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Everything posted by Ken_Coles

  1. I've had moments on a number of other instruments (sitting in with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on horn in a community event, not in a professional performance; Heinz Hall has the best acoustics I've ever performed in), but on concertina, one experience comes to mind. In 2001 I didn't have a regular job but was substitute teaching as often as I could (maybe 2 days a week). In April I went to an English Country weekend at Folklore Village in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. A superb whistle player there asked me where I lived and if I was interested in playing in a new musical project. It turned out she was starting a new Morris group west of Chicago and thought it would be great to have an anglo concertina. They rehearsed at Fermi Lab of all places (Batavia, Illinois), which in those days shared some of their buildings with community groups (a barn for dances, and we rehearsed in an auditorium in one of the big science buildings). There were just 5 besides me and Susan, I think her name was. So she played whistle and had me learn a dance or two and we switched on one other dance, as we had 6 parts to dance. I also learned to play the processional they used. She seemed unhappy that I couldn't do a full-on harmonic William Kimber treatment of the tunes, but at that point I had played primarily Irish single-note melody. She also wouldn't let me change the key of the tunes so they would sit on a C/G better (D to G, for example). So I danced as well, which was good experience. I don't remember which tunes/dances they were without digging out the sheet music; Fieldtown tradition probably. It was a three-hour drive for me each way from northern Indiana, but we only rehearsed every few weeks and I didn't have much else to do. [I remember going to Noel Hill school during that summer and wondering who taught harmonic style in contrast to melodic. Later I got some basics from both Tom Kruskal and Jody Kruskal, but I'm not very accomplished at it.] We performed at the Fox Valley Folk Festival. It was near Chicago on the first weekend in September. One of the two or three times in my life I got to wear a performer's pass. In the tent where we could leave cases I bumped into Tom Paley. I said something (I don't remember what) about the challenge of finding an empty place to put a case. Evidently he found it witty, as I got a laugh. Our performance went pretty well and we got a good, appreciative crowd. It was a fun day. I remember hearing Bob Zentz do a fine set singing with banjo and anglo concertina, and someone let me try their Stagi tenor English (I concluded that I wouldn't buy one!). A week and a half later the jets crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I was teaching First Grade (six-year-olds) that day, but that is another story. Fermi Lab closed their grounds to all community groups, and Susan said she didn't have time to find another venue or keep the group going, so it folded. In three decades of attempting to play traditional music on various instruments this was the closest I came to being in a group that rehearsed and performed together. Maybe someday again, as I would love to do it. Perhaps a decade ago I heard about a Morris side starting up in Pittsburgh, but my job was too busy then, so I didn't try to connect with them. I have more time now, but my knees could never take all the jumping - they swell up like melons when I try to polka. The time and place has to be right I suppose. I hadn't thought about this experience in a long time, interesting question, Al. Ken
  2. Eddystone, (great screen name) You can get the serial number here when Dowright has time. For the repair question, you could start a thread over in the Repair forum, and add some photos of the end you opened up. My guess is the knowledgeable here will have a solution for you. Ken
  3. I'm just speculating, but if it is tuned flat of modern, A=440 pitch, it might sound the keys you heard but was originally meant to be in D, C, Bb, G. Just a thought. Ken
  4. Geoff, was it an Albion (6.25 inch) or a Geordie? The latter is bigger (7 inches across flats) and I would think do better in this regard. Ken
  5. Bruce (Richard), An offer to sell should be a separate thread, since this thread should stay here. I'll invite Bruce to post a new thread in Buy & Sell when/if ready. Ken
  6. People have played every kind of music on every system of concertina. There are exceptions to every generalization/rule my beloved colleagues are about to lay on you (e.g. one tune I play on C/G anglo is in Bb minor). A good musical friend was going for professional oboist in her youth and was taken out by focal dystonia. She is now an amazing Irish whistle player. The family connection is valuable - go for it. Many of us wish we had one. You can learn the Irish tunes and take it farther afield. Welcome to the madness. Ken
  7. I just did the usual search for Musical Instruments > Concertina on US ebay and it is not showing up. You might check on this, that's a big potential market. Ken Edited to add: OK, if I dig with the settings it shows up, but other out-of-country instruments show up without that...beats me.
  8. What an impressive piece of work! I can relate to two of the dozens of crafts you are using, as I'm currently polishing and figuring several telescope mirrors: 1) Using ferric chloride to strip old aluminum coating off a mirror that needs refiguring (yes, it is very acidic, and is messy and stains), and 2) polishing glass with Cerium Oxide (for optical work it is embedded, wet, in an old-fashioned pitch lap). Ken
  9. And if I recall correctly, Leo had a Morse Albion concertina. Doug Creighton at the buttonbox.com still makes them and could tell you what a used one should go for. Ken
  10. John, We do remember your father - he had been a commercial jet pilot, right? Good to meet you, however briefly. I am in/near Pittsburgh myself, if you need any input (or a lesson - never too late! 8o). Ken Edited to add a PS: If you decide to sell and succeed in selling through C.net, a modest donation would be greatly appreciated - see the pinned thread near the top of the Buy and Sell forum.
  11. Right on both accounts! Ken (anglo player)
  12. We have a fairly small total file storage per user, and yours likely doesn't have that much free space left - it is all about the considerable funds Paul raises and spends to provide server space and the forum system for free to everyone who uses this site. The standard solution is to host your photos on another site (Dropbox, Flicker, etc) and link to those files. Ken
  13. No idea. Thanks as always for the work you do maintaining the current makes list. Ken
  14. John O'Hasughnessy actually wrote me a few days ago and says he pretty much stopped concertina building when Harold Herrington, his inspiration, passed away. I responded and asked him a few questions, but he has not yet replied. Ken
  15. The very nature of Irish dance music (and other originally oral traditions, such as southern old-time fiddle music) is that there is no definitive version. Over the years I have collected versions of tunes I play from books, recordings, and most important, from musicians I play with in classes, sessions, and elsewhere. I suspect some of my tunes have evolved to fit in better, while others fit as I learned them. I'm not even that aware of it. That's how it works; even the (some claim inadvertent) efforts of the Comhaltas organization in Ireland, which runs the competitions for young musicians, to put out one version of tunes for students to learn, those tunes still have different variations persist all over the place. IMO, may it ever be so. A bit of chaos will always be part of a living, changing tradition. That said, most of the better known books have settings that will get you started. Learn to play them. If it turns out to be something you pursue, you'll learn how to internalize different versions. Ken
  16. For years I kept and annually revised a static page here on C.net listing the concertina learning opportunities in North America. Since the switch to Forums I haven't completed this in most years, even though every winter I did look to see who was teaching classes and where and when and start to compile a document. It turns out a few of the usual offerings have on-line alternatives this year, so I thought, "Why not?" Here is what I have and I know all of you will add anything you know of. As ever in the US, a lot of this is for Irish on anglo, but there must be other stuff going on. I'll include placeholders for the events that happen most years but are not being held during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is short notice for some of these events - my apologies (it's been one of those years), but I hope we all find musical outlets of some sort. I know there are many individual concerts/performances and tons of archived stuff online. Here I'm mostly focusing on learning opportunities (with a few arbitrary exceptions). -- Ken Augusta Heritage Center, Elkins, West Virginia Augusta has not had an Irish Week or concertina instruction in a number of years, but they've posted a large number of online live events for July and lesson opportunities through August, for those with other musical ambitions. Augusta class schedule. Virtual Catskills Irish Arts Week Originally scheduled in person in mid-July, this event typically has classes for Irish style on anglo concertina at two or three levels; several C-netters have been on the staff in past years. For 2020 they are offering on-line master classes with Brenda Castles (Ireland, Int/Advanced level) and Tierna Rowsome (USA, Basic/Int). Info here. Virtual Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy OK, I know this isn't North American, but this is the event that gave me the idea for posting this list. Recordings of concerts and recitals from the 2019 edition of renowned summer school in County Clare, Ireland (typically in early July each year) are a nice diversion, and cover far more than just concertina. View the list of concerts. They give a number of ways to access the videos; I went to the YouTube channel ITMAVideos (search for ITMAVideos on the YouTube site). They also have video highlights of the previous several decades of concerts at the same link/YouTube channel. Swannonoa Gathering, Asheville, North Carolina During what would have been Celtic Week (that's as I post this) 13-17 July 2020, there are videos posted each day by instructors, including concertinist Grainne Hambly. These are taken down at the end of the week so don't put off checking it out at the Swannanoa Gathering and the Staff Videos page. Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School at Home This event, typically in August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has set up a large number of classes and lectures, which take place live online Sat. 8 August 2020 through Tues. 11 August. Among the offerings are a concertina Master class with Caitlín Nic Gabhann. More info here. The Northeast Squeeze-In NESI, as it has come to be known, was cancelled, but the tireless organizing committee have scheduled some substitutes while we all wait for 2021. On the original dates, 25-27 September 2020, you can join in the fun by submitting a video for the virtual concert by Sept. 10th, offer a prerecorded or live virtual workshop (proposals due Sept. 10th), or submitting an entry to the Limerick and Haiku contest (entries due Sept. 1st). They haven't posted the details on the web page so follow the directions there to join the discussion group on io groups and read all about it.
  17. My opinion is that in this price range it is important to get your hands on any model you are considering. I would never buy or order a top-rank instrument without trying it (or a comparable example) first. It isn't just timbre or feel that varies (most makers will do any note layout you want). Other details vary (button height, button throw, rake of button rows, how the handles fit your hands) that matter to some players and not to others. Even if if they are all great instruments (and generally they are), things like this mean one may suit you better personally than another. And only a few folks here have played all the leading brands and can give you a comparison (folks who know just the model they own and recommend it, while reassuring, is not quite answering your question). Underrated makes? Generally, once a make is proven as being good it will be priced as such - the market works pretty well, though sometimes you can save some money if you are willing to wait several years. I know that is not a satisfying answer, but this being C.net others will chime in soon with different answers! For me it was a long hunt to find my everyday player(s), and that may be a common experience. Ken PS: I merged the duplicate threads here; I was responding to your first post
  18. I own and play both and like both. (Actually the Clover I got for my wife, but she lets me use it!) Best is to try them both for yourself; somebody in the northwest US must have examples. Like choosing between EC/AC/duet, it is very much down to individual preference, how your hands and arms work, etc., and you can't (in my opinion; others who disagree will no doubt chime in) intellectually choose one or the other unseen. If you can't try both and want to buy something, try one and buy it if you like it. If you can't try either before committing yourself, I guess you can just take a leap - both hold most (but not all) of their new value if you decide to sell. It can be like choosing which car to buy. Or come visit Pennsylvania and we'll have a nice musical visit and I'll let you try them! Ken
  19. I have a Clover from the brief time a decade ago when Wim Wakker offered it as a kit. After a whole summer putting it together, the design is clearly the equal of the other hybrid instruments and plays very well. I have no experience yet with the Minstrel, which is a more recent model. Ken
  20. Years ago registered mail caused me a problem - it slows things down a _lot_. My envelope took three weeks to go from New York to Utah (which made it two weeks overdue, it was a paper for a professional conference). The Post office folks told me registered mail was originally meant for things like diamonds, and (at least back then) went from one locked box to another (yes, signed for) and was thus very slow. Certified mail (or nowadays, a tracking number, this was 1983) was what I needed. If you're not in a hurry maybe registered mail is the answer, but my simple envelope took 21 days instead of 2. A postal story: The only box I ever had break open and lose contents, 40 years ago, was insured and I was paid for the lost books. In all fairness to the post office, I was young and naive and the box was much too big and heavy (over 45 lb/20kg). A month or two I later found several of my books at the Barnes and Noble technical book store on Fifth Avenue in NYC and, astonished, bought them back for a bit less than the claimed value (they were used by then, after all)! I guess you could say the post office paid me a few dollars to rent them for a couple of months. I still have them. I don't know how many times I've shipped instruments by USPS but they've all been fine. Do pack thoroughly and do insure them. When I do both, I've had 100% success. I too have been having things show up ahead of schedule via USPS during the lockdown. Someone doesn't have enough to do, maybe? Ken
  21. Added to Lost/Stolen thread. Keep us posted, Jim. Ken
  22. Posted by Jim Lucas Of course, we want everyone everywhere to be alert for anyone trying to sell something which fits the description, even though the likelihood of them being simply tranported out of Sweden during the current restrictions is remote. I gather these are anglo system instruments. If we get other details (number of buttons, appearance/finish) I'll add the info here.
  23. He's not a member here, but if you ever encounter Ken Sweeney there in Connecticut, take a listen. He's great at Irish on English. Keh
  24. The pygidium. I added the word "tail", though incorrect, for the sake of those here who don't hang around with trilobites. Sorry, I'll stick to concertinas. Ken
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