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Charlie Baum Old Songs Festival 2009 (June 26-28) (102* d) RE: Old Songs 2009 (June 26-28) 29 Jun 09

Home and still not caught up on sleep, even if I did take Monday off and only drove halfway home to DC on Sunday night.

Festival highlights for me--it began on Friday night, I discovered Toby Walker, as well as Asterisk, a group of contemporary classical musicians which grew out of Tales and Scales, and which created what I can only describe as "a kids program for adults," featuring classical works by John Corigliano and Ernst Toch (and Elliott Carter on Saturday), made accessible with choreography and humor, like a good children's fool. Lots of opportunities to meet friends (many of whom are Mudcatters) and sing. And Sunday, when the power failure began, I was listening to Elizabeth LaPrelle, who had considered doing her set unplugged and unamplified (as Nanne & Ankie had just done in the workshop preceding) even before the power failure made the decision for her. At the end of Elizabeth's set, Allison Kelley and Peggy Seeger were wondering how this young woman can produce so much sound in so high a register. I suggested that they think of it as "speaking on pitch" rather than singing, which I learned from voice lessons with Ethel Raim at Augusta back in 1984. And then Ethel Raim herself stepped out from behind Peggy Seeger, and I pointed to her and said "I learned that from this woman!" Then Ethel Raim went to meet Elizabeth, by whom she was duly impressed. Then I went off to hear an hour of Christine Lavin, also unamplified. New songs keep running through my head: by the Berrymans ("Dem Dere Deer"), or Christine Lavin (H.L. Mencken). The only gripe I have is that I still didn't win an instrument at the raffle, even though I bought twice as many tickets as usual and got them on Sunday instead of Friday like i usually do. But, heck, the raffle money is for a VERY good cause--the continuance of Old Songs. I hope to be there next year.

--Charlie Baum

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