Saturday, August 29, 2009

Final look at week 10

Last night's program (end of week 10) was a surprise for me--I really hadn't read the publicity. A huge storm blew in about 6:30, and I almost stayed home! Others knew the quality of the performers and there was an excellent, warm and welcoming audience for Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. If you've never heard of them, you certainly know what they are most famous for--"Ashokan Farewell," which was the Grammy award soundtrack for Ken Burns' PBS The Civil War. They perform Appalachian, Cajun, Celtic tunes, and since it was Civil War week at Lakeside, we heard tunes popular on both sides of the conflict with an invitation to sing along. I had not attended the morning seminar, and it seems they also filled in for that speaker who was unavailable at the last minute.

However, we also were treated to Mike and Ruthy, Jay's daughter and son-in-law. They have been performing together for a decade, sometimes with Pete Seeger's grandson as The Mammals, and Ruthy has the most fabulous voice (and I know I say that a lot, but she really does) I've ever heard at Hoover in this genre. You can go to their website and take a listen. At the end, Ruth brought out their young toddler, Will, who charmed the audience with his ability to keep time and say Hi and Bye in the microphone.

I mentioned earlier what a pleasure it was to hear Craig Symonds of the U.S. Naval Academy lecture about Civil War naval battles. But just as thrilling was Father Robert J. Miller, a Catholic priest from Chicago, who lectured Wednesday and Thursday on religion and faith in the Civil War (his book is Both prayed to the same God) and the role of the Jesuit chaplains on both sides which I think will be his next book. If he writes as well as he speaks (he was a member of the Redemptorists, the traveling mission preachers, sometimes preaching 5 times a week in missions work) I look forward to reading it. He is also a founder of Genesis Housing Development Corporation, as a way to stabilize neighborhoods. He is pastor of St. Dorothy Parish, an African American congregation in Chicago.

I've never been a Civil War buff, but after attending the programs at Lakeside in the summer, I see you never run out of topics if that's your interest. Last year I inspected the latrines at the prisoner of war camp on Johnson's Island a few miles from here on one of the hottest and buggiest days of the summer.

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