Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Rocky the Rhubarbary
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Rocky the Rhubarbary

Kristi Kates - May 23rd, 2011
Why leave home to see a concert when you can have one at your own place?  That’s the spirit of the Rhubarbary Guest Concert series in Harbor Springs.
“In 2006, we put a timber frame addition on our house, which was quite a project,” Harbor Springs musician Dale Scott says with a laugh, “when we got done - we wondered why we had done it.”
Plenty of regional and national folk and jazz musicians know why. Because that addition would become one of Northern Michigan’s most unusual and intimate concert venues.
“We decided it would be the perfect spot for house concerts,” Scott says.
Scott and his wife, Maureen Scott, are well known around the region as the Peacemeal String Band, so who better to host those very concerts in the Scotts’ own house - and a concert series was born.

The large timber frame addition features big windows and vista views of the Scotts’ gardens, as well as their resident chickens and a small flock of sheep. Not your typical venue, true - but the Scotts, with all of their musical experience, have taken a wide range of measures to make the facilities top-notch.
“We can hold as many as 60 people,” Scott says, “and the acoustics are very good. We’ve taken all the walls out of the inside of our house so we can see and hear the performers from just about anywhere. I think it’s a very pleasing and comfortable venue.
And so do the performers. Rhubarbary Guest Concerts run May through October (except for July - “we don’t have any in July, as there are too many other things going on,” Scott says), and have featured such local favorites as Claudia Schmidt and international traveling musician Jack Williams. And sticking with that home-grown feel, the concerts are casual affairs, with chickens clucking away outdoors and cheese and crackers being shared among new friends.
“We encourage people to bring beverages and things along to eat, so we have a little snack break in between sets,” Scott explains, “and in the summer, people can walk through the gardens.”

Speaking of gardens, Scott and his wife’s project does its part to benefit local charities, too, one of the most recent being for local organic gardening non-profit Farming For Our Future; when a special fundraising event isn’t being held, the door charges go to the musicians at a rate much higher than most venues would pay.
“We usually ask for a $12 donation per person for each show,” Scott says, “we keep about $50 for advertising, and the rest goes to the entertainers.”
It’s not really a money-making venture for the Scotts, he explains - “just a way to offer a pleasant venue for our friends and fellow musicians.”
The Scotts have installed a P.A. system for the musicians to use, as well, but he says that many people don’t even use it.
“Like I said, the acoustics are very good,” he enthuses, “Claudia (Schmidt) has played here three or four times, and her voice is so good she doesn’t need a sound system.”
Rhubarbary Farm’s concert room has such natural, organic acoustics that it can actually handle a wide range of musical sounds.  In addition to regular Schmidt, Scott says they’ve also had string bands, jazz musicians, and a duo of hammer dulcimer players, among others.
Upcoming shows will include vintage country musician Mary Sue Wilkinson along with Roger Brown; jazz/swing guitarist and folk singer Ray Kamalay (“he’ll be here later this summer or early in the fall,” Scott says); local guitarist Steve Little; and a return visit from Schmidt. More benefit shows are also in the works.
“In late August, we’re planning to start an annual fundraiser for the local food banks,” Scott says, “our band Peacemeal will be playing at that; we’ll try to get another local group or individual to donate their time, and then the funds will go to the food banks.”

Peacemeal fans will probably wonder how often they’ll get to see Peacemeal themselves perform at Rhubarbary Farm; but according to Scott, those performances are few and far between.
“We don’t really normally perform here ourselves,” he chuckles, “we try to get jobs elsewhere, and promote other people here.”
So just how taxing is it to have that many people showing up at your house on a semi-regular basis?
“We’ve learned to do this without it being a huge imposition on our lives,” Scott explains, “the first couple of times, it was like, ‘holy cow, what have we done,’ trying to make sure everything was perfect.  But the reality is, this is where we live, and people seem to enjoy visiting our house to enjoy an evening of music.”
“Being musicians ourselves, we know it’s really nice when you can go to a place where people are really listening to you,” he continues, “they’ve showed up to hear you, they aren’t babbling in the background, and you aren’t playing as background music. It’s a nice thing, and you walk away with some cash in your pocket, too. It’s really rewarding, knowing that we’ve been able to assist the local and traveling minstrels so that they can continue to do what they do.”

Mary Sue Wildkinson and Roger Brown perform June 5 at the Rhubarbary.   For more info on the series, visit www.peacemealstringband.com (see “Upcoming Events”), or  phone   231-537-7339. All shows take place at the Scotts’ Rhubarbary Farm in Harbor Springs.
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