|In St. Peter's Catholic Church on Sunday|
We started Thursday, traveling to Ellouise Schoettler's house where we would spend the night. I was so happy to see her again, and her hospitality was really appreciated. We talked and talked and talked! Then we were off to Takoma Park for The Grapevine Storytelling Series. This night I was featured, along with Renee Brachfeld and Mark Novak. I thoroughly enjoyed Renee and Mark's skillful blending of stories, music, song, and even juggling. They are truly masters of their craft, and they invited the audience into their stories that came from their Jewish heritage. Wise tales, tales of fools, surprising tales all woven with voice, a few costume props and guitar.
Now imagine following that performance with my mountain ballads and stories--talk about a cultural contrast! And it was one that worked well, giving the audience a textured fabric of stories from two diverse but equally rich traditions. I began with he haunting ballad Railroad Boy, then followed with a tale I collected from a lady in an assisted living center, and then transitioned to the recent story of Larry's reunion with his friend Reyn, then on to a coal mining ballad and a story from Larry's childhood, and wrapping up with a humorous ballad with audience singalong. Kudos to Noa Baum, Tim Livengood and Jane Dorfman who plan and shepherd this series, and to the Takoma Park Community Center for hosting it. No photos, unfortunately--my camera was out of Larry's reach and Tim's batteries died just before I got onstage.
The Holly and the Ivy and Down in Yon Forest, an eerie song with strong imagery. The version I sang was collected by John Jacob Niles in the Appalachian region of southwest North Carolina around 1933. I ended the program with memories of my childhood during this season, when my English mother followed many traditions she brought with her to America when she came here as a World War II bride in 1946. And of course we had to wrap it all up with We Wish You a Merry Christmas!
But inside, oh my.
|With my friend Lisa Kovatch, a fine potter whose work can be found at Westwood Potters in Harper's Ferry.|
One day I will return to Harper's Ferry when we have more time to really explore the area and visit the many museums and historic sites.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.