Contributed by Tom Bailey
First off, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, spending time with your family and friends. As we enter December, let us all remember the focus of this time of year should be sharing time with our loved ones and friends. If you have time, remember those that might not have all that we have. A kind word or even giving of a small portion of your time helping others can mean more to them than you can imagine. We all have a special gift — the ability to play music, uplifting music. Maybe we all should find time to share our gift with disheartened folks at a senior center, or hospital, etc.
For those who had the opportunity to join us at the FOG fall picnic, you know what a great time we had. A LOT of really good food and great time spent with fellow FOGgers. Not just playing music, but also spending time getting to know each other. The setting for the party, the Pavilion Lodge at Ellison Park, is really a great place for an event like this. The fireplace, the kitchen, the indoor restrooms — for those who remember walking 100 yards in the cold a couple years ago — made this a super facility. Folks left saying, “We need to do a spring picnic!”
In the comments last month, I mentioned that the High Falls Music Festival had a feature film on Appalachian fiddle music. The film Fiddlin’ was voted the best documentary film of the Festival. It was more than sold out as people were watching through the doors from the lobby. I don’t know if it possible, but we are checking into the possibility of leasing the movie for a private FOG viewing … anyone have a really large TV?
By now you have seen the Agenda for the Annual Meeting being held December 7th at the Fairport VFW, which Mike emailed earlier this week. The list of nominees for the 2019 Board of Directors was included, as we will be voting on this at the meeting. I want to thank all who served this year for giving their time and efforts in making the past year so successful for FOG. We will also be reviewing the Treasure’s report for the year so you can see how funds came in and were distributed. If anyone wishes to see the monthly treasurer reports, please let us know and we will get that to you. Are you interested in being the Membership Chairman this coming year? If you aren’t, do you know someone who might want to take over this position? This our major means of coordination with the membership. There are many other topics of discussion for anyone interested. Many items will help set direction for the coming year. We will start the meeting right at 7:00 pm and will adjourn at 8:00. Then we will have an open jam session. If the weather allows, please try to attend.
This really was a good year for FOG. We had more COPs gigs than we’ve had in many years. We had more paying gigs, two of which were senior centers asking us to come back as their residents enjoyed FOG so much. At Mumford, FOG had two really good performances and for the first time sold more CD’s than ever, so that actually covered the cost of the tent and related expenses for the weekend. At Bristol the group played in much less than good conditions and gave one of the best performances in members’ memories. Ah, the CD’s — we have been trying to produce another CD for over four years. This year that was accomplished and we have almost sold out the 100 copies we had produced. Thanks to all who made this endeavor so successful. Above all, we seemed to be having fun in all the activities. And isn’t that what this is all about, having fun and sharing that fun with everyone with whom we’ve shared our music?
Thank you all!
Until next time … Play Nice …
Vets Entertaining Vets
Follow the link to the Canandaigua VA Voluntary News & Notes to see a writeup and photos featuring FOG members entertaining veterans in September. It’s always nice to give back to our veterans, who gave, and continue to give, so much to all of us.
Winter a Hazard for Instruments
by Kathy Schwar
I recently attended a workshop on caring for musical instruments during Rochester area winters. While much of the information may be common sense to some people, I found it really helpful for protecting instruments. As they say, “Instruments still think they’re trees,” though they are not, so they need special care in maintaining the wood and lacquer. Plus, the effects of the cold can affect the sound.
Dave Stutzman of Stutzman’s Guitar Center was the workshop speaker. This information is intended as a summary of “need to know” points:
- In winter, it’s all about maintaining humidity to prevent cracking. While every instrument will not crack, it is hard to say which will and which won’t. But Stutzman knows that harsh winters will bring so many panicked musicians in for repairs that he has had to turn some away.
- Keep instruments out of the cold as much as possible. But if they’ve been subjected to it for some time, let them acclimate, best for a few hours, in their cases when they get home. Don’t immediately open the case; Stutzman has actually seen that cause instantaneous cracking of the finish.
- An easy rule of thumb is that when you turn your furnace on for the season, start humidifying your instruments. When you turn it off in late spring, humidifiers aren’t necessary.
- Keep your instruments in their cases with a humidifier, not on a stand. This keeps the humidity constant and also helps humidify the neck.
- If you use a console home humidifier, know that the gauge on the machine may not be accurate. A digital hygrometer, available where indoor-outdoor thermometers are sold, provides a more accurate humidity reading. Indoor humidity should be maintained at 45 to 55%. Keep all instruments in one room if you can. In winter the basement would naturally be more humid than upstairs, but don’t leave instruments there in summer.
- Some humidifier choices are the Dampit-type humidifier, which is easy to use by following directions on the package. Also, hold it by both ends when shaking it out. MusicNomad’s The Humitar and similar options are available. If you fill the devices routinely once a week, twice a week when temperatures plummet, you’ll be reasonably sure there’s enough moisture. Take care that humidifiers don’t drip.
- In summer, by the way, keep instruments out of a hot car or loosen the strings. When outside keep them in the shade with the case cracked open. But overall, Stutzman said, instruments subjected to cold “lose more moisture than they gain” in heat.
FOG Tune Lyrics: Ashokan Farewell
Contributed by Ray Ettington
Ashokan Farewell, written in 1982 by American Folk Musician Jay Ungar.
Written in style of Scottish Lament for the season ending of Jay and Molly’s Fiddle and Dance Camp near the town of Ashokan, which was submerged by the Ashokan reservoir near Kingston, New York.
The song was made famous by Ken Burns who used it 25 times during his four-hour miniseries on the Civil War in 1990. You can find information about Ungar’s camp at Ashokan Music & Dance Camps
In 1995 American Folk Singer Priscilla Herdman added these lyrics.
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason