May-June 2009

Slips of the Pen: Church Bulletins... Here are some musical notices that have appeared in church bulletins, although they may not read quite as their editors intended:

·  Miss Charlene Mason sang I will not pass this way again, giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

·  At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.

·  A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

·  Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

And a few that have nothing whatsoever to do with music, but I couldn't resist them:

·  The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

·  Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

·  Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

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How did I miss this one? Last June, the legendary Milt Okun was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame. Back when I was a kid, it seemed as if his name appeared in the album credits of all my musical heroes. Okun worked with Peter Paul and Mary, Tom Paxton, John Denver, Laura Nyro, Harry Belafonte, and so many others as a musician, arranger and producer. In 1959, he started Cherrylane Music, and eventually became one of the most successful record producers in the history of American recorded music.

Milt Okun began his career as a junior-high music teacher. More recently, he created Music Alive!, a publication that uses music to inspire learning in American teens. Along with his induction into the Hall of Fame, Okun was awarded The Abe Olman Publisher Award, which goes to music publishers who have had a substantial number of songs that have become world-renowned and have furthered the careers and successes of many songwriters.

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"We are fools whether we dance or not, so we may as well dance" - Japanese Proverb

"The truest expression of a people is its dance and its music-bodies never lie" - Agnes DeMille

"Next time you're mad, try dancing out your anger" - Sweetpea Tyler

"Dancing faces you toward Heaven, whichever way you turn" - Sweetpea Tyler

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The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders, is the title given to a concert celebrating Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday that will be held on Sunday, May 3, at at Madison Square Garden. In addition to marking Seeger's milestone birthday, the concert will benefit and raise awareness for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, founded by Pete Seeger, which strives to preserve and protect the Hudson River.

The evening will feature over 40 artists, mostly in groups, who will perform primarily songs written or made famous by Pete. There's no indication yet whether the concert will be recorded for broadcast or sale, but it seems likely that the Clearwater foundation would take the opportunity to raise additional funds, so keep watch for any further information.

Here's just a partial list of guests who will be featured: Abigail Washburn, Arlo Guthrie, Bela Fleck, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Kris Kristofferson, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, NYC Labor Chorus, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Richie Havens, Steve Earle, Taj Majal, Tom Chapin, Tom Paxton... and more!

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The song Wildwood Flower was copyrighted September 1, 1888, under the title I'll Twine Mid the Ringlets with words credited to Maud Irving and music to J. P. Webster. In the copyrighted version the first verse goes:

I'll twine ‘mid the ringlets of my raven black hair

The lilies so pale and the roses so fair,

The myrtle so bright with an emerald hue

And the pale aronatus with eyes of bright blue.

Back in 1960, SingOut! magazine printed the following version- source unknown:

I will twine and will mingle my waving black hair

With the roses so red and the lily so fair

The myrtle so green of an emerald hue

And pale emanita and eyes look like blue.

I found this in an internet forum about mondegreens (those mis-heard lyrics that can sometimes be very amusing), but isn't it an interesting example of the folk process at work? I'll bet the SingOut! version has been sung as much as the original over the past 50 years. Do you know other versions? If so, email them to me and I'll include them in the next issue of FolkWorks.

An American now living in Scotland, Linda Dewar is a singer and a player of various instruments with strings and keys. She can be found performing Scottish and American folk music at gatherings on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as singing In the Aberfeldy and District Gaelic Choir. Visit her web site at www.lindadewar.com

  

All Columns by Linda Dewar