In 1976 (remember the Bicentennial?) the Genesee Country Village museum and restoration opened in Mumford, a small town 25 miles west of Rochester. It was the dream and lifelong project of Jack Wehle, owner of the Genesee Brewing Company; he brought dozens of historic houses, stores and churches from across Western New York together on 130 acres of his estate, creating in one place a historic village from remaining pieces of 19th Century Americana. In the tradition of Williamsburg, Sturbridge and Deerfield Village, it evokes the life of a homespun era, now 150 years in the past.
I was asked to stage a single concert that opening year; it went well, and I was asked back with some friends. Over the intervening quarter-century, the Flint Hill Folk have evolved as the museum's resident musical group. Our ten members give concerts, play for dances, supply incidental music, and sing carols during the annual Yuletide in the Country celebration each December. Our music is as authentic as we can make it, using restored antique instruments in the style of the pre-Civil War era, and we perform in period costume.
Current group members include Mitzie Collins, virtuoso of the hammered dulcimer and Rochester's best-known folk musician; Jim Kimball from the faculty of SUNY Geneseo, a scholar and performer of traditional tunes on a variety of instruments; fiddlers Dick Bolt and Marie Brate; Irish music specialists Pat Carey and Cathy McGrath; tenor soloist Joel Hume; mezzo and flutist Sue Tennenbaum; and Ray Baumler, guitarist and balladeer. The group puts together special programs of canal songs, women's songs, patriotic airs, Civil War tunes, etc. We play and call authentic dances from the mid-19th Century, and provide music for special events from Independence Day to Halloween. An annual highlight is the Old-Time Fiddlers' Fair, which for the past 20 years has brought over 2,000 people to Genesee Country Village for two days of traditional fiddling. The Flint Hill Folk manage the event as performers, MC's, and backup musicians.
In addition to a full annual schedule at the Village, the Flint Hill Folk have in recent years performed in Syracuse and Corning, and at a number of Civil War encampments. Musicians are available in groups ranging from a duet to a septet; whatever the number, the Flint Hill Folk will evoke the songs and sounds of New York's history.
Hear members of the Flint Hill Folk in MP3 format
- Oh Susannah/On My Way to Canada (2.6MB)
- Performed by Allen Hopkins on Kaleidoscope
- Virginia Reel (2.1MB)
- Performed by Jim Kimball, Mitzie Collins et. al. on Sackett's Harbor (Sampler Records)
- When You And I Were Young, Maggie (4.3MB)
- Performed by Pat Carey on Key to the Past (Local Folkel Records)
For info, updates, and booking call (585) 482-6062 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org