The highlight of this week’s music for me was a program by the Herbin’ League. Marion Spear, our Elderhostel host, sings in a trio with Tina Marie Wilcox and Susan Ketchem. They sing mostly a capella, but are accompanied by Tina Marie on guitar for some of the songs. They sang some great old ballads and country songs and as a surprise, threw in a great a capella arrangement of “Java Jive”!
I think a little of their lively spirit shows in the photo. Their program was a visual as well as a musical treat!
After that music we were all prepared to “Kick Up [Our] Heels” with Mary Gillihan. She was a lot of fun and explained the ‘get-togethers’ people had in the old days and how they substituted “Play Parties” for dances in the areas where dancing was considered a sin. The games were similar to some we played when I was a teenager and she led a group of us through one of them as you can see in the photo. She then explained that many people eventually had square dances and explained how that was usually done at someone’s home. We then learned some simple square dance moves and performed them. This evening during the music program, she played her autoharp like I’ve never heard an autoharp played before. Her husband played the guitar and they both sang. She sang “My Happiness” and sounded just like Moma Cass to me. She and her husband have been playing since at least 1982 because I saw a photo of them in an old Ozark magazine that the office staff borrowed to let me read one day while I had a while to wait. Just look at the photo and you’ll have some idea of her fun nature!
I think everyone enjoyed the tomahawk throwing lessons this morning and Scott Reidy was a great coach. Many of our group were able to stick two tomahawks of our three throws. Some are shown in the following photos. Other photos show some scenes around the craft area. The lady spinning wool said she thinks she was taught by the woman we saw spinning there thirty years ago.
Deb Redden, who told us about country superstitions and told a few yarns, was also entertaining. I guess that should be expected from a group of people who are so dedicated to maintaining the old ways. She and others came to this country during the ‘back to the country’ movement thirty years ago and that just happened to be when the Ozark Folk Center was started. We they have presented to us is based on their own experience and research.
Scott Reidy shows us how it's done!
Lawrence gives it a try.
Ann set a standard that was hard to match - her first two tomahawks were near the center and side by side.
The group watches and learns while they await their turns.
Ray takes his turn.
Nancy makes a valiant effort.
Martha does too.
Raymond does well.
Our multi-talented leader also showed her skill at the tomahawk throw.
Deb Redden tells an old country yarn.
The visitors listen in rapt attention.
A whisk broom under construction. The broom vice holds the broom straw flat so that it can be stitched.
Day 1 - Refreshments and Get Acquainted. Announcements and Introductions. Jimmy Driftwood Barn music show.
Day 2 - Folk Center history and Ozark Lifestyles. Blanchard Caverns and Springs Tour. "Charles Kelly, Sheriff of Indenpendence County"
Day 3 - Float trip down the White River from Boswell Shoals to Jack's Boat Dock. Evening program - Native American Influence with Carl King
Day 4 - "Long Walk Home" Jimmie Edwards relives an Arkansas Confederate Soldier's time in the Civil War. 1890s Parlor Party with the Brysons. Visit to the craft center. Ozark Folk Center country music program.
Day 5 - Tomahawk throw and history with Scott Reidy. Craft center visit. Signs and Superstitions with Deb Redden. Learning country games and dances with Mary Gillihan. The Herbin' League. More country music.
Day 6 - "This Ain't No Devil's Box" with Danny Thomas as "Gus Pike." Graduation. Then we visited Oil Trough, Arkansas, on the bank of the White River.