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Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz

Helen 11 Jul 06 - 05:34 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Jul 06 - 05:55 PM
Anglo 11 Jul 06 - 06:28 PM
nager 11 Jul 06 - 08:04 PM
Helen 12 Jul 06 - 02:13 AM
GUEST,Hrothgar 12 Jul 06 - 04:29 AM
nager 12 Jul 06 - 08:21 PM
Helen 13 Jul 06 - 02:17 AM
nager 14 Jul 06 - 02:17 AM
Helen 14 Jul 06 - 03:55 AM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Jul 06 - 04:16 AM
nager 16 Jul 06 - 06:05 PM
Helen 22 Jul 06 - 01:48 AM
GUEST,Joanna 06 Nov 15 - 06:02 AM
Helen 04 May 16 - 02:11 PM
Sandra in Sydney 04 May 16 - 05:43 PM
Helen 04 May 16 - 06:13 PM
Sandra in Sydney 04 May 16 - 08:16 PM
Helen 04 May 16 - 08:35 PM
Sandra in Sydney 05 May 16 - 06:34 AM
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Subject: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Helen
Date: 11 Jul 06 - 05:34 PM

Hi all,

I heard from a friend yesterday that John Day, who made my celtic lever harp, passed away suddenly a few days ago.

He was well known, loved and respected by many people in Newcastle, NSW but also further afield through his long-term involvement in the folk scene and also the bushwalkers' club.

In fact I heard that it was through the bushwalkers' club that an interest in folk music was generated in the Newcastle/Hunter Valley region, some decades ago, due to the campfire and waliking along song-singing when they were out on bushwalks.

He made beautifully worked lap dulcimers and guitars, and when I asked him to make me a harp from plans I had bought from Markwood Harps, now available through Mountain Glenn Harps, he took on the challenge and the result was my beautiful looking and beautiful sounding, Tasmanian Blackwood harp.

I attended the Tuesday night sessions, started as beginners' sessions, for 10 years from the beginning, and John was a founding member. I remember sitting around with a group of people including John at a Newcastle Folk Festival bemoaning the lack of a beginners' session so we set a date and started it from that week. It is still going about 20 years later.

He was the first person that I heard playing South Wind, and he sang the words too, which I haven't heard anyone else do. When I got a bit more proficient on the harp we did some little duets sometimes, playing South Wind and Fanny Power and Give Me Your Hand.

He had a sense of humour too, and one of the songs I have only ever heard from him is one called Upstairs in the Tent.

He was overseas somewhere when he passed away, on a singing trip with the local "People's Chorus" (or it's called something else, I can't remember) which is a Union based choir. So he was doing something he loved on that trip.

At the moment, I have no more details than that it was a few days ago and that the funeral will be in Newcastle, soon, when his remains are flown back over.

Sadly missed - already! - and my deepest condolences to his wife Joan, daughter Vicki and her family, and John & Joan's sons.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Jul 06 - 05:55 PM

Always sad to hear of the passing of a talented craftsman.

..."He was the first person that I heard playing South Wind, and he sang the words too, which I haven't heard anyone else do" ...

This intrigues me.

Was the song he sang called "All the Tunes in the World" , by any chance ?

South Wind is a Carolan tune and doesn't have words as such, but Ewan McVicar set words to the melody.


"Lay down the borrowed guitar
Lay down the fiddle and bow ... "


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Anglo
Date: 11 Jul 06 - 06:28 PM

Sorry to hear of John's passing.

There is a set of lyrics for South Wind, the words I had heard Archie Fisher sing, here on the DT (always a good place to check first).


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: nager
Date: 11 Jul 06 - 08:04 PM

Everyone here in Newcastle is very sad to hear of John's passing. He was a wonderful man and supported just about every folk music event organised in the district at Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. John and his wife Joan were regulars at our Wangi sessions on Sunday afternoons and in the midst of all the loud singing, guitars, fiddles, squeeze boxes etc it was alway wonderful to tone everything down to hear some of John's unaccompanied gems.
We will all miss him very much.


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Helen
Date: 12 Jul 06 - 02:13 AM

nager,

Hi, I don't know if I have met you. I definitely don't know anyone by the name of nager. I live in Newcastle so I haven't been to the Wangi sessions.

I have to admit to being a bit at a loss to confirm what was more or less just hearsay about John. I tried to phone a couple of people to make sure the rumour was true but no-one was answering and I didn't want to bother his family. Do you have any more information, especially about when his funeral is likely to be held?

You're totally right about toning everything down to hear John play the dulcimer and sing. I know he made a couple of harps after mine, sold the first and kept the other, but I don't know whether he made much progress with playing the harp.

I saw him and Joan briefly a few months ago but, not being currently a member of either the folk club or the Tuesday sessions, I have not seen them at all for the last few years before that. I'm lucky to have had that brief time to catch up with them, I can see that now.

As to South Wind, apparently it isn't a Carolan tune, but many people think it is. Donal O'Sullivan collected it, I think.

This site has some info on it:
The Session - Tunes - South Wind

John sang the lyrics beginning:

South wind of the gentle rain, you banish winter weather
Bring salmon to the pool again, the bees among the heather
If northward now you mean to blow, as you rustle soft above me
God speed be with you as you go and a kiss for those that love me


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: GUEST,Hrothgar
Date: 12 Jul 06 - 04:29 AM

Lovely man. I can remember being billeted at his place a couple of times for the Newcastle Folk Festival back in the 70s.

I hope Vicki will be at the Bush Misic Club Ball at Maitland this year so I can pass on my condolences in person.


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: nager
Date: 12 Jul 06 - 08:21 PM

Hi Helen: I looked you up on the profiles and no, I don't think we've met although off and on I go to Newcastle Folk Club. My name is Paul and I am also on the profile list.
I don't know when the funeral will be as John died overseas.
I am sure Lisa and Brent will continue to keep us informed.
Paul


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Helen
Date: 13 Jul 06 - 02:17 AM

Thanks, Paul. I looked you up on the profiles too, and you don't look familiar to me, but, as I said above, I have been pretty much out of the folk scene for a few years.

I thought of contacting Lisa & Brent but I'm not up to date on contact info for anyone now.

I'd appreciate it if you could post the funeral details here when you find out because I hope to be able to go.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: nager
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 02:17 AM

Hi Helen:

I understand the funeral will be on Thursday. More details will be posted as I get them. Apparently there will be a funeral notice in Saturday's Newcastle Herald.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Helen
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 03:55 AM

Thanks for the info, Paul. I'll have a look tomorrow morning in the paper.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 04:16 AM

He sounds like a special guy.
Is there any connection to the song about a man called Johnny A Day the Rolf Harris sang?


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: nager
Date: 16 Jul 06 - 06:05 PM

Hi Helen:

For some reasonn was not published in Saturday but I hae been told as follows:

``Memorial Service for John is on Thursday 20th July at 11:15 am with James Murray 27 Bedford St Broadmeadow. There will be a Wake for John at John and Joan's House. (it's at Shortland)
Vicky has asked if you can all bring a plate to share, and byo chair, mug for your tea or coffee, grog and instrument. also if anyone has photos of John that would be great.

I'm also looking for any tapes of him singing or reciting (for the service).

Hope that helps and I know there are quite a few of us going.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Helen
Date: 22 Jul 06 - 01:48 AM

I could not go to the funeral because I was working, but I was there in spirit. I hope it went well, and the wake as well.

I spoke to Rod Noble this morning, oddly enough at the same supermarket where I heard about 10 days ago of the news about John's passing. Rod said that about half an hour before John passed away in Durham in England, and at the end of an evening of singing, both with the chorus group and in a singing session as well, John said that this is "as good as it gets".

That's how I want to go, when my time comes. I want to have been with a great bunch of people, doing what I love doing, probably something music-related, and having a great time.

So, he left on a wonderful high.

I'll be playing some tunes on the lovely harp he made for me, and thinking of him in those heavenly music sessions. There must be a lot of people he has to catch up with, from over the decades of his time in the folk scene.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: GUEST,Joanna
Date: 06 Nov 15 - 06:02 AM

I bought a dulcimer from John in 1975. It's a beautifully made instrument and I remember him being upset that the "scroll" broke as he carved it. The case is almost as magnificent as the instrument. Sadly I haven't played the dulcimer much but today I've brought it out for an airing so I can learn to play it with my friend who is learning to play her father's dulcimer. How fabulous that John's instruments live on as. Testament to his love of music!


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Helen
Date: 04 May 16 - 02:11 PM

Hi Joanna,

I missed you post in November last year. A John Day instrument is a special treasure, both in the craftsmanship and it the musical quality.

Enjoy it, remember John when you play it.

Not long before John had finished making my harp a crowd of local folkies went to a weekend away camping event up the valley and John brought the harp to show me. He had put the strings on it already but still had some things to finish.

There was a bit of a breeze when he was loading up his car to go home. He had the harp standing on the ground next to the car and it was cross-wise to the breeze. I realised that all the strings were singing in close harmony, like an Aeolian harp which is designed to be played by the wind. It was a beautiful moment and I was so sad that I could not take the harp home just yet but I only had to wait a couple of weeks to take it home.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 May 16 - 05:43 PM

lovely sound memory, Helen


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Helen
Date: 04 May 16 - 06:13 PM

Hi Sandra,

I was amazed at how much sound the harp was making that day and how beautiful the sound was.

The other part of that story was that John was so focused on getting the harp packed into his car safely that he drove off and left his own dulcimer behind but I dropped it in at his place on my way home.

One of John's other harps was recently sold to a member of the Roaring Forties who had never met John but had heard about him.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 May 16 - 08:16 PM

I'm currently composing an email to a member of the 40s - was it Robin who bought it? Or John?


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Helen
Date: 04 May 16 - 08:35 PM

Hi Sandra,

It was John. A member of our session group bought it from John Day but decided to sell it because she was more focused on her other music playing rather than on learning to play the harp. It's a beautiful instrument.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 May 16 - 06:34 AM

it has gone to a good home.

sandra

will you be at the Bush Music Club's
Music at Morisset, Fri 27th-Sun 29th May?
There will be lots of great sessions & workshops but I'll only be there on the Sunday, if so we can meet up.
When I'm not in the singing room, I'll be wandering around taking photos, conspicuous in my Akubra & wearing a yellow BMC name badge, maybe trundling around a trolley, so you can hardly miss me. I might even dig out my Mudcat badge.


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