Whatcom County Homemade Music Society Oral Histories
- interviews (7) + -
- oral histories (literary works) (6) + -
- oral histories (document genres) (1) + -
- First of two separate interviews. Ms. Breskin briefly describes her experiences as the first Jewish family on Mercer Island, and how this isolation as a child led her to music. She moved to Bellingham in 1970 at the height of the counter-culture movement and recollects her connections with the South Fork Bluegrass Band. She relates her experiences as one of the founding members of the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and the various camps and workshops that sprang forth from that, the Sound Acoustic Music Workshop and the California Coast Music Camp for example. Ms. Breskin also discusses the influences she had on the WCHMS, and her thoughts and experiences in the Bellingham folk music scene in general. She explores the impact that musicians like Elizabeth Cotten had on her own folk music experience and her personal connections to other folk artists like Janis Ian, Larry Hanks, Mike Marker, Eric Schoenberg, and Richard Ruskin. She explains her connection to Mama Sundays, now the Underground Coffee House on Western's campus, its history, and its connection to the music scene in Bellingham.
- Second of two interviews conducted with Flip Breskin. Ms. Breskin describes her up-bringing on Mercer Island and her early interest in folk music, and bands and musicians of influence. She relates some of her experiences running Mama Sundays and its history, as well as the evolution of the Puget Sound Guitar camp. Ms. Breskin discusses the strong sense of community in the music scene in Bellingham.
- Ms. Smith was born in Hawaii in 1947. She recalls that her early exposure to music came from her father playing classical piano and ragtime when she was growing up. Her main musical outlet was choir, and she sang in her church choir through high school. She went to college in Portland, Oregon, and continued to sing there. Ms. Smith recalls her musical influences and interests during those years, including Joan Baez, Mimi Farina, Mark Spoelstra, and Steve Young. She relates how she began playing banjo, and how this led to her playing with Larry Hanks, her husband. She moved to Bellingham in 1979, where she and Larry reconnected with Robert Scholtz and became involved in the WCHMS. As a host, she has sponsored various acts including The Wanderers, Bill Merlin and Carl Allen, the BirdÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Creek Boys, and Sarah Gray. She discusses briefly where she sees the WCHMS headed.
- Ms. Bliss briefly outlines her early experiences with playing music and some of her early artistic influences, including Simon and Garfunkel and the Beatles. She spent the majority of her college career at University of Washington. Ms. Bliss recalls how she was exposed to bluegrass style music, and how she was first introduced to playing the dobro, a lap-played guitar often featured in country and bluegrass music. She relates her experiences playing with the South Fork Bluegrass Band of Bellingham, including playing at the Darrington Bluegrass Festival and the Grass Valley Festival. Ms. Bliss has taught classes at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop since 1984, and attended Whatcom County Homemade Music Society (WCHMS) music circles at the Roeder house when she was first learning to play folk music. She also describes the recording of a record, Old Pal, in 1994 with long time friend, Cliff Perry, and discusses her experiences playing Cajun music, specifically with the Bellingham-based band the Happy Valley Sluggers.
- Ms. Penttinen-King was born in Pasadena, California in 1942, and recounts her early experiences with music, as both a performer and a listener. Ms. Penttinen-King sang in her junior high and high school choirs, and recalls her father listening to jazz and Big Band music when she was a child. She recalls her own early influences, including Mike Seeger and Elizabeth Cotten. She attended the University of Maryland and San Diego State, where she saw Peter, Paul and Mary, and Joan Baez perform. While in San Diego, Ms. Penttinen-King was active in the American Civil Liberties Union, taking part in picketing during the Civil Rights movement, and she picked this back up after moving to Bellingham in 1982. She briefly discusses the connection between those movements and singing. She explains the structure/organization and activities of the WCHMS. She discusses her experiences hosting the concert series at the Roeder House, and the acts that she has brought to Bellingham as host, including Hank Bradley and Kathy Whitesides.
- Mr. Scholtz was born in Los Angeles, California in 1947, and spent parts of his childhood in Ventura and Alton before heading to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. As a child, Mr. Scholtz played piano and trumpet, and took music theory courses in college though he majored in Psychology. His first exposure to folk music came in high school when he heard Pete Seeger and the Weavers, and after college he took up the auto-harp. He recalls his experiences meeting Flip Breskin, and his work with the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. He also relates how he came to found the WCHMS, and his continued work with the group. Mr. Scholtz acted as head of the Washington State Folk Life Council for 8-10 years, and has taught music classes at Western and at Whatcom Community College. He describes the Bellingham music scene, and its influence and impact on groups like the Homemade Music Society.
- Mr. Lopresti and Ms. Weiner both discuss their early musical memories, including familial influences and popular music influences, including 1960s folk staple, Joan Baez. Both were born on the east coast, Lopresti in New Jersey in 1954, and Weiner in New York in 1956. Both also found their initial interest in folk music during high school, and discuss the reasons that they were drawn to folk music. They relate the difference in the way music was experienced on the east coast in the 1960s and 1970s compared to the west coast, the accessibility of the music scene and the musicians in the Northwest that was not true for them on the east coast. They re-located to Bellingham in 1987. They discuss their first experiences with the concerts at the Roeder House and the WCHMS. Relate their musical experiences in Bellingham, including seeing such acts as Richard Scholtz, Ani diFranco, and Bob Franke. They also discuss their experiences with the monthly concert series put on by the Homemade Music Society and put on at the Roeder House.