Orient Lodge has entered into an agreement with Sonicbids to use Sonicbids’ platform for handling electronic press kits for review. Musicians wishing to present their music to Orient Lodge are urged to use the Orient Lodge Music Review Page on Sonicbids.
A few years ago, I tried to put up a blog post every Monday about music. Sometimes, the blog posts would be about Falcon Ridge Folk Festival or local concerts. Often, this would be tied to some performer calling into Fiona’s Radio Show.
Yet I’ve gotten pretty busy and have had less time to write blog posts and my music posts have fallen by the way side. A month or so ago, I put up a listing on SonicBids looking for performers that wanted to be on Fiona’s Radio Show, and we’ve gotten a bunch of submissions. Yesterday, I went and looked at the submissions.
Fiona is old enough now, with her own tastes in music, so she could select the performers that she wants on her show. She has selected two so far and so I’m busy scheduling performers for her to interview. Coming up soon, SuperMonkey
It had been a nearly picture perfect June day. The weather had been warm, but not unbearably so, and as the sun approached the distant horizon, the temperature began to drop. Young children rolled in the grass in front of the outdoor stage as their older siblings sang or played their instruments. It was the school’s end of year concert.
As the orchestra played Handel’s water music, I remembered summer days on the lawn at Tanglewood. They were rare, but special events when the family would gather to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra. We would have a picnic lunch on the grass, and I would roll in the grass like the young kids sitting in front of me. I still carry fond memories of those days and the love of music they helped engender.
I looked around at many friends sitting on the hill. We had seen our children grow here, and learn so much. This would be my last elementary school concert as a parent of one of the young performers. I sought to soak it all in. My mother would devotedly show up at all my performance as a child and perhaps was looking down here from heaven. My father, always seemed to be occupied with other things and would rarely show up. Now, he’s occupied in a senior living complex.
My wife’s mother died before I met her, and may well have been sitting next to my mother. My wife’s father remarried, and Papa and Nana would have been at the concert if it wasn’t for something of graver concern.
At the end of the concert, it was announced that various groups had won high acclaim in their adjudication. I commented to my daughter that this acclaim, at least in my reckoning, was of much greater value to me than CMT or SBAC scores. The ability to read small ovals with stems rising from them is far more important the ability to select the right ovals to fill in on standardized tests. People come to believe that filling in the right oval is some sort of accomplishment in and of itself.
In the next town, adults were filling in little ovals indicating that they supported or opposed the proposed town budget. Such votes are important, but they aren’t a real accomplishment. No one wants taxes to go up or services to go down. The real accomplishment is getting into the thick of it and hammering out specific instances where a town should increase or decrease its spending.
When the concert ended, parents struggled to round up their children and get them home to dinner, baths and bedtime. Meanwhile, in a nearby hospital, a Vietnam Veteran, who had struggled and suffered so much both during the war, and perhaps more significantly afterwards rested in his bed. Family was gathered around him as they talked quietly about his prospects and waited.
the hope of seven generations, maybe more
I believe 1994 was the first year that I went to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, right about the time of Miranda was a year old. I believe it was also the year that Dar Williams first performed at Falcon Ridge. What was I thinking when I took my young daughters to this event? Sure, some of it was for the sheer joy of going such a wonderful folk festival, but what were my hopes for the girls? What were my hopes for them as I took them to piano lessons or drove them to summer camp? What were my parents hopes for me, when I was younger?
I took piano lessons when I was young. I sang in choirs, but none of that went all that far. My mother loved singing and had a great voice, before the essential tremors started.
I was standing by my window,
On one cold and cloudy day
"Will The Circle Be Unbroken" was the final song of the final workshop stage session of the final day of the Twenty Fifth Anniversary Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Like Friday night, when Red Molly and Susan Werner performed "May I Suggest", I was tired and wet from a passing rainstorm.
I closed my eyes and thought of my mother. She would be saying how proud she was of Mairead, going all the way to Japan. Her voice would be shaking from the essential tremors, and their would be a tear in her eye as she thought of how much she loved her grandchildren. My mother went to Germany with my father after they were married. He served in the Air Force in Germany during the Korean war. My mother never did get much more of a chance to travel, other than our summertime vacations to campgrounds along the Atlantic Ocean somewhere between Mount Desert Island and Cape Hatteras.
Her shaking would go on wistfully to say how excited she was for Miranda; about her book, for her singing, and all the wonderful opportunities that awaited her. My daughters didn't know my mother when she tried to pursue the arts while struggling to raise a family in Western Massachusetts. After cleaning out the family house, I brought home various artifacts of her creative endeavors.
When I saw that hearse come rolling
For to carry my mother away
The audience stood to join in. I stood too, but could not sing; great performers on the stage, their children now performing on the Main Stage, an enthusiastic crowd; twenty five years of Falcon Ridge. Mairead was traveling in ways my mother only dreamed of. Miranda was singing in venues my mother couldn't even imagine. Memories of my mother during my childhood, all mingled together into a transcendent moment.
Earlier this summer, I ate a wonderful sweet juicy peach. I stood over the sink so the sweet flavors wouldn't make the floor sticky. I closed my eyes and was lost in the moment of eating the peach, nothing else existed but the sweetness of that peach. This moment at Falcon Ridge was like eating that peach.
When my daughter's were young, I used to sing "The Circle Game" to them as I put them to bed.
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through.
Have the dreams lost any grandeur coming true? Maybe for my daughters, I don't know, but not for me. This is the best part of my life. The circle remains unbroken.
this is the faith
That they invest in you
It's that you'll do one better than was done before
Inside you know
Inside you understand
Inside you know what's yours to finally set right
Mairead and Miranda have already done so much more than just one better than was done before. Fiona is still young, but even now, she has done so much more than just one better too.
The circle has remained unbroken and this is the best part of our lives.
May I suggest
Friday night at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Main stage; Red Molly is covering Susan Werner's song, with Susan weaving in additional harmony. The rain has stopped, but I am tired, wet and cold.
Miranda is sitting next to me bubbling over with little giggles of joy. She has had a very good day.
May I suggest to you
This is my first night at Falcon Ridge since my mother died. A week ago, Mairead left for Japan. During Dar Williams set, I Skyped her in.
May I suggest this is the best part of your life.
Dar started her set with "The Babysitter's Here".
She says do me a favor don't go with a guy who would make you choose and
Mairead has chosen Japan. She has moved halt the world away to teach English and be nearer her girlfriend. Dar ends her set, like she usually does at Falcon Ridge singing "Iowa". The whole hillside holds up their flashlights, glowsticks, cellphones, or any other source of light, turning the whole hill into a human glowworm grotto, revealing the contours of the otherwise dark cloud. I wonder how many people come to Falcon Ridge specifically for that moment. I wonder what role it plays in bringing Dar back to Falcon Ridge.
And we walk in the world of safe people, and at night we walk into our houses and burn.
Earlier in the day, Miranda stepped out onto the workshop stage at Falcon Ridge. She had volunteered to work that stage as a great opportunity to learn more stage craft while listening to great music. The big set on the workshop stage on Friday was Vance Gilbert giving a critique of various performers. Vance is a great performer and can give scathing, yet productive critiques in a humorous way, slewing as many sacred cows along the way as possible.
He asked performers to get up and play a song that they are having trouble with. Miranda got up and performed her latest song. She had played it in public the first time, the night before at The Front Porch, one of the many song circles that cover the hillside late at night when there aren't performances at the main stage. She told Vance she didn't think it went all that well and was trying to figure out what to do with it.
Miranda has a strong stage presence. She approached the mic with confidence and started her song, not showing any trepidation about Vance saying "Freeze", and then illustrating to the gathered crowd what she was doing wrong. When Vance did stop her, it was with words of praise and Miranda continued on her song, with various interruptions and suggestions from Vance, and some great play between the two of them and the person doing the sign language interpretation at the edge of the stage.
Afterwords others approached Miranda. They told her she had done great the night before and asked her to play her song again. Later, she was asked to perform at a small stage for volunteers. It was in the middle of Dar Williams set, but she was willing to miss even Dar for a chance to work on her performance. She played a twenty minute set and was followed by Vance Gilbert. Afterwards the stage manager told her, "You just got to open for Vance Gilbert!"
And that's how she won the pretty girl game.
During Dar's set, she spoke about how we are all interconnected. She may not have known how interconnected that moment was, Miranda briefly telling Mairead about her experience and then all of us listening to Dar on a hillside in New York and somewhere in Japan, tied together via technology.
This is the best part of your life.