Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Salt Fork Festival Chorus’

Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival – Coming Back Strong in ’21

Another year arrives when folks from far and wide gather in Cambridge City Park for the annual Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival weekend from August 13-15. 2021 will be the 51st year for the festival to be held. Over the years, it has changed with the times but still keeps the juried art as its basis.

Visitors are sure to find something special as the festival includes artists, entertainers, concessions, crafts, student art, heritage tent, marketplace, and some surprises. This weekend event will bring a smile to your face as you see friends and neighbors throughout the park. Here are some highlights of the weekend.

Artists

Artists Russ Shaffer and Virginia Price have been with the festival for many years.

All the work that is seen at this festival is made by the artists themselves. Many will be demonstrating their craft as you watch them make rugs, pottery, musical instruments, and more. It’s a fun time to perhaps find a hobby you might enjoy during the rest of the year.

Maggie and Gene Jorgensen together create beautiful jewelry. Gene also does unique forged iron shapes.

Many of the artists have been in attendance for many years. One artist has actually been at the festival since its beginning. Virginia Price, 101 years old, will again be displaying her watercolors. She still paints even today so is a precious part of the festivities. New artists like Ken Vaughan will showcase their leather goods made from deerskin. Variety can be found around every bend.

Entertainers

The Loves Gospel Quartet, comprised of a father and his three sons, is always a crowd favorite.

Throughout the weekend, the Performing Arts Tent or the Big Pavilion provides a place to rest while listening to talented artists sing, dance, or play their musical instruments. You won’t be disappointed in the variety of music being presented.

These Ladies of Longford give a lively performance of Itish music.

The Loves Gospel Quartet is a popular local group that is always a crowd-pleaser as well as the Cambridge City Band and Muskingum Symphonic Winds. A Celtic group, The Ladies of Longford, delight the crowd with their lively Irish music, and for those who enjoy bluegrass, join Kevin Prater Band, another favorite.

Concessions

Buckeye Concessions is a favorite place for kettle korn and lemonade.

Everyone likes to take a break from walking the grounds and have a treat, or lunch at one of the many concession stands. You’ll be able to get everything from homemade ice cream or kettle corn to a cool Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade.

You might have to wait in line to get some of Russo’s Wood Fired Pizza.

Then head down to the big pavilion to sit down with friends and have lunch. Get some delicious Zeke’s BBQ, Rosso’s wood-fired pizza, or stop by J.C. Concessions for a sandwich or meal that will give you strength to carry on with your festival enjoyment.

Crafts

Crafts for children are a favorite part of the festival. Adults can join in as well.

Each year local ladies interested in the arts create many ideas to be used by children and adults in a special pavilion. For children, they range from masks and crowns to picture frames. Adults might create a design on a tote bag or jar.

Craft classes are held daily in one of the small pavilions with patient ladies guiding children and adults in creating some artistic items they are sure to want to display at home. Cost for these classes is $3 and under.

Student Art

These artistic students were award winners at the 2019 show. They are pictured with sponsors and organizers.

A popular exhibit has become the student art display by youngsters from K-12. Several area art teachers have projects with their class for display and other students submit something they have done at home. Prizes are awarded in different age groups to encourage children to continue practicing their artistic talents.

Artwork from area students of all ages can be found in the Student Art Tent.

High school seniors have a special category as each year a senior or two are awarded scholarships to continue their love of art. Last year a scholarship to continue their education was also given to a college student who had artistic creations on display.

Heritage Arts Tent

Chuck and Shana Fair demonstrate pottery making and decorating in the Heritage Arts Tent.

Showing their Appalachian heritage, many local craftsmen and groups display their talents in this large tent. Here you might find someone making pottery, quilts, or weaving wool.

Carl Wickham has his hand carved Civil War items on display. They are made to scale…just perfect!

Local organizations and individuals display their Appalachian connection through displays of the Guernsey County Historical Society, CARA, and Zane Grey Museum. It’s a great place to learn more about our area’s history throughout the years.

Marketplace

Popular Candy’s Gourmet Fudge is back with delicious baked goods as well.

For many years, Ohio-made products have been featured. Most are tasty treats from the area such as honey, jellies, homemade baked goods, and candy.

Lisa Bell of Farmstead Bakery makes the most delicious gluten-free products you have ever tasted.

Bell Farmstead Bakery will be back with their tasty, gluten-free items. While there you can also pick up a bouquet of flowers to brighten your day or the day of a friend. All of these are from Ohio individuals or companies.

Salt Fork Festival Chorus entertains on Sunday afternoon with voices of local people who love to sing.

For 50 years, the festival has given many an opportunity to display their works of art as well as their musical talents. Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival weekend is a great chance for free entertainment as you walk through over a hundred different artists’ displays.

Put the weekend of August 13-15 on your calendar as a time to explore the arts at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival at the Cambridge City Park. Take your family or friends along for a fun-filled artistic day with great entertainment and food that satisfies.

See you at the festival!

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.”

 

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