Thursday, July 19, 2007

From Northwest to Northeast

I (Mac) am stuck in the Charlotte Airport awaiting my delayed flight to Houston, Texas to board 4 hours past when it was scheduled to leave. I agreed to do a solo gig at the 3rd annual Bayou Cities Music Festival. Jenny is staying on the farm this time. With the modern miracle of wireless internet and a laptop I am able to compose this post with no interuptions and with a large block of time that seems to get larger instead of smaller.

Since the last post we have traveled many miles and had our best experience to date as semi professional musicians. We were part of the staff of the prestigious Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend Washington in it's 31st year northeast of Seattle. We visited the festival at its location known as Fort Worden State Park briefly one evening last summer. We at that time met and jammed with some great area old-time musicians as part of our visit to Jenny's sister Polly who lives and works in Seattle. To be asked to come and be a part of the teaching and performing staff was a thrill in itself. Thanks to Dirk Powell who is the current artistic director.

We met so many nice people from all over the US and Canada. The enthusiam of the students and the supportiing staff was unmatched. In addition to various staff perfomances for the participants and for the general public , two dances with different style bands occurred in the main building every evening as well continuous jamming in the adjacent campground and rental houses. Students were free to roam about the morning classes and we were free to teach anything we wanted. We found a large turnout for our Old-time Country Harmony class held in a wonderful acoustic space of the Fort's Chapel. We had many folks clamoring for copies of the words to several songs from our repetoire that we taught for one morning session per day. These were some of the same folks who contributed to a record number of 70 of our CD's sold though the festival music shop.

During the afternoons each staff group was to hold a band 'lab' where it was our duty to coach a group folks who were interested in our style of music to want to subject themselves to our advice on how to play as a unit. This resulted in a stringband who dubbed themselves "The Trayned Country 'Hams. At one of the evening dances they performed 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain' for dancers to country two step to. And, on the last day on the theater stage, they performed a Stanley Brothers number called 'Darling Do You Know Who Loves You' and the favorite "Golden Slippers'. It got a high rating on the fun meter buttons that came from our band lab member from Fairbanks, Alaska. We reconnected with some old friends formerly from the East who we hadn't seen in 15 years or more. We met some more of the Seattle area's old-time musicians

The awesome beauty of the area about Fort Worden State Park (originally established to defend of the Straits of Juan De Luca) was truly remarkable with the snow-covered Cascade mountains in sight across the water while the beautiful Olympic mountains were just a little southwest of us.

We also celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary on July the 4th starting with our afternoon performance on the big Centrum stage before 1200 people who were there for the big variety of music as well as for the annual Fort Worden fireworks display just off the shore. A cool steady wind blew for nearly the whole time making us wonder if it was really July or not. Apparently summer is marked by the absence of the rainy cloudy weather that the Northwest is known for but the temperature is rarely considered 'hot'.

Returning to Seattle on Sunday July 8th, we went to Polly's place and celebrated Jenny's 50th birthday. Folks attending the
the special milestone supper included Jenny's older brother Rob and family from Yakima WA as well as Jenny's neice, Emily, from Toronto. Our Flight out on Tuesday was highlighted by a super awesome view of Mt Rainier ( we flew very near it and got some awesome phots of it) and also of Mt St Helens. We met nice people on our return flight as well marking the end of a BLAST!!!!!