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    Last May and June 8th

    It was very bittersweet at Natalie and Larry’s beautiful house May 11th.  Our theme was “Sing In Groups”, but we were also remembering our dear secretary/treasurer, Carolyn.  We sang in a group of Carolyn’s children, and we learned some of the history of the Detroit Folklore Society.  Katie brought old newspaper articles and photos and told of how she and Carolyn began the Half Lyre together in the summer of 1964.  It is hoped that over the summer Katie and Marilyn can meet to gather much more historical information to post regarding the history of DFS.

    Carolyn’s youngest daughter, Karol, began the evening with “Bonny Portmore”, a song that tells the story of the leveling of the forests of the Highlands in northern Scotland (Carolyn’s beloved Scotland) for military and shipbuilding purposes.  It is a traditional Celtic folksong, but can be heard on You Tube by both Loreena McKinnett (from her album, The Visit) and Laura Creamer (from Highlander the Series Volume II).  Next, Marilyn sang an old DFS favorite, “In My Mother’s House”, as we’ve been singing Stuart Stotts’ song in our group for years, and,  Susanne followed with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, where we all hope to meet again some day.  Larry led us in “Sweet Afton”, which was originally a poem about the Afton Water in Ayrshire, Scotland.  It was written by Robert Burns in 1791 and set to music by Jonathan E. Spilman in 1837, under the title “Flow Gently, Sweet Afton”, as Robert Burns was always one of Carolyn’s favorites, it was performed in her honor.  Nail your feet to the kitchen floor, ’cause “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, is a song by Bob Dylan, originally released on Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume II in 1971 and sung many times by the DFS, but this time, led by Charlene.  Carolyn and Bob’s daughter, Kim, and her husband, Jay, led us in “The Water is Wide” (the James Taylor version), also known as “O Waly, Waly”, an old Irish folk song first published in 1724.  Our Co-President, Ted, led us in another old DFS favorite, “Ramblin’ Boy” from American folk singer, Tom Paxton’s debut album in 1964.  Bob and Carolyn’s Karen was next, and she sang another of our old, well-loved songs, Bruce “Utah” Phillips’ “The Goodnight-Loving Trail” about a disgruntled cowhand on the trail from Texas southwest to Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos River. Larry’s cousin, Eddy, played mandolin wonderfully well to a song he composed entitled, “Dance With Me Betsy”, which was very easily followed by the group. Jacqui sang while Karol signed “Amazing Grace”.  Both did a beautiful job and we all gladly sang along.  Buddy Wasisname and The Otherfellers wrote “By The Glow Of The Kerosene Light”, but Denny led us in singing the song he and Claire fell in love with while listening to it performed by The Once.  “Wild Mountain Thyme” (also known as “Purple Heather” and “Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?”) is a folk song written by Francis McPeake, a member of a well known musical family in Belfast, of Scottish origin and was sung by Bob and Carolyn’s family as we all sang along.  Claire led us in “Morning Has Broken”, written to the tune, “Bunessan” which was composed in the Scottish Highlands and written as a hymn to give thanks for each day by Eleanor Farjeon, an English author, in 1931, but popularized by Cat Stevens in 1971.  Carol and Bob’s daughter, Kim, led us in “Mairi’s Wedding”, a Scottish folk song originally written in Gaelic and known also as “Mairi Bahn”. She is a marvel on those pipes she plays, and can be hired to play at events.  We learned from her that the bag pipes’ drone is the same note, whereas, the pipes’ drone creates a chord.  As this was also to be Tom’s choice, he led us, instead, in a world-wide beloved song by John Denver and friends, “(Take Me Home) Country Roads”.  Next, Kevin, of the Montgomery clan, led us in “The Larks They Sang Melodious” (also known as “Pleasant and Delightful”, a traditional English ballad) and, Eileen followed with Kate Wolf’s “Great Divide”.  Our delightful hostess, Natalie, reminded us to “Keep On The Sunny Side” of Life by singing a popular American song originally written in 1899 by Ada Blenkhorn with music by J. Howard Entwisle which was popularized in 1928 by The Carter Family, and we all joined in song before we broke to enjoy treats from around the world.

    Our June 8th meeting will be held at Tom and Charlene’s house and the theme will be HONORING FRIENDS (as was chosen for the last HALF LYRE by our beloved Carolyn).  Bring a snack to share, and be there by 8:00 or be square. If you need directions to Tom and Charlene’s, give Marilyn a call at 248 252-6115.  Here’s hoping to see you all at our last meeting until next September.  Have a great summer everyone!

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