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.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Flagstaff Folk Festival - countdown

Next weekend: Flagstaff Folk Festival, sponsored by the Flagstaff Friends of Traditional Music. This is an amazing event (click banner above to get to their site and blog - there's also an ongoing slideshow of past festivals). The cost is minimal: $3/person or $9/family (carload). From 10am-6pm (both days) there is non-stop music, plus many, many opportunities to jam. It's held at the Coconino Center for the Arts & Pioneer Museum (so there are other things to enjoy besides music!) at 2300 N. Fort Valley Rd in Flagstaff (free parking).

Also: lots of workshops on almost everything you can imagine (music-related). It's a very kid-friendly environment (a big plus as many festivals forget that we need to foster a love of music from the earliest ages). My granddaughters had a great time there 2 years ago (see photo collection at the bottom) and are looking forward to coming again this year (hopefully they'll attend Grandma's workshop on Kids Songs our Ancestors Sang - I'll have lots of singalongs including a 10-page handout with lyrics so no one has to try to remember the words to that long-forgotten song). Butch and I will also be doing a short concert as "Sawdust & Strings" - performing an eclectic selection of contemporary, original, and traditional pieces. And, of course, Butch will also be conducting a saw workshop (all these on Saturday - gonna be a busy day for us!).

So if you happen to be anywhere near Flagstaff, Arizona the last weekend of June, come to the festival, enjoy an Italian Ice or Navajo taco (or both!), and sing/play a few songs - sure to lift your spirits. There's nothing like raising voices in harmony - lets you forget all the bad stuff in the world and your personal life. See you there! (We're in the RV - pickup/camper - that has "Circlemending" in the top front window and 2 dogs peering out at the world from the cab.)

(Photos above from the Festival website - for promotional purposes only)

A small album from the 2008 festival:

Butch (in background, on saw) accompanying the Beaded Lizard Band

Butch teaching a spoons workshop - those are 3 of our granddaughters - Two to his left (Anya and Miracle) and one to his right, leaning on her dad (Mikayla). Honest, they really did have a good time!

Butch and I - Sawdust & Strings - doing a short concert of Civil War songs.


  1. It was so much fun to hear you both at Jamboree! I have a new appreciation now for all you do.Enjoyed this post, wish I could be there.

  2. Can't wait to see you next weekend!