Mudcat Café message #1781309 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #92913   Message #1781309
Posted By: Helen
11-Jul-06 - 05:34 PM
Thread Name: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
Subject: Obit: John Day, instrument maker, Oz
Hi all,

I heard from a friend yesterday that John Day, who made my celtic lever harp, passed away suddenly a few days ago.

He was well known, loved and respected by many people in Newcastle, NSW but also further afield through his long-term involvement in the folk scene and also the bushwalkers' club.

In fact I heard that it was through the bushwalkers' club that an interest in folk music was generated in the Newcastle/Hunter Valley region, some decades ago, due to the campfire and waliking along song-singing when they were out on bushwalks.

He made beautifully worked lap dulcimers and guitars, and when I asked him to make me a harp from plans I had bought from Markwood Harps, now available through Mountain Glenn Harps, he took on the challenge and the result was my beautiful looking and beautiful sounding, Tasmanian Blackwood harp.

I attended the Tuesday night sessions, started as beginners' sessions, for 10 years from the beginning, and John was a founding member. I remember sitting around with a group of people including John at a Newcastle Folk Festival bemoaning the lack of a beginners' session so we set a date and started it from that week. It is still going about 20 years later.

He was the first person that I heard playing South Wind, and he sang the words too, which I haven't heard anyone else do. When I got a bit more proficient on the harp we did some little duets sometimes, playing South Wind and Fanny Power and Give Me Your Hand.

He had a sense of humour too, and one of the songs I have only ever heard from him is one called Upstairs in the Tent.

He was overseas somewhere when he passed away, on a singing trip with the local "People's Chorus" (or it's called something else, I can't remember) which is a Union based choir. So he was doing something he loved on that trip.

At the moment, I have no more details than that it was a few days ago and that the funeral will be in Newcastle, soon, when his remains are flown back over.

Sadly missed - already! - and my deepest condolences to his wife Joan, daughter Vicki and her family, and John & Joan's sons.