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2015 Concertinas At Palestine Recap

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We had another successful Concertinas at Palestine weekend. The weather cooperated, was cool and clear, and we had concertina players, from experienced to beginning, from as far away as Wisconsin. Anglo, English, and Hayden and MacCann duet systems were represented. Jody Kruskal was our workshop leader and guest performer, and was again a hit with his enthusiastic teaching, and masterful singing and playing. The tunes taught were "Sandy Boys", "Been to the East, Been to the West", and "Cora Dye". We also had a well-attended slow jam and a master class. Everybody seemed to have a good time and get inspired. One of the groups on the bill at Old Pal was the rousing Orpheus Supertones, with Walt Koken, who was a member of the Highwoods Stringband back in the 70s. We, of course, took time to sample the local cuisine, including BBQ and Mexican food. All in all, it was a great time, with great music, people, and food. A group picture is posted on the Facebook site, Texas Concertina Players. https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/230954200427333/

Edited by Jim Bayliss
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You're right, Jim. That's a sculpture of a Native American dancer, though, from a distance, it does look somewhat like the devil down below. The behemoth on the right is my 82-key Wheatstone Hayden. I also like the gender balance.

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Yes, we had a nice gender mix at Old Pal, also a nice mix between concertina systems and ability levels from novice to advanced player. I tried to achieve a balance in my teaching to accommodate all. For the most part, I think I got it right without much dead time for those left hanging while I addressed other segments of our 15 students with their various interests, needs and abilities.


There are so many aspects of concertina playing that transcend system or ability levels and are still quite valuable to learn as we try to play fine music.


Old-Time style was the focus of this event. After all, it was the Palestine Old Time and Dulcimer Music Festival. Old-Time tunes have their own logic so, that left me with some latitude in teaching the tunes and helping all of us learn this style of string band music on the squeeze box.


There are so many ways to approach Old-Time as a squeezer. You have your choice. The melody part, emulating the fiddle is always good. Or, do you want to play the guitar part with chords and accompaniment? Sure, fine. The banjo part emulating the bouncy off beats is also an option. The mandolin or banjo-mandolin-uke parts emulating the waka-waka rhythm that pulls it all together is also an excellent way to play on the concertina for old-time. We tried them all with examples and hands-on practice for the three tunes learned.


What a great time! What a great bunch of squeezing players!


Then there were the general jam sessions where I had a fine time playing with the Orpheus Supertones, Spencer and Rains and a bunch of old-time players who showed up for the tunes and general playing delight of the festival spirit of fun and party tunage all 'round.


Play on! What fun!

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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Hey Jody I did try to send private message--but you must be overloaded....anyway I did want to thank you for a great concertina gathering and the great insights into some of concertina playing. As a lonely concertina player in Wisconsin, I've always thought of my EC as a solo singing voice. Your suggestions to think in terms of rhythm /bass section is a whole new process for me. lightbulb. Add to that the Cajun workshop I went to---OMG----expansion of the universe. And your stage performances were real crowd pleasers. Now I know why everyone raves about "Ol' Pal" Dulcimer and Music Festival. Lots of workshops, lunch time concerts daily, hall sing-a-longs; I never dreamed there were that many dulcimers in the whole wide world. Even non-musical Hubbie was impressed and enjoyed a number of walk throughs and the historic site, museum aspect. Interestingly, another forum of knitters was just gossiping about a dulcimer gathering in North Carolina. Obviously, a much more active subculture than I would have ever credited. And what can beat east Texas in the springtime--all those redbud, magnolias, wild plums and pears, and even wisteria blossoming across the street.....love love love. We are just back today from a very slow, lingering drive back to Wisconsin. No point in rushing back to late winter.... :)

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