— Special Programs

Historical and Theme Programs
Over 40 years of playing, hearing and collecting traditional folk music has given me a real feel for its history, and for the way folk songs echo events in our country's past. Immigration, the pioneer experience, sectional conflict, civil rights, industrial development, the labor movement, patriotism and protest are all embodied in folk music. I love digging out these songs, putting them together, and presenting them to schools, clubs, festivals, libraries, and other interested audiences. Over the past few years I've worked with the Strong Museum in Rochester, the Salt Museum in Syracuse, the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts in New Jersey; with historical societies in Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Chemung, Orleans and Livingston Counties; with elementary and high schools from Dansville to Attica to Fairport; and with the New York State Parks, the International Canal Conference, and various town and city libraries. Among the theme programs I've presented:

Erie Canal Songs
Songs of the Civil War
Railroad Songs
Talkin' Union —The labor movement in song
Irish Immigrants in a New World
Protest and Social Comment
Voice of the Second Generation — A Holocaust Remembrance (with Bonnie Abrams)
Phillis Wheatley — Pioneer Poet In Revolutionary Times (with Shirlyn Washington)
Blending Black and White — African and British Isles influences in American folk music (with Barbara Jablonski)

In addition to those listed, I can put together programs on a variety of other historical and contemporary themes, using my own material and involving the many other musicians I work with. My 30+ years at Genesee Country Village has given me a strong background in 19th century American music, and I can bring it to you in authentic costume and using restored antique instruments. Folk music can be both entertaining and educational, and the programs I give get audiences singing as well as thinking!


Special Audiences
In the early 1980's, when I was serving on the board of our local arts council, I helped put together a program called ArtsReach, bringing the arts into hospitals, group homes, senior centers and correctional facilities. I was affiliated with the organization over 20 years, and have done hundreds of programs for seniors, developmentally challenged, and those with physical and psychological illnesses. In addition, I've worked extensively with younger audiences in schools, day care centers, libraries, and private events, individually and through Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) programs. Whether it's a kids' birthday party or a family picnic at a nursing home, I approach each audience with sensitivity, practical experience, and a broad repertoire of songs and instruments that ensures the highest level of entertainment and participation. The fact that I am regularly asked back to senior centers, veterans hospitals, schools and recreation facilities shows that I can work comfortably and effectively with many types of special audiences.

Instrument Demonstrations
Yes, those are all my musical instruments — even more now, since that picture's nearly 20 years old! I have fallen in love with the different stringed instruments used in folk music; I own over seventy of them, and I love to show them off and talk about them. I have taken my mandolins, guitars and banjos to many museums, historical societies, clubs and festivals, and explained their history and evolution. Then I let the audiences try them out (if they're careful). The design and construction of a banjo from 1920, a Victorian bowl-back mandolin, or a 1950's Autoharp say something about how music evolves, technology advances and tastes change. If you'd like to know the difference between a mandoline banjo and a banjo mandolin, hear how your guitar differs from your great-grandfather's, or learn how influences from Africa to Polynesia are imbedded in our contemporary music, you might be interested.

For info, updates, and booking call (585) 482-6062 or e-mail