Online edition of The Official Newsletter of the Jew's Harp Guild- The Pluck-n-Post -
A Word from the
Dear Diary - NAJHF 2004
Fesival Recap NAJHF 2004
Back beat - Editor's Notes
Online Newsletter Archive
|A Word from the Executive Director
Janet Gohring JHG Executive Director
|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.
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 GohringExec. Dir. The Jews Harp Guild
Welcome to our new Jew's Harp Guild Members:
Jennifer Newell - Manzanita, OR / Joe Lavariere - Manchester, CT,
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diary entries from NAJHF 2004 - Mark Poss
Many more folks were there this year. The City Park camp ground was already half full when we got around to setting up camp. Its 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 wasnt the PR I wanted to give the festival but it sure was fun! Slept in the truck soundly. Nice ocean air.
We had full day of Jews 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 wasnt 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 .
|Its 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.
^ The Grand Room
^ Mouthmusic.com out front
^ 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
|Larry Hanks||Bill Gohring||Gordon Frazier|
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and the Marginal Talents
Joe Wrabek, Guitar
Red River Valley
Black Cat Piddled In
The White Cat's Eyes/Hey Now medley
Iran Trenkel, Fiddle
What Do We Do With A Drunken Sailor
Hole In The Bucket Band
Dan Nuttycombe, Guitar
Stop Kickin' My Dog Around
Battle Hymn of the Republic
(AKA 2 Alices in Wonderland)
Robert Lichneu, Harmonica & Jew's Harp
When the Saints Go Marching In
Red River Valley / 5' 2"
|2004 Fest Performers:
Jew's Harp Players
Alexandria Darrow Ontario, OR
Alice Field Banks, OR
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 countrys 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 - Ive 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. Wed 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.
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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by Gordon Frazier
"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 Jews 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 Jews 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 Ingrids request, I played a languid version of Rogers and Harts "Blue Moon" on a baritone Jews harp. After that we realized that it was time to do what Ingrid had suggested earlier. "Lets 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 moons 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 Farmers 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 Alamanacs 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 Wiltons excellent website, www.wordorigins.org.)
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|Of the 33 Jews harps in my collection, 21 are stamped
"MADE IN ENGLAND". The last one in Row 2 is stamped "AUSTRIA". A
number of Jews harps are stamped with the makers 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". Id like to learn more about Jews 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 Jews Harp Guild? Im trying to locate Brian Mihura. I sold him my first Jews harp collection back in 1983. Im wondering if he still collects Jews harps.
B. William Hemy
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|A TRUMP FROM COLONIAL
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).
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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Compact Disc - DBS-2707 - Total Time : 61:47
US$12.00 each + US$ 3.00 S & H in USA (US$ 5.00 international).
Send check or money order to:
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c/o Ralph Christensen
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Eureka, CA 95501
Highlights 1998 - 2000
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|North American Jew's Harp Festival
1997 Highlights CD
The CD features 20 of the
best Public Domain, spontaneous music,
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