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Monica Grabin: News/Journal

sleepy summer - October 12, 2011

Yes, it was a sleepy summer and so far it's a sleepy fall, too.  Not too much on the calendar, except for the upcoming Fiddle-icious annual concerts.  I'll also be singing a few songs at a Democratic meeting in Kennebunk which will feature Chellie Pingree and Barny Frank as speakers.  It will  be an honor.

During the summer my musical forays were sparse, but one highlight was a concert I did with Emily Cain, state representative from Orono and state House Minority Leader.  Also one heck of a singer.  She and her husband and I did a Democratic fund-raiser which was a joy for me, and I think the audience liked it too. 

I've been having a lovely summer, though.  It's kind of nice being here in Maine for the whole time.  We haven't done any traveling since last February and it's been fun to watch the whole summer play out before us.  And a beauty it was, too.  The garden flourished, the days were hot and gorgeous, and our lovely waterfall was a constant source of delight.  I have to admit Bill and I spent an awful lot of time just lounging around next to the pond.  Why leave home when you've got heaven right there?

We now have a trip planned to the Cayman Islands for scuba.  I can't wait to get back underwater.  It's a new destination for us and we're hoping it'll be great.  I'm also busy planning a trip to Indonesia, which will be rather adventurous.  We, and especially I, weren't ready for another really remote destination so soon after our Egyptian trip, so we've waited a year.  We're hoping to go next summer, though, to Bali and North Sulawesi, some of the most amazing diving on the planet. It'll be our 35th anniversary trip, only taken on our 36th anniversary.  That's what happened on our 25th, too.  We went to the southwest, Bryce Canyon, Zion and the Grand Canyon, but we didn't get there until our 26th.  That was a great trip, too.

Now I think I'll update the calendar for the Fiddle-icious concerts. 

Happy Fall!

July 18th??? for real??? - July 18, 2011

Yikes.  Ok, so I missed a couple of weeks there.  The weather's been so unbelievably gorgeous I've been outside every possible moment.  Oh, and then my old computer died.  Just reloaded all my bookmarks today, on my new laptop so things are looking up. 

Had a great 4th of July at Willowbrook.  We had a beautiful afternoon, not the thunderstorms that had been forecast, and lots of people, and I had fun singing every patriotic song I could think of.  I also discovered that I do, indeed, have red, white and blue clothing. 

I've taken a first look at the film Daniel Gaucher made for me of my 3rd Civil War concert, and although I think I look weird, being backwards from my usual view and all, the quality is excellent.  Eventually I'll post some clips on this website or youtube or somewhere. 

I'm going to start recording some more Singing History, too.  Just have to figure out what to do next.

We've got no travel plans at the moment and are just enjoying being here in Vacationland for a really stellar summer.

I have nothing of great import, so I'll let it rest there.  Happy Summer, everybody!

It's the 3rd of June - June 3, 2011

another sleepy, dusty, Delta day, perhaps, but here in Maine it's breezy and cool.  I hope the corn I planted yesterday will be warm enough to sprout. 

May was fabulous, busy and great.  I should have written in early May but it was MerleFest again, and I just let it slip away.  MerleFest was wonderful as usual.  Highlights:  the Red Mollies, Sam Bush on Saturday night, a fabulous set by Lyle Lovett, another fabulous set by Randy Travis, Scythian, and of course, seeing the great one himself, Doc.

Birding in NC was not as great as it has been in the past, but we didn't get out to the Smokies, either, staying around Boone and Wilkesboro for the first time.  Got a hooded warbler, though.

Ok, so that's enough about NC.  Here at home, the highlight was the 3 concerts I did at The Brick Store Museum here in Kennebunk, "We'll Rally 'Round the Flag."   All three concerts, telling "The emotional story of the Civil War" were very well-attended, and the response was extremely enthusiastic.  I was really grateful to hear so many kind words.  My gratitude to the Brick Store Museum for the opportunity is also immense; it is a delight to work with them.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do this series again somewhere, and some new people will be able to see it.  But thanks to all of you who did come. 

My Civil War CD, "We'll Rally 'Round the Flag," is now out for digital distribution on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, etc.  If you want a physical copy, please contact me and it can be arranged.  I've got a lot of the liner notes done, but not all, so that's soon to be updated.  All the lyrics are online, though.

Another fun project was "Tom Sawyer's Songbook," which I performed in Saco and the Dyer Library.  All the songs were from the period of Tom Sawyer, the 1840s, and again called for some serious research, but a lot of fun, too.  In conjunction with that concert, I also did a residency with the Burns School in Saco, during which I saw 10 fourth grade classes and we shared a program on the Industrial Revolution; that's what was happening here in New England at the time of Tom Sawyer.  The kids have been studying Saco's industrial history, which is significant, so I was tying right into the curriculum, as I always try to do.  The Burns School is actually an old friend, although it's been quite a while since I've been there.  The Saco Museum opened their arms to me when I first began Singing History, and were very helpful in my initial research into Maine's industrial history.  I last worked at the Burns School about 15 years ago, also doing Industrial Revolution, and some of the teachers remembered me from then. Very sweet.  Also, the students at Burns were terrific:  participating, asking great questions, singing with enthusiasm; it was really a pleasure working with them.

Right now I'm taking some much-needed rest from research and practice.  But soon I'll be getting started on rehearsing for July Fourth at Willowbrook in Newfield, Maine.  I'm singing there at their 4th of July celebration, which I'm really looking forward to.  I love singing there and am glad to be back.

I'll be starting on another CD this summer.  I have to decide what to do next.  My goal is to get all my Singing History material online for digital download.  It's coming.

Ok, enough for now.  I hope somebody's reading this!  If not, I like doing it anyway.

Happy Summer

singing off  - that was a mis-type, meant to write signing off, but I actually like the mistake better.

 

 

Happy April - April 6, 2011

I almost wrote on April 1st, but didn’t want to hassle with some kind of joke posting.  Just lazy.  So now it’s the 6th.  149 years ago today, the Battle of Shiloh was fought.  The fighting lasted two days, and overnight the wounded and dead lay out in a downpour.  The Union was reinforced, and won the battle, but at terrible cost.  Over 10,000 casualties on both sides.  It was the bloodiest day Americans had ever seen, and worse was yet to come.

If you think I’m a little obsessed with the Civil War right now, that would be correct.  I’m up to my ears.  The CD, called “We’ll Rally ‘Round the Flag,” is done, and will be up on this website soon.  I love the songs, although there are an awful lot of sad ones, as might be imagined.  Big shout out to Chris Decato, who did the mastering for the CD.  I love working with Chris and this was no exception.

I’ve been working at the Walton School in Auburn, Maine, for the last few weeks, with funding provided through L/A Arts and the school’s parent-teacher organization.  I’ve worked at Walton off and on for many years and love being there.  This year, I’m visiting all classes in grades 2-6, and many students remember me from a couple of years ago.  That’s really great, but what’s even better is that they remember the songs we sang.  Yesss!  I’m doing shows on Native tribes in Maine, the Civil War, Westward Expansion, Folk tales, and more.  It’s wonderful working with the students and teachers again.

Well, the first concert in my series, “We’ll Rally Round the Flag,” is next week.  I’m really looking forward to it.  On Friday I go to the Brick Store Museum and help to select and set up the displays for the evening.  The museum will have a sampling of their Civil War-era materials, including clothing, weaponry, and personal items of many sorts.  I hope many of you (if any of you are out there reading this) will come and join me.

There are a few more concerts coming up, too.  The Sweetser Series in Saco, Maine, hosts many cultural events.  This year, they have received a grant from the NEA to have a “Big Read” in the town of Saco, where the whole town will be encouraged to read a book together, and then have activities around the book.  The book chosen was Tom Sawyer, a favorite of mine.  To kick off the program, I’ll be doing a concert on May 19th at the Dyer Library/Saco Museum consisting of songs from the mid-nineteenth century.  There will also be a residency with the Dyer School in Saco.  Way cool.

Yet another concert coming up is a Fourth of July celebration at Willowbrook in Limerick.  Patriotic songs and old classics.  Another fun day for me, and maybe you, too. It’s in the afternoon, so plenty of time for fireworks.  

Ok, that’s it for now.  I’ve got to stop this and get these concerts up on the Calendar page!

But I do need to say that the seeds are coming up under the lights downstairs, the snow is almost gone, the Celtics look a little better than they did in March, and someday the Red Sox will win a game.

Also have to say I’m reading and watching the news and often find it much easier to dwell on the problems of the past.  I often, in my own mind, compare the problems we have now with how horrible it would have been to live through the 1850s and 60s.  But right now I feel we have quite a lot on our plates.  I hope that we can all pull together to help each other out, world-wide. It’s the only possible solution.
Peace.

 

Almost Spring. amazing - March 7, 2011

It’s going to be a busy month coming up, with a residency with my good friends at the Walton School in Auburn, Maine.  This will be through the auspices of L/A Arts, who have been sponsors now for many years.  For the first time in a long time, I’ll be able to work with the entire school population, from Kindergarten to sixth grade.  Should be a lot of fun.  I’ll also be doing two Professional Development workshops for L/A Arts, one at Walton and one in Lewiston.  

Last month, I had the pleasure of performing a benefit concert for Maine Rivers and the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance.  It was a rare chance for me to just sing for the fun of it, with no historical theme.  The concert was at the Community House in Kennebunkport, which is also one of my favorite places to play.  Lots of people showed up, and I hope that they all had as good a time as I did.  And the best thing is, a fine organization was able to raise some needed cash, and introduce themselves to some new people.  

Now, that being said, I have no objection to historical themes.  I’m working hard on the CD which will accompany my upcoming Civil War concert series at the Brick Store Museum, We’ll Rally Round the Flag.  The CD is going well; I’m trying to keep things interesting for me, which means, hopefully, the songs will be interesting to you, too.  The tracks are almost all finished, the mixing is coming up, and then my good friend Chris Decato will get the final mixes for mastering.  Chris is a terrific pair of ears, and a great guy as well.  I look forward to working with him again.  

My good friend Dana Pearson is also recording again, down in my little studio.  I always love working with Dana, and we have a pretty good time with it.  He's a great writer, too.  You can check him out at CD Baby, where I think he has at least one CD posted. 

It's almost time to start planting seeds, but it's so snow-covered it's hard to feel inspired.  Gotta do it, though.  You never know when things will turn around, and you've gotta be ready.  I'm looking forward to the garden as always, although it's very much like the Red Sox.  You have to be hoping for great and wonderful things but willing to swallow any bitter pills the season dishes out.

Speaking of Red Sox, or sports, the Celtics are fun this year, as is B-ball in general.  It's gonna be a great post-season, I hope. 

Now to post this, before I lose another day.

 

goodbye, 2010, etc., etc. - January 4, 2011

The fourth day of a new year...there's snow on the ground, the weather's been great, the view out the window is appropriately wintry.  All it needs is a goshawk or pileated woodpecker to make things perfect.  But we have chickadees instead.  They're good too. 

Yesterday I sang at the Atria, the assisted living facility at which my mother resides.  Lovely people who are very enthusiastic.  They don't get banjo players very often.  Ever?  Only me, I think.  Anyway, it was fun to be there.

A concert will be coming up on Thursday, February 10th, as a fundraiser for Maine Rivers, a group whose mission is to "...protect, restore and enhance the ecological health of Maine's river systems."  What a good mission that is!  My husband, Bill, is on the board, and they asked if I'd be willing to do a concert for them.  I'm delighted to oblige.  No historical theme, no particular emphasis, just me, and whoever joins me, enjoying good times and good songs. 

I continue to research for my Civil War concerts this Spring.  So much reading, so many books!  Right now, I'm reading With Malice Toward None by Stephen Oates.  I've owned the book a long time, but I don't think I'd ever read the whole thing before.  It's excellent, and makes the story seem fresh and compelling.  A darn good read.  One thing reading about the era leading up to the Civil War does for me:  it makes me feel that, as bad as things are now, they're nothing like so horrible as that was.  I can't imagine what it must have felt like to live in a country which passed the Fugitive Slave Act, or whose Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott Decision.  Of course, our Supreme Court uses the 14th Amendment, which made all former slaves citizens, to defend corporations as "persons" and make sure they have all the rights of those persons, like making unlimited campaign contributions.  But still, it's better than returning runaway slaves to their masters.

Also on the Civil War theme, the series in the New York Times "Disunion" is wonderful.  If you haven't checked it out, you should. 

On a happier note, although I still have issues with my hands and arms, I'm finding I can play again, as long as I keep up the stretches and don't overdo it.  That's a huge relief.  Pretty soon I'm going to be spending a lot of time in the basement studio laying down tracks and vocals for the Civil War CD.  It should be ready in April, and will be available through digital download, just like HerStory and Over Here and Over There. 

Hope you're all snugged in for winter and don't forget, we're on the upswing now.  Every day brings us closer to crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils. 

Welcome December - December 5, 2010

Missed last month, didn't I?  Oh well, not much happening anyway....

My hands are still troubling me, so I play every day, but only for 20 minute sessions, and am trying to get up to concert condition.  I think I'll be there soon.

A school presentation in January at my old host, Yarmouth Elementary, is something I'm looking forward to.  I love going there every year, and talking about the history of the great state of Maine, my adopted home.  Maybe it's adopted me, too, but I haven't asked.

Next year is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and to honor that I'll be doing a series of concerts at the Brick Store Museum here in Kennebunk.  Dates are still tentative, but I want the series to start on April 12th, the anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter.  Three programs are planned, the first covering the state of the Union as Lincoln took office; the second, the onset of war to the Emancipation Proclamation; and the third, 1862 through the beginnings of reconstruction.  It will be a wonderful opportunity for me to really give the subject the detailed examination it deserves, and all Civil War buffs as well as those just curious, should find plenty to keep them satisfied.  Each program will stand on its own, so you can either join for all three, or any of them individually. 

I'm also working on a CD of songs from the era which will be available at the programs and online through CD baby, iTunes, and other digital distributors. 

And of course there's this month of holidays and, hopefully, snow.  I do love to see the flakes coming down.  Although I love going to sunny climes, especially for diving, I would never want to live away from the seasons.  There's something wonderful in knowing that next year's new life is just sleeping under all that cold earth.  Winter is our gateway to Spring, and how could one appreciate the warmth without having to shiver through the cold?

I hope everyone who might read this has a wonderful holiday season.  Many of us struggle at this time of year, due to trials and losses in our lives.  The holidays can be a time of sorrow, too.  I hope we can all take deep breaths, keep perspective, and rejoice in what we have, even if it's only life itself.  That's about as good as it gets anyway.

peace

 

Home from the land of the Pharaohs - October 18, 2010

Well, September was pretty amazing, since we spent the greater part of it in Egypt.  Not Egypt Maine, either.  We arrived in Cairo on September 11th, spent a couple of nights there, then went south to Upper Egypt, visiting Aswan and Luxor.  After that we flew to the Sinai peninsula, to go diving in the Red Sea.  We spent a few days in Dahab, where we could sit in the evening looking out over the gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia.  No matter how many times I told myself I was looking at Saudi Arabia, I just couldn't quite take the reality in.  After Dahab, we spent some time in Sharm el Sheik, another dive mecca, but one we didn't like nearly as much as Dahab.  Then back to Cairo for 3 more nights and home.  Whew.  I'm tired just writing about it.

We had an amazing time; we were not on a tour, booked all our own accommodations, and stayed in mostlly smaller places.  We got to really be in the country, walking around tiny little streets and back alleys to get to and from our hotels.  Egypt is very very safe.  We never felt the least bit of danger.  There were some people not particularly welcoming of Westerners, but this was the exception rather than the rule.  Most Egyptians were wonderfully warm and open, especially when we tried to make the first move.  As Americans were almost always greeted with a thumbs up and a cry of "Obama!!"  He's a hero over there.  I wish he was here!  Luckily, we're just as enthusiastic about our president, regardless of how difficult things have been, so we were able to respond in kind. 

Egyptian monuments are much, much more amazing than even I, a long-time Egypt nut, could have dreamed.  The carvings are so rich and 3-dimensional.  You just can't get the sense of how realistic they are until you see them up close.  We also made a point to visit some temples that are a little out of the way and known for having retained the colors that once decorated all Egyptian monuments, and were stunned by how beautiful they were. 

Going to the Egyptian museum, where I made a bee-line for the Tutankhamun exhibit, and seeing artifacts that I have drooled over in books since I was a child, was almost a religious experience.  As was standing in Tut's tomb, looking at his mummy and sarcophagus.  A young woman from Britain almost ruined it for me, as she stood looking at the mummy and saying:  "ew, disgusting!"  I just waited for her to leave and then took it all in. 

We were very fortunate in that most of the places we visited, for whatever reason, were not at all crowded.  It was amazing to stand in temples and tombs and be just about the only ones there.  When we went inside the next-to-the-greatest pyramid, we were the only ones in the burial chamber.  Bill took the opportunity to lie down in the sarcophagus.  To get the full effect of the true meaning of the place.  No cameras allowed in there; otherwise that would have been my favorite picture of the trip.

It was incredibly hot.  Over 100 degrees most of the time.  I also got pretty sick from traveler's flu, and from an asthmatic reaction to the terrible air in Cairo.  But even with all that, it was truly the trip of a lifetime.  Lots of lifetimes, for that matter.

Good to be home.  Starting to play music again, and getting ready to rock out with Fiddle-icous the next couple of weeks.  The concerts should be really excellent, so if you can make it to one, do it!  You won't be sorry. 

Happy fall, Happy Halloween, happy to be here.

Hello, September - September 4, 2010

August is gone, and summer draws to a close.  Hard to tell here in heat-waved Maine.  Earl just went through last night, but the paltry amount of rain means I'll have to water again.  The tomatoes are almost done; they're just tired out, poor dears.  But the beans keep on pumping.  If you're a vegetable gardener, and you love beans, you have got to grow Fortex pole beans.  Amazing.  They can be about a foot long and thick, and still taste incredible.  Meaty and delicious.  From Johnny's.  Check it out.

Ok, I haven't said a word about music.  Why is that?  Because I still can't play a darn thing, that's why!  What a bummer.  I had decided to take this summer off from being a "musician."  Just give myself a little space to breathe.  But that doesn't mean I don't want to play!  Unfortunately, though, that's the situation I'm in, and I'm trying to be patient and relax. Issues with my hands and shoulder are hampering me, and I'll just have to hang in there.

I tried out learning to yodel, since singing is still something I can do just fine.  Workin' on it.  Got the general idea, and am very comfortable with using my break, but really getting good at it will take some time.  Patsy Montana is my yodeling queen.  This last year I used "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart" with a class of 5th graders as we learned about the West, and it was a huge favorite.  The kids all yodeled away, loving every minute of it.  It was a revelation to me.

Next month I'll have news of a trip we're taking.  Should be interesting.

Enjoy the end of the season.

Yeah! HerStory has arrived! - August 3, 2010

HerStory is my women's history program, telling women's stories from the Colonies up to the early 20th century. There are some wonderful songs here, and I hope you enjoy what I've done with them. The CD is available for digital download from CD baby, iTunes and other sources. If you'd really like a physical CD, just get in touch with me directly, and I'd be glad to send one to you. This is a re-issue of the CD I created when I presented this show in Sanford a while back. It's almost the same, although some songs have been re-recorded and some new songs added. In other news, my surgery from July has unfortunately developed some significant scar tissue, causing pain, swelling and stiffness, so I'm still not playing much. It's been interesting to take a summer off from playing music. It's been a spectacular summer, so I've really enjoyed being outdoors and taking it all in.

Can it be July already? - July 3, 2010

Very, very quiet on the music front. Due to problems with my right hand, namely trigger finger (look it up if interested). I have not been playing much as mentioned last post. So now the time has come to get this fixed. I'll be having surgery on my hand next Tuesday, the 6th, and then hopefully a fairly manageable recovery of 4-5 weeks. I can't say I'm looking forward to this, but I can't wait to be able to play pain-free!

I have taken the time lately to really enjoy my beautiful garden and the raging torrent we had installed earlier this spring.

Next on the musical front, when recovery is over, is prep for a series of programs I hope to do in collaboration with the Brick Store Museum here in Kennebunk, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Have been reading a great book, Confederates in the Attic, by Tony Horwitz, which delves into the tangled post-war world of North and South, mainly South. The Civil War is our pivotal national event, every bit as fundamental as the Revolution, and still reverberating. In some ways, the reverberations are quite disturbing to a dyed-in-the-wool Yankee like me. I highly recommend this book. I'm also thinking of breaking down and reading Gone With the Wind. I realize there's a whole world of people whose main connection to the war is that book. Perhaps I should know what's in it. I've only seen the movie, which is weird enough, imho.

It's like reading Uncle Tom's Cabin, a book that went a great way toward opening up the discussion and the angry divide on slavery. I did this one, and quite a read it is, although incredibly sentimental and overwrought. Speaks to the times, though.

Anyway, 3 concerts are planned for next year, and I'll be doing CDs to accompany them. As to CDs, the one still hanging in the wings is HerStory. it's basically done, but for one song, and I've just been having trouble getting that one down. It's coming, still. Soon, I hope.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, a holiday I treasure. Something truly astonishing happened when the delegates met and signed the Declaration of Independence (on the third of July, btw). For all our faults, for all our sins, we were founded on incredibly strong principles which we all should respect and give thanks for. And, man, I love fireworks.

June thoughts - June 6, 2010

Yeah, well, May got left out, but I was at MerleFest! Or traveling home. After a lot of travel in March and April we returned and are enjoying Spring in beautiful Maine. Things have been very quiet on the music front, and due to continuing problems with my hands and wrists I've let that be for a while. I'm taking the summer off, to refresh and reexamine my music. I will, however, be getting HerStory ready for digital download very soon, since it's been too long and that needs to be complete. Thanks to any and all of you who have downloaded songs from Over Here and Over There. It's been sold all over the world, which is a thrill for me.

Two acts from MerleFest that blew me away this year: Great Big Sea from Newfoundland and once again, Scythian, from the D.C. area. They were even better than last year and really rocked the stage. Great Big Sea does traditional Newfie music, updated just a bit with drums and some electrics, but with the spirit very much intact. Also, I finally caught Cadillac Sky, and they were truly amazing.

Until next month, peace.

April is here - April 4, 2010

On April 1st, I was busy birding and didn't get a chance to write, but today is Easter Sunday, I'm hanging around the B&B in Arizona where Bill and I are staying, and having a lazy morning. Occasionally a hummingbird comes to the feeder outside my door, and I pick up the binocs to check it out. I'm in hummingbird heaven, where I've seen 8 species so far, about 6 of them lifers.

The end of March included the end of my residency at McMahon School in Lewiston, which was a great one. The kids made me feel that this format still works, although sometimes I wonder if today's kids are able to slow down enough to listen. The 4th graders at McMahon proved they can. It's truly amazing to me how songs that people have sung for, in some cases, hundreds of years, can still resonate and win fans.

I saw each class 4 times. The first program was Native American tribes in Maine, the second was Westward Expansion, the third Regions of the U.S., and the last was a review and sing-along. What was great about this progression was that each program kind of wove into the next. Where we had talked about Indian tribes int the east, I could then extrapolate to tribes in the plains and the west. Talking about the Gold Rush also led to the whole western region, with all its variety. And it's always fun to sing southern songs, where so many American music styles were born. I used a Woody Guthrie tune, "Oklahoma Hills" for the plains and cowboys and found this is a terrific song for kids, or for anyone for that matter. I couldn't get it out of my head for days. And (time out at this point, as a gorgeous Rufous hummingbird male was just at the feeder, glowing in the sunlight.) Where was I? oh yeah, and we ended the Regions section with "This Land is Your Land," of course.

Not much coming up, but I'm looking forward to getting home, and then to going to North Carolina for Merlefest. my annual inspiration infusion.

Happy Spring!

2010 - a new leaf??? - March 1, 2010

Ok, I'm really bad at this. I admit it. Just don't realize that it's been so long until it's been SO long. Gonna try a new approach, my "Rabbit, Rabbit" schedule. First of each month, or close thereunto, this gets updated. Ha!

There's actually quite a lot been happening. Bill and I hosted our last official Folk Club Song Swap last Friday. We're handing it off. And just today I heard of an old-timey jam being held each week in Portland, which sounds like something I need to do, so go figure. One door closes, etc.

Also, my latest Singing History CD, "HerStory" will be available very soon through CDBaby for download. The songs all have to do with women's history, and isn't that appropriate, this being the first day of Women's History Month.

I'll be starting a residency at McMahon Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine in a couple of weeks, which I'm looking forward to.

At the end of this month, Bill and I are off for a birding, visiting trip to Arizona. We went last year and loved it, so had to go again. Marty and Donna, we can't wait to see you.

For anyone who notices, there's a new picture of me on this website, taken at a Fiddle-icious concert in 2008.

And before I know it MerleFest will be upon us.

Keep an eye out here for new information about Singing History.

until next month.
monica

update overdue, as usual - August 24, 2009

Since I last updated, lots has happened, one of the nicest things being my evening at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, where I met lovely Violet the daughter of my host, Rachel Davis. They both made my evening especially fun. As did the hardy folks who braved the rather inclement weather to be there. We all had a great time, I think, and I hope we can do it again sometime. Thanks!

It's good to be home - April 30, 2009

Oh, boy, am I glad to be home from our travels. I'm ready to dig in the dirt, sing in the studio, play on the stage, and practice, practice, practice. Our last trip was to Merlefest, and I returned energized and motivated to play. It's funny that seeing the most incredible instrumentalists doesn't just make one want to roll over and forget about it, but instead to make more music. I always find my head spinning with musical inspiration, and just need to keep working at it.

I have a couple of new gigs coming up. First, on May 23rd, the Brick Store Museum and I are presenting "Over Here and 'Over There!'" again, the show featuring songs and posters from World War One. It got a great response when we did it last year, and I'm really looking forward to doing it again.

Tentatively I will be singing songs of Americana at the Trolley Museum in Arundel on the Fourth of July, and then I will be performing songs of Maine history at the Thomas Memorial Library on July 23rd. It's located at 6 Scott Dyer Road in Cape Elizabeth and the phone number is 799-1720.

The garden beckons, the warblers are coming, the Red Sox are winning, the Democrats will have 60 votes, the Celtics haven't been beaten yet, and although the world is still in a heck of a fix, I feel hopeful for all of us.
hope to see you soon.

Concert this Saturday and Hooray! for Barack!! - November 6, 2008

Well it's been a little crazy lately with the getting-out-the-vote drive but my candidate will be the next president of the United States and I couldn't be happier.

Now I'm really focusing on my upcoming concert at Huntington Common, Over Here and Over There. With posters from the Brick Store's collection and songs and stories, it should be a very interesting and entertaining hour. Please come and join us at 2 p.m.

Great time at Fryeburg - October 12, 2008

Just a quick note: although it was a bit dreary and drizzly at the Fryebug Fair this year, it was warm, and the sun did come out for a little while and Dale Robin and I had a wonderful time. It's such a treat to be there every year, and then to ride the Ferris Wheel together. Bill, my long-suffering husband, took care of the sound and helping us load, for which we are always grateful.

singing my way through the campaign - October 12, 2008

it's getting hard to stay positive, in that it's tough to watch McCain go negative. But singing does help. I spent the afternoon just singing and playing banjo and guitar, enjoying the gorgeous weather and letting songs soothe the strains. Been working one afternoon a week at the Obama headquarters in Kennebunk, saying hello to people from down the street and around the country, all of them looking for stickers, signs, posters, anything. Had a woman in from Arizona who wanted pins, I think. They're hard to come by in her home state.

I'm also preparing for the concert coming up, Over Here and "Over There!" with the Brick Store Museum. The songs are great, but reading about the horrors of the first world war is not. I know the facts, but going over them is truly hair-raising. The posters at the Brick Store are great, though, and the program will be a lot of fun even though it's such a dark subject.

Dale Robin and I have a date coming up next Saturday in Milford, New Hampshire, the home of the singing Hutchinson Family. I've been a fan, if you can call it that, of the Hutchinsons for years. They were performers in the mid-nineteenth century who were like the Weavers of their day. I first discovered them in the 80s and have read all I could about them, including the wonderful books by Dale Cockrell. Their hometown was Milford, NH, so I'm planning to go early and spend a little time there, see what I can see.

Fiddle-icious concert dates are approaching and should be a lot of fun. Bill and I missed the last rehearsal so we're looking forward to Monday night.

The Sox are in the ALCS - tied with the Rays, and it should be quite a battle. This time last year I rushed downstairs at the start of a game, fell down the last 2 steps and ended up breaking my foot, which took about 9 months to really heal. Not gonna do that this year.

And back to the campaigns: let's all just try to remember that we share this country with people who disagree with us. Some of us are always unhappy and even angry about what our government does in our name. That's the way it is, but we can still be decent human beings toward each other.

HerStory concert and CD - September 20, 2008

HerStory was a great success at the Goodall Library on Thursday evening, and I'm happy to announce that I also did manage to create a new CD of the songs of HerStory. It's available at the moment in a home-packaged format for $10 but I will be getting it all spiffed up and shrink-wrapped very soon, when it will be posted at CD Baby, so either email me for the first pressing, or check it out on CD Baby in a few weeks.
The concert was a delight, and my thanks to everyone who attended and to the library staff for making it such a great evening.

Sanford's Goodall Library will host HerStory - August 22, 2008

One of my favorite programs, HerStory, which focuses on women's history, will be presented on September 18th at Goodall Library in Sanford at 6:30 on Sept. 18th. This will be a full concert, two sets with an intermission. I love the songs in this show and think others will too. To me, women's history is for everyone, since it's everybody's history as well. I don't really think you can separate out the different aspects of our country's life into women/black/men/whatever. We all went through it and are still going through it together. Still, the songs of the suffrage movement, those that show women's role in society, and those that just share women's feelings are pretty darn compelling, and I think you'll love them. As always, there'll be lots of opportunities to sing along and to share. Please join me. It should be a great evening.

great gig with Mom's Home Cookin' - August 22, 2008

Wonderful show from our point of view at Poland Spring, All Souls Chapel. The chapel is absolutely gorgeous, as are the grounds and the rest of the buildings, and we were made very welcome. Lots of people came out to see and hear us and we hope they had as good a time as we did. Thanks to everyone there for a lovely evening, and we hope we can do it again sometime.

Poland Spring on the 18th. - July 30, 2008

Dale Robin and I have another performance coming up in Poland Spring on the 18th, which should be a treat. The Poland Spring Preservation Society sponsors a series of concerts at All Souls Chapel, which looks like quite a lovely venue. It's on the national register of historic places, and the $5 admission is used for the work the society does. We'll be singing up a storm, and you won't have to bring an umbrella. See you there.

A great time in Falmouth - July 30, 2008

boy, what a nice venue and set-up in Falmouth. The weather cooperated, the audience was enthusiastic, and the hosts were extremely gracious and competent. We really enjoyed ourselves, and we think everyone else did too. Thanks to Denise and everyone involved.

Mom's Home Cookin' in Falmouth - July 22, 2008

Somehow I managed to leave this off my calendar until now, but on Monday evening Dale Robin and I will bring Mom's Home Cookin' to Falmouth. The town has a summer concert series in Village Park, which is located behind Wal-Mart off Route 1. In case of inclement weather, of which we have been having a great deal, the concert is canceled. Please call 781-5253 to check if there are any questions.

Also, I had a wonderful time at the Scarborough Public Library in June. Everyone there was absolutely terrific to me and I can't thank them all enough. We had an appreciative audience of all ages, and we all sang and shared together. Great fun, and I hope we can do it again.
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