The Great Lakes Region CMN sponsored the kids stage at the annual Central Ohio Folk Festival (COFF) held in Batelle Darby Creek Park in Galloway, Ohio, in May. Against the background of a large banner showing the CMN logo, a number of nonmember musicians joined region members Joanie Calem, Sarah Goslee-Reed, and Deborah Van Kleef in making music for and with the children.
On a beautiful springlike day that was unseasonably warm for Washington, D.C., about a dozen adults and three children gathered at the Southwest Neighborhood Library on February 22, 2014, for a region song swap organized by Devin Walker and Marsha Goodman-Wood. Attendees included not only local members and newcomers, but members from the Philadelphia and Boston areas. Besides the song sharing times, those present took part in making a recording to advertise the CMN annual conference scheduled to take place in nearby Virginia in the fall. The fun and networking continued after the swap ended as some of the group went out to dinner together.
Then on March 9, members convened at the home of David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania (in the Philadelphia area). Attenders enjoyed a potluck dinner and song swap and continued with their planning, as host region, for the CMN conference to be held in September.
The big warm-weather event, held jointly with the New York Metro CMN Region, was a song swap and potluck picnic hosted by Danny and Kim Adlerman in Metuchen, New Jersey, on July 12. It drew CMNers from four or five states. This date being the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, whose views on social issues many CMNers find compatible with theirs, some participants chose song offerings with similar themes.
CMNers gathered at the home of Karen Banks Lubicz in Park Ridge, Illinois, for a “jigfest” to dance in the new year on the afternoon of January 12, 2014. Besides a variety of dancing, there was a sleigh ride and pie making. The award for the member who came the farthest went to Mary Jane Guymon from Frankfort, Illinois, who shared stories about rolling pins used as therapeutic tools and working at a special needs school. As usual at these gatherings, everyone probably laughed and talked as much as we sang.
On March 22, the region’s annual all-day gathering was held at the Calvary United Methodist Church in Arlington, Massachusetts. CMN member Steve Roslonek was the keynoter. Attendees could choose from a full program of workshops on topics such as songwriting, approaches to using movement with song, using music for a cause, nature songs, and honoring Pete Seeger’s work. And there were still enough songs in us to conclude the day with a round-robin.
New York Metro
New York Metro members Barbara Girt, Lisa Novemsky, and Nancy Hershatter organized a “Pass It On for Pete” gathering held at the Ethical Society in Maplewood, New Jersey, on May 10. About twenty people participated in two workshops in the morning, then enjoyed a potluck lunch and a song circle dedicated to Pete’s memory in the afternoon.
In May, New York Metro joined with Mid-Atlantic for a picnic and song swap in New Jersey. See the Mid-Atlantic regional report.
In the works is a regional gathering on November 15 at the White Plains library with the theme “Song as Story.” Longtime New England Region CMN member Jackson Gillman will give the featured presentation on using our first instruments—voice and body—in performance.
The Reading Bug Bookstore in San Carlos provided space for a CMN gathering on February 16, 2014. Longtime member Nancy Schimmel gave a storytelling presentation that demonstrated how she weaves melody and lyrics into her stories. That was followed by a short round-robin song sharing. Then the group moved into a public mode to give a free concert for a group of families who had been invited by the book store staff. Region members are looking forward to other such collaborations.
Northern California CMNers hosted a lively song swap at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival on June 22. Original songs, a two-part arrangement of "The Strangest Dream," a traditional Shona game song, a draw-and-sing preschool number, and an echo song about a beloved dog were among the varied fare in the swap. The mix of longtime CMN members, newer members, and folks just discovering CMN for the first time made for an energetic and friendly gathering. Co-facilitators Nancy Schimmel and Bonnie Lockhart agreed that the CMN presence at the San Francisco Festival has been growing stronger over the past few years, and we owe a thank you to CMN members Laurie Vega and Dale Boland, the former for beginning these CMN swaps at the festival, and the latter for picking up the torch and continuing to include CMN in the family room line-up.