• Singing With Folks

    One of the great achievements of FAME has been the Traditional Folk Song Circle at Dublin Roasters. For six years it has been held at Dublin Roasters on the Second Saturday (from1-3 pm) of every month. On February 10th we will celebrate those six years and look forward to many more. Over those years more than 330 people have attended and we have sung more than 660 songs! The average attendance for the circle is 17. Each month every person gets to choose a song from the Rise Up Singing songbook. Sometimes we get around twice, other times we have the “Lightning Round” where folks just call out a song and a page number. It is always great fun and a wonderful way to get introduced to new songs and new friends.

    I have been performing for audiences for over 50 years now – hard to believe that my first performance was so long ago. But one of the greatest joys I have is when people sing along. Music sung and/or played together is an amazingly unifying experience. To hear other voices or instruments blending with mine fills me with an energy that is hard to describe. And when folks start adding harmony – Lord, have mercy!

    Some folks tell that they really can’t sing, or I don’t want to hear them sing, etc. To which I respond – The more you sing, the better you sing. The same works for an instrument – the more you play, the better you play. It works even better when you are playing or singing with others. The rest of the group helps keep you in tune, on key. I am learning to play fiddle and I really don’t sound so great by myself, but when I am playing with others I improve vastly.

    I encourage you to play with a circle or two. I manage to get at least two in every week. Some of them are weekly jams, others are monthly. It is an opportunity for you to hone your singing or playing, learn some new tunes/songs and meet some really fine people.

    I especially want to thank Tomy and Dori for keeping the Dublin Roasters Traditional Folk Song Circle going. And Caryl does background research on the songs which shows up in our newsletter (and it will be posted in our blog – www.frederickacoustic.org/blog )

    "I have my own particular sorrows, loves, delights; and you have yours. But sorrow, gladness, yearning, hope, love, belong to all of us, in all times and in all places. Music is the only means whereby we feel these emotions in their universality." ~ H. A. Overstreet (1894-1985)



  • Song Circle Celebrates Six Seasons

    The Song Circle Turns 6 on February 10!  Join the celebration at Dublin Roasters 1-3 PM

    Led by Tomy Wright, here's his description of our last gathering:

    Although we only had 18 attendees this month, five of whom were new, our January 13th Tradition Folk Song Circle (TFSC) at Dublin Roasters was a hoot!  We sang thirty songs from fifteen categories of the thirty-five from the Sing Out! Publication, Rise Up Singing: The Group Singing Song-book (RUS). And I’d say, we met the spirit of intent when we started six years ago by creating an all-inclusive, family-friendly fun activity for sharing memories of group sing-alongs and of course, meeting F.A.M.E.’s goals, specifically community outreach. The By-name documentation effort was initiated several months after February 2012 by former Board member Karen Fetters and continues on by Board member Dori Bailin, Song Recorder and attendance tracker of some 312 participants as of last month.

    Seven previously unsung songs of the 1,200 songs from RUS, puts us at 662.  As anyone knows, who comes to the Song Circle, it’s like Forrest Gump’s mother’s famous quote about life, Song Circle “is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” You would have thought it was February already as the Love theme emerged with eight songs in that category, three were actually wedding songs for Ernie Heller, Ed Haser and Rick Hill. Our three Groomsmen led them respectively: Wedding Song, I Know Where I am Going, and Be Thou My Vision.

    Turning to our “Death and Dying” citations, this month, it is only after the referee’s review of the Songs Sung Instant Replay Dori Bailin, added two songs of nuanced degree: Annie Laurie with the prospect of dying on the part of the narrator, “And for bonnie Annie Laurie I’d lay me [down] an d[ie].” (Subtle, eh?) And the controversial Lord of the Dance, where death was the intent, but Resurrection was the result.

    Speaking of song statistics, here’s Dori’s latest endeavor: F.A.M.E. Traditional Folk Song Circle Top Ten Requested Songs Since 2012:

    #1 Country Roads (x27),

    #2 Ripple (x21),

    #3 (Three way tie x19): Dock of the Bay , If I Had a Hammer, Teach Your Children,

    #6 Blowin’ in the Wind (x18),

    #7 (Two-way tie x17), Five Hundred Miles and Goodnight Irene,

    #9 (Two-way tie x15) Edelweiss & Four Strong Winds.

    (You Are My Sunshine (x58) even though it has been requested prior to becoming our official opening song, we don’t count it in the rankings. Goodnight Irene was our official closing song, but not sung since 2016).

  • Happy New Year, from the President (of F.A.M.E.)

    Happy New Year!

    It has been a privilege to work with you folks over the past year. I want to thank all of the Board members – Sam, Dori, Caryl, Roy, Dave, and Max. I also want to thank Tom and Hank who are not on the Board, but bring their insights to each meeting anyway. Each of these folks work very hard to continue building on the vision to nurture, promote and preserve acoustic music in and around Frederick County. 2017 saw that vision growing as presented concerts in The Performing Arts Factory, and FSK mall. We took our Open Mic to Sky Stage several times. We provided two days of music for The Arts Festival in June. We added a second song circle at Homewood at Crumland Farms. We started a lecture series at the C. Burr Artz Library. We continue hosting and supporting several Open Mics around the area. Our newsletter is always filled with valuable information for those who play and/or enjoy acoustic music. We have been working with Chords of Change to put together “Stepping Up Frederick” which will feature young songwriters.

    2018 promises to be another great year. We will continue hosting Open Mics at Sky Stage each month beginning in May and running through October. We have several concerts in the works including a very special one at The Weinberg in October! We will also continue to look for ways to explore partnerships with a variety of music organizations around Frederick. New Spire Arts and Frederick Arts Council are both looking for ways to bring more music performances to Frederick. We would love to see Frederick become a music destination in much the same way that Austin, TX is.

    One of the best ways that you can help is by simply attending acoustic music performances. There are a number of coffee shops and restaurants offering music throughout the week. There are Open Mics scattered around Frederick County. There are concerts by solos and groups – choirs, choruses, symphonies, ensembles. All of these can use your support. Make it a point to see a live music act every week! (Hmmm, good New Year resolution!)

    Music is a wonderful gift. I find that anytime I am feeling a bit down, or frustrated I can start humming or singing and the world just seems a bit brighter. I hope that works for you, too!

    There are gifts from the heavens, there are gifts from the ground

    There are gifts we receive all the year around

    And when we bow our heads, open hearts and mind

    We become a gift to all humankind

    (words by Richard Hill)

    May your journey into 2018 be filled with unexpected wonder!