Susan & I spent the holiday week visiting family in North Carolina and Virginia. We rang in the New Year with my mother by attending First Night Williamsburg 2007. We spent almost the entire night in the University Center at the College of William & Mary and heard a lot of great music (and a couple of duds).
- Celtibillies — As the name implies they play Celtic and Appalachian styles of music. There are a lot of bands that do this so they could probably do without the silly name, but they play it well. I love those jigs and reels.
- St. Veronica’s Youth Steel Orchestra — A bunch of exuberant youngsters from Baltimore played everything on the steel drums from Earth, Wind & Fire to a medley of Christmas songs. I especially like the bass drums which sound like strings.
- C. Shells — We popped in for the end of this participatory children’s performance. I especially liked the song about a kitten on Christmas morning. The women in this duo remind me of Carole and Paula from The Magic Garden. My mother and wife have no idea who I’m talking about.
- Ron Fetner — This guy is from Virginia but sounds like he’s from the Boston folk scene.
- Bagels and Fraylox Klezmer Band — We really enjoyed this klezmer band which featured a guest mandolin player on a couple of songs.
- Friends of Appalachian Music (F.O.A.M.) — In my college days I was a regular a F.O.A.M. contra dances in Norge so this was a nostalgic moment. Susan and I stood in for a couple of easy square dances which was enough to work up a lather.
- Poisoned Dwarf — This contemporary Celtic band was really good. The room was so crowded that Susan & I listened from the corridor. Too bad Poisoned Dwarf wasn’t asked to play the Grand Finale.
- Schnicklefritz and the Oompahs — I forced my beloved wife and mother to leave the University Center to hear some German music. Perhaps this band wasn’t talented, perhaps they were over-amplified, or perhaps you need beer to enjoy oompah music, but we bear to stay longer than one song.
- Grand Finale featuring Coyote Run — I went to the very first First Night Williamsburg to ring in 1994 and for the Grand Finale someone dropped a pineapple off the balcony of the Wren Building at the College of William & Mary. In later years they had music and fireworks in the Sunken Gardens. Now the finale is in Zable Stadium. Since we abandoned Schnicklefritz we got to Zable early and sat in the stands. The band Coyote Run played and they were kilt-wearing, hooting & hollering and basically Scottish cliches who didn’t play very good music. Apparently all the good bands were in the University Center. Then it started to rain so we huddled under the stands to keep dry. At midnight, the fireworks began and for the first few minutes they were pretty pathetic. Then they started firing the good fireworks. It may say something about my age, but after 20 minutes I was checking my watch and ready to go home. After 10 more minutes of booms and flashes the New Year fireworks show was complete and we went home to bed.