Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

An Evening with the Oyster Crackers

Monday, September 24th, 2018

The Oyster Crackers – Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth 

Polished!  Professional!  Profound!  My thoughts about yesterday’s House Concert are brimming over with adjectives and superlatives.  And a deep feeling of peace.  I wish I could adequately describe their harmonies, their costume changes and choreography (right down to their music stands!), and their obvious enjoyment of their music and of one another.  It was probably one of those you-had-to-be-there things.

Rita Smith and Her Grandfather’s Button Accordion – Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth

Three local women with disparate backgrounds and experiences:  Rita Smith, Bette Lu Krause, Christl Mack.  Together they are the Oyster Crackers.  Their voices gently glide and spiral around one another, carrying the listener to places of possibilities and contentment.  “What is it about them?” I found myself thinking.  Is it that they are the embodiment of grace and womanhood?  Are they what the suffragettes and feminists would like to be?

But… there was no pronouned (and certainly no strident) message here.  No aim to point out anything – at least not that was obvious or that came to me as I listened.  “Was it their sincerity?” I asked myself.  Perhaps their quiet commitment to the music and to the messages of the songs that came through loud and clear?  Or was it the songs, themselves?  Their choices spanned centuries and genres; some familiar, a few well-known, many obscure.  I wish I had taken notes or asked for their set list so I could think about those particular songs some more.

The Oyster Crackers in Red — Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth

I came away feeling blessed – that we had heard them do one, single number at a Music Vesper Service in 2017 and that I had asked them if they’d consider a House Concert sometime.  Blessed that their commitment and dedication led them from “only two or three songs” of a year ago to their full-blown, two-hour presentation (with instruments!) yesterday.  Here!  In Oysterville!  Absolutely Fabulous!

And before I forget, we all have another opportunity to enjoy them on Wednesday, October 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center in Long Beach!  See you there!

I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

When it comes to trains, timing is everything.  So, when the announcement came this morning from the Astoria Railroad Preservation Association concerning their Open House on Sunday, I immediately went into my scheduling mode. On the face of it, it looks like we’d need to be in two places at once.  Again!  And as far as I know, Scotty has not yet perfected the beaming operation from Oysterville to Astoria and back.

We definitely must be in Oysterville by three to welcome musicians to a long-planned and eagerly-awaited House Concert here.  On the other hand, our friend Mark Clemmens has been working on the restoration of the 1925 Baldwin Engine #21 for almost as long as we’ve known him.  I think he joined the ARPA about the time he and Sandra moved here and he’s been trekking to the Locomotive Restoration Shop in Astoria at least once a week ever since.

When asked, Mark is always happy to answer the usual question, “How’s it going?”  His responses are mostly way too technical for me – engineer talk to the max.  The ARPA’s website at http://www.astoriarailroad.org/ includes a photo journal and annotations back to 2001 for interested railroad buffs and for those (like me) who might be impressed by the sheer persistence and dedication of the folks working on the project.

Having heard bits and pieces of their progress over the years, I have a great desire to go to the Open House.  I’m thinking that if we are totally organized on Sunday, we might be able to leave home early enough to spend an hour or so at the Restoration Shop and get back in plenty of time…  I actually have my great-grandfather’s railroad watch to assist with our timing.  But that’s another story.

Gardens! Music! Art! Appetizers!

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Music in the Gardens is coming right up!  Saturday, July 21st from ten to four.  We’ve have our tickets in hand.  We also have lists of musicians and artists, which gardens they will be in, and at what times. Trying to decide where to go first and in what order to proceed is a lot like putting together a life-sized three-dimensional puzzle.

Tickets, which include a map and the garden descriptions, are the crucial element.  They cost $20 and are available at the English Nursery in Seaview, the Basket Case Greenhouse in Long Beach, and at the Bay Avenue Gallery in Ocean Park.  Hurry!  Do not pass go!  They are your entrée to a day of enchantment.

If you are like me and want to see it all, musicians and artists schedules are available on the Water Music Tour Facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/notes/music-in-the-gardens-tour/music-in-the-gardens-tour-2018-musicians-artists-schedules/1910813582298237/   Rather than duplicate that information here, I’ll just give an overview to whet your appetite.

Garden #1 – Singer Songwriter Brian O’Connor with Ceramic/Garden Tile Artist Renee O’Connor.
Garden #2 – Jazz Musician Tom Grant with Basket-Maker Susan Spence.
Garden #3 – Tanz and Sea Strings (musical duo Judy Eron and Charlie Watkins) with Metalwork Artist Jacob Moore.
Garden #4 – Brad-n-Dave Acoustic Band with Watercolor Artist Betsy Toepher with Kent Toepher selling garden books.
Garden #5 – Jean-Pierre Garau and Al Perez of the Al Perez Band with Sculptor Constance Jones.
Garden #6 – Guitarist George Coleman with Potter David Campiche and Topiary Artist Nansen Malin.

Coordinating the times is the tricky part, especially if you want to catch all the musicians.  For those, checking the FaceBook page is really a must.  If it helps any, the artists in Gardens #1, #3, #4, and #6 will be there all day. Other artists and all musicians have two- to four-hour blocks of time.  As I said at the beginning — Trying to decide where to go first and in what order to proceed is a serious challenge – but a delightful one, even so!

The tour will truly be a feast for all the senses!  Oh… and did I mention food?  Many of the garden hosts will be offering appetizers – often being served on porch or deck. I hope to see you somewhere along the tour route on Saturday!

Oysterville Music Vespers 2018

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Beginning Sunday, June 17th!

In Oysterville, Father’s Day and the opening of our annual Music Vespers series at the church are pretty much synonymous. This year they both happen on Sunday, June 17th and it’s coming right up!  Since a number of people have requested the full summer vespers schedule (and even though it’s available at the Visitor’s Center and has been published by the Chinook Observer), I am devoting today’s blog to it.  Suitable for Printing and Posting on your refrigerator.

June 17 – Pastor Mary Evelyn Long, Ocean Park Methodist Church; Music, Casey Killingsworth and Family; Organist, Sandra Nielson; Oysterville Moment, Sydney Stevens.

June 24 – Pastor Vern Frank, Pacific Bible Church; Music, Double ‘J’ and the Boys; Organist Suzanne Knutzen; Oysterville Moment, Anne Driscoll.

July 1 – The Reverend Irene Martin, Episcopal Priest; Music, Singer/Songwriter Fred Carter; Organist Diane Buttrell; Oysterville Moment, Diane Buttrell.

July 8 – Deacon Dick Wallace, St. Mary’s Parish; Music, Randal Bays and Family; Organist Dian Buttrell; Oysterville Moment, Sydney Stevens.

Rose City Mixed Quartet

July 15 – Father Dick Loop, St. Peter Episcopal Church; Music, Rose City Mixed Quartet; Organist Suzanne Knutzen; Oysterville Moment, Nyel Stevens.

July 22 – Deacon Jerry Sadler, St. Mary’s Parish; Music, The Oyster Crackers; Organist, John Balmer; Oysterville Moment, Tucker Wachsmuth.

July 29 – Dr. Barbara Bate, Interdenominational Pastor; Music, Guitarist David Drury; Organist Barbara Bate; Oysterville Moment, Charlotte Jacobs.

August 5 – Deacon Ken Morris, New Life Church; Music, Singer/Songwriter Mary Garvey; Organist, Kristin Hammond; Oysterville Moment, Cyndy Hayward.

August 12 – The Reverend J.D. Maddux, St. John’s Episcopal church, Olympia; Music, Folk Musicians Starla and Cate Gable; Organist, Sandra Nielson; Oysterville Moment, Sydney Stevens.

August 19 – Pastor Don Mower, Family Worship Center; Music, Lyrica Ladies Choral Ensemble of Puget Sound; Organist, John Balmer; Oysterville Moment, Susan Holway.

Summer Music Vesper Audience

August 26 – Pastor Greg Ikehara-Martin, Ocean Beach Presbyterian Church; Music, ‘Tanz and Sea Strings’; Organist Suzanne Knutzen; Oysterville Moment, Tucker Wachsmuth.

September 2 – Pat McKibbin Lay Minister; Music, ‘Doug and Joyce (Ukulele and Songs); Organist, Diane Buttrell; Oysterville Moment, Charley Wachsmuth.

All services begin at 3:00 and are open to the public who are encouraged to ‘come as you are’.  Proceeds from the collection basket go toward the upkeep and day-to-day maintenance of the church.  Questions can be directed to Vespers Coordinator Carol Wachsmuth, carol.wachsmuth@gmail.com.

See you there!

Our Beloved Barbara

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Barbara Poulshock at the Oysterville Church, 2013

If you have had associations with the Long Beach Peninsula for any time at all, you know the name Barbara Poulshock.  You may know, also, that among the music aficionados of the area, Barbara is considered a “Living Treasure.” And you may well know someone who has taken voice lessons from her, even recently.  You may even know Barbara, herself.

At 89 or 90 (I’ve lost track), and despite various health concerns that we octogenarians seem to collect, Barbara is still going strong.  She directs our local choral ensemble, the Bayside Singers; she teaches voice; she composes; and she somehow finds time to encourage anyone, young or old, who is interested in delving into music.

So, when I received a note from Clay Nichols, President of Bayside Singers, asking if I’d help spread the word about a new book coming out this month – The Music of Barbara Poulshock – I was eager to do what I could.  Here is Clay’s letter.  Please pass it on and I’ll see you, clapping and cheering for our beloved Barbara, at the Bayside Singers’ Spring Concert for the book’s debut at the end of April.

Women of the Bayside Singers, 2013

Dear Friends of Barbara Poulshock,
       Fourteen compositions for choral groups are being published for the first time in book form titled, “The Music of Barbara Poulshock. “Seven pieces are for women, and seven for SATB [soprano, alto, tenor, bass].  They are in coil bound format for easy use by singers and directors, without restriction.
       This project was initiated by Barbara’s friends in the Bayside Singers of Ocean Park, Washington.  Many of the compositions have been sung before, but one piece for women, “The Three Ravens,” is a new composition by Barbara this spring.
       We believe this unique book will find a place in the homes and hearts of many of you who have been touched by Barbara’s love and talent over the years.       

Bayside Singers, 2016

We plan to make the book available to local audiences at the Bayside Singers spring concert on April 28, 2018.  Copies of the book will be available at the concert and by mail. If you want to order one or more copies of The Music of Barbara Poulshock, a donation of $20 contributed by means of a check payable to Bayside Singers, P.O. Box 46, Nahcotta, WA 98637, would be appreciated. Bayside Singers is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Additional donations in support of this project are also welcome.
Clay Nichols, President of Bayside Singers

Music In The AiR Air!

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Woodsy Retreat

How many times does something need to be repeated to make it a tradition?  If it’s no more than two or three, then the January singer/songwriter retreat in Oysterville probably qualifies.  I think this is the third year that Long Beach Peninsula Acoustic Music Foundation and WillapaBay AiR (AiR = Artists in Residence) have jointly sponsored a “Winter Use Program” at the sixteen-acre Willapa Bay AiR campus.  This year, I’m told, it will be happening twice!

Renee, Larry, Mary. Terry, Jerry — Singer Songwriters at 2017 Performance

It is a perfect space for musicians to work.  On the campus are a main lodge with a kitchen and dining facilities plus five cabins, two studios, and an additional bedroom in the Lodge complex.  There is room for individual work as well as for group sessions and rehearsals.  All meals are provided and the only ‘requirement’ of the artists is for them to sit down together each evening at a communal meal.  Other than that, they are left to their own devices – each working on an individual project which they outlined in their original proposal/application.

Larry Murante who made Mrs. Crouch famous in song!

When our neighbor Cyndi Hayward (Founder and CEO of Willapa Bay AiR) first told us about the Singer/Songwriter retreat, she said that the joint venture with Sue and Bill Svendsen of Peninsula Performing Arts Center was “the perfect marriage. They have access to the music community and we have an ideal facility which is not in use during January.”

The musicians we know who have participated all agree that this retreat provides them with a great opportunity.  Last year, on their final day, the group gave an impromptu performance at the Oysterville Church.  Such a serendipity for the community.  Perhaps this week’s group will do something similar.  We can but hope.

Wes Weddell On His First Album

Meanwhile… Nyel and I are inordinately pleased that Wes Weddell and Larry Murante, two of “our” long-time House Concert musicians, will be sharing our ‘library stage’ here on Sunday!  They are fabulous to take a chance on us, but we are determined that Nyel will stay healthy long enough to host this event – the first, we hope, of many others in 2018.

Heavenly Voices

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

It’s pretty much one of those died-and-went-to-heaven things when you can walk right across the street and hear fabulous music.  That happens to be the situation for me every single Sunday of the summer from Father’s Day to Labor Day weekend.  Those twelve weeks for the last forty-some years have marked the Oysterville Music Vespers Season – one of the year’s highlights as I see it.

Tomorrow will be the next-to-last vesper programs for this summer and the featured guest artists happen to be my all-time favorite a cappella group.  Ever.  The Rose City Mixed Quartet (RCMQ) from Portland, Oregon will be making their musical magic right here in Greater Downtown Oysterville!  It’s not every village of fourteen residents who can call themselves so blessed.

Cameron Herbert (soprano), Helen Dietz (alto), Dale Webber (tenor) and Mark Petersen (bass) are all members of the Portland Symphonic Choir.  They joined forces as the RCMQ in the early 90s (though Mark and Dale were part of the original foursome who began back in the 1980s) and have toured and traveled together here in the United States as well as in Europe. Beyond their professional relationship, they are good friends and, two of them are grandparents together.  Visiting with them is always a treat and always educational in unexpected ways.

Last night, for instance, the discussion included ‘octopus testicles’ (don’t ask!) as well as tonight being the Night of the Ancient Lights along the Baltic Coast and tips on remembering the lyrics to a gazillion songs. (“Use a music stand and have the words right in front of you,” says Helen.)  This Vespers Weekend has been planned for a long time and includes being here today for the Oysterville Regatta and attendant festivities.  They arrived yesterday afternoon, laden with food and megahugs, both liberally dispersed!

We feel quadruple-ly blessed that they we are here with them this weekend. When it looked like Nyel (and I, by default) might still be at Emanuel Hospital, I had written them saying come for the weekend as planned – our house is your house, etc.  They have stayed here many times, know where everything is and even are acquainted with our ‘usual’ Friday Nighters.  They came prepared to host our friends in our stead and so, as it turned out, we had very light duty indeed.

I hope all their local fans took note of the announcement in the Observer and will be at Vespers tomorrow.  I haven’t asked about their program and I know it will be fabulous, no matter what.  Secretly, though, I hope that it will include “Tis a Gift to Be Simple.”  Their arrangement is heavenly and is my all-time-favorite.

A Nine-Minute Drive; A One-Minute Walk

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Anja Patten Sings”The Telephone” Aria by Gian Carlo Menotti

There’s nothing like a hug to make the world feel a little more do-able.  I seem to get lots of them these days – one of the perks of being a little old lady, no doubt.  And, I’ve come to realize, a good hug is not the only kind of heart-warming embrace that I’m fortunate enough to receive on a regular basis.  Music is another!  How lucky we are here on the Peninsula to have access to so many musical opportunities.

Barbara Poulshock, A Cate Gable Photograph

Yesterday I drove nine minutes from here to the Lutheran Church on ‘U’ Street to a “Musical Afternoon” performance by Barbara Poulshock and Anja Patten.  Barbara (at 90) is considered a Peninsula Treasure.  She has had a full life as a pianist, composer, and teacher of voice and piano, and, despite occasional lip-service to “slowing down” shows no sign of doing so.  Anja, a recent graduate of Whitworth University, is at the other end of things – soon to begin graduate school and then to launch her career in… social work!

Or, at least, that is this magnificent young soprano’s plan.  At the reception following the program, more than one person remarked, “But she could reach far more people with that gorgeous voice than she could through social work…”  Anja smiled through the compliments and well-meant musical encouragement.  Barbara also smiled with a teacher’s ‘time will tell’ kind of patience and a lifetime of knowing that each of us must follow our passion, no matter how it seems to observers.

Tom Trudell

Today, a one-minute (or less) walk will take me across the street to the Oysterville Church where two more local musicians will be playing at Vespers this afternoon.  Pianist Tom Trudell and vocalist/guitar-player Brian O’Connor will share center stage for the music portion of today’s service.  Both men are familiar figures in our local music scene.  Each of them mostly heard in solo performances – often as ‘regulars’ at venues on either side of the river.

Brian O’Connor

Tom and Brian are old-hands at Vespers.  Their performances are always so relaxed – laid back to the max – that I am left feeling that their selections were chosen with me, personally, in mind.  I have no doubt that every single audience member feels the same way and will leave the church this afternoon believing that they have had a Sunday hug times two!

A Matter of False Pride?

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

Host and Hostess Steve Romero and Martie Kilmer

My great-grandfather might have called it “vainglory” – I’m not sure.  It wasn’t exactly false pride that I felt yesterday.  Not the kind that “cometh before a fall.”  At least I hope not.  But I did undeservedly bask in all the complimentary comments I heard about Oysterville (in general) and about Steve and Martie’s garden (in particular) yesterday.  Fabulous all the way around!

It was the Music in the Gardens Tour and, as it turned out, we couldn’t go.  Nyel had been scheduled for yet another hospital stay beginning Friday and we had forewarned our tour guests from Seaside and Florida that they would be on their own.  Then, suddenly, the hospital cancelled Nyel’s appointment – bad blood numbers; maybe next week.  So, we were here, after all!  But Nyel couldn’t manage the treks through the gardens so… we stayed home.  Well, he did.  And I mostly did.

The Winterlings

I went north with our guests as far as the Captain Stream house here in the village – clutching my cell phone after instructing Nyel to call me if he needed me.  And then I spent a glorious hour admiring what people told me later was one of the best gardens on the tour.  I’m pretty sure they were telling the truth and I puffed right up as if I had something to do with it!  Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth.  But I was so pleased that my up-the-street neighbors were on the tour that a feeling of proprietorship totally enveloped me.

And my false pride didn’t stop there.  As I entered the garden, there were The Winterlings playing their distinctive ‘indie folk’ music, and one of my favorites of their songs, at that.  They had played here at a House Concert in March and it felt like ‘old home week’ to see them again.  Plus, of course, Steve and Martie were their usual elegant and welcoming selves.  They have been such a fine addition to Oysterville and I felt almost like they were my very own “show-and-tell” offering.  I surely hope I don’t get smat (past tense of smite; look it up) for thinking that!

Steve and Martie’s Croquet Court (Photo by Mark Scarborough)

So, with all of these benevolent and prideful thoughts, it was extra icing on the cake to see so many friends from all over the Peninsula (and beyond) in the hour or so I was there!  Did I have time between hugs and greetings to see the garden?  Yes… sort of.  And I think chances are good that I’ll see it again before too long.  When Nyel is feeling better, I want him to get a glimpse, too.  And, after all, ‘at the end of the village’ in Oysterville is only three blocks away!

Gardens+Music+Art=All Day Saturday Fun!

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Terry Robb

At last!  The Water Music Festival has revealed which gardens will be hosting which musicians and which artists during tomorrow’s Music in the Gardens tour. It’s by the numbers – like a giant puzzle.  Half the fun will be plotting the course!

THE MUSICIANS
Garden 1 Brian O’Connor (guitar), 10:00 – 1:00; Ocean Bay Trio (three of the Dixie Chicks), Afternoon
Garden 2 Gary Stroutsos (flute), 10:30 – 12:30
Garden 3 Brad and Dave (bluegrass banjo, guitar, mandolin), 1:30 – 3:30
Garden 4 George Coleman (guitar), 10:00-1:00
Garden 5 Terry Robb (blues guitar), Noon to 2:00
Garden 6 The Winterlings (indie folk duo), Noon to 3:00
Garden 7 Barbara Bate (piano), Noon – 2:00

Noel Thomas by Noel Thomas

THE ARTISTS
Garden 1 Susan Spence (beach baskets), 10:00
Garden 2 Patricia Fagerland (garden art), 10:00
Garden 3 Jacob Moore (jewelry) 10:00, – 2:00
Garden 4 Noel Thomas (watercolors), Noon to 2:30

The garden numbers correspond to the numbers on the map in the Music in the Gardens ticket.  If you’ve already purchased yours, you can plot your tour by when and who will be playing/ displaying at what times and where and for how long.  Got that?

Tickets are for sale online at  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2939656 or at these places on the Peninsula: Bay Avenue Gallery, Ocean Park; Basket Case Greenhouse, Long Beach; The English Garden, Seaview.