Cheri Priebe's house is filled with music

Cheri Priebe’s house is filled with music

Music continues even while Swallow Hill is closed! In these special Faces of Folk installments, members of our community share their stories about how music helps them get through this time of social distancing. If you have a story to share about how music is helping you during this period, please fill out this form, and share an image if you have one, and you could be featured!

Cheri Priebe’s house is filled with joy and happiness through music

I was only two lessons into learning acoustic guitar before the shutdowns. I’ve kept my quarantine ‘sanity’ by having my guitar to practice. It’s been a positive distraction from all the media static! Instead of tv or iPads, my husband and I let our boys pick out CDs from our collection to listen to and dance. They get a wide variety of musical genres and my husband and I get to reminisce! Music keeps joy, happiness, and giggles in our house!

A cat listening to music

The cat’s outta the bag – singing keeps the blues at bay!

Wendy Hawthorne keeps on singing for a captive audience!

I recently took a few sessions of Women of Folk Ensemble with Jen Hitt. To fight the blues that go along with being cooped up alone for the stay at home order I’ve been singing those songs we learned, practicing my part with the sheet music and the recordings that Jen provided even though the class is long over. Maybe I’ll come out of this crisis a good singer! Not sure my cat agrees though.





Swallow Hill student playing piano at home

Swallow Hill Member Sally Flynn’s 14-year-old son has turned to his piano often during social distancing.

Swallow Hill Member Sally Flynn tells us:

My 14-year-old son has been taking piano lessons continually from Swallow Hill for seven years. I have never seen him so excited about playing. He plays at least three times a day, is teaching himself new songs and building on the ones he has learned over the years with instructors Virginia Anderson and recently with Dustin Adams. He is planning a virtual concert for our family spread across the country. It makes my day when I get home from stressful days at Denver Health to hear him play.




Festival of the Living Rooms

Blind Lemming Chiffon started a music festival with friends!
Back in March, I was lamenting the cancellation of Consonance in San Jose, one of the science fiction music festivals I attend every year. So I was thinking about doing an online concert, and so was one of my friends, and I said, “Hey, we should coordinate, so the times don’t conflict,” and one thing then another happened, and before I knew it, I was operating a three-day online music festival, with people from the UK, Germany, and Sweden, and from the East to West coast of the US. It was wonderful, and 3 other people have copied it since, I’m doing it again in May. There are T-shirts.

Michael Shainline

Michael Shainline is ready to get back out for live music and the company of his friends.

Michael Shainline keeps busy online while missing live music and being with friends

Since I’ve been at home alone since the middle of March, I’ve spent a lot of time recording songs I’ve written over the years and posting them to a web page I’ve created called I was part of a bluegrass ensemble at Swallow Hill that has not been able to continue, and I’m really disappointed since some of us from that group were also meeting on the weekend to work on fiddle tunes. Since we haven’t been able to continue those meetings I’ve created backing tracks with an app called Strum Machine, and I’ve been practicing some of the standard fiddle tunes that get called at bluegrass jams. When jams start up again I might have the confidence to take part when some of these tunes are called.

I was also participating in Thomas Jennings’ class A Guitar Soloist’s Toobox that could not continue, but some of us from that class meet weekly with Thomas through Zoom.

The recent death of John Prine has resulted in many, many posts on Facebook of others covering his songs and paying tribute to his great character, talent, and career. It’s brought back many memories of the friends with whom I have shared John Prine songs over the years.

Facebook in general has been a great window to the world outside of my home this past month. Friends and acquaintances have posted videos of their own performances on Facebook and I’ve shared a few of my own. But, in all honesty, music is best enjoyed when it is performed and heard live, so everything I’ve been doing at home is a poor substitute for the Swallow Hill classes, the Open Stage, the Hootenanny, the live concerts, and the informal rehearsals and practices with friends around town.

Phil Carson plays guitar

Phil Carson has filled his life with music during self-isolation.

Meanwhile, Phil Carson is keeping busy by, well, we’ll let him share the details:
I finished two new studio CDs with the fabulous Brian Hunter just as self-isolation kicked in. One is solo originals, the other is a duet with the amazing uke artist and singer, Eleanor Nash. I had help on fiddle, bass and drums. Brian went way beyond the call of duty on these projects, especially at the (dicey) end. One of the songs is up on I’m learning to finger pick much more effectively (evenings), writing new material, and learning new covers. I am also recording demos at home and working through some guitar workbooks. Meanwhile, a massive home library of music is enabling me to listen widely and deeply to stay sane, rock out and develop new ideas. Ciao!



Remember, we’d love to hear from you, so send us your stories of how music is helping you get through social distancing!