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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Bat Goddess What Do People Do... (24) What Do People Do... 10 Apr 18

What do people do who don't have live music in their lives?

I come from a Midwestern (Milwaukee) Germanic family where everyone played an instrument and sang. We sang at home, we sang in the car, we sang in church. I was in the junior choir in the Lutheran church across the street. My next door neighbor and I sang "solos" together. We sang in elementary school, too, in the 1950s...out of a songbook called "America Sings", I think. My first introduction to folk songs.

I met my first husband in a coffee house in the late Sixties. He sort of played guitar and I sort of played guitar. "Our" song was "Leaving On A Jet Plane". But, ultimately, we never did the same material. It's a wonder that marriage lasted ten years.

Then I met Tom Hall (Mudcat's Curmudgeon) and got immersed in the songs of the British Folk Revival. I didn't start performing with Tom until the mid-1980s, but the weekly Press Room Anglo-Celtic trad session was going strong by the summer of 1982. I spent every Friday late afternoon and evening with friends, singing and enjoying the music. We got together for music parties, too -- music, food, and beer. Not to mention the camaraderie. Tom and I started the monthly sea music singaround in January of 2003 and a slightly different group of friends got together in a pub to sing shanties and forebitters. Tom took over the helm of the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival in 2005. What makes this festival special is the intimacy -- that the performers are right in the audiences' laps.

There are also house concerts to go to and other performances in cozy informal settings and friends' gigs at pubs, libraries, and restaurants. Why would anyone want to go to a concert in a stadium with thousands of strangers, where you can't see the performer without binoculars or large video screens, and where the performer doesn't really know you even exist? I like my music to be PERSONAL.

Singing and being together with people making music has gotten me through all of the many rough patches in my life. So many studies have shown how important music and singing is to both physical and mental health. As I've found out during this past year's struggles to find venues for the weekly and monthly sessions, what both the musicians and our audience miss most is getting together WITH SINGING AND TUNES on a regular basis. Everyone I've talked to has said it's impossible to choose what they missed more when we had no place to meet -- the music or getting together with friends.

So...what DO people do who don't have live music in their lives on a regular basis?


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