Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview – Bluegrass at its Best

The place where Bluegrass happens!

Opera House

The Pennyroyal Opera House is along Old National Road in Fairview.

Along Old National Road in the town of Fairview, Pennyroyal Opera House provides a family-friendly evening of entertaining bluegrass music over the years from October through May. Their season is about to begin!

Country Gentleman Band

Country Gentlemen Tribute Band – October 5

   Their first show on October 5 features The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band with an awesome bluegrass sound.

Kevin Prater Band

Kevin Prater Band – October 12

Remington Ryde 1

Remington Ryde – October 19

   Following weeks will feature such greats as The Kevin Prater Band with strong vocal harmonies and a crowd-pleaser Remington Ryde.

Pennyroyal Opera House painting

Cathy Gadd, a long-time organizer, painted this picture of Pennyroyal Opera House.

   The historic building originally was home to the Methodist Church in the 1830s, then used as a Grange Hall. In 1910, it was purchased by the Pennyroyal Reunion Association. Since 1995, Pennyroyal Opera House is the place where Bluegrass happens.

Pennyroyal Distillery Postcard

This old postcard shows the Pennyroyal Distillery where medicinal oils were made.

   The name Pennyroyal came about from a Pennyroyal Distillery that was located in Fairview in the early 1800s. There seemed to be an abundance in the Fairview area of the wild herb, pennyroyal, a member of the mint family. Pennyroyal herb oil was valued for its medicinal purposes.

Betty and Harold

Betty Eddy planted the seed for bluegrass at Fairview with Harold Dailey.

   A chance encounter at 1st National Bank in Barnesville changed events in Fairview. Harold Dailey began working at the hospital there and one day, Betty Eddy, an employee of the bank, asked Harold if he had an idea for making some money for the Pennyroyal Reunion Association.

Stage

The stage is ready for the season to begin.

   Since Harold played and enjoyed bluegrass, he suggested having a bluegrass show. In 1995, Harold, with some local help, organized the first bluegrass show at the Pennyroyal Opera House. In the beginning, their plan was to feature local bluegrass groups so they could have a place to showcase their talents.

Opera House crowd

Each concert draws a full house of people who love bluegrass.

   From that humble beginning, the show blossomed into a nationally known place to hear and perform bluegrass. Today there is never a problem getting excellent bluegrass bands from all over the United States and Canada to stop by for an evening. They’ve even had bands call from England to request a time for performance.

Harold and Kenny by the stage

Harold and Kenny Keylor reminisce about bands that have played on that stage.

   While Harold started the show, Frank and Cathy Gadd have held the reins for many years recently. Since Harold’s retirement, he asked if he might become active again in organizing the bluegrass programs.

Almost Famous (2)

Harold plays electric acoustic bass in the bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Harold says, “I’m glad to be back as I love bluegrass, play bluegrass and love to promote it.” Harold plays electric acoustic bass in a bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Many from the Pennyroyal Reunion Association still help by providing the delicious home cooked food in the kitchen. Betty Eddy serves as treasurer and still bakes pies with favorites being custard, rhubarb, and peanut butter.

Lonesome River Band poster

The poster from the first professional band that played there still hangs backstage.

   This isn’t a large building or a large show, but it’s big on talent on Friday evenings. Since they’re right along Interstate 70, many big-name stars will stop for a pick-up-date on their way to their Saturday performance. It’s a great chance to meet some of your favorite bluegrass stars up close and personal.

photos on wall

Spend time before the show checking out the pictures on the walls.

   There are pictures on the wall of some of those popular names who have played there in the past. The first professional band that played there was The Lonesome River Band. Other pictures include such greats as Bobby Osborne, The Grascals, IIIrd Tyme Out, Rhonda Vincent and Dave Evans.

   For those nights when you want to listen to some top-notch bluegrass and can’t make it out to the show, sit back and listen on the radio. Their shows are carried live at 101.1 FM in Wheeling and 101.9 FM in Cambridge.

   If you want to check out their full 2018 schedule, go to www.pennyroyalbluegrass.com. For booking information call Harold Dailey at 740-827-0957.

Inside with seats already reserved

People have already placed their blankets on seats to save them for the next show. It’s a tradition!

   Come early some Friday evening for some delicious food, then go upstairs and listen to some quality classic bluegrass, which puts soul into music.

Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview can easily be reached off I-70 between Old Washington and St. Clairsville. Take exit 198 and this popular Bluegrass Music house can be found on the north side of the road very near the exit.

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The Voice of Enthusiasm at Salt Fork Festival

carol-jones Muskingum UniversityEnthusiasm spreads from Carol Wilcox-Jones to everyone she meets. It’s contagious! Carol is the spark that gets things going, whether at her summer music camps or at the Salt Fork Festival. She does it all with a song in her heart.

   Growing up in Kansas, the Wilcox family sang even while doing housework. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t sing,” Carol recalls with a sparkle in her eyes. Her dad played guitar at square dances and sang on the radio, while her mom did the Charleston and even clogged. Family always ranked high in importance to Carol.

Carol - Dad 001

At age five, she sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with her dad at a square dance.

   Even though Carol sang with her dad on stage at the age of five, it was in high school that the singing bug really bit her. She sang the leading role of Laurie in Oklahoma, followed by many more leading roles. By the time she was a senior, she was invited to enter the Miss Kansas City pageant, which she won singing “Love Is Where You Find It” and “Clap Your Hands”.

   While studying at the University of Kansas she performed leading roles such as Maria in West Side Story, and Marion in The Music Man. She heard her first opera there when the Metropolitan Opera Touring Company came to perform. Carol smiled, “I fell in love with their thrilling singing.” Shortly thereafter, she had a chance to perform as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, still her favorite Mozart opera.

Carol Captain Jinks

Carol performed as Aurelia in the opera, Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines.

   During college summers, Carol apprenticed herself at Central City, Co. and Santa Fe Opera companies. Upon graduation, she decided she would try a career in the opera and where better to do that than The Big Apple. While working toward her master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, she was invited to audition for the Metropolitan Opera. She was offered an artist contract and was soon busy learning new operatic roles.

Carol Barber of Seville

In the comic opera, Barber of Seville, Carol appeared as Rosina.

   Her list of performances is quite extensive and can’t possibly be listed here. In addition to her roles with the Metropolitan Opera in NYC, she has sung leading roles throughout the US and Canada, including the Washington Opera at Kennedy Center, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston Grand Opera, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and many others.

Carol Opera 001

Carol sang in Perichole at the Kansas City Lyric Opera.

   She has performed and enjoyed music theatre roles with St. Louis MUNY Theatre, KC Starlight, Blossom Festival, Caramoor Festival, and others. Carol has appeared on Broadway, sung over 100 recitals, and recorded for RCA and CRI, and has been a featured soloist with many symphonies.

   “It’s not just the beautiful voice, but her overall performance that projects feelings and words,” explained a conductor at the Lyric Opera. “I’ve never known Miss Wilcox to give a bad performance.”

Carol - dalmations

Carol and her family’s dalmatians appeared on the cover of Star in 1975 when she appeared at the Lyric Opera in Kansas City.

   One summer, when Carol was performing at the Lyric Opera Co. in Kansas City, there was also a young man, Robert Jones, under contract. Robert spotted the lovely lady with the beautiful voice and became her biggest fan. A year later, they were married.

Carol and Robert 001

Robert Owen Jones and Carol Wilcox-Jones perform here in  “Die Fledermaus”, an operetta by Johann Strass II.

   Robert was that old-fashioned guy she admired, and family had always been important to her. After their marriage and the birth of their son, Chris, they moved to New Concord where Robert taught music as Director of Vocal Activities at Muskingum College. The couple also happily welcomed their second child, Jennie, to their family.

Carol's Family

Carol, Bob, Jennie and Chris enjoy singing together as The Jones Family.

   Carol was soon invited to join the music faculty at Muskingum as Artist-in-Residence and taught voice, as well as helped develop the Music Theatre minor now offered at Muskingum University. Carol also holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy Degree from the Ohio State University and continues to Direct of the Summer High School Music Theatre CAMP, a program she created in 2006. Her reason for being involved is simply: “I support young people and through music, I open as many windows as I can for them.”

Carol Summer Music Camp

The High School Summer Music Theatre CAMP at Muskingum University has been directed by Carol since 2006.

   Carol’s musical background contains many degrees, extensive performing and teaching experience, but it’s her application of all this knowledge that makes Carol such a valuable asset to the groups she works with.

   Robert and Carol had been fans of the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival for years. When Robert retired, he volunteered to schedule the musical portion of the Festival, and it followed that Carol assisted him before she became also involved with fundraising.

   Last year, Carol became Director of the Festival. Even though she didn’t feel experienced, the festival turned out to be wonderful and was indeed a happy place to spend the weekend for both artists and visitors.

Carol-Wilcox-Jones-Chamber Award 2

Carol received the Distinguished Service Award for her role in reviving the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   Her role in reviving the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival earned her the Distinguished Public Service Award. Her time and energy devoted to this project have been phenomenal. Connections with various groups and businesses in the community have made it possible to continue financing this popular three-day event.

Carol and Robert BASH

Robert and Carol entertained at the Salt Fork BASH, accompanied by Preservation Dixieland All-Star Band.

   One special event, the Festival BASH, became their signature fundraiser. The support of the community has been outstanding, seen through the participation and success of the BASH, which is an evening filled with visiting friends, delicious food, outstanding music, and many prizes and silent auctions.

   Carol does not take credit for all this herself. She has a very active board of trustees who also head up Festival Committees and work tirelessly to produce the Festival with the help of many volunteers. “I’m very proud of all those who have made it possible. The Festival leaders have kept this Festival going for nearly 50 years! That’s pretty incredible!”

50th Anniversary

Carol works with a great group of volunteers as they prepare for the 50th Anniversary.

   The next big project is working with a 50th Anniversary Blue Ribbon Committee for the 2019 festival. There are plans to begin building an enhanced entranceway to the park at Edgeworth Street that will be a permanent feature and reminder of the festival for future generations.

   Now, she’s looking forward to the 49th Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, August 10-12, 2018. Summing up her Festival feelings, she enthusiastically remarked, “The Festival experience – the creative arts, demonstrations, concerts, and activities- are offered free to the public. It’s an uplifting, community-building celebration with a great combination of quality visual and performing arts and delicious foods offered in the beautiful outdoor setting at Cambridge City Park. What’s not to love?”

Leonard Thomas – Born to Perform

Len Salt Fork Bash 2

When a piano’s not available, a keyboard will do.

When Leonard Thomas enters a room with a piano, you want to pull out the piano bench and have him tickle the ivories as he bursts into song.

While Len was born in Cambridge in 1927 and now lives there, he has traveled extensively using his musical talents not only at the piano or with his vibrant voice, but also in composing and directing. This man overflows with musical talent.

Len Note from Fred Waring

Fred Waring showed his appreciation to Len in this keepsake note.

He credits his success to the wonderful upbringing he received from his parents and siblings. Their support and encouragement make him feel lucky to have such a special family. He learned the importance of hard work from being a paperboy and soda jerk to conductor and performer.

The first time he sang in public happened at the First Christian Church when he was twenty-four months old. He entertained the crowd downstairs by singing “Bow Wow Blues” to the amazement of all. Len still calls this church home.

Len going places

Even as a youngster, Lenny had plans for going places.

When Lenny was only three years old, he went to visit with the family. A niece was just starting to take piano lessons and he asked her to show him what she was learning. She first  played the notes with her right hand, and Lenny played them back by ear. Next she played the left hand. Again Lenny played them back by ear. He asked her how you put them together and she said she had never done that yet. So Lenny said, “Do it like this.” and played them both.

By the time he was four, his parents thought he should have piano lessons, but they couldn’t afford it. Lenny went to see a lady across the street who gave piano lessons and told her he would like to take lessons but didn’t have any money to pay her.

She asked him if he would mow her yard for fifty cents a week. Lenny asked her how much the lessons would be. “Fifty cents a week.” It worked perfectly.

Len Fred, Ann and Len

Fred Waring and Len’s one-room school teacher, Anna Priaulx, visit with Len after a concert.

Lenny attended Rock Hill School, a one-room school near Center.  This provided a great learning atmosphere for him as he learned from all the classes. Everything fascinated him under the guidance of a very special teacher, Anna Priaulx.

By the age of ten, this young boy could play nearly all the classicals from great composers from memory.  He didn’t however forget the songs that were popular during that era.

Len Trio (2)

At Cambridge High School in 1947, Len played for this trio of  Carol, Barbara and Donna, who he said could harmonize as well as the Andrew Sisters.

At Cambridge High School, his musical talent has never been forgotten. His choice of a band instrument became a sousaphone, but he also sang in many groups as well as served as accompanist. No wonder he was voted the boy most likely to succeed as well as the most talented.

Len Muskingum Sr

Len graduated from Muskingum College and after retirement came back to assist with their music program.

Leonard graduated from Muskingum College with a B.S. in Music Education, but he never intended to use it. He wanted a career in performing so headed to Boston University, where he studied with great success.

But when he got home from Boston, his mother told him there was a letter waiting for him. It was his draft call from the Army. Len got lucky again as he was assigned to a base with a band. Now he could use his sousaphone experience from high school to participate in the Army band.

With this band, he headed to Germany, where they spent their time performing, participating in parades and singing at the chapel and in a barbershop quartet. Why he even had his own apartment and gave piano lessons.

Upon his return home, the hand of God guided him to the minister of the Central Presbyterian Church in Zanesville. There he had his first real job as choral director for five choirs among other assignment.

Along came someone from the court system and suggested that Len become a probation officer since he worked so well with young people. Now he had two jobs, so decided to buy his first car – a black ’57 Sunliner convertible.

Len with Steinbach

He still plays the piano he purchased in New York City in 1964, when he lived in a townhouse on the 19th floor.

Three years later, Len again decided to further his education and headed back to Boston to pursue his doctorate. Since all the schools were closed for the summer, he contacted an Army buddy in New York City and moved there for a while to a Central Park Townhouse.

Enjoying city life, Len began looking for a teaching job in the area.  He found one in Brooklyn at McKinley Jr. High School. Here he directed their choirs and led them in performing outstanding concerts. For eleven and a half years, this was his life.

Len Pennsylvanians

An attractive program design highlights Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.

Well, except for summers!  Those last six summers he attended Fred Waring’s Workshops, where he learned more about performing. One of the students asked Len to play for their audition. It was Len that landed the job to play with the Pennsylvanians with his keyboard talent.

Len Young Pennsylvanians

Teaching young people is something he has always enjoyed. Here he is conductor for the Young Pennsylvanians.

For many years, Leonard performed with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. During the 40s and early 50s, Waring produced a string of hits, selling millions of records. Breezin’ Along with the Breeze was his signature tune. Waring’s often called The Man Who Taught America to Sing. Len Thomas was one of those he helped along the way.

Len and Fred at last performance

Pennsylvanians perform for the final time with Len and Fred Waring, only twelve days before Waring’ passed away.

When Fred Waring died in 1984, Len was asked to work as editor and arranger for Shawnee Press, which was founded by Fred Waring. Shawnee Press has been instrumental in providing quality musical arrangements to high schools, colleges, and orchestras.

Len Shawnee Press Business card

Len’s business card with Shawnee Press carried Waring’s logo at the top.

After working for Shawnee Press for seventeen years, it was sold and moved to another state. At the same time, Len had an offer to purchase his beautiful home in Pennsylvania. His heart and mind said it was time to return home.

Len Distinguished Service Award at Muskingum

Len received the Distinguished Service Award at Muskingum University.

When he returned, Muskingum College requested that he direct their concert choir. Frequently, he gave piano lessons, where he explained to students that playing the piano isn’t just done with the fingers, but with the wrists, arms and elbows. Your entire body feels the music.

Len at Salt Fork Festival Chorus

He still loves to perform and assists with many community musical events, such as the Salt Fork Festival Chorus.

The community feels lucky to have him return to the Cambridge area. Now he plays in the Muskingum Jazz Group, for numerous groups including the Cambridge Singers, and provides background music for many banquets, parties, funerals and weddings.  Let’s face it, Len loves to perform.

Preservation Dixieland All Stars

Preservation Dixieland All Stars will be performing at the Salt Fork Festival BASH. Members include: Jerry Weaver, Len Thomas, Don Kason, and Dave Jacobs.

Today at the age of 86, he has no problem remembering all those songs from years gone by. No matter what song is requested, Len’s fingers respond perfect. “The Lord’s been good to me,” smiled Len, as he’s fulfilled all his dreams.

His twilight years have been both enjoyable and fulfilling. Now it the time when he can give back to the community where he grew up. “When you spend time helping others, you find the happiness you seek.”

 

Wheeling Jamboree Celebrates 85th Anniversary – The Country Music Show with Tradition Like No Other

 

Capitol Theatre

Capitol Theatre in downtown Wheeling, WV will host the 85th Wheeling Jamboree Anniversary.

Wheeling Jamboree lives on! The Historic 85th Anniversary of the Wheeling Jamboree will be held on April 7, 2018 at The Capitol Theatre in downtown Wheeling. Many of the stars will be familiar, and some new, but the country atmosphere will still fill the theater.

The jamboree originated in 1933 on the first Wheeling radio station, a 50,000 watt clear channel station – WWVA. One of its early announcers was Howard Donahoe, who later came to Cambridge to start WILE in 1948.

Mel Tillis

The late Mel Tillis was beloved by country music fans everywhere.

The working people of the Ohio Valley and the Northeast US have their roots in country music so the words in the songs ring true to their lives. That’s why the Jamboree became a popular Saturday evening entertainment.

A unique diversity also appears in Wheeling. The Jamboree and the Wheeling Symphony both take place in Capitol Theatre. So no matter what your musical taste, it can easily be satisfied in Wheeling.

JohnnyCashOnStageatJamboree1968_Enhanced

Johnny Cash made an appearance at the Jamboree early in his career.

William Wallace”Bill” Jones and the Sparkling Four was the first hillbilly act on the radio. They took requests over the telephone. Jones received many requests for yodeling songs and you may have heard him called Silver Yodelin’ Bill Jones.

Due to the popularity of the Jamboree music shows, it was decided to add a live audience to the Jamboree on Saturday nights. The first stage performance of the World’s Original WWVA Jamboree took place at the Capitol Theatre later in 1933 with all local talent, in front of an audience of over 3,000 fans. Then for decades, they broadcast from a different spot each Saturday evening.

Dolly_Parton_Jamboree_3_1976

Dolly Parton performed at Wheeling Jamboree in 1976.

During WWII, the Jamboree returned to the studio due to the war effort, then began stage performances after the war at Wheeling’s Virginia Theater. One of the most popular Jamboree stars at that time was honky-tonk vocalist, Hawkshaw Hawkins. Add to that the Sunshine Boys and “Yodelin’ Ranger” Hank Snow and people began looking forward to another evening of the Jamboree. If you were a top artist, you did the Jamboree.

Men would bring their cow bells with them as each bell had a unique sound. That way their family back home would know they were in attendance. Today, you’ll still hear the sound of cow bells over the radio on Jamboree nights on WBPS in Cambridge and WWOV in Wheeling.

JamboreeVirginiaTheater1946Color

The cast of the 1945 Wheeling Jamboree gathered on stage.

During the late 1940s, my parents took me on perhaps my first gypsy road trip to Virginia Theater to see the Wheeling Jamboree. Two names stick in my mind from that long ago show – Hawkshaw Hawkins with Dog House Boogie, and Grandpa Jones, who later starred in Hee Haw. At the time, this was quite the adventure from the hills of Indian Camp.

When the Virginia Theater was demolished after 16 years of hosting the Jamboree, their new home became the Rex Theater for four years. Then it was moved to Wheeling Island Exhibition Hall in 1966.

Brad young (259x194)

Brad Paisley began playing at the Jamboree when he was ten years old.

Over the years, the Jamboree provided the perfect place for young local talent to get their start. Brad Paisley, from nearby Glen Dale, sang on the Jamboree at the age of 10 and played with their band weekly for eight years before moving on to Nashville.

Ronnie Milsap

Ronnie Milsap will be one of the performers at the 85th Anniversary.

The 85th Anniversary will be celebrated with well known country stars including Country Music Hall of Fame Members Ronnie Milsap and Charley McCoy. Add to that Wheeling native Tim O’Brien along with Darnell Milller, Rachel Whitcomb and more surprises. Emcee for the evening will be long-time country music personality, Keith Bilbrey.

Craig Wayne Boyd Jamboree

Craig Wayne Boyd was a winner on The Voice, but appeared at the Jamboree long before winning.

Today the Wheeling Jamboree broadcasts on WWOV to the air waves of the greater Wheeling area. Dave Heath, president of Wheeling Jamboree, Inc. and WWOV, has been instrumental in keeping this musical program alive.

Capitol Interior Post Renovation

The interior of the Capitol Theatre has recently had a grand renovation.

Whether you know the Jamboree as the Original WWVA Jamboree, Jamboree USA or The Wheeling Jamboree it remains the 2nd oldest Country Music Radio Broadcast Stage Show in history, behind the Grand Old Opry. Celebrate their 85th Anniversary on April 7 at 7:00 at the Capitol Theatre.

Ticket prices range from $20-$65 and can be purchased online at www.capitoltheatrewheeling.com .You’ve got me thinkin’ that a trip to the Jamboree would be the perfect way to spend an evening.

Capitol Theatre in Wheeling, WV can easily be reached off I-70 at Exit 1A. Take Route 40 straight downtown. The Theatre is on the right hand side at 1015 Main Street.

Ted Lewis’ Grand Refrain – “Is Everybody Happy?”

Ted Lewis Museum

The Ted Lewis Museum was renovated last year for its 40th Anniversary.

For those interested in old entertainers and movies, Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville, Ohio will arouse your curiosity. Ted’s first professional singing job happened in 1906 in between movies at the Circleville Electric Nickelodeon. His salary – $4 a week. But that was just the beginning.

Ted Theater with Joyce

Joyce Keller, president of the museum, stands in front of a replica of the first theater where Ted  performed.

Born Theodore Friedman in Circleville, Ohio, his younger years were spent helping his parents in Friedman’s Bazaar, an emporium which supplied women of Pickaway County with the latest fashions. Ted spent his time sweeping inside and outside the store, as well as making deliveries. It wasn’t something he enjoyed.

His earliest musical instrument experience came at the age of nine when he played piccolo in the Circleville Cadet Band. His fingers weren’t long enough yet to play the clarinet. But Ted mowed lawns during the summer to save money to buy an E-flat clarinet he knew he wanted to play.

However, Ted became fascinated with syncopation and began taking lessons after school with Cricket Smith, a black barber. Jazz ran in Ted’s blood, which had him dismissed from the Cadet Band. The band teacher later apologized when Ted became famous.

Ted Early Days

In 1911, Ted would return home from tours when he ran out of money, which was often.

As a teenager, he played his clarinet to help draw a crowd for Dr. Cooper’s Medicine Man Show and sold balloons and cotton candy. He’d carry circus banners in parades and even followed them out of town. This caused his parents much embarrassment and they tried to send him to business college in Columbus, but to no avail.

Ted Apartment 2

The books, bookcase and photos of life long friends, Ted and Sophie Tucker, are from his New York City apartment. Even the gold wallpaper has been replicated.

Ted kept busy following his dream of becoming an entertainer. He paired up with Jack Lewis under the billing Lewis and Friedman. One day in South Carolina, he saw the billing said Lewis & Lewis. The manager said that fit on the marquee better. After that he was always known as Ted Lewis, even though he never legally changed his name.

Ted Top Hat 2

His battered top hat, cane, and clarinet are on prominent display.

In 1916, at the age of 26, Ted formed his first band – Ted Lewis Nut Band. They were very popular in the New York City area and performed at Rector’s Restaurant, a high class venue. While there, he won an old top hat in a dice game from a cab driver called Mississippi. That top hat, his clarinet, cane and the question: “Is everybody happy?” were always part of his act.

Ted Lewis 001

Ted Lewis always wore his old battered hat at every performance.

Ted Phonograph

This old hand-crank Victrola played “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me”.

His theme song, “When My Baby Smiles at Me” and hits such as “Tiger Rag” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street” earned him the title, “King of Jazz”. In 1926, his Columbia recording of “Tiger Rag” sold more than five million copies. He was their highest paid artist in the 1920s. This popular performer presented his act to nine United States Presidents and even did a command performance for King George V of England.

Ted Me and My Shadow

A video in a peanut cart plays “Me and My Shadow”.

During one performance, Ted noticed the doorman, Eddie Chester, mimicking him from the wings and asked him to join him on stage. Thus was born his signature routine, “Me and My Shadow”.

Ted Is Everybody Happy

Ted starred in a movie about his life. Beautiful women played a large part in his acts.

Ted Lewis Museum opened in 1977 across the street from where Ted was born. Here you’ll be able to see classic memorabilia and watch videos of Ted Lewis performing. He told his wife that when he died he wanted everything to come back to Circleville, “The Capital of the World”.

Ted 80th 2

Pictured at Ted’s 80th birthday party are Circleville Mayor Gordon, brother Milton Friedman, Ted, and Columbus Mayor Sensenbrenner.

This showman never forgot his hometown. Ted and his wife, Adah, devoted themselves to making Circleville a better place to live. They supported Berger Hospital, the local schools, and even made possible a 13-acre Ted Lewis Park complete with playground equipment, ball fields, and a swimming pool at that time. Ted entertained the troops during WWII and was a leader in selling war bonds.

Ted and friends

Ted’s friends included Benny Goodman, Sophie Tucker, George Jessel, and Eddie Cantor.

The museum on Main Street only opens on Friday and Saturday from 1-5. After your visit you’ll be ready to put on some tap shoes while grabbing a top hat and cane.

Ted Lewis Museum is located at 133 W Main Street in Circleville, Ohio. Follow US 22 for a scenic ride.

 

 

 

 

 

“Civil War Songs and the Stories They Tell” with Steve and Lisa Ball

Stee and Lisa Ball

Steve and Lisa Ball  perform Civil War songs at Crossroads Library.

Music plays an important role in the ranks of the military. They have used music to signal their troops for hundreds of years. Often music served as a boost to morale of the soldiers after a hard day of battle.

Be entertained by tales of the Civil War put to music as Steve and Lisa Ball present an entertaining and informative program “Civil War Songs and Stories They Tell”. This musical way of teaching history of the Civil War from 1861-65 is shared around the country about a hundred times each year. The songs come alive with their wonderful vocal and instrumental skills.

Steve Ball guitar

An 1855 Martin is one of Steve’s favorite guitars.

Martin guitars of the Civil War era, from Steve’s private collection, are used in their presentation. All the Martins are in their original coffin cases. Steve’s only the caretaker for these guitars as they will hopefully be passed on from generation to generation. He frequently calls Lisa ‘his band’ as she joins with her upright bass and voice.

Steve’s interest in the Civil War began as a teen, when he learned his Great-Great-Grandfather, William Tyler Butts, was a Union private from Athens, Ohio. He was part of the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment out of Chillicothe. Steve is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and wears his SUV medal on his uniform.

He’s spent the last twenty years studying the music of the Civil War era and the development of the first American folk songs. A long list of accomplishments could follow his name. They also have a Stephen Foster program telling the history of many of those popular folk songs.

During their program, the variety is astounding. There are not only patriotic pieces, but also silly marches and songs of lost love. You’ll be drawn to their music and stories even if you aren’t a Civil War buff.

Lisa's cello

Lisa plays bass and vocalizes with Steve.

Their performances happen at reenactments, indoor presentations, Civil War roundtables, and even the Ohio Statehouse. Being a Civil War buff , he researches everything so it’s authentic. Steve is living his dream.

Learn more about the history of the Civil War and come away with a better understanding of life during that time as Steve and Lisa Ball tell the story through song.

Many of the songs have a unique history, such as “Darling Nellie Gray”, a song written by Benjamin Hanby, who operated an Underground Railroad in Rush, Ohio. It told about his girlfriend, Nellie Gray, who wanted to escape to Canada. You can learn more about this song by visiting the Hanby House in Westerville, Ohio.

Steve and Lisa

Steve and Lisa add much background information on songs to their performances.

Another song “Aura Lea”, was written by Willie Fosdick (lyrics) and George Poulton (music) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Willie’s wife was Aura Lee, the woman with the golden hair. In 1955, Elvis Presley used the tune of “Aura Lee” and added new lyrics to become his theme song, “Love Me Tender”.

A popular Southern song was “Goober Peas”. Burle Ives liked the folk song. The Balls  had everyone singing along.

Peas, peas, peas, peas, eating Goober peas

Goodness how delicious, eating Goober peas..

Steve Ball CD

Listen to Civil War songs anytime with their popular CDs.

Next time you hear that Steve and Lisa Ball are performing in your area, be certain to drop by and hear their story of the Civil War in song, or perhaps you’ll hear his story of the music and life of Stephen Foster. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy their stories and music.

 

Algonquin Mill Fall Festival Features Crafts, Food and Entertainment

Algonquin Mill 2

This old mill is the reason for the Algonquin Mill Fall Festival.

Take nine tons of cabbage and ferment it into sauerkraut. Grind buckwheat and wheat into flour. Saw boards at an old fashioned sawmill. Embroidery a quilt. These activities from days gone by are just a sampling of what happens at the Algonquin Mill Festival near Carrollton on October 13-15.

The festival began in 1971 to pay off the loan the historical society took to purchase Algonquin Mill on 3.8 acres. They wanted this historic spot to be preserved to help people understand life in the 1800s. It’s been a popular annual event ever since with 16,000 – 20,000 people attending the three day event.

Algonquin 1853 Bridge

This 1853 bridge built by Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton was still in use in the 1960s.

The original old mill built in the early 1800s is their reason for being. The first two mills on this spot were driven by water from nearby McGuire Creek. Today’s mill, built in 1826, was originally operated by water. In 1890 it was converted to steam power. At its peak, the mill produced 25 barrels a day, grinding corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat.

Algonquin Mill

John Miday, miller, and Bill Baughman make sure the corn mill is working properly.

The mill was closed in 1939 and the steam engine went off to fight in WWII. Today they use a one hundred year old steam engine to power the gristmill and grind cornmeal and flour.

Algonquin School 2

This one-room school is the oldest building on the property with typical pot-bellied stove.

The complex contains many other buildings as well and many of them are original. The log buildings have all been brought on site from nearby locations. The one-room school happens to be the oldest of those buildings. During the festival a schoolmarm will be teaching class.

Algonquin Volunteers

Volunteers from all over the area enjoy a tasty pot-luck lunch every Thursday.

They make enough money at the three day festival to support the Algonquin Mill Complex for the entire year. Their volunteers are amazing and very active as they arrive every Thursday all year long to work on projects at the complex. Many said they planned their work schedule so they could have Thursday off.

Whole families get involved in helping here. Volunteers come from all around and even though there is a large number, David McMahon, president of the Carroll County Historical Society, said they could use twice as many.

Algonquin Cookie House

One of the original buildings is now the Cookie House with the Cheese House close by.

Old fashioned foods are a highlight of the festival. Pancakes, sauerkraut, apple butter, homemade jams, cider, and maple syrup are made and served. Or you can buy some to take home and enjoy. The mill also grounds fresh cornmeal along with buckwheat, spelt and wheat flour.

Algonquin Sauerkraut

Dave George takes his job seriously as the man in charge of the sauerkraut operation.

Dave happens to be in charge of the sauerkraut and that’s no small task. When you start out with nine tons of cabbage, it takes a careful eye to make certain it ferments properly in large containers. Then it will be put in jars to be sold at the festival. Word has it that they are usually sold out of sauerkraut by noon on Sunday!

Algonquin Art

This is just a small sampling of the art on display in the past.

The barn at Whispering Winds Farm held square dances in years gone by, but today that’s where you’ll find an Art & Photography Show. This juried show displays original pieces created between 2014 and 2017 with no previous entries allowed. Every year it’s a whole new show, sharing one-of-a-kind items.

Algonquin Crafters 2

Women embroidery a quilt and work on many crafts in the Civil War era Gothic farmhouse.

You’ll discover time honored crafts such as rugweaving, spinning and quilting in the Civil War era farmhouse. The walls are covered with aprons, quilts, scarves and rugs they have made to sell. These ladies begin working on next year’s crafts the Thursday after the festival ends to refill the walls.

Algonquin Threshing Machine

Dave McMahon, president of Carroll County Historical Society, explains the antique Case threshing machine in their Farm Museum.

Throughout the grounds demonstrations exist for chair caning, wood carving, candle dipping, broom making and blacksmith trades. An old sawmill attracts people of all ages and is one of the most popular demonstrations.

Algonquin Mill Barn

This is the last original work of Mail Pouch Barn painter, Harley Warrick. There are two other Mail Pouch Barns Warrick painted at the complex.

Don’t forget, all day long old-time entertainment takes place. There’ll be cloggers, banjo and fiddle players and gospel groups performing. Local high school bands and choirs also enjoy participating. If you want, you could sit there all day and be entertained.

Algonquin Stagecoach Inn

On the hillside behind this old stagecoach inn, Perry J. Vasbinder Arboretum has been established with over 400 different plantings.

If you should happen to want to visit Algonquin Mill at a time other than the festival, Thursdays are the perfect time as volunteers are always there to answer questions. Of course, you can walk around the grounds 365 days a year and learn about the complex from literature available on the wall of their information center, but buildings will be locked.

This festival is the perfect place to step back in time and enjoy all those old fashioned tastes, crafts, and entertainment. Entry per vehicle is $8.00 so load up the van and have a day of fun and learning. You’ll be glad you stopped by.

The Algonquin Mill Complex is located south of Carrollton along OH 322, which is east of I-77. There are several bends to make on this scenic adventure no matter what direction you are coming from, so it’s best to place their address in your GPS system. Find them at 4296 Scio Road SW. 

 

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