pauses to find the next verse, experimenting with the tune, unfamiliarity with the rhythm and pace tend to make the whole situation awkward and less than fun. I can't see how those doing it can be enjoying themselves either...


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Deckman
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 04:14 PM

For the first years of the "Seattle (USA) Song Circle", I was a dedicated participant. This was for several reasons: Enjoyment of the music and friends, and as a long time teacher, I've always felt something of an obligation to nurture and encourage new music lovers. But after some years of Sunday evenings, I began to distance myself, more and more. It had to do with several things: the long drive on a "work night"; more and more often "blue books" were showing up; fewer and fewer of the better musicians were attending.

Another factor reflects what Rick just posted, regarding the "jerk" that insists on playing along (badly) with every person's turn, and no one in charge to shut him up.

I'll tell a funny story on myself, and I sincerly hope that this story does NOT bring a ration of very bad jokes in very bad taste:

During this time when I was attending song circle less and less, I often would enter the home, and set the stage for my quick get-a-way. I'd stash my guitar close to the back door, ususally in the kitchen, and join the group, usually with one foot in the singing room and one foot in the hall, heading toward the kitchen. At the first sign of "trouble", I'd just quietly get up, sneak into the kitchen, put my guitar in the case, and slip out the back door, slide alongside the house to my truck, and be halfway home before anyone missed me. Now ... and here's the funny part: a dear friend of mine who also used to attend these events quickly named me "BACK DOOR BOB!"


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Les B
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 01:44 AM

In regards to the "blue book" or "RUS" (Rise Up Singing) - I have never seen one appear at our jams, although I do have a copy sitting on my shelf. In fact, I doubt many people in my circle even know that book exists, thank goodness.

What I do see being used more and more, by the people in our group who must work from cheat sheets, is reams of computer print outs. The internet has contributed greatly to people being able to find nearly any song they want within seconds. Both a blessing and a curse !


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 04:48 AM

Re cheat sheets & memory problems - a quick thought just crossed my mind. I used to be completely dependent on them (partly nervousness maybe?) but rarely use them now. I think one of the things that cured me was hanging my guitar on the wall where it could lure me at any time of day when I'd a minute to spare. So then you pick up the guitar & can't be *rsed to go find the paperwork & end up singing stuff from memory. Over time you just find that you've painlessly learned TONS of stuff. If I'd had to go and get the guitar from a case then I'd probably also have gone & got the paperwork & so wouldn't have practiced the recall.

Kris


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 06:25 AM

I think I'd also go along with the majority and say that in most cases a singaround works best if someone is organising it discreetly. All the postings so far seem to have only considered the performers'
side of the story though.

In many cases there is also an audience or considerable number of non-performers. I think that it is up to the person(s) organising to sometimes try and arrange the order of performers to make it interesting for them. If you have a few weaker performers, try to intersperse them with the stronger ones - so many times I've heard a whole group of poorer performers one after another (because they're sitting togther) and watched the audience dwindle away until by the time it gets round to the better singers, there's virtually no-one left. The same thing goes for type of material and even the sex of the singers. Remember also that most of the performers are audience for most of the time and that a varied program is much more likely to keep them around.

Singarounds and sessions are often a window into the folk scene for many of the general public and if we want to improve their conception of folk music, we have to take them into consideration. Most singarounds (in the UK at least) take place in pubs, and the landlord wants to feel that you're entertaining his regular clientele as well as yourselves.


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Subject: RE: Do singarounds need someone to run them?
From: GUEST,Mick
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 07:02 AM

Agreed! It can also be a pain in the a**e when a singaround reaches a clump of guitarists all sitting together! The organiser needs to have the ability to mix things up to make the singaround entertaining.


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