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Old News of Win Grace & Paul Fotsch
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Discovery String Band
(Past Letters and Tidbits)
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Grace-Ful News: March 13, 2004

Hello Friends,
 
We had a fabulous time in Michigan -- the audiences up there are great.  We had good visits (and good eats and good songs) with old friends and new friends as well. 
 
Speaking of old friends -- you simply must hear Michigan artists Max and Ruth Bloomquist (www.ruthbloomquist.com) sing.  The sheer power and silky beauty of Ruth's voice combined with Max's skilled bass lines and harmonies (not to mention Ruth's incredible songwriting!) have truly come to full bloom!  We thought that they were amazing 20 years ago (as 2/3 of the band Amaryllis) when we shared festival stages with them, but they have truly come into their own.  
 
And in different, but equally powerful medium our friend Rick Plummer has put together a one-man theatrical show about the WWII correspondent, Ernie Pyle.  He tours the show nationwide, so you can easily contact him to bring the show into your area, or pass the information on:  http://www.westshore.edu/personal/rjplummer/new_page_2.htm.  Rick is so dedicated to his craft that he has shaved his hair to be partially bald and wears it Ernie Pyle style.  (I almost didn't recognize him!)
 
The Discovery String Band (Meriwether Pranksters) is/are really excited about some of the fabulous articles that are being written about what we're up to.  Most are not available online, but some are.  Some of these are easily available at libraries as well. 
  • SingOut! Magazine: www.Singout.orgThere is a short but glowing review by Matt Watroba in the current issue and COMING IN THE NEXT ISSUE -- A FEATURE ARTICLE! 
  • Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine: www.OzarksMountaineer.com. A fabulous feature article by Anita Harrison in the current issue -- well-written, beautifully laid out, nice photos.  
  • Folkfire Magazine:  www.folkfire.orgA front page feature article written by none other than ace dance caller Mac McKeever.
  • Liberty (MO) Dispatch Tribune: http://www.dispatchtribune.com/artman/publish/article_2597.shtml.  Nice article written in this daily newspaper about Discovery's appearance at the June 24th Lewis and Clark event in Liberty.
I must end this tome and get to my taxes, but I just have to share one of the highlights of our days this last week spent performing at and attending the National Lewis and Clark Symposium in St. Louis.  There were, of course, some incredibly inspirational and informative papers and events, but at the end of the day, we got to see the 1955 Lewis and Clark movie, "The Far Horizon."  This movie features Fred McMurray as Meriwether Lewis, Donna Reed as Sacajawea (!!!!), Uncle Charlie as Patrick Gass and Charlton Heston as "Bill" Clark.  After a rather intense and serious day spent with some of the most knowledgeable Lewis-and-Clarkies around, Paul and I spent the evening watching this movie with the same folks and laughing hilariously!!  One of the highlights for me was when the Corps decided to portage the 55' keelboat OVER AND AROUND the Great Falls in Montana.  They winched it up a mountain, with Charlton Heston coming to the rescue several times.
 
Okay, okay...on with the taxes!  Hold on everyone, spring is just around the corner!
 
Warmly, Win

Grace-Ful News: Feb. 5, 2004

Hello all, 

Hope this finds you all warm, cozy and snuggled up.  Paul and I are heading NORTH to play in Michigan at the end of this month.  We're playing two venues that we've never played before that we hear are great concert situations -- The Ten Pound Fiddle in East Lansing and The Grand River Folk Arts Society in Grand Rapids. We're also making a return trip to play for old friend Rick Plummer at the wonderful Cultural Arts Series at the Westshore Community College Theatre in Scottville.  We're looking forward to seeing our Michigan friends and making new ones, too.  If you're up there in the north country, please pass the word on. (See calendar for details.)

A little known fact about Paul and me is that we're frustrated cross country skiers (none of that scary downhill stuff for us!).  You've all seen the Ski Missouri poster with the skier straddling a muddy ditch.  Truth is, we've had a little snow (also plenty of freezing rain, ice, and even snow showers) in the last month.  Paul and I generally ski in the cow pasture by our house or down in the bottom field by Cedar Creek, and there has to be enough snow so that the skis don't get hung up on the frozen cow patties.  And then when we DO get enough snow to cover the cow patties, we have to race right out the door and start skiing because if the sun comes out or the temperature starts to warm up, the skis may suddenly start to ice up, which causes the skis to suddenly grab the ground in mid-stroke while the body keeps rapidly moving ahead at the speed the skis were previously going.  You get the picture!  Hey!  I hear that!  As Paul always says, "There's nothing funnier than people falling down."

This will be our first trip to Michigan in the winter, and we hear from Pete Alberda that there's a full foot of snow up in Grand Rapids, so we're going to try to fit the skis in and do some REAL skiing while we're up there.

Last month we were honored to play in the rotunda of the Kansas State Capitol for the reception celebrating the kickoff of the web site www.TerritorialKansasOnline.org.  This amazing website is a "virtual repository for Kansas Territory history 1854-1861."  You can see old photos, see manuscripts, letters (in the writer's own hand!), and documents from the era.  There are even lesson plans for teachers!!  Kudos to those who have dedicated their time and efforts to this end -- among others Matt Veatch, Virgil Dean, and project co-leader Pat Michaelis.  One of the most wonderful parts of playing for the reception was getting to sing in the Capitol rotunda.  We began the program and "gathered the energy" by singing the Abolitionist Hymn acapella.  This stirring anti-slavery hymn (which we learned of from the ground-breaking Civil War music research and recordings of our friends Cathy Barton, Dave Para and Bob Dyer) is sung to the tune of the Doxology, and hearing our voices echo through the rotunda was really fun.  We will be making a return trip to Topeka in April to play for Kansas Territorial Sesquicentennial Family Day.  Should be fun! 

In the meantime, the Discovery String Band CD, "Most Perfect Harmony" Lewis and Clark: A Musical Journey is selling like hotcakes, much to our delight.  I'm the booking agent for the band, so I've been a busy woman in the last few weeks, and as you can see from the schedule, we're going to have a wild year.  The band has been contacted by venues as far away as Oregon and New York, and our dream is to make it out west, over the Rockies and on to the coast some time in the next couple of years -- just like the Corps! 

As always, come up and say hey if you see us out on the road.  Spring is just around the corner...

Warmly, Win

Click Here for Paul & Win's Quote(s) of the Month - Feb. 5, 2004

Grace-Ful News: Jan. 19, 2004

Hello Friends, 
 
Whew!  I'm trying to learn to breathe deeply, utilizing my full lung capacity, instead of the 30% that most of us use.  My friend Ken Green tells me that if I use my full capacity I WILL slow down.
 
Great news! The new Discovery String Band CD, "Most Perfect Harmony" Lewis and Clark: A Musical Journey has been accepted as a Notable Recording by the American Library Association!   It's been selling like hotcakes and Discovery's small but mighty marketing committee (Bob Dyer, Dave Para and Paul Grace) is doing a great job of getting it into stores regionally and nationwide.  As you probably know, the Grace Family Music Online Music Store debuted in November and we've been selling lots of the new CDs the new-fangled way, as well as by mail order.  Thanks a million to our web mistress, Kate Akers (www.Chivalry.com), for setting it all up and for bearing with us as we learned.  In the midst of all this, the two sub-web mistresses, Leela and I, re-designed this entire Grace Family Music web site.  Let us know if you discover any problems with it.  Please be our user testers!
 
The Discovery String Band "Most Perfect Harmony" CD has had great reviews from, among others, Gary Moulton, editor of the Lewis and Clark Journals; Mac McKeever of Folkfire; and Matt Watroba for Singout! (not published yet).  Someday I'll get it together to get them up on the web site.  My personal favorite feedback so far came, in French (!), from James Higby, a retired French professor.  He complimented us on our French pronunciation!  That was great to hear -- It's been three years since Paul and I were in France, with not a lot of opportunity to speak it here in central Missouri.  We had worried a bit that we would sound like yayhoo hillbillies from Missouri, but apparently we passed muster!
 
We are busy booking the coming year -- and as you can see from the calendar of bookings, it's going to be a whiz-bang year.  The reception to the November 22nd Premier of The Discovery String Band program Lewis and Clark: A Musical Voyage of Discovery just amazed the five of us.  We had essentially been working on the program (and CD) for a year and a half, but not presented it "to the world" as a band.  We just let it flow that night, and what a pleasure it was.  The audience rewarded us with a heartfelt ovation such as I've never experienced before. 
 
We went all out for the Premier, brought ALL our instruments (at least 25 of them!) -- as Mac McKeever said in Folkfire, the stage looked like a music store.  Cathy Barton put together an Overture (combining many songs from the program) and performed it on the piano!  Our friends at Missouri River Communities Network (MRCN) brought a full-sized teepee (25' tall!) to truly set the stage. 
 
However, you should have seen us the afternoon of the Premier.  The sound and lights were relatively together and we were scrambling to do the rest of the setup, tune the instruments, etc.  Meanwhile the MRCN folks were setting up the teepee on the stage.  At one point, a cry went out, "Everyone grab a teepee pole!"  The teepee, being normally set up on grass, was sliding around on the wood floor and listing dangerously in the direction of the instruments and the stage lights.  We found ourselves -- the entire band, the MRCN folks, our stage manager Sarah Howard, house manager Beth Horner, sound techs Leela and Ellie Grace -- standing in a circle around the teepee, each of us holding a pole and trying to right it!  In retrospect, this gave us a moment -- ALL of us -- to "pull ourselves together as a crew,"  just as Bob Dyer says in his song from the new CD.  We could not salvage the current setup of the teepee, but at least it didn't fall on the instruments or take out the stage lights! 
 
So, the MRCN folks and helpers took it down and started over.  At one point an hour or so later, I was looking for Sarah Howard and heard her voice distantly, "I can't come out right now!"  It turned out she was inside the teepee holding it up.  But the good news is that it was successfully set up with a new plan to hold the poles in place on the wood floor!  It was worth the trouble, judging from the audience reaction.  Look for pictures of the Premier, provided by Don Shorock (who drove all the way from Great Bend, KS to attend the Premier!) at the Discovery String Band web site.
 
Paul and I are enjoying a little time at home -- what a lovely place it is, here at the end of the road in southern Boone County overlooking Cedar Creek.  We are really lucky -- Our home has passive solar heat (south-facing windows), a solar water heater, super insulation with 6-inch walls, and a wood furnace.  The house is so energy efficient that we don't even build a fire in the furnace unless it gets below 15 or 20.  Much of the time, we heat the whole house with one of those little oil-filled radiator space heaters.  In the summer, if it's hot, one 110 window AC unit will cool the whole house!  This is a rather simple house, not expensive to build.  Wouldn't it be great if more of the new houses could be built like this?  We could live on less, be comfortable, burn less coal, oil and uranium!
 
I wish warmth to all of you -- in your homes and in your hearts.
 
Warmly, Win

Click Here for
Win's Quote of the Month - 1/19/04

Grace-Ful News! Dec. 6, 2003

Greetings to you, Friends

Here's hoping this finds you warm and cozy!  We have been bowled over by the enthusiastic reception to our program, Lewis and Clark: A Musical Voyage of Discovery and the response to the new Discovery String Band CD, "Most Perfect Harmony" Lewis and Clark: A Musical Journey
 
We five friends -- Paul and I with Cathy Barton, Dave Para and Bob Dyer -- have joined together and poured our hearts and minds into this CD of period, traditional and original music commemorating the epic American journey of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.   "Most Perfect Harmony" is a 70-minute CD featuring a wide variety of traditional instruments, fine harmony singing, excellent original compositions and a 28-page CD booklet relating the music to the journals and the journey.  A list of the 17 cuts and instruments played on the CD is below the calendars for Paul & Win Grace and Discovery.
 
Paul and I, both being French-speakers, brought several French songs and tunes to the group, including a voyageur song, a rowdy low public house dance tune and song (complete with translation!), French Canadian and Metis (mixed French, Native, and Scottish) fiddle tunes.  I have learned Le Pied (seated clogging) and in the long tradition of French Canadian and Metis fiddlers, perform it while playing the accordion.  On the CD, through the miracle of modern technology, I am able to play the accordion, the piano and the feet all at once! Paul, being the fiddler, of course interprets the Corps' one-eyed Metis fiddler and riverman Pierre Cruzatte.  Paul also does a moving rendition of After What I Have Seen, a song written by Cathy Barton from the perspective of William Clark's slave York as he pleads for his freedom at the end of the journey. 
 
And there is so much more... but this message is long enough.  I wish for each of you the true peace of the season.  Consider yourselves as having received a virtual Grace-ful holiday hug! 
 
Warmly and in peace, Win (Grace)
 
Grace-Ful News! Oct. 30, 2003

    Paul & Win Grace have joined with nationally-known central Missouri musicians Cathy Barton, Dave Para and Bob Dyer to form The Discovery String Band!  The band has produced a musical program -- Lewis and Clark: A Musical Voyage of Discovery, and in November, will release a 70-minute CD -- "Most Perfect Harmony," Lewis and Clark: A Musical Journey.  They are now booking and performing (nationwide!) this program of original, period, and traditional music interpreting the epic American journey. 

    Click here: Win's Quote of the Month - Oct. 30, 2003
A quote from Paul this month, too!
 

Grace-Ful News - August 6, 2003:

Hi everyone! 

We are back from Colorado -- rested and renewed!  Our audiences at Rocky Mountain National Park were SO much fun, so receptive.  We just had a fabulous time playing for them.  An audience like that makes all the difference -- sometimes you find music coming out of you that you've never heard before and didn't know you were capable of!  In addition to seeing friends (Joe, Rosy, Barry, Andy, Mary, Jane, Larry), making new friends (Brian, Lucy), and spending time sitting around the campfire on starry nights playing tunes and watching the firelight flicker, we hiked and biked all over the park.  The glory, the views, the multi-colored wildflowers, the waterfalls, the animals (I got to see a snowshoe rabbit!) -- it was enough to give me a chance to reflect on my place and purpose here on this earth. 

Paul climbed the Ute Trail up to Trail Ridge Road from the bottom up, and climbed up to Hallet's Peak -- he truly loves the mountains!  I walked and biked, drew pictures, soaked in the beauty, took some deep breaths.  For the first time, we drove Trail Ridge Road (one of the highest roads in the world) and walked to the top of Rock Cut, where we could see the whole world in unspoiled brilliance.  We gained a new appreciation for our National Parks from the top of the world as we could see gorgeous, yet fragile mountains, forests, lakes and tundra for hundreds of miles in every direction.  This terrain could easily have become one development, strip mall, or parking lot after another.  But instead it has been preserved for the enjoyment and renewal of millions of people from all over the world.  Even if you must see this beauty from your car, from a wheelchair, even if you don't speak English or are low income, and of course IF you are an avid outdoorsperson -- you can enjoy and drink in this glory.  Now THIS is a great thing for our government to do for the betterment of its people!  Thanks to all those who are a part of this!

 

On a different note, I don't know how much Paul enjoyed the driving part of Trail Ridge road, as I held my breath, closed my eyes and tried to climb over into the driver's seat with him.  Those hairpin turns (where there is no shoulder, you are looking out into the thin air with a 2,000 foot drop-off) were truly terrifying to me with my vertigo and accompanying overactive imagination.  I looked at all the people (lots of them!) driving Trail Ridge Road so calmly -- how do they do it?  Gee, if they could do this, they could certainly play the accordion, don't you think?

 

We got back from Colorado and jumped right into mixing our Lewis and Clark CD with the Discovery String Band (Paul & me, Cathy Barton, Dave Para, and Bob Dyer).  I don't want to brag or anything, but it's going to be FABULOUS!  I'll let you know more later, but if you want to find out more about Discovery, check our web page:  www.GraceFamilyMusic.com/discovery.  We also did our debut performance of our complete program Lewis and Clark: A Musical Voyage of Discovery on the River Explorer Barge.  Again, it is thrilling to be part of a group like this -- the talent, the variety, the knowledge, (the jokes!) that we all bring to the group make it pure joy. 

 

See you out on the road -- come up and say hey.

 

Peace, Win

Click: Win's "Quotes" of the Month for Aug. 6, 2003

Grace-Ful News on June 1, 2003:

Dear Friends -- 

In July we're heading out to play at our second most-favorite place on earth (second only to home), Rocky Mountain National Park.  Don't tell anyone, but we feel like we've won the lottery to be able to be paid to perform here!  We'll be in Colorado from ~July 16th to 31st and are looking for some other "gigs" while we're there -- in Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Estes Park, etc.  We're happy to do children's concerts, library programs, adult concerts, living history events.  Let us know if you have any ideas: Win "at" GraceFamilyMusic "dot" com

We are happy to report that we have finished recording six songs with Cathy Barton, Dave Para and Bob Dyer for our Lewis and Clark CD, Passing Through the Garden.  This CD (and this program!) is gonna be somethin' else!  So far we've recorded:  La Bastringue (complete with silly French words), Come Up Me (Cathy Barton's GORGEOUS song written from the point of view of the Missouri River), Goin' Up The River (another fabulous Bob Dyer original), Rakes of Mallow (a raucous old-time tune with two banjos, fiddle, Indian drum, and feet), Ursa Horribilis-Jefferson & Liberty (Dave's song about the Corps' encounter with a grizzly bear), The Banks of the Dee (a beautiful Scottish waltz). 

And I'm delighted to announce that I've successfully debuted my exciting new skill -- Le Pied, the seated French Canadian clogging.  What fun it is!  I love doing it with the fiddle, and in a triumph of coordination (which at any point could go totally awry!) I managed to play the accordion and do Le Pied  at the same time! 

Speaking of great places to be (like Colorado!), we just got back from Sam A Baker State Park in southern Missouri.  During the Memorial Day weekend, the video about the St. Francois Mountains, Mountains of Antiquity, was premiered.  As you'll recall, this is the video that we consulted on -- our music was used extensively on the sound track.  During our concert at the park, we featured songs that were used in the video and made the connection for the audience to the history, culture, and beauty of the area -- including the Talking Waters of nearby Big Creek and St. Francis River. 

We are honored to be part of this video, which was so wonderfully written and produced by Wanda Doolen and Gayle Mooney.  Wanda is the Interpretive Resource Coordinator for several parks in this area -- and she truly makes a connection between the city-dwelling tourists, the longtime locals and mother nature. 

We stayed an extra couple of days to take a break from the rat race and to get back in touch.  And speaking of Big Creek -- wow! -- we took an 11-mile float on these cool sit-on-top kayaks.  We read that this was a Class II or III float, but we've done a lot of canoeing, so for the first 4 or 5 miles it was a complete blast!  We breezed through one exciting rapids after another, sliding effortlessly through waves and white water, with the kayaks sitting so high in the water that we hardly touched bottom even in the shallow rushing waters. 

Big Creek has everything you want in a gorgeous mountain stream -- and it's crystal clear.  You can see to the bottom even in the deepest pools.  We were cruising along thinking, "Hey we're pretty good at this.  Class III is nothing," when we came flying around a turn and saw the first shut-ins!!  Oh me, oh my!  Boulders of every size with water pouring between and over them, 2 and 3-foot drops randomly spaced, the overall level of the creek dropping severely through the shut-ins so that you could almost not see the end of them, but you could hear a waterfall-like sound down there, and big bluffs on either side.  We hadn't heard anything about this, so Paul went ahead.  He quickly jumped off the kayak and tried to stop as best he could.  We then gingerly walked through the shut-ins, which in itself was no easy task and pulled the kayaks over the boulders.  That part was surprisingly easy.  We said, Ah, so THIS is Class III.   

We are happy to report though, that by the time we came to the third shut-ins (which we have to admit was much mellower), we went for it!  And we're still here to tell the story today! 

My wish for all of you is that you are able to find time to sit by a stream, take a walk, drink in the beauty of mother nature -- smell the roses!  Of course, all of you have your own ways of finding that sense of renewal, so really I wish little moments of peace for all of you -- wherever and however you can find it!

Peace, Win

Click here for Win's "Quotes" of the Month - June 1, 2003

Grace-Ful News on May 9, 2003:

Hello there everyone --

Whew!  It's pretty wild these days here in Missouri.  Yesterday we got 1.9" of rain in 20 minutes.  There have been tornadoes swooping down and changing lives in seconds all over the heartland.  In 1980, our little farmhouse was hit by a tornado (this being Leela's first memory), so we all have a healthy regard for and awe of the beast.  Yesterday it was cold and rainy, and we had to use a little heater.  Today we felt the touch of the first warm wind (a fabulous song by Kat Eggleston!) -- it was 85 degrees with 85% humidity!  Nothing like living in Missouri I always say.

To all the mothers out there -- and if you aren't a mother, then to your mother -- I send all love!  See the First Mother's Day Proclamation -- in 1872! -- from Julia Ward Howe on the Quote of the Month page. 

Congratulations to our friend Ruth Bloomquist (http://www.ruthbloomquist.com/) who just won 1st place in the gospel category of the Chris Austin Songwriting contest at Merlefest.  She won for her song By The River, which I've had the pleasure of singing with her around a Michigan campfire.  Folks, this is no small deal -- There were 794 entries in 4 categories!  We are so proud of you, Ruth!  You deserve it! 

Paul and I are really getting into the French songs (love those voyageur songs!) and French Canadian tunes that we're learning for our Lewis and Clark CD and program.  I've learned how to do Le Pied (the seated clogging that French Canadian fiddlers and singers often do).  I can even do it while playing the accordion, although it's still a little tenuous -- I'm likely at any moment to lose it!  

The best of this blustery blooming spring to all.
May we all find Peace. 
        Win 

Click here for Win's "Quotes" of the Month * May 9, 2003

Grace-Ful News on April 2, 2003:

Dear Friends,
 
        With a lot of help from Paul, Leela and Ellie, on March 26th I organized an event in Columbia that we called SingOut For A Better World.  Wow!  For over two hours, we (meaning everybody there!) sang (and sang... and sang...) with breaks for little shoulder rubs and stretches.  The large room was packed full and overflowing with wonderful people who came together to raise their voices in song; to overcome and leave behind their sadness, guilt, confusion, anger and fear; and to sing together in hopes for a better world.  I was certainly lifted up by the beautiful voices -- and many people have commented that it was just what they needed. 
 
        We did only enough talking to introduce and teach the songs, and we sang for a full two hours.  Some people brought instruments and jammed along on some songs and all brought their enthusiastic and beautiful voices.  When the song was a sing-along the song leaders brought song sheets, so that the singers took home some great song ideas with them.  Hopefully this idea will spread!  The SingOut was a perfect fit for Paul and me because well first, we were worn out with speeches and talking and news and second, because we don't believe in foisting our ideas on our audiences.  Instead we simply sing the songs, letting the songs speak for themselves -- trying to bring a smile, tell a story, raise the level of joy and community, as our community eventually expands to include the whole wide world.

        Besides making beautiful music and coming together as a community we also collected $635 for Oxfam America (http://www.oxfamamerica.org) to be used for humanitarian relief in Iraq.  No matter how you feel about the war, whether you favor it to liberate the Iraqi people or you are against it because of the suffering it will cause to the Iraqi people, this aid goes straight to the Iraqi civilians in crisis to assist with critical survival needs.  Oxfam is privately funded and has a policy of not accepting funds from any "belligerents" in any conflict so that their aid cannot be used as an instrument of foreign policy.

        But back to the SingOut music!  In order to keep the focus on the music, I did not introduce the song leaders at all or tell of the great events and the many good works that are happening in the area that many of those in attendance are part of.  Paul and I started the evening off with several songs -- and we were literally blown away by the gorgeous and enthusiastic singing from those in attendance. During the first song, the whole group even modulated flawlessly in the middle of the song!  It set the tone for the evening.  Leela and Ellie (Grace) led a few songs and then great area musicians led and performed songs, some complete with motions, dance moves, even signing.  The diversity of the songs was amazing and it was almost miraculous as each song seemed to come along at just the right time! 
        
        Meanwhile, back at the ranch:  We are looking forward to the Big Muddy Folk Festival and practicing hard for our Lewis and Clark program, A Musical Voyage of Discovery, which will be previewed on Saturday night at the festival. 
        And here's to spring which has finally sprung!
 
May we all find Peace, Win

Click here for Win's April 3, 2003 Quotes of the Month!

Grace-Ful News on March 10, 2003:

Dear Friends,

        We are busy doing fun stuff like taxes, booking summer and fall engagements, and (real fun stuff!!) working with Cathy Barton, Dave Para and Bob Dyer on a Lewis and Clark CD Through the Garden, with recording tentatively scheduled to begin in May.  These songs and tunes will also be used in a program for festivals, theaters, and schools entitled A Musical Voyage of Discovery.  We'll debut some of the songs at the Big Muddy Folk Festival in Boonville in April (See calendar.).  It's quite simply a joy to play and sing with these folk(ies)! 
 
        We're also excited to be part of a tribute album in honor of our friend, local folk legend Lee Ruth.  We recorded a beautiful version of Lee's song, Grow Garden Grow (a.k.a. Song for a Lady and Her Garden).  Leela and Ellie added gorgeous vocals to the song -- I guarantee if you played this song for your garden, it would grow faster, greener and more beautifully than you would believe.  Others adding their interpretations of Lee's songs to this album are Chris Vallillo, Jack Williams, Cathy Barton and Dave Para, Lou William, Bob Dyer, Ken Shepherd -- and many more!  Thanks to Steve Donofrio for coordinating the project and KOPN Radio (www.kopn.org) for co-sponsoring it. 
 
        Last fall, Paul and I were asked to consult and select music from our albums to underscore the script for a film, The Mountains of Antiquity, on the history of Missouri's St. Francois Mountains.  We are thrilled to announce that Steve Twitchell Productions received a national award for audio production on the film --  a 2002 Communicator Award, the Crystal Jade Award of Excellence.  This film will be shown over Memorial Day weekend at Sam A Baker State Park (in the St. Francois Mountains!) before our Monday morning sing there (See calendar).  
 
        Our five days at the international convention of the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance in Nashville was exhausting (unofficial name, The Sleep Deprivation Festival), exhilarating, refreshing, uplifting and overwhelming all at the same time.  It was attended by roughly 3,000 folk musicians, booking agents, publishers and writers, folk fans, music presenters (from coffeehouses to major festivals), graphic artists, record duplicators, and record labels.  This was a truly international gathering -- with attendees from Denmark, the UK, Australia, South Africa, Canada (lots!) and more... 
 
For those of you who are interested, here are tales from the Folk Alliance.  If you'd like to skip to the Old News Page, feel free!
 
First Amendment Center Show:
A spellbinding, entertaining and thought-provoking program by the First Amendment Center on censorship, especially as relates to music -- from today all the way back to the time of the Revolutionary War.  What was amazing to me was the group of six incredibly talented musicians who were able to perform every piece of music from traditional 18th century ballads to Steppenwolf to Iris Dement, while staying true to the style of the piece.  Music has always been a cornerstone of an informed democracy, and it remains so today, more than ever.
 
Sing for Peace!
A Sing for Peace led and participated in by folk luminaries -- where we SANG for an hour and a half -- no talking, no speeches, no introductions -- nothing but song.   Paul and I have always had a policy for our concerts to let the songs speak for themselves.  If it's gospel, there will be no preaching, if it's a protest song (from the 1860's??!! -- yes we know some of them!) there will be no political statements.  We always want to bring joy to the listeners, to tell a story with the music, not to foist our views on them.  The Sing was right along the same line, and for that reason it was pure joy for us.

Singing songs from the audience and at the mikes were Reggie Harris, Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Franke, Pete Seeger's grandson (?? - no introductions, so I don't know all the names), Sarah Lee Guthrie, Tret Fure, Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Ronnie Cox, Ken Whiteley, Pete and Maura Kennedy, Lucy Blue Tremblay, Small Potatoes, Still on the Hill, John McCutcheon, Si Kahn, and hundreds of others.  A Spanish song was sung, a group from Denmark sang, a French song was sung -- some were beautifully crafted stories, and some were well-known songs that we all joined in there -- everyone there was a singer. 

 
After more than an hour of pure song we started singing Down By the Riverside.  When we came to I Ain't Gonna Study War No More, everyone jumped up as one and started dancing and clapping.  The whole group then spontaneously danced and sang our way from the Convention Center lobby into the 3-story Renaissance Hotel lobby where part of the group sang their way up the escalators to the second and third floors and circled the lobby until the hotel was simply filled with a song of joy and hope for peace.  I began with a heavy weight of sadness as many of us wept, having been through this before.  Many were holding hands to buoy each other up as we sang, and by the end, we were uplifted and ready to sing again for the world. 
 
Music! Showcases!
Everywhere you went, 24 hours a day, there was music -- high quality folk music, in all its possible variety!  The official showcases were stellar of course.  The three-woman Native American group, Ulali, was spellbinding and powerful.  There were showcases taking place in rented Convention Center rooms and in hotel rooms on the "Music Floors."  I heard a total count of 2,000 showcases for the event!
 
Paul and I showcased, as did Leela and Ellie (Grace a separate act!) as part of the Best of the Midwest showcase -- a name the group of musicians (Dennis Warner, Al & Emily Cantrell, Small Potatoes, Curtis and Loretta, and Chuck Suchy) came up with ourselves, we freely admit!  We were in a hotel room, with beds moved and a few chairs and lots of snacks brought in, and we each took 15-minute slots, beginning at 11:15 p.m. and running until 2 a.m. (ack!).  We all secretly agreed ahead of time that we would all be each other's interested audience if no presenters or radio folks showed up to hear us.  Fortunately, there were always at least a few people at each one of our sets, so we actually had a great time and really enjoyed and were inspired by each others' music.  Leela and Ellie brought their step-a-tunes (very small dance boards) and did clogging routines for their showcase, which was very interesting given the small space!  It was like being part of a small (very small!) folk festival!
 
There were many musical groups who were pushing really hard: playing loudly wherever they could be noticed (One bluegrass group got on an elevator, pushed all 25 buttons and then played quickly for whoever was waiting for the elevator when the doors opened.); pushing their CD's and promotional items (including much-welcomed chapstick and hot sauce!) on you if you so much as looked at them; and papering any available spot with slick full-color posters advertising their hotel room showcases.  We found it quite entertaining really, although we chose not to take that approach ourselves -- and the quality of the music was ALWAYS great! 
 
Panels, Workshop Sessions, Meetings!
The panels, workshop sessions and meetings -- most were simply amazing.  The Gospel Sing was a wonderful group affair led by the fabulous Ken Whiteley.  The Woody Guthrie song circle included Arlo, his daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie, Jimmy Lefave, and a sing-a-long audience of professional folkies -- Wow!  It doesn't get much better than that! 
 
Paul and Leela attended a 3-hour session by Janis Ian on Artistry, and were completely inspired and awed.  I attended a session by Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant Williams, where she worked with several vocal phrasing, rhythm and other techniques using volunteers who sang their own songs.  She has a completely positive and unique approach, and you could hear a total difference in the understandability, rhythm, and vocal tone when she worked with them.  
 
There were peer group meetings where common problems and issues were shared and discussed -- festival presenters (Now that was enough to discourage you from applying to perform at a festival!), performers, traditional performers, FARM (the Midwest Folk Alliance group which is known for being much more relaxed and "down home" than the other regions!), the Folk DJ's.  I'm only scratching the surface here -- there were at least 40 other sessions that I didn't get to. Lifetime achievement awards were presented to Ralph Stanley and to SingOut! I found out that SingOut
 
Country Music Hall of Fame:
There was a fabulous reception and tour at the Country Music Hall of Fame which was all we really saw of Nashville.  (We were essentially in our own little folk world most of the time.)  My favorite part of the Hall of Fame was when I noticed in the pictures of the very early country bands (from early radio days), that they all had a piano accordion in them!!  How quickly we forget...  I could not tolerate being in the museum for long because of the un-nerving barrage of different recordings that I could hear simultaneously -- I'm thinking that most by-ear musicians would be equally un-nerved. 
 
The Exhibit Hall:
There were hundreds of tables and booths.  We had a table and though we don't know what effect it may have had on our career, it was a wonderful time for visiting with old friends and meeting new friends. 
At the luncheon gathering of Folk DJ's, we were told that the Graces in any combination were mentioned several times over as people to look for.  After that, many DJ's asked for copies of our CD's, which we willingly gave.  That did our hearts good, let me tell you! 
 
        I am truly proud to be part of this worldwide folk community -- in some way, the whole event reaffirmed for me that we are doing the right thing with our lives.   And on a positive note, for years our daughters Leela and Ellie have been the only musicians their age at gatherings of musicians, at the Folk Alliance, and at folk festivals.  But at this Folk Alliance gathering, I noticed that the next generation is coming right along!  They were there -- lots of musicians in their 20's, and even younger.  They're talented, skilled and innovative, but not without a strong grounding in their various traditions.  Yes!! 
 
Sending the best to you from sunny but chilly Missouri!  I know any day now we'll have a gorgeous 70 degree day -- just the other day I heard a few spring peepers weakly peeping away!

Peace, Win

Click HERE for Win's March 10, 2003 Quotes of the Month

Click here for Win's December 29th ('02) Quotes of the Month

Grace-Ful News on December 5, 2002:

Hello!

Paul & I are thrilled to be attending the international convention of the Folk Alliance (North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance) in Nashville in February.  And we're doubly delighted to be invited to perform at the best of the Midwest showcase while we're there.  Other Best Midwesterners are The Cantrells, Curtis and Loretta, Leela and Ellie Grace, Dennis Warner, Small Potatoes, and Chuck Suchy.  The convention is a gas for us because we get to be with our dear friends from the widely-flung community of folk musicians and of the people who make it possible for us to make a living doing what we love -- the presenters, the fans, the booking agents, the record label representatives, the photographers, CD duplicators, the publishers -- almost all of whom are musicians as well.  See www.folk.org for more info about the Folk Alliance. 

We're also looking forward to playing at First Night Columbia this year.  This will be a truly unique and wonderful experience for me because every other time I've performed there, I was either Festival Coordinator/Artistic Director of the whole 12-venue event or volunteer Entertainment Chair or running sound and being an MC/Stage Manager.  Wow!  I will not have any excuse this time if I'm distracted!  The doors open at 5:30 and our concert at the First Christian Church starts at 6:00, so don't come late, or you'll miss us! 

The lineup of entertainment is fabulous this year!  Al Berard and his Swamp Friends are coming up from Louisiana to cook up some hot Cajun music!  Fabulous Celtic Band Anam Ri will be stirring things up along with bluegrass classics Eddie and Martha Adcock.  And this is only about 5% of the entertainment that you'll have to choose from!!  I think First Night would be worth coming into town for and the Regency Hotel which is located in downtown Columbia...just steps away from the 9 stages...is offering a 40% discount on rooms to out of town guests.   The contact numbers are 1-877-9downtown or (573)443-2090.   Just say that you're coming to First Night.

We're playing lots of music these days -- many varied types of gigs, from dances to historical Christmas programs -- always giving us a chance to learn something new and different.  The latest new song is Il est Ne Le Divin Enfant, a French Christmas song sung in the French community in Old Mines (La Vielle Mine), MO.  I've become obsessed with playing waltzes on the accordion! My current faves are Michelle's Waltz (from Claudio Buchwald of the Monks) and the gorgeous Scottish waltz The Banks of the Dee (learned from Cathy Barton and Dave Para). 

Paul is busily practicing the music for The Selfish Giant, the world premiere of the Russ Brown original musical adaptation of the Oscar Wilde story.  This is a TRYPS (Theater Reaching Young People in the Schools) production running December 11-15th in Columbia. 

On a different and starry-eyed note, a highlight for the Grace gang was the Leonid Meteor Shower that happened in the early morning of November 19th.  All four Graces went to bed in our warmest clothes -- Leela and Ellie at their separate houses in Columbia and Paul and I at our southern Boone County end-of-the-road home.  At 3:30 our alarm went off and Paul went outside to see if it was clear and if there were actually any meteors -- yes!!  Leela and Ellie called, saying, "Meteor-Mobile is rolling!"  By 4:00 a.m. we were all lying out in the field under a jumble of blankets and oooo'ing and aaahhh'ing at the glorious show.  When I dashed into the house to get more pillows and blankets, they counted 27 shooting stars that I missed!  We were lying there rating the shooting stars, telling bad jokes, thinking about how nice and warm it would be in bed, singing star songs, and trying to be quiet (very very difficult for us!) in order to enjoy the pristine nighttime (which is when we heard the cows munching away somewhere nearby and the coyotes howling and the Varmint creeping up on us).  Paul's famous pancakes the next morning made it all complete.

May Joy be with you all!

Peace (on Earth, Good Will to All!), Win

Click here for Win's December 5th Quote of the Month

Click here for the: Quote of the Month -- October 30th!

Letter from Paul:                                            October 2, 2002

Hello to all our friends.  Even though it’s October, the last few days have still felt like summer. It is beginning to look like fall here in the Cedar Creek valley with the trees just starting to show some color.

Life for us continues to move at a rapid pace. September seems like a blur, packed with many performances in our fine state of Missouri. Highlights of the last month include a day in St. Louis with an international gathering of highway engineers complete with a boat ride on the Becky Thatcher and a visit to the Arch. We also learned that engineers are not afraid to cluck like chickens when asked to do so.

Another new and interesting place that we visited was the George Washington Carver National Historic Site in Diamond, MO. It’s a lovely park dedicated to a most remarkable man. Win and I provided sound, emcee, and stage management services along with a couple performances for their event, Prairie Day.

Other days were spent singing from a gazebo looking out on the Mississippi River at Clarksville, singing and playing for Webb City Mining Days, Boone County Heritage Festival, Pioneer Festival in Marquand, and for a gathering of Airstream RV owners. Whew, I get worn out just writing about it.

In October we are doing 13 performances in six days of a theatrical adaptation of Tom Sawyer for TRYPS, a professional theater for young people. Win and I will, of course, be selecting and providing music for the show.  One scene (in the graveyard) will feature the old tune Greasy Coat played in a very spooky manner on fiddle and organ.  The music will then become a permanent part of the play.

On November 1st, we’ll be returning to Dallas for a visit to Uncle Calvin’s Coffee House, one of the truly fine listening rooms in the country and for an evening with the Dallas Folk Song Society. See the calendar for details and we hope to see you somewhere down the line.

Peace,  Paul

Click here for the: Quote of the Month -- October 2nd!

September 2, 2002

Hello All!  Happy Labor Day!  

 Where did the summer go?  But not to worry, it still feels like summer here in Missouri.  Our lovely town is hopping these days with the addition of 25,000 students in the last few weeks -- warm summer evenings find them prowling downtown in interesting costumes, perhaps looking for love in all the wrong places -- who knows?  As a people watcher, I find it all very entertaining...  You never know what you're going to see in downtown Columbia -- people climbing trees, playing music, doing a theater piece (on purpose or not...).  I love it! 
 Rocky Mountain National Park was just as lovely as it could be -- see photos in our web site scrapbook!  (For those of you new to our newsletter, in late July both duos were booked to play at Rocky Mountain National Park.)  We hiked and played and hiked and ate and played and slept.  Aaaah!   The people who live in Colorado, our audiences, the people we met on the trail and in the campground -- what is it about the mountains that attracts this kind of good energy?  We were amazed at the lack of trash in the park, and we began to realize that in spite of all the great volunteers and staff at the park, there is no way they could keep up with the trash if the "tourists" were throwing it!  Wow!  The people themselves were keeping it pristine, knowing the Park for the treasure that it is. 
 Paul and I have oodles of performances coming up in September -- check the calendar out.  We're dusting off (Paul says, digging up) our mining songs for Mining Days, and are working on preparing the music for Jill Womack's theatrical adaptation of Tom Sawyer which will be presented by TRYPS (Theater Reaching Young People in the Schools) in Columbia in early October.  For this production we will be onstage during the production -- looking on from the deck of a "steamboat."  Should be interesting!!
 We've also recently finished assisting with the underscoring of a Missouri Department of Natural Resources film, The Mountains of Antiquity, about the St. Francois Mountains and several of the wonderful parks there, including our favorite, Sam A. Baker State Park.  Five songs from our albums were used throughout the film, including Bob Dyer's "Talking Waters"  and Ellie (Grace's) "Autumn Harvest."  It should be out in late October, from what we hear. 
 Hope to see you along the way.  Enjoy the sweet journey of life.
 Peace, Win

September 2, 2002 News of Leela & Ellie as told by Win (a.k.a. Mom):

        Disclaimer:  This is told from the parental viewpoint, and as such, may not represent reality and certainly could not possibly be objective in any way!!

 Leela and Ellie have performed two lovely full-evening concerts in Missouri in the last couple of weeks -- one in St. Louis, chock full of relatives and one in Columbia, chock full of friends.  Of course, there were people in the audience who weren't relatives or friends, but by the end of the evening they were certainly part of the extended family.  Thanks to those who came out and made these evenings a resounding success. 

            Many of you know that Leela was considering moving to the east coast to pursue music on her own.  However, since she and Ellie were having such a great time performing and touring together, and since bookings for the two of them were coming in almost without effort, it seemed to Leela that possibly the universe had something different in mind...  She recently decided to stay in Columbia for the next year at least in order to pursue her music career with Ellie and to record a new album as a duo. (Feel free to request songs that you'd like to hear on this album. E-mail Leela with requests at lgrace@coin.org.)   Ellie is still in her same house near downtown Columbia, which also serves as a dance studio.  Leela found a lovely apartment on a quiet one-block street not too far from downtown, with a huge front porch that's just right for banjo picking.  They are busily performing, beginning to book some tours (to the east coast in November, for one) and are enjoying being settled into this lovely community.

        And now, for all of you who are confused about whether we're performing as The Grace Family or not, follow this link for the straight scoop, complete with a history of the family band.

Enjoy!  Win (Grace)

June 1, 2002

Yes-sir-eee-Bob!!  Summer is here!  And just in the nick of time, our screen porch is done!  It is literally a work of art -- a cathedral in the woods, and yet attached to our house.  Only a little bit of painting and landscaping left to do...  We hope that it won't be like our web site -- never finished, always an evolving work!  We are discovering that a lot goes on in the yard and woods surrounding our house that we weren't aware of.  We live overlooking the beautiful Cedar Creek Valley in southern Boone County, Missouri, and on the first evening that we sat out on the porch we were visited by a lovely silver fox and treated to a symphony of the music of the Missouri woods.  As self-employed musicians, we've always lived on the edge financially, but we knew somehow or other that playing music was what we were meant to do.  Now we both feel rich indeed to be able to live in this beautiful place and to make a living doing something we love.  Peaceful breakfasts on the screen porch are simply the icing on the cake! 

And yes!  Our albums are now available at several places on the internet.  All in-print titles, including cassettes, are available at Kate Akers' amazing site:   www.Chivalry.com.  We're the anomaly on this site as Chivalry features primarily Celtic music -- all great stuff!  Check it out!

Our CD's Love's Lasting Light and In Dreams I Hear The Music are now available online at CDStreet and CDBaby.  If you have either of these albums, you can (hint, hint...) go to these sites and write a review.  One sentence will suffice!  On CDStreet, you can even vote to give us a 1-10 ranking as artists.  We have one vote so far for us as 10's and we're really hoping that 10 is the highest.  Let's say it is...

Here are the links:
Love's Lasting Light on CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/gracefamily2
In Dreams I Hear The Music on CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/gracefamily

As you can see from our calendars, both the Parental Units and The Daughter Duo have lots of fun gigs coming upHere's hoping we see you along the way!  Come up and say hello.  In the meantime...

Peace, Win

May 1, 2002

Hello Music Lovers -- 

Hope this finds you all enjoying this fine drizzly spring day.  We are almost done with our new screen porch.  It is attached to our house, but nestled into the trees -- what a great place for playing music (sans the bugs, the rain, the sun)!  Can't wait...

Our season is really shaping up.  We are thrilled to be part of the 30th Annual Indiana Fiddlers' Gathering, and thrilled, too, that Leela and Ellie are also booked!  Both duos are also booked for a concert performance at Rocky Mountain National Park in July.  We are happy campers!  We can't imagine anyplace more beautiful than Colorado in July! 

Paul and I are always pleased to play for the hometown crowd at the Shelter Gardens Concert in Columbia.  The gardens are gorgeous, the sound is good, the audience is full of dear friends, avid supporters, and people who have known us since way back when -- some since I was a twinkle in my parents' eyes! 

Leela and Ellie's calendar is really filling up with performances as well.  Both of them have mentioned to me how much they love teaching and working with their instrument, dance and harmony students.  It is wondrous to watch people open up to the joy that music and dance bring.  They're both quite adept at facilitating this process without getting in the way too much.  It's called teaching!  Now they understand how Paul & I felt as we watched music and dance pour fourth from both of them as they grew.  What a thrill!  We're still watching!  (And, we admit it, this is why we love working in schools!)

Got to get back to the porch -- the inspector is coming!

Peace, Win

January 31, 2002

Hi everyone! Here's hoping this finds you warm and dry -- it's yukky out today!  Just a quick note today.

On the music scene, we are all just pleased as punch to be performing (Both duos are booked!) at the 30th Annual Indiana Fiddlers' Gathering in Battleground, IN.  This well-organized festival has one of the best audiences anywhere and the deal is more than sweetened by some of the best jams to be found here on earth.

Paul & I are personally looking forward to The Big Muddy Folk Festival, which is coming right up in Boonville, MO, not only because Leela and Ellie are featured performers (Proud parents bust their buttons...) and because the festival is hosted by amazing musicians and dear friends Cathy Barton and Dave Para and historian/songwriter Bob Dyer, but because the lineup is stellar!  Among others, Ray Abshire's (Nathan Abshire's nephew) Cajun band will be performing along with the inimitable Lou and Peter Berryman.  Sounds like accordion heaven to me!

The best to all of you.  And now, I must get back to figuring out the sales taxes.

 Peace,  Win

December 12, 2001

Dear Friends,

Welcome, welcome to our new Grace Family Music web site!  What an amazing medium this is! Thanks to our previous Web Master, Dan Klarmann and our present Web Mistress, Kate Akers, I now know an teensie, weensie bit about how to do this web thing! Our hats are off to these two phenomenally creative and talented individuals.

And now for news of the four Graces and their winter meanderings (in order by age so as to be totally fair!):

Skip to News of Leela and Ellie (unfair!):

Paul & Win: Paul and I so enjoyed our November Fiddle, Folk and Feet residency with the students at North Shelby Elementary School near Bethel, MO. We are thrilled to be able to pass along the joy that we find in music and to give our students a successful and positive experience with being A PART OF music and dance. We were thrilled with the response to the Community Concert/Dance that was held at the end of the week. Thanks in part to the skill of caller Jim Thaxter, the students enthusiastically danced old time contras, circle dances and play parties and dragged their parents and grandparents out on the floor to dance as well! It was a joy to watch it unfold!

During these clear winter days, Paul and I are reveling in the beauty of the place that we live. Our home overlooks the Cedar Creek valley in southern Boone County. The sun is shining golden on the hills across the creek as I write this. We feel lucky to live here. Winter brings us time to stick a little closer to home. We are able to spend time doing the things that we love to do like playing music and getting together with friends and family and also doing those things that we need to be doing, like getting a mailing out before our "new" album is a year old, going through and getting rid of unnecessary "stuff" that we seem to accumulate. (Where does it come from? Where does it go, Cotton-Eyed Joe?)

Paul: Paul just finished playing fiddle, mandolin, and guitar for the original children’s musical, The Selfish Giant, a Russ Brown adaptation of the Oscar Wilde story, which was presented by a local professional children’s theater organization, TRYPS (Theater Reaching Young People in the Schools). We will both be researching, underscoring, and playing music for a TRYPS production in the fall of 2002, possibly a Little House play. Watch for it on our calendar! Besides this, Paul has been occasionally substitute teaching at the State School for the Severely Handicapped, where the students get a Paul Grace concert every afternoon. He is also busy cutting wood to keep us warm this winter, and spends a lot of time enjoying the night sky with his newly acquired lifetime telescope, a 12½ -inch Dobsonian.

Win: These days, besides trying to figure out how in the world this web thing works, I am "getting down" on the piano. Like the accordion, I find it to be an instrument that is mind-boggling in terms of the possibilities. On the piano, I have been playing fiddle tunes and waltzes, both melody and backup (but not both at the same time yet!). As a child and teen, I played piano from written music, but have never mastered being able to play (by ear) what I hear in my head or being able to back up my singing. It’s a challenge! I never had this problem with accordion or autoharp, because I always played them by ear.

I am feeling a renewing of my creative energy. I SO enjoyed the 4½ years I spent working with First Night Columbia in various capacities, but mainly as Artistic Director/Festival Coordinator. But with our music career continuing to bloom without much attention from us and with First Night growing by leaps and bounds at the same time, by January of 2001 I became, quite frankly, burned out. After a good two months of being totally unproductive in any sense (staring at the wall) and a few more months of beginning to enjoy life again, I’d like to report: I’m back! Yippee!

Disclaimer: The news below is from the mother’s point of view and as such, may not represent anything actually approaching reality.

Leela and Ellie: Leela and Ellie are both performing, mainly as a duo, but sometimes solo as well. They’re looking forward to being on the staff of Dance Week in Berea, KY at the end of December where they’ll get to have loads of fun with great friends, Wild Asparagus. Speaking of great friends, in January Leela and Ellie will be playing a dance in St. Louis with fiddler and violin maker Geoff Seitz. When they play with Geoff, they’re called The Gray Squirrels.

Leela and Ellie have been in high demand for their workshops and lessons in harmony singing, and various percussive dance forms at dance and music camps and festivals around the country.

Leela: Leela has rented an apartment in Columbia in the hip East Campus neighborhood. She is primarily making her living playing music, but she’s also working part-time to add a little structure to her life. (You self-employed people know the challenge I’m talking about!) She has begun teaching private banjo lessons and is starting her first session of group harmony singing lessons (Folk Chorus!) in February.  She’s gathering tools together for her life’s work — she now has a computer with CD re-writer, she hopes at some point in the near future to record an album of her music.

Leela really enjoyed the residency she did with the Westchester (NY) Symphony last April. She spent time working in the schools as the representative of traditional folk music -- playing banjo, singing, doing a little hambone and some clog dancing. She then performed the old time song Sundown on banjo with the Westchester Symphony backing her up! (Just picture it...)  She hopes to do more school assemblies and residencies in the future.

As always, she simply wails on the banjo, but recently she’s been heavily into playing the guitar, having lots of fun with the DADGAD tuning. She has just written an incredible song (working title Never Forgotten).  She wrote it for Ellie for her college graduation but it has a universally understood theme (I’m not telling....) and a gorgeous melody. I know, I know, it’s the mother talking here... but just wait ‘til you hear it, I think you’ll agree!

Ellie: Ellie has rented a cute little house near downtown Columbia, which, for those of you who have never been to mid-Missouri, is a happening place! Ellie is enjoying having a place of her own, and especially enjoys cooking and baking in her cute little kitchen. Every time we stop by, she has cookies or muffins or some other delicious and healthy treat! She even managed to plant a little garden in September and harvested some yummy kale and lettuce from it just recently.

She has converted one of her bedrooms into a dance studio (with a lot of help from Paul, a.k.a. Dad), after the  landlord kindly shored up the floor so that the entire house wouldn’t come tumbling down during the first lesson. In October of 2001, she opened Ellie’s School of Music and Dance. She is teaching private lessons in fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, and group lessons in Irish dance and clog dancing. She has noted with amazement to me just how much you learn when you teach something. Her next sessions begin in January (2002).

Ellie is also working part-time for Diane Huneke’s Creative Garden Design, which involved lots of heavy physical labor. She’s enjoying the work and the structure thing is good too.

That’s it for now... We have many more cool ideas for the web site, but we thought we ought to get what we had so far up and running. Quite frankly, Leela and Ellie’s portion of the site is still a bit out of date. They’ll get to that soon...

May joy be with you! May you find peace in your home. May we all find peace in our everyday lives. May we all learn to love our neighbors as ourselves. May you dance upon the earth!

Peace,    

 

Grace Family Music Home

Last update: 02/01/15 Site maintained by
 Win Grace, Win Grace Home (no spaces) "at" gmail "dot" com 
Leela Grace, Leela "at" GraceFamilyMusic.com and
Chivalry Music www.chivalry.com