FIDDLE MUSINGS, by Stewart Hendrickson

When someone asks me how long I have played the violin, I tell them about seventy years. But that’s not true. That includes about forty-five years that I didn’t play at all. About twenty years ago I started playing again, this time the fiddle and not the violin. Much of what I had learned as a kid came back to me, but then I had to learn all those tunes. Learning to play the fiddle (or violin) is really a life-long process; one never arrives at the final destination, but it is the journey that makes it worthwhile.
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KEEP MUSIC LIVE AT THE COUTH, by Stewart Hendrickson

The Pacific Northwest Folklore Society has produced a distinctive series of live music concerts at Couth Buzzard Books since May, 2010. The last concert on Sunday, June 9, with Claudia Schmidt is an example of what we do best: a renown performer in a small intimate space – fifty-two people that Sunday – at the same level allowing maximum interaction between the performer and audience, pure acoustic sound with no obtrusive electronics, and all for a very affordable donation. With the generosity of Theo Dezielak, owner of the Couth, we get a free venue along with refreshments and some friendly baristas to serve us. But we need to talk about the real cost of live music at the Couth and how best to sustain it. Continue reading “KEEP MUSIC LIVE AT THE COUTH, by Stewart Hendrickson”

THE RIVERS OF WASHINGTON, by Stewart Hendrickson

Columbia River Gorge facing east toward Beacon Rock

The Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, Stilliguamish, Shoalwater, Columbia, Copalis, Clearwater, Kalaloch, Klickitat, Humptullips, Hamma Hamma, Hoh, Dosewallips, Dungeness, Puyallup, Pilchuck, Physt, Quillayutte, Queets, Grey Wolf, Yakima, Taholah, Tieton, Naches, Elwha, Raft, Moclips…  When I first moved to Washington I was amused by the recitation of rivers in weather reports of flooding. There ought to be a song there. In fact, there are several. Continue reading “THE RIVERS OF WASHINGTON, by Stewart Hendrickson”

WHY MUSIC?

A painting on an ancient Greek vase depicts a music lesson (c. 510 BC)

Why Teach Music?
Music is a science
Music is mathematical
Music is a foreign language
Music is history
Music is a physical education
Music is all these things, but most of all music is art

That is Why We Teach Music:
Not because we expect you to major in music
Not because we expect you to play or sing all your life
Not so you can relax
Not so you can have fun
Not because we expect you to major in music
But so you will be human
So you will recognize beauty
So you will be sensitive
So you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world
So you will have something to cling to
So you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good–in short, more life.
Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless we know how to live?

That is Why We Teach Music!

TOM LEHRER – Mathematician and Musical Satirist, by Stewart Hendrickson

Sometime in the late 1970s there was a student/faculty talent show at St. Olaf College where I taught chemistry. My colleague Dewayne Wee, a piano professor in the music department, and I decided to perform a song. We wanted to look very professional and appear musically cultured, so we dressed in formal tuxedos. Dwayne sat down at the grand piano, and I stood beside it and began to sing a beautiful love song: Continue reading “TOM LEHRER – Mathematician and Musical Satirist, by Stewart Hendrickson”

BORROWED TUNES AND WORDS, by Stewart Hendrickson

In 1966 I heard Lu Mitchell, a Dallas singer-songwriter, sing She’s Someone’s Grandmother (The Kugelsburg Bank), her song about a white-haired lady who over many years embezzled millions of dollars from a Texas bank (a true story). It had a lovely tune, which I suspected was not original, but I didn’t know its origin. A few years ago I heard a hammered dulcimer player play it as the traditional tune Bendemeer’s Stream. A little research on the Internet revealed that Thomas Moore (1779-1852) wrote lyrics for this tune as Bendemeer’s Stream. But Moore borrowed the tune from an older Irish air.  Continue reading “BORROWED TUNES AND WORDS, by Stewart Hendrickson”

NEWMAN LEVY – BARRISTER BARD, by Stewart Hendrickson

Newman Levy

When I was a student at Pomona College (Claremont, CA) in the late 1950s, folk music was just appearing on the scene. A classmate of mine was a little unusual since he was one of the few students who had a beard, sang folk songs and played guitar. One of the songs he sang was Thais, a five-minute humorous synopsis of the opera with witty verses and clever rhymes. With thirteen verses, it is an epic poem set  to music.

THAIS

One time in Alexandria,
in wicked Alexandria,
Where nights were wild with revelry,
and life was but a game.
There lived, so the report is,
an adventuress and courtesan,
The pride of Alexandria,
and Thais was her name.

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PNWFS in the Numbers

SIXTY-FIVE  –  The Pacific Northwest Folklore Society was founded sixty-five years ago in 1953 by Walt Robertson and friends in the University District of Seattle.

ELEVEN  –  The Society was revived eleven years ago by Stewart Hendrickson, Bob Nelson and Don Firth with a Reunion Concert featuring Bob Nelson & Don Firth on October 14, 2007, at Central Lutheran Church in Capital Hill.

TEN  –  The first edition of the NW HOOT was published ten years ago in October, 2008.  The first Coffeehouse Concert was April 11, 2008, with Jim Portillo, Isla Ross and Alan Kausal, at the coffeehouse Kaffe Shachor in West Green Lake. We then moved briefly to the Library Cafe on Crown Hill and then to the Wayward Coffeehouse in Greenwood from October, 2008, through April, 2010.  You can listen to a CD – Seattle Coffeehouse Live! – of recorded concerts at the Wayward from 2008-2010.

EIGHT  –  Eight years of Coffeehouse Concerts at Couth Buzzard Books began in May, 2010. With your support we look forward to many more years of wonderful live music.

A COWBOY POET AND A SONG ODYSSEY, by Stewart Hendrickson

Charles Badger Clark

Roundup Lullaby, Badger Clark, Clifton Barnes,
and the Pomona College Men’s Glee Club

I first learned the song, Roundup Lullaby (Desert Silvery Blue), as a freshman student in the Pomona College Men’s Glee Club in 1955; it was sung as an encore at most of our concerts. It was based on a poem by Badger Clark, set to music by Clifton Barnes, and arranged by Prof. Ralph Lyman for the Pomona College Men’s Glee Club in 1938. This song has stuck with me for some sixty years and is still a favorite.

Roundup Lullaby, sung by the Glee Club on “Pomona College Songs” in 1967.

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Elijah Wald – Folk Musician, Writer, Ethnomusicologist, by Stewart Hendrickson

Elijah Waldself-described “ramblin’ hobo folksinger”was born in 1959, the son of Nobel Prizewinning biochemist George Wald and Harvard biologist Ruth Hubbard. Opting for a career outside of science and following his heart, he became a folk singer and studied guitar in the 1970s with Dave Van Ronk. In his book, “The Mayor of MacDougal Street,” he captured some of the early Greenwich Village folk scene that inspired the Coen Brothers’ movie “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Beginning at age 18, in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s, he wandered around Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America with his guitar, busking, playing small gigs, and immersing himself in all kinds of folk music. See Elijah Wald, biography. Continue reading “Elijah Wald – Folk Musician, Writer, Ethnomusicologist, by Stewart Hendrickson”