Dance Always!

Arizona is host to much cultural activity from Scottsdale’s art galleries to Tucson’s Opera. From many varieties of museums everywhere to the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. From Tucson’s Irish step dancers to the Phoenix Ballet and Ballet Arizona. But, one very colorful multi-cultural activity is reserved just for folks like you. Anyone can participate at any age with or without a partner.

International Folk Dancing is alive and very well all over Arizona from the high country of Prescott to the Southern Sonoran Desert Country of Green Valley and the in-between places of Tucson and Phoenix. In Green Valley on any Sunday afternoon, you will find them dancing:

On most Sunday afternoons you will also find them dancing in Prescott:

And once a year (this year it was St. Patrick’s Day) on a Sunday you will find many of these faces joined with those from the Tucson International Folk Dancers and the Phoenix International Folk Dancers at the annual Phoenix Folk Dance Festival. Held in recent years at the Shepard of the Valley Church in Glendale, this event is faithfully attended by International Folk Dancers from all over Arizona.

Einstein said it: “Dance for your brain!” And it’s true! Dancing makes you smarter as evidenced by many studies:  “Dancing Makes You Smarter, Longer. … A major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one’s mind by dancing can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages,” Richard Powers.

While International Dancers know this, that’s not the reason they participate and attend gatherings like the one in Phoenix. They do it for the fun, friendship and food. Yes, dancers love to eat and their love of everything ethnic contributes to some very yummy potlucks. It is also great physical exercise and dancing is often recommended by doctors as a way to stay fit. Folk dancing is an easy way to get that exercise because to quote this teacher: “If you can walk, you can folk dance.”

And dance they did starting with, what else, Pot Of Gold:

And the dancing continued:

Dancers from Phoenix:

Sometimes they would take a break and visit for short periods but never for long:

Dancers from Green Valley (top 2) and Tucson:

There are always dance performances at this event between dance sets. This year the Tucson International Dancers gave a performance of 6 Romanian dances with Romanian cheers singing throughout their performance. They were excellent and danced with great enthusiasm allowing everyone attending to truly enjoy their dancing:

For the second performance of the day, the Phoenix Serbian Dancers youth divisions performed admirably. They were also adorable at both age levels:

Prescott dancers:

Note all the wonderful costuming. Some of it is authentic from the many countries represented. Some of it is authentic imitation made by the creative hands of the wearers who tend to every detail to ensure authenticity. Represented here are several examples of both:

The Wild Cossack makes his own costuming that is different each year:

Joan has new red boots this year to compliment her Polish ensemble:

Karen (Tucson) is one of the Romanian dancers in costume from that country. Dick (Prescott) appears to be similarly clad although he usually dances in Serbian shoes that are leather and have long curled, pointed toes:

Millie (Phoenix) has been dancing with the PIFD so long no one remembers when she started. She is usually dressed in Polish costume:

Dee (Green Valley) varied from her usual, authentic Russian costume this year in this interesting ensemble. Many countries have aprons as part of women’s costumes, and embroidered blouses.

And the leader of this dance is one of the leaders of the Phoenix dancers. She did much to make this event happen.

There are always children present as this is a family activity. This fella was described by his dad as a dancer in training:

We cannot pass up the individual section without mentioning this gentleman. He is Joan’s hubby and did a stellar job of announcing, virtually managing the afternoon’s dance program:

This Phoenix costume was unique:

Note the bright colors which are mostly red, white and black with a smattering of blues thrown in. Red, white and black are the standard colors of the Balkan countries and extend into other surrounding countries that will add blues and even purples. This year there was a lot of green!

The group indulged this author by gathering for a group shot. The full group photo is at the top but there were also some great close-ups of sections of the group:

It was a delightful day even if you were just watching. The weather was perfect as it was not too hot and there was a breeze. Dancers get warm in a hurry. The time was up and many left as there were some long drives home. But the dancing continued with the sounds of the Balkans wafting out through the door as dancers went to their vehicles. If ever you are in Phoenix during March, check with the Phoenix International Folk Dancers on their website or their Facebook page to find out the date for this fun event.

Folk dancers have friends all over the world and while they were not in attendance, we remember our FD friends in Florence, Oregon—the Oregon Coast International Dancers. Miss you and wish you could have been with us!



Gosh and Begorrah!

It’s that time of year when we all celebrate the Irish in us even if we don’t have any. We here at do have a bit of it in us through our ancestor, Mary Maroney. Mary was a brave young woman at the age of 16. She left Ireland on a ship headed to America. En route she met an Englishman on board and they were married when the ship docked in the New York Harbor. At least that’s the story her great-granddaughter told to her grandchildren. And we proudly claim the Irish in us.

That was back east. Here in Oregon, the Irish traveled over the Oregon Trail after saving enough money to finance their journey. They arrived in Oregon during the 1840s and 1850s to take advantage of the Oregon Donation Land Claims. The records list 139 Irish immigrants who held claims during this period of time.

Many Irish were farmers and some of them settled on land between the Long Tom and Willamette Rivers north of Junction City and south of Corvallis not far from Eugene. Irish farmers from the East and California were attracted to the rich soil of Marion County and the Catholic Church in St. Paul.

Many Irish were also laborers and immigrated to Portland in the 1870s to lay railway tracks, work on docks, build roads and dig sewers. Other Irish laborers moved to Morrow and Lake Counties and worked on cattle and sheep ranches. Some earned enough and saved to purchase their own land for ranches, open businesses or to go for a college education to become teachers, lawyers and politicians. By the year 2000, nearly 12 percent of Oregon’s population was of Irish descent.

There were three different periods during which the Irish came to Oregon: from 1820 to 1844; then during the famine years of 1845 to 1855; and after the famine to 1930. Most of the Irish immigrants were poor and left Ireland for financial reasons. Most of them were farmers that had depended on potatoes and other hearty crops that would grow in the tough Irish soil. Even though many Irish left Ireland during the potato famine, most left because of the over-bearing British taxes, loss of land and religious persecution. Many Irish immigrants had relatives and friends in America who told of a better life. About 4.5 million Irish immigrated to the United States between 1820 and 1930.  15.7 percent of the 10 million immigrants in the US were Irish by the year 1900.  Most of them didn’t have funds to buy property or start businesses in America. They settled in port cities – Philadelphia, New York, Boston and other New England communities. A few of them reached Portland and the farming country of Oregon.

Information for this article came from:  Robert Donnelly and Joshua Binus of the Oregon Historical Society. 

We love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Moorhens from Northern Ohio! So, tap your toes, dance, sway or move in your own way. It’s about impossible not to be in motion to their music. If you are in Northern Ohio this Saturday, you can find the Moorhens @ Fort’s Tavern in Wellington from 12 PM to 1 PM and @ the American Legion in Sandusky from 5 PM to 7 PM. Come on out and enjoy some great Irish music with the Moorhens!

Virtual Sheet

Music is a passion for many of us. Just listening involves so many pluses for the human mind, body and spirit. But playing intensifies all of those and more. Music also stimulates brain cells to repair and to improve their functions. It makes you smarter. Studies have been done that prove listening to Mozart helps very young children grow to be smarter than they might otherwise have been. It keeps the brains of seniors sharp and functioning. And music provides great joy/pleasure just in and of itself.

There are, of course, many varieties of music in jazz, rock, heavy metal, folk, big band, classical and some I haven’t thought of. Classical music is probably the best teacher and brain stimulator. Playing classical music in small and large groups provides one with a multitude of advantages in joy and preservation of brain functions.

Ah, but how does one participate? With minimal competency, a person can play in both large and small music groups. Orchestras and smaller ensembles all provide everything positive associated with playing music with others. But I especially like the smaller, chamber ensembles of duets, trios, quartets and chamber orchestras. These music situations are more intimate with the music and with the musicians playing together, and, also for the listener attending a chamber concert.

The quest of chamber musicians is to find sheet music to play that is also economical to obtain. It is easy to find expensive sheet music but most chamber groups do not have the means to purchase a lot of expensive music. Enter  For a very nominal annual fee, Virtual provides a wealth of music to download, copy and distribute to musicians in any group to play and enjoy. Virtual’s sheet music copy is a good size, put together well and easy to read. Sometimes less expensive and free music is almost too small to read well or even has too many different parts on a page making it difficult to read. I’ve done a lot of copy, cut, paste and copy again to make more readable pages for single or duet instruments. Virtual makes it easy!

If you play in a smaller group or know those that do, pass along this information to them. They will thank you for it!

This fine violin is for sale. Contact me by leaving a comment and your email address.

Picture of the Day – March 2018

One of our residents, Piane as she is known, took this photo a couple of days ago and we wanted to share it with you. There’s been a lot of rain in Oregon but this was the end of a beautiful day without any rain. This is the Umpqua River which is one of the most beautiful river valleys in the world with some of the best year-round fishing anywhere. The scenery never ends and it all looks just like this. Our residents love living here surrounded by nature’s glory. We love that they enjoy it here and are willing to share their photography with us and you.  You can find us at  For now, enjoy the view!

Let’s Go Fishin’, er Clammin’

One of the fun things you can do on the Oregon Coast is clammin’ for your supper. When the tide is out, you can search the mucky sand for clams. Dressed in hip-high rubber boots and armed with shovel and bucket, the adventure begins. You’ll need a license ($7.00) and be sure and check with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Clam digging is open year around but they do occasionally have some closures, especially for razor clams. You can rent the equipment needed for a whole family experience.

There are many places to dig clams but Coos Bay is an obvious favorite with locals who can often be seen as you cross the restored Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge heading into North Bend/Coos Bay. Just look down at low tide to see the clam diggers. Clams can be prepared in a variety of ways from steaming in a pot to on the grill to preparing them for clam chowder. They are pretty easy to cook although you do need the proper knife to open them.

Whether or not you are into digging and preparing your own clams, head this weekend to the Mill Casino that will be hosting the 29th Annual Clambake Music Festival. There are a variety of styles of music to listen and to dance to from Country Western to Swing and many styles in between. There will be four different dancing and music venues under one roof. You can watch, listen or even dance!

Don’t expect a ‘clambake.’ The term “Clambake” is an old time musical term for a “jam session.” If you aren’t digging for your own clams, you can find delicious ones at the many restaurants around town, including the Plank House at the casino. Great food and great music to please everyone—what could be better this weekend, March 8, 9, 10, 11?!

You can visit the Clambake Music Festival website here:


to view the schedule of events/music and to order tickets ahead of time. But come back to us at We are just 45 minutes away from the casino where you can bring your RV for a peaceful night’s sleep following the busy Clambake Music Festival activities.

Meet Makeshift3

From ancient times to the present, people have gotten together to play music around campfires, in palace halls, in villages and cities. The early instruments were homemade and there were a large variety of them (visit the MIM in Phoenix, AZ to see them all). Many kinds of music existed over the eons including various ethnic folk music, Renaissance, classical and more. There were early, homemade cellos, violas, violins and guitars along with carved woodwinds, many varieties of drums, bagpipes and more. Many of our modern instruments retain the sounds of the originals.

In modern times there has been a rite of passage for musically inclined teens dubbed, “Boy Bands.” High school-aged boys would gather in garages (still do) to play what is usually the music of the day together. Some of them were very good although most of them would disband after those high school years as they went their separate ways. The ones that survived for a few years usually didn’t make much of a dent in the music industry and would eventually fade out.

Not so Makeshift3. This boy band started out in 1995 during their high school years as “Makeshift.” The 3 original musicians in the garage were Ryan Coughlin on bass/vocals, Jeff Lascola on guitar/vocals and Eric Mattson on drums. After graduation, Ryan went to college and was replaced by Eric’s cousin, Tyler Bochenek. They proceeded to rebuild their sound, message and focus and became Makeshift3.

The music of Makeshift 3 is a blend of rock, pop, punk and metal. It can be one or the other or a mix of all of them. Very modern sounds. Their main influences have come from Pantera and Blink 182. And this group has been successful as they persisted with their art over the years. They have been on multiple national tours as well as having earned a spot on the Vans Warped Tour. They have played with many other bands like Slick Shoes and Reel Big Fish. Makeshift3 has been featured in magazines, television interviews and airplay on ESPN. They have also been heard on several Warner Brothers TV shows and many radio stations throughout the US. Some of their music has been ranked # 1 in various genres with over 500,000 listens at

Makeshift3 has produced 4 albums over the years with a variety of record labels. They have also released material with additional record labels for various compilation CDs with other bands. You can find all of this information, and purchase their music, on their website:  The band is currently open to offers from record labels as they plan to release a new EP.

You can find their music on YouTube and here is an example. This selection has some interesting tempo changes and also introduces you to Eric, Jeff and Tyler throughout the video. If this is your kind of music, you will enjoy Makeshift3.  Thanks to Eric for the bio information.

The California Guitar Trio at the MIM

Photo by Jason Kostal

Following Theater Director Patrick Murphy’s introduction on Saturday, February 24, the California Guitar walked on to the Museum of Instrumental Music’s stage in Phoenix, Arizona, and the musical magic began.

The opening piece was Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas.” Originally titled “Classical Gasoline,” this tune was envisioned by Williams to be “fuel” for the classical guitar repertoire. And fuel it was for the seventeen selections played during the ninety minute, non-stop, electrical evening of pure guitar music.

The CGT met 27 years ago during a lengthy Guitar Craft seminar in the English Countryside at the Red Lion House, home of legendary guitarist Robert Fripp. They have been together ever since. Without this gathering place, these three might never have met coming from such diverse backgrounds. Bert Lams is from Affligem, Belgium, Hideyo Moriya is from Tokyo, Japan, and Paul Richards is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. It is their diversity that makes them unique as each one has something different to contribute.

Each of these fine musicians is also a composer and they often compose together. Early in the evening, they played Moriya’s composition titled, “Komorebi” Inspired by the Japanese word, Komorebi, it is a term that in English translates to something like walking in the forest with sunbeams streaming down through the trees. It is also the title of their most recent album. It is a very beautiful tune eliciting the peace and quiet of a walk among the forest trees.

While all of the trio’s compositions were good, one of the best was “The Train to Lamy.” Lamy, now a ghost town, is or was a small town just south of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The trio performed there in the 90s and met a local character they called “the old, hillbilly cowboy.” He was the inspiration for this western sounding piece with its sweet melody, very western strains, the sounds of a train traveling along the tracks and a Spanish-influenced melody within which Lams played a jazzy improvisation. It ended too soon.

Part of their repertoire includes familiar music recorded by the Ventures. The Ventures continue to be an inspiration for the CGT. “Apache” by Jerry Lordan stood out with its western sounds and the trio’s famous sense of humor as they did a walking step during some of it that was inspired by Fripp as a “walk by” during a Guitar Craft seminar. Another selection, the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by Ennio Morricone, gave the trio the opportunity for a bit more humor. Moriya started the piece by playing drum on the wood on his guitar. There’s a short phrase in the music that allowed Richards to tweak it making the audience laugh. And more. At the conclusion of the piece, Richards announced that “This ends the Spaghetti Western portion of the program,” causing great laughter among the audience.

Occasionally between selections, Richards talked about some of their equipment and their guitars. Richards uses a small, hand-held device called an Ebow or Energy Bow. It sits on the strings and keeps them vibrating to obtain some unusual sounds.

Richards also introduced the individual guitars the musicians play. He spoke of the various kinds of woods they are made from. Each one is made from more than one kind of wood. Richards and Moriya both play Breedlove instruments made in Bend, OR. Raymond Kraut of Eugene, OR, made Lams’ hand-built guitar and was in the audience. Jason Kostal of Phoenix, AZ, is making a new one for Richards. Kostal was also in the audience and has graciously loaned his “on stage” photo for this article.

All three CGT artists are very talented and all had solo parts scattered throughout the evening. Moriya stood out in Radiohead’s “Daydreaming.” He also had the audience laughing heartily as he stood and took photos of them imitating the typical Japanese tourist. Richards had solo work sprinkled throughout with his unique sounds. But while they all obviously enjoy what they are doing, Richards enthusiasm stands out through his engaging smile and his movements with the music that is almost like dancing. Lams, an honors graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium, is truly a classically trained guitarist. He shone in their exceptional arrangement of J.S. Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.” Lams also played several intricate, jazzy cadenzas in many of the pieces.

The sold-out crowd gave enthusiastic applause throughout the evening but at the end, their standing ovation brought the trio back to the stage to play one more piece. Richards called it “our sing-along song,” but he would not reveal the name. It took very few beginning notes of Freddy Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to sound before the audience was prepared to sing-along. And sing they did in soft, melodic tones. Richards sang every word with them.

It was an enchanting evening all around. The California Guitar Trio will no doubt return to the MIM in the future. If you get a chance to see them, do. This performance was absolutely perfect and they just keep getting better. You will be in for a real treat.

Fisher Poets Gathering

It’s the days when the mountains speak

and the sun’s poetry paints the sky

When the fish are thick and the ocean’s flat

and there’s not another boat in sight

And sure there’s days when the storms crash and thrash

and toss our boats around like toys

But thanks to a fisherman’s selective memory

our work is still our joy.

       A Poem by Joel Brady-Power

Tele Aadesen is a commercial fisherwoman. Joel Brady-Power is her husband. Together they fish for salmon on the “Nerka” in the waters of Alaska. They have kindly given permission for use of Joel’s poem here. This weekend you will find them in Astoria, Oregon at the Fisher Poets Gathering that celebrates commercial fishing with poetry, song and prose on the last weekend in February every year since 1998 which Tele describes as “the best weekend of the year.”

This event started out as a low-key reunion for fisher friends in the commercial fishing fleet. 100 commercial fishing  poets, storytellers and songwriters from the west and east coasts now gather in Astoria’s galleries, pubs and restaurants to read for each other and for the hundreds of enthusiastic fans that also attend. The FisherPoets Gathering website describes them as “authentic, creative voices of deckhands and skippers, cannery workers and shipwrights, young greenhorns and old-timers, strong women and good-looking men.”

The FisherPoets Gathering has gained national and even international notoriety in the New York Times, Smithsonian magazine, Wall Street Journal and on NBC and BBC and elsewhere. The U.S. Library of Congress recognizes this event as a “Local Legacy” project that has coined the phrase, “fisherpoetry.”

Performances of poetry, music and prose by Fisherpoets start at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights in various places around town. On Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, there are workshops in four different locations including a variety of topics. There is a Story Circle on Saturday afternoon where Fisherpoets regale with colorful oral histories. Later there is a session of honest commercial fishing films. There are more events which you will discover when you pick up your event button ($15.00) that is good for admission all weekend long.

Astoria is a unique and very interesting place on its own. We have blogged about her and you can query “Astoria” in the search box to find those blogs.

Tales of the sea as told from the view of real commercial Fisherpoets. Songs of the sea, stories of the ocean and more. What a fun time for the whole family! Be sure and stop in and say hello to us at on your way to traveling the beautiful Oregon Coast up to Astoria. The scenery can’t be beat!

The commercial fishing fleet in Winchester Bay Oregon.


Valentine’s Day Treasure Hunting

I’m a bit late with this post but the good news is that you will be able to find red glass floats for a few more days and even longer!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you and your Valentine enjoy beachcombing for ocean treasures, there is a special hunt you can take them on this week. The City of Gold Beach is sponsoring a special glass float treasure hunt on 3 miles of  Oregon Coast Beach. 120 red glass floats will be placed above the high tide line among the driftwood and seagrass. What a fun, romantic way to spend Valentine’s together!

The glass floats of the ancient mariners were used as net weights by Japanese fishermen for many years. Some of those original floats are still drifting onto the Oregon Coast beaches but they are a rare, if exciting find these days.

The City of Gold Beach celebrates glass floats from February 1 through April 30th. Each week 120 glass floats are placed above the high tide line for beachcombers to find. The floats are tagged and if you find one and take it to the visitor’s center, you may discover you have won a prize.  There are weekly and monthly prizes. The floats can be found from the Rogue River jetty to south of Kissing Rock which might be a great place to pause with your Valentine!

You can also shop for your treasure at the Treasure Hunt Stores. Inquire at the Visitor Center for a map of these stores. You may find hidden treasure in the shops. If you spend at least $25.00 in one of the stores, you can take your receipt to the Visitor Center for your very own glass float beach treasure.

There are many outdoor and indoor things to do and see at Gold Beach. Be sure to check them all out at the Visitor Center. is about a 2.50 drive from Gold Beach. Come stay with us and leave early in the morning for Gold Beach for a day of beachcombing. Then return to Umpqua River Haven for a great night’s sleep!

While beachcombing for that red glass float at Gold Beach, have fun but just take one!

Charleston, Oregon Annual Crab Feed

This Saturday, February 10, is the Annual Charleston Crab Feed from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.  It takes place at the North Bend Community Center, 2222 Broadway Ave., North Bend, OR. There will be fresh Dungeness Crab Dinners, whole or half crabs at market price and the dinners include side dishes, bread, beverage and cake. Prices are $20 for whole crab dinner and $16 for half crab dinners but the market dictates the final price. Pricing will update as the date gets closer. 

This is a great way to partake of our famous Dungeness Crab. We recommend this fun, social event that also benefits the Charleston Visitor’s Center as all proceeds will be donated to the center.

However, if you are inclined to do your own crab trapping, Charleston Harbor is a great place to go. It’s a bit more work than the crab feed, but can be fun and rewarding. We are re-posting our Charleston crabbin’ adventure below to whet your appetite for delicious Dungeness Crab. It might entice you to attend the crab feed this weekend. We hope you have a crabby weekend on the Oregon Coast!


Let’s go crabbin’. Not only are Dungeness red crab delicious to eat but here on the Oregon Coast, they are great family fun to fish for. I ended up buying our very own family crab trap for this adventure. We packed up 7 of us in the SUV and off down the coast road to Charleston we drove.

Charleston, Oregon is a small, very small, fishing port with a large Coast Guard presence. There are a few shops and a couple are very nice. There is a motel (Captain John’s) and 3 or 4 restaurants with the Portside ( being the nicest for a fine dining experience. We also like the High Tide Café (we favor their clam chowder) Both have waterside dining available. So if you get hungry there are places to eat.

You can’t miss the fishing fleet or Coast Guard boats as that is where the best crabbing is. We stop at one of the fish markets for bait which is usually a turkey leg though you can also obtain fish heads.


Before you go crabbing for Dungeness be certain to educate yourself a little bit about them. You need a license, are only allowed to harvest male crabs in a limited number each day and they have to be at least 5 & ¾ inches. You will want to purchase the special measuring device designed to measure Dungeness.


To determine gender and to measure properly, turn crabs over onto their backs. Dungeness become docile and appear to sleep when on their backs and are easy to handle. You’ll want to know what the markings are for each gender. Licenses, supplies and information can all be obtained from any of the fish shops.


There are tricks to placing the bait in the trap so that the crabs are not able to just grab and run. One family member got very good at it.


Once the bait is set and the trap closed you gently toss it into the water from the dock and let it sink to the bottom. And then comes the tricky part which is knowing when to pull the trap up retaining the most Dungeness.  Aug06-LeCrab-2

This is something you can learn by trial and error or, as in our case, a seasoned crabber gave us some tips. The big crabs will come into the trap first and take what they want and depart quickly leaving the small ones behind.


Our mistake was leaving the trap down too long and our crabber buddy advised us to pull up after just 3 minutes. It worked! We caught a mess of yummy Dungeness crabs!


Crabbing is a bit of work as pulling those traps up numerous times can be tiring and make muscles sore. Since we had a crew, we took turns pulling it up so no one would be sore at the end of the day. There are places on the docks you can take your crabs and they will cook and crack them for you. We’ve done it at home ourselves but, again, it is a lot of work. There are special tools that are helpful but now we usually just spend a few bucks as it is economical and let the experts at the docks do it. We can then go back to Umpqua River Haven worn out but happy with our catch ready to eat when we get home.

Visit and stop in for a stay. All that great crabbing at Charleston is only about 45 minutes away! You can also crab in Windy Bay which is 20 to 30 minutes down the road.

It was a very crabby day but in a good way!