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Palestine Concertina Workshop

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Another great year at the Palestine (east Texas) Old Time Music festival. This year, our sixth, we had 20 folks---we are growing each year. John Roberts came from the northeast to regale us with songs and concertina. Mark Gilston held an English concertina workshop. Gary Coover, Ron Wilson, Stephen Mills, Harold Herrington and Nancy Bessent all helped lead a variety of other workshops. We held a second annual "concertinist's banquet", using it as a vehicle to trot out party pieces for each other. Plenty of jam sessions inside and out, in the brilliant, soft spring weather.


After the weekend, I took John Roberts to Austin for a successful concert there, thence on to the Alamo and a quick tour of San Antonio ("What? Never been to Texas before?"). Mark Gilston and Ron Wilson graciously hosted parts of those side trips.


All in all, a delightful time. Many thanks to all for their participation, music, and contributions to the fun. We are looking forward to 2011!



Dan Worrall



1) Group picture:

Rear, left to right: Kurt Braun, Larry Magnuson, Larry Wilson, Fritz Lang, Nancy Bessent, Michael Garrett, Paulette Magnuson, Carol Lay, Judy Patch, Stephen Mills, James Barham, Ron Wilson, Dan Worrall

Front (kneeling): Gary Coover, Jim Bayliss, John Roberts

Not in picture: Harold Herrington, David Atkinson, Bob Harvey, Troy Young


2) Jim Bayliss on Hayden, at the Concertinist's Banquet

3) Gary Coover dancing a morris jig to John's playing

4) John Roberts (center) and Ron Wilson (right) at the Alamo. At left is Dr. Bruce Winders, Chief Historian and Curator of the Alamo (as well as mandolin player), who kindly gave us a personalized tour there.


Edited by Dan Worrall
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In addition to meeting and hearing all the different players and styles, a special treat was the opportunity to see and hear lots of different concertinas by lots of different makers. In addition to English and Anglo we had Crane and Jeffries and Hayden duets, plus a bass English. There were concertinas by Wheatstone, Lachenal, Jeffries, Crabb, Dickinson, Dipper, Edgely, Tedrow, Herrington, Carroll, Morse, Stagi/Bastari, Chinese-made, and I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two.


The thing that surprised me most was the Ensemble Workshop. Everytime we changed who played what part, the tunes sounded wonderfully different due to the different textures of each instrument. We tackled folk duets and trios, Sacred Harp classics like Evening Shade and Sons of Sorrow, plus some very unusual baroque arrangements of O'Carolan tunes by Douglas Gunn from Cork. Each time we switched the parts around, it was like hearing the tunes in an entirely new way. I just wish we could all get together more than once a year to experience such a great sound.


And I'm still amazed how one guy with an Anglo was able to read music and keep up with everything - that'll teach me to not be so English-centric when I think about parts playing!



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It was great to get together with other concertinaphiles and see what folks have been up to. I very much enjoyed the ensemble playing, and hopefully we can do this again next year and I'll be more practiced on these tunes. I've long been a fan of Roberts, Barrand et al and have most of their recordings, so it was great to have John Roberts there, get his advice, and hear him play, and, of course, sing. John did a concert in Austin on Sunday, and, despite limited publicity, played to a near full house. Hopefully, his second visit to Texas will come a lot sooner and he can bring his musical cohorts. I also picked up a copy of Dan's book The Anglo-German Concertina, nearly 600 pages of interesting information on a topic we love dearly, and a remarkable accomplishment.

Edited by Jim Bayliss
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