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40 years of Seattle Folklore Society

Fred Maslan 05 Mar 06 - 01:06 PM
GUEST 05 Mar 06 - 03:11 PM
greg stephens 05 Mar 06 - 03:31 PM
Leadfingers 05 Mar 06 - 07:02 PM
Deckman 05 Mar 06 - 09:30 PM
SINSULL 05 Mar 06 - 09:34 PM
Fred Maslan 07 Mar 06 - 10:16 AM
emjay 07 Mar 06 - 08:08 PM
Stewart 07 Mar 06 - 08:36 PM
goodbar 07 Mar 06 - 08:44 PM
Don Firth 07 Mar 06 - 10:08 PM
Deckman 07 Mar 06 - 10:09 PM
Deckman 07 Mar 06 - 10:18 PM
Phil Cooper 07 Mar 06 - 10:27 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Mar 06 - 10:35 PM
GUEST 08 Mar 06 - 12:14 AM
harpmolly 08 Mar 06 - 10:10 PM
Fred Maslan 09 Mar 06 - 10:18 AM
open mike 10 Mar 06 - 01:43 PM
Don Firth 10 Mar 06 - 04:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Mar 06 - 05:21 PM
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Subject: 40 years of Folk
From: Fred Maslan
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 01:06 PM

Seattle Folklore Society is celebrating our fortieth anniversary with a party and concert on Nov 15th, the fortieth anniversary of our first official concert. We would really like to hear from members and former members, with stories, songs, and memories to share about the past forty years. E-mail me at maslfam@yahoo.com or John Ullman at johnu@tradarts.com. or just post on this forum. We would really like to hear from you.

Fred


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Folk
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 03:11 PM

Best wishes for your fortieth anniversary.
I'm a member of Irvine Folk Club (Scotland)and in 2007 we will be holding our fortieth festival which is understood to be the longest running festival in Scotland.


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Folk
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 03:31 PM

Well, I've never been to Seattle so I can't offer any reminsicences. But I can say
WELL DONE FANTASTIC. FORTY MORE YEARS!!!!


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Folk
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:02 PM

Threads like this just make me feel SO old !! I joined my first folk club in Nineteen Sixty Four !!


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Folk
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 09:30 PM

Hi Fred ... GEEZE! It just seems like yesterday! Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Folk
From: SINSULL
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 09:34 PM

Do a search on Walt Robertson here on the forum - lots of info.
SINS
    Duplicate threads combined. Messages below are from the new thread.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: Fred Maslan
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:16 AM

Perhaps this new title will inspire more responses,

Seattle Folklore Society is celebrating our fortieth anniversary with a party and concert on Nov 15th, the fortieth anniversary of our first official concert. although the celbration starts now. We would really like to hear from members and former members, with stories, songs, and memories to share about the past forty years. E-mail me at maslfam@yahoo.com or John Ullman at johnu@tradarts.com. or just post on this forum. We would really like to hear from you.

Fred


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: emjay
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:08 PM

I am posting to this to bring it back to the top. I would hope some would respond before it falls off. Interesting topic.


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: Stewart
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:36 PM

And what was the "first official concert"?

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: goodbar
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:44 PM

i went to my first folklore society show about two weeks ago. david rovics and attilla the stockbroker. pretty bad ass. i would go to more but most cost 14 bucks and being a 17-year-old i'd reather spend that on guitar strings, marijuana, and cancer-causing food.


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:08 PM

The Seattle Folklore Society's web site is HERE. Click on the "in 1966" link in the first paragraph—or HERE—and it will take you to a list of articles, letters, interviews, and such from people as Wil Ma Caroline and Sally Ashford who where there at the time, or who were around before the SFS got started. At the bottom of the list is my two-part article, "Getting Organized," reprinted from Victory Review magazine. These letters and such contain a lot of information about the history of the society and what went on before.

More later.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:09 PM

Fred,

I'm pleased that you restarted this thread. While the "Seattle Folklore Society" is indeed looking at a fourty year history, I might mention that it's earlier version was called the "Seattle Folklife Society," started in 1957. We met at Eagleson Hall, in the "U" district. We had a gangbuster group for about four years, until we dissolved into the dust of time. The 1962 World's Fair caused a re-surgence of interest, and the rest is history.

I well remember the strong support and interest of folks like: John and Sally Ashford, Don Firth, Phil and Vivian Williams, Nancy Hubbard, Mary Balmer, Jim Stevenson, Irwin Nash, Ron Ginther, "Lofty," Roy Guest, Roger Abrams, and many many others.

And indeed, The "Seattle Folklife Society" was also preceeded by another group founded by Walt Robertson, Don Firth, Bob Clarke and Patti McGloughlin.

So ... Seattle has a   l o n g   and rich history of local folkmusic. And it's well to the credit of the "Seatt;e Folklore Society" that it has survived lo these fourty years.

A note to "goodbar ... perhaps if you spent a little less money on pot, and a little more time on puncuation, you might be better received!

CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:18 PM

Don ... You've GOT to stop reading my mind! CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:27 PM

Margaret and I performed two concerts for Seattle Folklife in Fall of '93 and Spring of '94. Had a great time coming out to play. We were glad Judy Tetzlaff was able to set them up.


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:35 PM

When did Dad (John Dwyer) get involved? He was always active with Song Circle, but did he participate in the Folklore Society from the very earliest? He was at the Seeger concert in 1962 at the World's Fair, up there in the local participants part of the event.

SRS


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Follklore Society
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 12:14 AM

Congratulations! That's great. You guys are an invaluable resource!

Molly


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Folklore Society
From: harpmolly
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 10:10 PM

Argh...that was me, my cookie expired! Nothing worse than a stale cookie.

Anyway, I repeat, congratulations!

Molly


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Folklore Society
From: Fred Maslan
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 10:18 AM

Thank you Joe for combining the threads.

John Dwyer was I believe one of the founders of the Seattle Song Circle, which is one of the pillars of the SFS.

Fred


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Folklore Society
From: open mike
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 01:43 PM

refresh...Tom Paley will be performing there in September..

congrats to all..


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Folklore Society
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 04:58 PM

The Seattle Song Circle instantly congealed one afternoon at the 1977 Northwest Folklife Festival. I recall my wife Barbara and me getting to a workshop conducted by Vancouver folk singer Jon Bartlett (on sea chanteys, I think) just as the workshop was ending. It one of those days when you want to take in three different events at the same time. There were just a few people left in the room, gathered around and talking with Jon. I can't remember who all was there, but John Dwyer definitely was, and I think Stan James and possible Bob Nelson were there too.

Jon was explaining the Vancouver song circle, and describing a good way to go about it if we wanted to organize a song circle in Seattle. He recommended sitting in a literal circle, deciding on whether to go clockwise or counter-clockwise, with each person taking a turn. That way, no one person can take over and dominate a session. When your turn comes up, you have three options:   you can sing something, possibly a solo, or something everyone can join in on, or teach a song to the group; you can request a song from someone else; or you can pass. He also suggested that for group singing, sea chanteys are a good place to start because they're easy to lead, easy for others to pick up, and group singing usually starts sounding good right away. Also, he made the practical recommendation of putting a time limit on the meetings—say, two hours—because sometimes they can stretch out and go all night. Not good if you need to work the following day.

Jon had to take off for another event, so we stood around, highly energized by his comments and enthusiasm, and said "Let's do it!"

Stan James got the use of an empty store front on upper University Way, we spread the word, and the Seattle Song Circle met for the first time the following Sunday evening. Once again, I can't recall off-hand who all was there, but a couple dozen people showed up, including John and Sally Ashford, John Dwyer, Stan James, Merritt Herring, Mary Wilson, Barbara and me of course, and I think Mary Garvey was also there. If not, then soon after. As I recall, we met every Sunday evening throughout the summer. As the word spread, the group quickly expanded.

A whole variety of songs were sung, group and solo. Jon was right about the sea chanteys. We started sounding pretty good right off, but still sufficiently rough around the edges that we didn't sound like a church choir—just as it should be. There were usually several small cassette recorders at the meetings and we learned a lot of songs from each other. Sally Ashford gathered enough material to put together a Seattle Song Circle song book (". . . as sung by. . . ."), not necessarily to be used like a hymnal, but just for everybody's enlightenment and enjoyment. Tunes transcribed and hand-written on manuscript paper by Sally, who also typed out the words, made umpteen photocopies, bound them in notebook folders, and distributed them. Good collection. Bless you, Sally! I still have a copy of it around here somewhere.

Nothing succeeds like success. I don't know how it came about—I think I detect the fine Machiavellian hand of Stan James somewhere in here—but somehow a Sail and Chantey Festival got organize. There were three historical ships docked in Moss Bay over in Kirkland. One of the vessels was the Wawona, (currently located at the south end of Lake Union). If I have this right, the Coast Guard raised the sails on the Wawona from time to time to make sure the tackle still worked—and sadly, the Coast Guardsmen didn't seem to know a sea chantey from a tap dance. Someone had the brilliant idea bringing in a bunch of chantey singings and turning this event into a festival. I'm not sure who organized this or how it was organized, but maybe someone who does know can fill this in.

In any case, a bunch of singers came down from B. C., including Paddy Graber, Paddy Hernon, and battalion of others, and some folks came up form Portland (Oregon). There was one monumental songfest at the storefront where the Seattle Song Circle met the night before the festival, and the following day on the deck of the Wawona, we all stood around bellowing chanteys as the Coast Guardsmen did the actual work of raising the sails. Some rainwater had accumulated in the folds of the sails, not to mention a whole zoological garden full of bugs, so as the sails unfurled above us, there was quite a collection of weird stuff raining down on us!

As the festival proceeded, there were songfest everywhere, one of which was in the Wawona's fo'c'sle, so we got a chance to sing a bunch of sea ballads and fo'c'sle chanteys in a real fo'c'sle! The festival culminated in concert in, I believe, a large church in Kirkland. Big crowd. There was a lot of individual singing by locals and visiting firemen, and I had a chance to trot out several nautical songs I had recently stolen from Gordon Bok's recordings. This was where I first met and heard George Austin who lives in Kirkland, one of the finest finger-pickers I've ever heard in person. He started coming regularly to Song Circle meetings. Naturally, the concert was followed by a big party—with lots of singing. What a crazy bunch! Never enough!

The following summer (1978), lots of people were out of town, so the Seattle Song Circle almost fizzled out, but about a half-dozen of us kept meeting at various places (the real estate company sold the storefront out from under us, but then they were letting us use it as a freebie anyway, bless their hearts!). John Dwyer, Mary Wilson, Mary Garvey, Rob Stitt, Barbara and I, and a fellow who went by the name of "Bulk" (I never heard what his real name was) held the fort until folks started turning up again in fall.

Barbara and I went almost every Sunday evening for a few years, but between other things intruding from time to time and fluctuations in the nature of the meetings themselves, we sort of drifted off. We returned for the John Dwyer Memorial Song Circle meeting at Camp Long in West Seattle in January of 1998. About 125 people there, including some of the same folks from B. C. who had come to the Sail and Chantey festival over twenty years before.

Barbara and I really should go again and see what's going on.

More later.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 40 years of Seattle Folklore Society
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 05:21 PM

Any time I called Dad's house and got his answering machine I also learned where Song Circle was that week. :)

Jean Smith has been instrumental (!) in keeping some Song Circle activity going (I hear about song circle when I talk with her), along with Rainy Camp. That was another of Dad's favorite things.

SRS


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