About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 25 times over and a great-grandmother of 19. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega with Genealogy Journeys where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that can be found at http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and more about my own business projects is on my Circlemending website.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Countdown to Salt Lake Expo, Booth 621

Hard to believe, but in 21 days we will be setting up our exhibit at Booth 621 (in the back corner by the tables) to share with everyone something about music and how it relates to their ancestors. Are you going to be at the Salt Lake Family History Expo (actually to be held in Sandy, Utah)? If so, be sure to stop by to hear a song or share a story. If you aren't sure about attending, click the link above to see all the incredible things that will be happening and classes that will be presented.

I will be presenting 4 classes, including one presentation with hubby Butch called "To Zion in Song" (on Sat. at 2:30) dealing with Mormon pioneer songs & how they were employed during the pioneer trek west through the settling of the Salt Lake Valley. Some of the songs are still performed in the Church today, but most are almost lost to obscurity. For example, the "Johnston's Army Song" (also called "The Mormon Doo-Dah Song") tells the history of the threat of the government (and Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston) to come in and take over the newly formed city in June 1858. (Curtis Allen has a great blog about it.) The entire procedure of the preparation of the citizens to either protect or burn their city, according to the actions of Johnston's army, are described in the lyrics of the song. Of course it is sung to the Stephen Foster tune of "Camptown Races," which was, even earlier, used as a sea-shanty called "Banks of the Sacramento."

We have great fun playing and singing the "Johnston's Army Song" in our program . . . if you are at the Expo, come to the presentation and sing along! If you want to hear the song, check out the clip of it at CDBaby, where our CD "Songs of the Mormon Pioneers" is handled. Sorry, no MP3 download is available at this time (check back periodically, though, as we're trying to get that arrangement set up).

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