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Happy MLK's Birthday!

Martin Luther King knew persecution, saw injustice, had enough suffering for a hundred people, and fully expected to be assassinated, as he was. But he remained committed to reconciliation between divided people, and if only for that, we need to celebrate his birthday.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."    --M.L.King Jr.

So let's all try to have fun this weekend and find ways 'drive out hate with love'.

Live Music is Back!

Portlanders, it's been a long time since we had so many live events to choose from with the ones coming soonest at the top!

We don't quite have all the rich choices we had before COVID, but it's infinitely better than the dark days of total shut down. Here are six events or series you can choose from. Stay safe, of course, and also enjoy. See you there!


Saturday Feb. 5

This annual benefit for JOIN consistently has great artists and a good vibe. Alberta Street Theater. Also streamed.

Abbie Weisenbloom Concerts

First Concert in a long time on January 18

Abbie Weisenbloom has presented over 450 concerts! And she was holding hybrid concerts - live and simulcast - long before that was cool. A Portland staple. Very friendly AND professional.

PFS Concerts 2022 Mini-Season

Starting Feb. 19 with Robin and Linda Williams

Finally, after two years of covidifiaction, the beloved PFS Concerts are back. Full information on who is singing and how to get tickets is right here on this site. See you soon!

Hart House Concerts

Starting again April 2

After slowing down for Covid, Hart House is back with its impressive program of well known and less known artists, delightfully hosted by PFS's own Kim McLaughlin and Stan Davis. Consistently high quality in a great setting.

Singtime Frolics

March 25-27

We'll be a little reduced in size this year to allow us to space out, but otherwise the same fun Singtime, PFS's annual all-you-can-sing event now in its 37th year!

Check out the Singtime Page. Some parts of this will be virtual for folks who can't be there, but... just some parts.

Artichoke Music

Check their site for events

Our friends at Artichoke are tiptoeing back into live music, including their open mics. If you have missed them, take heart! And Artichoke is very good at hybrid, streaming their events on YouTube and Facebook.

Tom Paxton Fans: Flash! Urgent! Read this now!

If you're reading this you probably know the songs of Tom Paxton pretty well: Rambling Boy, That was the Last Thing on my Mind, and a few hundred other great songs.

And, a lot of you know Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. They are terribly talented singers, song-writers and instrumentalists; they are strong performers individually and together magic happens.

Cathy has been writing songs with Tom Paxton, and they - Cathy, Marcy and Tom - are going to debut the new songs on January 23.

This seems to us like a wonderfully creative once-in-a-lifetime event. Here's their description of it:

This live concert recording session celebrates a catalogue of nearly thirty new songs co-written by Tom Paxton (GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award Winner) and Cathy Fink (GRAMMY Winner) in the past eighteen months. Comedy, Community, Absurdity, History, Commentary and Love are spread throughout these new classics. The title song, “ALL NEW” tells us we are capturing a moment, together. The intimate audience will be invited to sing along on many songs, and will add their good vibes to these very special shows. Special guests: Kimber Ludiker on fiddle/mandolin & Alex Lacquemnt on bass.

There's good-news-bad-news-good-news. Good news: The songs will be debuted a live, in-person concert! Bad news: It's gonna be in Takoma Park Maryland. Good news: they are streaming it!

Tickets are $15, or $25 if you want the album. It's Sunday January 23 at noon Pacific Time. Get all the details and buy a ticket here.

This seems to us like a REALLY SPECIAL event.

PFS Board Elections - the Results Are In! 

Congratulations to Alana McKenzie, David Ingerson, and Dave Orleans who were just elected to the PFS Board of Directors in a contested election with five good candidates. To remind you, here are their photos and statements.

Alana McKenzie

David Ingerson

Dave Orleans

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Alana's Personal Statement
Alana's Personal Statement

I'm a native Portlander and lover of folk music, who grew up singing in the Portland Christmas Revels and various youth choirs. I am a millennial and well-versed in social media platforms and am happy to continue lending my time/skills to the cause of expanding PFS' digital presence and member programming.

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David's Personal Statement
David's Personal Statement

I have been involved in PFS for many decades and in governance for the past 12 years. I would like to continue to provide the service of a long-term memory of how PFS operates and a moderate level of expertise in the folk music world generally. In addition, I am dedicated to helping shepherd PFS into a new realm in which younger people can take the reins and enhance the sustainability of the organization.

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Dave's Personal Statement
Dave's Personal Statement

I heard my first folk music on "Jerry White's Hootenanny" on WJRZ.AM in 1962. By 1964 I had learned, as a lefthander, to play a few upside-down chords on a borrowed baritone uke, and a lifelong folkie was born, writing songs in the style of Judy Collins, Tom Paxton, etc.  In college I learned to play songs and sing harmonies to the Everly Brothers, Simon and Garfunkle, Cat Stevens, the Beatles, top 40 hits, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Sam & Dave, Sam Cooke, and the Temptations.

After a Masters degree in Environmental Education from Glassboro State College, I worked as a naturalist in NJ for 31 years, retiring in 2005. While volunteering at the Philadelphia Folk Festival from '76-'04, I got to see folk greats, Elizabeth Cotton, Pete Seeger, Oscar Brand, Bill Staines, & countless others. I performed many times at PFF, both as a volunteer and as a paid performer. Inspired by Pete Seeger and the Clearwater crew, I performed environmental song programs as "The Earthsinger" for schools and families in NJ, PA, IL & OR from1986 to 2019.

I have been an active Executive Board member of Alliance For New Jersey Environmental Education, and was a past president of the Whitesbog Preservation Trust.

Thanks to all the candidates, and thanks to the members for turning out to vote in such large numbers: This year, 88 people voted. Last year, it was 55, and in 2019, it was 52. What a great way to start 2022!
Just out: January - February Local Lore!

Folks, there's a new issue of Local Lore, the PFS newsletter, and (I think) it's a particularly good one. Wonderfully, 47 people contributed to the issue - way too many to list here. Many answered the invitation to write about their favorite kind of music, and of course the results cover the gamut of musical traditions. It's great fun to hear what genres excite other people, and why. Totally recommend this!

Plus, lots of information about the upcoming IN PERSON concert series, starting with Robin & Linda Williams, who probably don't need much introduction. They are performing on February 19.

PFS President Brian Warner discusses the Board's Vision Statement. There's a formal announcement of the first IN PERSON Singtime Frolics since 2019; an interview with the Celtic group The Gothard Sisters; a wonderful memoir about Malvina Reynolds by Mary Rose; a great description of the upcoming Winterfolk Concert - back together in person again - coming up on February 5; "The Future is Hybrid" (the title says it all) by Barry Gorden; and an article about our dream of a more diverse PFS and how we can fulfill it. That's not even all of it. Don't miss this issue!

Thanks as always to Editor Kim McLaughlin, and the great team who make this possible. If you are a member, you have the option of a digital copy or a paper copy for free; everyone else can download a PDF by clicking here. (Also, don't forget that three years of Local Lores are available to download. That's enough to keep you warm during the entire rainy Portland winter! Just look on the resources menu above).

PFS, Inclusion and Diversity

Like many many other organizations, PFS has lately become more aware of and concerned about racial and cultural diversity. The police murder of George Floyd (among so many other people of color) brought America's endemic racism more clearly to our consciousness. Many PFS members took advantage of the pandemic isolation to read books like Caste, How To Be an Anti-Racist, White Fragility or Me and White Supremacy.The Virtual Song Circles brought PFS members in touch with new friends from around the US and around the world, but seeing all those new faces reminded us of the white bubble we live in.

In response, the Board and other PFS Members have taken some actions. At the fAll Song Festival, we introduced a short land acknowledgement, truth and reconciliation video, pointing Oregon's and Portlands sad history of racism, dislocation and exclusion. We also hosted a thoughtful, frank panel discussion on inclusion with four singers from diverse demographics, who discussed their experience of being sometimes included, sometimes not. Also, the Board passed a Racial Equity Statement, which included a promise to report to the members on progress. These two videos, plus the Board's statement, are below. We hope you will be take the time to engage with these. We know this is only a beginning. Please help us as we chart the way forward. There is a button after the Board Statement where you can leave comments, which we will post here with your permission. 

Thank you!
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Board Report on Racial Equity (click the arrow to read)
Board Report on Racial Equity (click the arrow to read)

Last year, the Board of PFS adopted a statement on Racial Equity, as follows:


Portland FolkMusic Society celebrates all musical traditions whose foundations flow from communities and cultures of color.

We recognize that we are an overwhelmingly white organization. We hope to become a more inclusive and diverse organization by taking the following steps: 

  • We ask that if any member or volunteer detects racism or biases in our structures, processes, publicity or activities, they will speak up and bring this to the attention of PFS. 
  • We will include more artists of color in our performances. 
  • We will reach out to our local communities of color for inclusion. 
  • We will report annually to our membership how we are doing on these goals. 

We invite comments and engagement from PFS members. We look forward to the essential, ongoing work of listening, learning, and changing that is ahead of us.



This document is the promised annual report on our progress towards these goals.

During 2021, we have worked more vigorously than in the past to hire musicians of color and have had a good representation of black singers at our online Singtime and fAll Song events, and we have a Latinx group scheduled as part of our live concert series. We are pleased that our performers have been mostly local artists as this provides an entree into a musical world here in the PNW that we are just getting to know.


However, we realize that the first step is the easiest one, and paying black people to entertain white people is not revolutionary. While it helps us achieve our goal of supporting musicians of color, we know we must do the hard work of dismantling the attitudes and practices that keep PFS almost all-white, so that at present decisions about equity are made by people who are privileged by the present structures. To our knowledge, there has been no increase in BIPOC membership at PFS.

To advance our broader goals, we kicked off the fAll Song Festival with a discussion on inclusion and diversity led by a panel of four singers of diverse demographics. It contains ideas and suggestions from the participants that will be useful as we move forward.

We look forward to the serious work that lies ahead, and strongly invite the participation and good ideas of the PFS membership.

Brian Warner

President, for the PFS Board of Directors

Would you like to comment on diversity and inclusion at PFS? Send your thoughts and suggestions to With your permission, we'll publish your remarks here. Thanks!

Song Circles!

Let's get real for a second. We all miss being together - the handshakes, hugs and harmony. But I don't want to hear anyone trashing virtual singing! No driving, no one tuning their banjo while you're singing, and you don't have to climb over your neighbor's autoharp to get to your chair. Every Saturday our Virtual Song Circle takes place on Zoom. The room opens at 6:00 PM Pacific time, singing starts at 6:30 PM. Come when you like, stay as long as you like, leave whenever.

All welcome, including "just listeners". To join, just Click here

If you are a newbie, you might want to check out the Song Circle Page.

The VSCs will celebrate their centenary - 100th weekly song circle! - on February 5, 2022. And - on January 29 - we have a theme - Doors to the Future! See the delightful flyer that Jon Dickman put together to announce it.

Remember Singing with People, like, in the SAME PLACE?

We never imagined in the Before Times that people getting together and singing would be news. But unfortunately, COVID came.

The night of the Virtual Song Circle, a few Saturdays ago, some of the regular participants got together, along with some irregular participants, and visited the song circle as a group. The result is in the video below. It was amazing just how fun that was! No one had rehearsed anything, and in fact some of the singers might not have known what song they were about to sing until others started singing it. It doesn't get more spontaneous than that! Take a listen... it's not bad at all.

Oh. You may be wondering about the wisdom of getting together. The folks in the video were all consenting adults, all fully vaccinated, all asymptomatic. Getting together was a private decision, and we fully understand if you make a different decision. (But - please get vaccinated if you aren't, and if you can!)

"You can find the number yourself."

Do you ever need to find the phone number or email address of a PFS member? Many PFS Members have made that information available to other members in the Membership Directory.

However, you can't see the membership directory unless you are a member, and logged in. If you aren't a member, you can join easily by clicking here!) But if you ARE a member and you can't see the For Members menu above, it's because you haven't logged in. Just go to the upper right corner of this page, click on MEMBER LOGIN, and follow the instructions.

Your browser will probably ask if you want it to remember your log in information. That's your choice of course but if you come to the site frequently, it's a lot easier just to let your browser log you in. When you're done, look through the directory and give someone you know a call - they'll probably be delighted to hear from you!

The Virtues of Virtual
PFS Song Circles in the age of COVID

You must know by now that PFS is holding Saturday Evening Virtual Song Circles every Saturday Evening. We held the first - with little preparation - on March 14, when we were all waking up to the reality of COVID19, and we realized we couldn't responsibly go ahead and hold the scheduled in-person song circle. So, with 24 hours warning, we met on line. The technology was new to a lot of people, we didn't know much about how to host the event, and it was rough - but people had a good time, and someone asked, "Can we do this again next week?" We thought, "Why not?" And we haven't stopped. We are having out 90th VSC on November 27.

Please consider coming; you will be welcomed and feel welcome, no matter your skills or equipment or whatever. A few of the regular participants have good set-ups, with separate cameras and mics. Most use laptops. A few just come in by phone. It doesn't matter.

Check out highlights of a recent song circle here.

And there's so much more...

There is a LOT of other online folk music now, with opportunities to listen, take classes, and sing.

PFS volunteer Barry Gorden does a super job posting the events he hears about, and if you have others, let him know at

Look at the Upcoming Events calendar to find out how you can stay connected, during these disconnected times!

Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events


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Since 1976, Portland FolkMusic Society has been active preserving, presenting and promoting folk music and arts in the greater Portland Oregon area. PFS sponsors song circles, concerts, workshops and retreats, and helps its members and the whole community pass the word around about folk music events, from old time ballads to sea shanties, from 60’s protest folk to contemporary singer-songwriters.

PFS is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. 

Portland FolkMusic Society
P.O. Box 1448
Portland, OR 97207-1448
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