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S i n g t i m e F r o l i c s 2 0 2 1

March 26-28

Online, better than ever. Save the date and please stand by for details!

Folk Music at the Inauguration

Did you watch the presidential inauguration? If so, were you struck - as we were - by the strong presence of folk music? Here are three performances that have their roots in the people's music, and which, together, show just how diverse folk music can be, and how it's always evolving.

  • Jennifer Lopez sang the folk anthem This Land is Your Land; maybe Woody Guthrie would have been puzzled to hear the pop treatment of this simple song by a Latinx gazillionaire superstar, but whatever his reaction, he would have had to admit that J-Lo has impressive pipes!
  • Garth Brooks, (who is, according to Wikipedia, the person who has sold the most records ever) came on to sing Amazing Grace, an Anglican hymn that has been sung uncountable times in folk circles and which worked well with Brooks' country pop phrasing and strong tenor voice. 
  • Finally, Amanda Gorman - not yet a superstar but a supremely talented and confident 23 year old, presented her hip-hop inspired poem The Hill We Climb, written for the inauguration and, very much in the folk tradition, tweaked to include the most current events.

Meet the New PFS Board!
Thanks to all the members who participated in the elections for the PFS Board of Directors in December. The ballots have been counted, and we are happy to present you with the new board, below. Five people ran for four open seats, so inevitably not everyone who ran was elected. Big thanks to Betty Gallucci, 93 years old and great grand mother of seven. Betty wasn't elected, but we greatly appreciate her running!

The Board will elect its officers at the January meeting, and we will let you know who they choose as President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Board members serve for two years with staggered terms, so three more seats will be open at the end of 2021. It's not too soon to think about being a candidate!

Following in alphabetical order are your seven board members, and the votes received appear after that.

Stan Davis

2021-2022 term

Steve Greenwood

2021-2022 term

David Ingerson

2020-2021 term

Deborah Lee

2021-2022 term

Alana McKenzie

2020-2021 term

Terry Miley

2020-2021 term

Brian Warner

2021-2022 term

Election Results

Here are the official results of the recent election of PFS Directors:

Name of candidate      No. of votes (of 55 total)
Betty Gallucci                  20
Brian Warner                   46
Deborah Lee                   45
Stan Davis                       44
Steve Greenwood            50

The four candidates with the highest number of votes will become Directors for a two-year term, 2021 and 2022.

David Ingerson
President, PFS

New Local Lore!
Book Reviews, Calls to Action, and a Love Story...

A new edition of the PFS newsletter, Local Lore, is just out - members, you should have received yours within the last week. 

We wish we could say that this is the first post-COVID 19 issue, but of course we can't. Not yet. However, this issue helps PFS members think about what we can and should be in the future. President David Ingerson sums up the activities of PFS, spotlighting the volunteers who make things happen - in fact, who make everything at PFS happen. Treasurer Brian Warner carries the conversation forward with a look at PFS's finances, acknowledging the generosity of our members, and describing the Board's desire to invest in music scholarships and to fund music education in Portland schools. These two articles are a strong call-to-arms, and if you are interested in volunteering, please don't be shy (Look on the Get Involved tab of the menu)!

The new Local Lore also contains four timely and thoughtful book reviews, for which the reader will be grateful to Dick Weissman and Hank Stone: 

  • That's the Bag I'm In: The Life, Music and Mystery of Fred Neil; if you don't know Fred Neil by name, you probably know his song Everybody's Talkin'; the book shows how One Big Hit can be both a blessing and a curse. 
  • Banjo Man: Confessions of an American Folk Singer, by and about Rick Palieri, whose low key, not particularly commercial singing career forms a nice contrast to the Fred Neil biography.
  • !!! Faaar Out. Finding Young John Denver, by Carl Franzen, about the evolution of Denver. "John always wanted to be a star", said the reviewer, and a star he became, climbing his way up the ladder through the Chad Mitchell Trio, to changing his name from Johnny Deutschendorf to John Denver, to superstardom. 
  • Finally, Adam Gussow's Whose Blues: Facing up to Race and the Future of the Music, a frank analysis of the issue of cultural appropriation of Black music.

There's a very sweet article by Joe Hickerson, about how he moved to Portland to be with Ruth Bolliger. Ruth and Joe are dear to the hearts of many of us, and we thank Joe for that article (and pictures!)

And - there's a lot more. But don't settle for this write up. Read it!

As always, thanks to the Local Lore team that skillfully and lovingly put it all together: Editor and Designer Kim McLaughlin, Proofreader Ruth Bolliger, and Logistician and Mail Sensation Jeanette Warner.

Local Lore is one of the benefits of PFS membership. Members can have a paper copy if they want, and if they don't need paper they can download it as a PDF from this site under the Resources Menu. You can also pick up a copy at most PFS events, even if you aren't a member. But we're not having any in-person events for a while, so if you would like a paper copy of Local Lore, just look up in the menu bar for Join PFS. In addition to Local Lore, you get reduced prices on events, access to members-only parts of the website, and the pleasure of supporting the music you love! Now is a great time to join - we even have a special rate for people who are stressed during the COVID times. Check it out, and thanks!

Woody Guthrie's New Year's Resolutions

As we move into a new year, a lot of us make promises for what we'll do in twelve months to come.

We put up the following graphic last year of Woody Guthrie's new year resolutions, but they are so good we don't mind repeating!

By the way, if No. 17, "Don't get lonesome"; No. 25, "Play and sing good"; and No.31, "Love everybody" are on your personal list of things to do, then come join the weekly PFS Virtual Song Circle (info elsewhere on this page).

Happy New Year!

Racial Equity Statement from PFS

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: 

  1. 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. 
  2. We will include more artists of color in our performances. 
  3. We will reach out to our local communities of color for inclusion. 
  4. 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.

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 marked our 25th VSC on August 29, and they are still going strong. 

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.

We have forty to fifty people every week. Many are regulars, but we're also delighted when someone new pops in. And they do: not just from the PNW, but from the East Coast, other countries, other continents. And in this way, at least, the virtual song circles are much better than in person song circles. In fact, a lot of people prefer the virtual song circles: they don't need to drive anywhere, people mute themselves when they tune their instruments, and you can see everyone's faces. There are drawbacks too: you can only sing harmony with people in your pod; no potluck super; no hugs and handshakes. Our world's not perfect, but the VSCs are pretty good.

Every Saturday, we open the room at 5:30 PM and start singing at six. (Please note that this is thirty minutes earlier than we used to start, in deference to some folks from the East Coast and Europe, and others who like to sleep). Come when you can, stay as long as you like. All kinds of music and all kinds of people are welcome. We follow the song circle practice of letting each person sing a song in turn and it is perfectly fine just to listen. Get a computer with a camera and mic, light up your face, and point your browser to Always the same link, always posted here.

Please click here for logistics information, and for information about how to connect by phone.

But that ain't all...

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

PFS volunteer Barry Gorden has been doing 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


Joe Hickerson's
Joe's Jottings
Back again! 

PFS Members who have been around for a while will remember the thirteen articles that Joe Hickerson wrote for Local Lore, back in 2014-16. These were wonderful! Unique! Delightful! They covered: 

Joe's experiences with a traveling folk group, The Folksmiths.
His memories of folksingers from Pete Seeger and Jean Ritchie to the Kingston Trio.
The evolution of the song Where Have All The Flowers Gone, which Joe co-wrote. 
Joe's thoughts about saying "close enough for folk music" (warning: tune your instrument and don't go there). 
Marlene Dietrich even makes an appearance.

These short articles are informative and fun to read. And, unfortunately, they have been hard to find since we migrated to this website. But no longer: now you can find them on Joe Hickerson's page. Enjoy!

The Original Folksmiths

Pictured are (back row) Ruth Bolliger, Jim, Joani, Bo; (middle row) Joe Hickerson, David, Ricky; (front) Sarah.

You'll find Ruth and Joe at most PFS events, including the Virtual Song Circles

Not a member?

It's easy to 
Join PFS
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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