Song circles are real examples of community music making, like a campfire or family sing along but with a broader invitation list. Old Chestnuts has been meeting since 1995 to give people the opportunity to sing together. Here, the merit of the song lies less in the performance than in the ability to get people to sing along. This song circle is held in someone’s home, giving it the feel of a family gathering where you are the welcome guest.
This week the group was asked to come up with songs with women’s names in them. There were many familiar folk tunes sung but participants also brought lyric sheets to teach new songs to the group. If needed, there were Old Chestnuts binders full of lyrics and many “Rise up Singing” books around for reference. In addition to guitars, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and whistle all added layers to the songs. Songs could be humourous, tragic, old standards, contemporary or originals – the only rule is that they have to have some sing along component.
The host, Jack Cole, is a local champion of folk music. He hosts a web page promoting the various places people come together to play music: http://www.grandriverfolk.org/ Old Chestnuts also has a hand in organizing Folk Night at the Registry, an award winning series of concerts in Kitchener.
[Old Chestnuts, 4th Saturday of most months, Sept-May; call 519-578-6298 for location]