Bob Lusk and The Folkloric Music Coalition
The Folkloric Music Coalition very much comes out of an organization, The Folkloric Music Association which existed from 1983 to 1993 in Kingston, New York. It sponsored classes in guitar, accordian, tinwhistle, songwrting and had weekly jam sessions, monthly open stages and many special events.
Ernie Shultis taught tin whistle, Tobey Frey and I taught guitar. Amy Varin taught Gaelic and Bill Pflegging taught songwriting. Most activities took place at my old victorian house on Wurts Street in Kingston, but eventually events moved into larger, public spaces. In the early 1990's the classes and library moved to David (Doc) and Marge Howells home. Eventually most of the books were donated to the Kingston Library and the Sing Out! Magazine Archives.
The Open Stage was origionally at Holy Cross Episcopal Church on Pine Grove Avenue in Kingston, but moved to the Unitarian Fellowship on Sawkill Road. Currently the Hudson Valley Folk Guild has a similar Open Stage in that space.
The performing group Folkloric Music Coalition was formed after the demise of the organization. It has had many members over the years including alphabetically:
Jim Donnelly is well known as a local poet and is a sensitive singer of songs and ballads. Known as "Railroad Jim", he is also quite a Hudson Valley historian and can spin a song & a tale about many place names along the river. He sings, whistles and plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica.
Lee Eaton, old tymey fiddler, was a strong presence in the Folkloric Association, along with his daughter Shirley (now Dr. Shirley).
Beth Lawton from Valatia, NY, plays guitar and sings.
Buffy Lewis is also the lead singer in the cajun group "Cleona's Ghost". She has been singing with small groups in tight harmonies since she was 10 years old. The sound of her flute can be heard accompanying upbeat as well as lilting melodies, and the trill of her penny whistle adds a lively element to the Irish dance numbers. She brings to the group a background in ethnic music and dance and specializes in both children's and French tunes.
Melissa Ortquist is wonderfully talented at singing harmonies. She sings with the Hudson River Sloop Singers and has performed at the Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival. She has a strong background in peace and protest songs and plays percussion instruments.
Ira McIntosh from Bovina, NY is a store house of Catskill Mountain song and folklore. Plays bass, mandolin, guitar, etc., etc.
Frank Romano (Dr. Romo) plays piano accordion and his mastery of the 120 bass notes provides the foundation of dance tunes as well as melodic drones for the softer ballads. He also plays fiddle and guitar as well as providing background vocals for the rowdier Irish songs and singing some of our funnier Italian songs.
Mary Ann Schatzel has performed with various groups from all over the Hudson Valley from the Kingston area to South Street Seaport. She sings and plays guitar and banjo. She has a broad knowledge of children's songs, sea chanteys and historical music.
Regina Scheff is a traditional fiddle player with an exquisite musical sense. She has been playing for 20 years and studied at the Folkloric Music Center in Kingston. She regularly plays for English Country Dances and has performed for both the Elmendorf and Wilderstein historical restoration projects
Ernie Shultis, bagpiper extrordinaire and all around picker. He taught tin whistle at the Folkloric Association for many years.
Cecilia St. King is a singer, guitarist and songwriter with an international reputation as a "Peace Troubador" . She has toured Japan, Colorado, Nashville and New York. She has also performed with various groups in the Hudson Valley from the Kingston to Manhattan. She specializes in children’s music and brings many smiles as her voice lifts their spirits.