About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Singalong All


I am writing this while enjoying the annual Roundup of Songmakers, a Southern California group of musicians (of all experience levels) who gather in homes or similar locations to make music together. It was begun back in the 1940s during the McCarthy era when many musicians in the recording and entertainment industries were blacklisted. This became a great organization for those wanting to try out their music but also to have some moral support from others in a similar situation. So, here we are, so many years later, still supporting each other and sharing music together.

Getting together has suffered during the pandemic, but has also been expanded, if that makes sense. No, we can’t all hear each other at the same time when we do our music, but we do get a chance to hear and, after a fashion, even sing along with people of all musical experience from all around the world. I miss getting together with folks in person (yes, many have returned to the in-person gatherings, keeping a certain level of distance between each other, but I tend to avoid most indoor gatherings).

Whether folks are joining together in song circles, hoots, informal & formal gatherings/concerts, campouts for music around the campfire, or just to listen and enjoy a variety of music, these experiences can be considered ways of keeping people connected. So, for today’s singalong, do you have a favorite singalong song? Whether it’s something like “We Shall Overcome,” or something less serious like “There’s a Hole in the Bucket,” these musical breaks in everyday life can help to make that life more enjoyable. And it’s OK to sing off key or forget the tune . . . just grab a song and join in!

My selection: Well, here I go, back to my friend Tom Paxton, who has written group songs for over 50 years, many that folks around the world sing together, and in a variety of languages. I think one of my most favorites, and still (and forever?) sending a worthwhile message (more today than ever?): "Peace Will Come." A song written in the early 1970s, also performed in the late 1980s, the mid-1990s, or the mid 2010s . . . the message is the same, but the environment keeps changing. Or does it?

Version with too many ads, poor sound quality, and no audience singing along, but still a good one

This recording is of a live performance . . . Listen all through to get the full feeling of group singing.

Another live recording, but harder to hear audience joining in.

Jean & Tom, Napa, CA, 2015:

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoyed rounds, since they're challenging to sing on-key while listening to others. "Ghost of Tom" was always a favorite.


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