Online edition of The Official Newsletter of the Jew's Harp Guild - The Pluck-n-Post -

Updated 10/2004 - Volume 8 Issue 3 - Autumn 2004


Sponsored by:

Jew's Harp Guild
members around
the World


A Word from the Executive Director

Dear Diary - NAJHF 2004
by Mark Poss

Fesival Recap NAJHF 2004
Who was there doing what

Blue Mooning
by Gordon Frazier

Pictorial Archive
Collection from Bill Henry &
Spanish Texas trump find

Back beat - Editor's Notes
Wanted Webmaster & Webspace

Online Newsletter Archive
Previous Newsletters


Janet Gohring JHG Executive Director Focus on JHG News and IssuesA Word from the Executive Director

Janet Gohring — JHG Executive Director

Hello harpers,

I'm still in the after-glow of our 12th annual North American Jew's Harp Festival ... I shut my eyes and can still see the ruby sunset reflecting off the ocean mists, smell the salty breeze while walking on the clean sands of the beautiful Oregon coast, feel the energy of a blue moon and hear the far-away-sound of sea gulls intermixed with the resonating twangs of Jew's harps. It was, perhaps, the very best festival ever ... of course, I say that every year!

This was the second year of the festival's new location at Bay City. And, like anything "new", it takes a while to get things "broken in" (like a pair of new shoes!). Well, it didn't take long to feel right at home ... we felt like we'd been hosting the festival at the Bay City Arts Center for a long, long time. The members of the Arts Center welcomed us "home" with open arms and scrumptious meals 'to die for'! We can't thank them enough for all their enthusiasm and support ... ditto to the City of Bay City, too. It's a wonderful small community that can make the big cities sit up and take notice of how to be hospitable.

I especially want to thank all the volunteers who helped make the festival such a great success, we couldn't have done it with you. And to those who went the "extra mile" ... Gordon Frazier and festival coordinators Denise Harrington, Curtis Chamberlin and Gene Ralph ... my deepest appreciation to you all.

We had a lot of new Jew's harpers and spectators from the local area (many had seen the re-run of OPB's Art Beat the week before ... the program featured Oregon Jew's harp maker, Bill Gohring and the festival). One Jew's harper, Greg Minerich, drove all the way from Duluth, Minnesota!! It is so wonderful to see our "local" Jew's harp community (both children and adults) growing each year. We are getting to be quite the big family! If you weren't there, you missed something special. (See related post-festival articles in this issue.)

We have lots of great ideas for making the festival even better next year. Make your plans now to attend the 13th annual NAJHF ... August 5-7, 2005.

We encourage everyone to start working on a festival logo for next year's T shirts (and advertising). If you have an idea, you can submit it to me and I'll forward it on to Gene Ralph (T-Shirt Coordinator). And if you have any ideas for events or would like to volunteer to help during the festival, please contact me.

Guild News:

Following the festival, we had our annual Jew's Harp Guild meeting. Here are the highlights:

Mark Poss is moving and will be resigning his duties as webmaster (see related article) and Pluck 'N' Post newsletter editor. There isn't enough room in this entire newsletter to thank Mark for all his faithful, creative and professional work over the years. Mark was in on the ground floor of establishing the Guild. And it was through his vision, encouragement and guidance that we established the website and quarterly newsletter. We wouldn't have these today if not for him. It goes without saying how sorry we are to lose him ... but ... having borne the babe, he now leaves it in our hands to grow. I only hope we can carry on in a way that will make him proud. We'll sure give it our best attempt. Words cannot express our appreciation, Mark. You are deeply respected and you will be missed! (But we do expect you to attend ALL the festivals!)

Gordon Frazier will become the new editor of the Pluck 'n' Post. I will continue to assist the new editor by coordinating the printing and mailing.

Gordon has also been working on a new "official" Jew's Harp Guild logo. He presented a couple of ideas at the meeting, everyone gave their input. He is working on the final design now and we look forward to sharing it with the world very soon.

I hope you enjoy the "highlights" of the festival in this newsletter. Hopefully, they will inspire you to attend one of our annual festivals.

Until next time ... keep twangin'! - Janet Gohring—Exec. Dir. The Jew’s Harp Guild


Welcome to our new Jew's Harp Guild Members:

Jennifer Newell - Manzanita, OR / Joe Lavariere - Manchester, CT,
Roger & Lorraine Tendick Family - Veneta, OR / John James-Cheney, WA
Pat Vining - Bay City, OR / Bill Henry - Florence, OR

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Dear Diary,

diary entries from NAJHF 2004 - Mark Poss

July 31,2004

Prefest Group - NAJHF 2004

Many more folks were there this year. The City Park camp ground was already half full when we got around to setting up camp. It’s a good thing the Guild arranged to reserve a portion of the site.

After catching up with a few folks, and a good meal, We were asked to break out our wares and sell a few ‘harps before the evening performances began. I missed a few before I was able to get upstairs and find a seat. Even for a Friday… the room was pretty full.

Later in the evening I joined some other folks across the street at a pub where festival organizer Curtis Chamberlain and his band "The Blind Rootin’ Hogs" were playing. They were nice enough to let me sit in-on a set playing my brass ‘harps. On the very first song I cut my lip and got blood all over my shirt sleeve. It wasn’t the PR I wanted to give the festival… but it sure was fun! Slept in the truck soundly. Nice ocean air.

July 31,2004

We had full day of Jew’s Harp celebration. The meals sure were good! At one point during the evening meal Larry Hanks tinked his glass and exclaimed "Three cheers for the chefs!" There wasn’t even a brief hesitance before we all joined him in rousing cheers of approval. The Bay City Arts folks really know how to cook. The family style dining was fun and I met all sorts of folks from the area .

Bay City Arts Center Dining at its finest

It’s too bad I missed most of Saturdays performances… Dan & I were out front doing hundreds of demonstrations before folks went inside. I heard that Larry and Gordon had shown theircollections, and that the "big room" was full most of the day.

Larry Hanks Collection

<   Larry's







Band Scramble in the Grand Room

^  The Grand Room

NAJHF2004 - Mouth Music Press sales outside
^ out front
Gordon's Show-n-tell

^   Gordon's Collection

Somehow I got talked into being the MC for the nite. I was nervous! I even had to choke back some tears as I told the crowd how great it was to be part of this wonderful group of people. After a interlude of the musical saw of Alan Delay, I introduced Larry, Bill, & Gordon before Ingrid took over with all the ladies and ran us into the Jam time.

It was another late night for me. But I slept with a smile and a
happy soul.

Larry Hanks Bill Gohring Grodon Frazier
Larry Hanks Bill Gohring Gordon Frazier


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Festival Recap

Band Scramble

Band #1:
Beavercreek Bob
and the Marginal Talents

Joe Wrabek, Guitar
Denise Harrington, Jew's Harp
Bob Feltz, Jew's Harp
Gordon Frazier, Jew's Harp
Pat Cach, Appalachian Stick Doll
Dorothy Van Egmond, Flute
John Palmes, Fiddle
Dan Gossi, Clackamore & Jew's Harp
Played: Turkey In The Straw
Red River Valley
Black Cat Piddled In
The White Cat's Eyes/Hey Now medley

Band #2:
Blue Mooners

Iran Trenkel, Fiddle
Ingrid Berkhout, Jew's Harp
Greg Minerich, Jew's Harp
Bill Gohring, Jew's Harp
Gene Ralph, Guitar
Lu Ell, Spoons
James Durama, Ukulele & Musical Saw
Nikki Jones, Banjo Ukulele
Played: Do Lord
What Do We Do With A Drunken Sailor
5' 2"

Band #3:
Hole In The Bucket Band

Dan Nuttycombe, Guitar
Mike Stiles, Jew's Harp
Ralph Christensen, Jew's Harp & Spoons
Roger Tendick, Jew's Harp
Larry Hanks, Jew's Harp
Charles Davis, Bones & Recorder
John James, Button Box & Banjo
Martin Holmes, Banjo & Fiddle
Curtis Chamberlin, Gut Bucket
Matthew Tendick, Clackamore
Played: Little Maggie
Stop Kickin' My Dog Around
Battle Hymn of the Republic

Band #4:
Bay City Eight Beats
(AKA 2 Alices in Wonderland)

Robert Lichneu, Harmonica & Jew's Harp
Jim Trenkel, Harmonica
Alice Fields, Jew's Harp & Shaker & Dancing
Chuck Zyetz, Banjo
Jim Nelson, Lap Dulcimer
Allan DeLay, Musical Saw
Moose Barrow, Jew's Harp
Alice Zyetz, Guitar
Played: Crawdad Song
When the Saints Go Marching In
Red River Valley / 5' 2"

wpe1.jpg (9960 bytes)

2004 Fest Performers:

Jew's Harp Players

Alexandria Darrow Ontario, OR
Bill Gohring Cove, OR
Bob Feltz Beavercreek, OR
Charles Davis Vernonia, OR
Dan Gossi Boise, ID
Denise Harrington Garibaldi, OR
Gordon Frazier Seattle, WA
Greg Minerich Duluth, MN
Ingrid Berkhout Seattle, WA
Janet Gohring Cove, OR
Larry Hanks Berkeley, CA
Mark Poss Nampa, ID
Matthew Tendick Veneta, OR
Michael Stiles Meridian, ID
Ralph Christensen Eureka, CA
Robert Lichneu Garibaldi, OR
Roger Tendick Veneta, OR


Other Musicians

Alice Field Banks, OR
Allan DeLay Portland, OR
Chuck and Alice Zyetz Their RV
Curtis Chamberlin Portland, OR
Dan Nuttycombe Middleton, ID
Dorothy VanEgmond Middleton, ID
Gene Ralph Banks, OR
James Durama Portland, OR
Jim Nelson Garibaldi, OR
Jim & Iran Trankel Ontario, OR
Joe Wrabek Garibaldi, OR
John Palmes Juneau, AK
John James Cheney, WA
Lu Ell Manzanita, OR
Martin Holmes Albion, ID
Nikki Jones Portland, OR
Pat Cach Portland, OR

backbeat - editor's notesWanted - Webmaster
and WebSpace

from Mark D. Poss

As mentioned in the "Word from the Executive Director," my wife Veronica and I will be moving to Southern California soon after the first of 2005. Our future there is so unclear that it is almost humorous. Recently, medical problems have also hindered my ability to perform simple computer tasks (the reason for this late newsletter). Not wishing to leave the JHG with no one at the helm of the website, I have asked to be replaced as the webmaster and website provider. Hence we are looking for someone to take over the reigns.

HISTORY - Since 1996 I have hosted the JHG website on my personal or business webspace and have acted as the volunteer webmaster with the JHG compensating me for Domain Name registration and web related expenses. In that time the site has received rave reviews and has touched folks in over 100 different countries. Our definition and instructions of the instrument have been reproduced in countless print and web articles, numerous websites and some academic papers and publications. The site has been a focal point of enthusiast and a starting block for budding new players. All this in a backwards compatible format, with a minimum of advertisements, that is accessible to people with even the slowest of computers.

For the last several years we have hosted with XO, who claims to be the country’s third largest hosting provider. Their service has been good but, compared to recent ads offering the same or better features and services, they are relatively expensive. An up-side is that they no longer seem to be a target for corporate takeover like the three hosting services that preceded them, and have been stable over this time.


HOSTING SERVICE - MS FrontPage compatible server— at least 100MB diskspace— at least 3GB monthly data transfer— at least 5 POP3 email accounts and email forwarding— Audio and video streaming would be a plus as would a database infrastructure. All pretty standard stuff these days.

WEBMASTER - MS FrontPage (98) experience— Hi-speed internet service (best)— Good communicator— Editorial skills— Experience with audio formats and database programming a plus— Altruistic at heart.

THE DREAM - I’ve always had the dream of adding many more audio files to the site and maybe the ability for JHG members to share their sounds. I would love to see an online video tutorial to help get folks started. But these things require diskspace and technologies that, until recently, have been too expensive to pursue. The Pictorial Archive has been clumsy and in need of an update and rebuild for years, but my own inadequacies as a database programmer has kept that from happening.

My dream would be for the JHG to find someone, or a group of someones, with talent and passion, to step forth and take this resource to the next level. We’d love for someone to donate the webspace or manage a long-term deal that would save the Guild some money.

THE CHANGE As long as I am able, I will be available to ease the transition. The website as it is can be transferred in a heartbeat as long as FrontPage server extensions are present on the new server. The basic template is easy to reproduce and maintenance of the existing content should be a breeze.

It has been my honor and privilege to be your webmaster - Mark

If you are interested please contact Janet Gohring or Mark Poss at the contact information below.

Janet Gohring
The Jew's Harp Guild
69954 Hidden Valley Lane
Cove, OR 97824
Mark D. Poss - JHG Webmaster
Until January 1, 2005

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bulletin board - Post Your Notes



The PLUCK-N-POST needs more contributors!

If you have ideas for articles, sketches, or pictures, etc. Please query the  JHG:

The Jew's Harp Guild
69954 Hidden Valley Lane
Cove, OR 97824

Or use the JHG Feedback form.

Blue Mooning
by Gordon Frazier
Blue Moon (from Wall of Bay City Arts Center)

"Blue moon" originally referred to something that was impossible, but over the years it has come to mean an especially rare and special moment. The modern definition also has a specific meaning: the occurrence of two full moons in one calendar month. In 2004 the Jew’s harp festival fell on the last weekend of July, and on that weekend there was just such a blue moon. Ingrid suggested we find a good place to view the moon, as she had an idea on how to celebrate the event.

So just after moonrise on Friday night Ingrid, Dan, and I headed for the water. We walked across the highway to the pier, past the parking lot, past the restaurant, and onto a footpath that runs up the center of the narrow jetty. Hardy shrubs loomed over the path on both sides until we reached the very tip of the jetty, where the bushes fell away to reveal a charming view.

To the right, five miles up the coast, were the twinkling lights of the small town of Garibaldi; to the left was the barely-not-yet-full moon rising in a star-strewn sky; in front of us were a scattering of dark pilings jutting out of the silver-black water, each one sporting a gull, cormorant, or other sea bird. All around us the waters of the bay swelled softly, barely seen, barely heard, but powerfully felt.

We soaked it all in. The image of the moon on the water was ever-changing. Because of shifting currents in the bay, there were two, three, or even four wavering silver moons scattered across the water. The birds on the pilings made random comments to each other, and from the marsh across the way frogs croaked out a contrapuntal response.

After listening appreciatively for awhile, we felt compelled to answer in our native language. Each of us had a Jew’s harp on hand, so we began an oddly magical exchange. Boing? Squawk!! Boi-oi-oinggg? Screeee! Twang-a-twanga boing boing? Rrrribbet! Wraack! Ack-Ack-Ackkkk!!!

As we continued to play, the birds became more and more animated. At intervals small groups wheeled over our heads, barely visible against the stars, calling down a chorus of questions…or were they answers? The sky, the water, the very air around us was thick with life. We thrummed rhythmically with each other, the birds, and the frogs, the sounds weaving an intricate tapestry. It swelled, it softened, it soared again, it tiptoed away. And as the final vibrations faded across the water we looked at each other and knew that we had just experienced an especially rare and special moment.

We listened and watched for a bit longer. Then, at Ingrid’s request, I played a languid version of Rogers and Hart’s "Blue Moon" on a baritone Jew’s harp. After that we realized that it was time to do what Ingrid had suggested earlier. "Let’s go moon the moon," she had said. So we did. Was it disrespectful? Not at all. It was the sincerest form of flattery. We did our best to imitate the birds and the frogs that night, and we did the same for the moon. I believe she appreciated the gesture.

Note: The term "blue moon" has its origins in The Treatyse of the Buryall of the Masse, written in 1528. Originally it was an absurd term meaning an impossibility, akin to "when pigs fly," but over the years it has come to mean a rare (but not impossible) event. The origin of the term had nothing to do with the moon’s appearance, but coincidentally there are times when the moon can have a bluish tinge, such as during certain volcanic eruptions. However, it was not till 1932 that "blue moon" was used to describe a real-world event. That year the Maine Farmer’s Almanac defined a blue moon as a season with four full moons instead of the usual three. The current usage began in 1946, when an amateur astronomer published a paper in which he misinterpreted the Alamanac’s definition to mean two full moons in a single calendar month. That error has stayed with us to the present day. (The preceding information comes from A Way With Words editor David Wilton’s excellent website,

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Pictorial Archive
The Jew’s Harp Guild Pictorial Archive
needs photos of your favorite ‘harps. Send (non-returnable) pics and info to:
The Jew’s Harp Guild Pictorial Archive:

Of the 33 Jew’s harps in my collection, 21 are stamped "MADE IN ENGLAND". The last one in Row 2 is stamped "AUSTRIA". A number of Jew’s harps are stamped with the maker’s name; 1 in Row 2 is "J.R. SMITH", 3 in Row 1 is "SMITH", the last one in Row 3 is "SMITH", the 2 in Row 2 is "RICH USA", and the 8 in Row 2 is "JONES". I’d like to learn more about Jew’s harps from Europe and the U.S. during the 19 and early 20 centuries, and their makers such as J.R. Smith, Smith brothers, Jones, Rich, Tom Bilyeu, Mr. Whitlow, and others.

Do you have a membership roster of the Jew’s Harp Guild? I’m trying to locate Brian Mihura. I sold him my first Jew’s harp collection back in 1983. I’m wondering if he still collects Jew’s harps.


B. William Hemy
88123 Windleaf Way
Florence, OR 97439


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by Fred Crane

The remnants of the Spanish colonial fort named Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas, but popularly known as Real Presidio de San Saba, are to be found near modern Menard, Texas. The fort was built in 1757 to support the nearby Mission Santa Cruz de San Saba and to guard the northern frontier. The mission was dedicated to Christianizing the Lipan branch of the Apache. The fort was abandoned in 1772.

Beginning in 2000, excavations at the fort have been carried out by students of the Texas Tech University Archaeological Field School, with the aid of volunteer members of the Texas Archaeological Society participating in their annual Field School.

The digs are carried out with prescribed care. In 2004, more than 40 units, each 2 x 2 meters in size, were assigned to teams. The majority of the objects found in the fort could readily be attributed to the Spanish colonists. But in one unit, the range of materials found-including stone tools, native pottery, and "bone deposits from less desirable parts of animals"-suggested an area (inside the fort) of Lipan Apache habitation. One object-an iron trump 6.5 cm long-would seem, in this context, to have been acquired by its Apache owner in trade (see photo).

JH at Spanish colonial site

I am not able to identify the source of the trump. It could be English or from another European source, but is not likely to be American, either by a trump specialist or a blacksmith. The cross-section is diamond-shaped. The bead of rust found on the bow is probably from some other iron object buried in contact with the trump by chance.

Quite near to the trump was found an equine jawbone (horse, mule, or ass)-a popular form of rattle. I don't seriously suggest that a small orchestra was discarded here, but I am struck by the juxtaposition of a melody and a rhythm instrument-all you need for dancing.

With thanks to Andrew Verley (photo), member of the team that found the trump, for reporting it to the Jew's Harp Guild.

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The PLUCK-N-POST needs more contributors!

If you have ideas for articles, sketches, or pictures, etc. Please query the editor.

Or use the JHG Feedback form.

North American Jew's Harp Festival
1998 - 2000 Highlights CD

Compact Disc - DBS-2707 - Total Time : 61:47

US$12.00 each + US$ 3.00 S & H in USA (US$ 5.00 international).
Allow 4-8 weeks for delivery. Sorry no CODs.

Send check or money order to:
The Jew’s Harp Guild
c/o Ralph Christensen
2239 Fairfield Street
Eureka, CA 95501

North American Jew's Harp Festival 1998-2000 Highlights


Highlights 1998 - 2000

The North American Jew’s Harp Festival is . . .
musicians from Australia, Austria, Hungary,
the Netherlands, and the United States
playing traditional, original, improvisational,
and uncategorizable music on Jew’s harp,
dumbek, bhodran, Clackamore, cigar box
fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, random
pieces of wood, and more.

There’s nothing else like the
North American Jew’s Harp Festival.


See the JHG STORE for makers, sellers. publications & jhg products

North American Jew's Harp Festival
1997 Highlights CD

The CD features 20 of the best Public Domain, spontaneous music,
or original composition performances of the 1997 festival.
The CD was well accepted at the Molln Congress.

There are only a few left!

US $12.00 each
Domestic US - 1 item US$ 3.00
Each additional item US$ 1.00

International -  1 item US$ 5.00
Each additional item US$ 1.00

Send check or money order to:
The Jew's Harp Guild/Festival
69954 Hidden Valley Lane
Cove, OR 97824

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