Saturday, September 14, 2013


Murphys, Ca --  After 16 days on the road, and about 2,400 miles, we have re-learned an old lesson.

Do not over-plan. The best things happen when you just let them happen. 

That does not mean we did not know where we were heading, sort of. But stuff happens.

We knew we were going sailing with friends on San Francisco Bay. We knew we were going to see son Zack and grand-daughter Katie in their new home in Olympia. We knew we were heading for parts of British Columbia we had not seen before. And we knew we wanted a chance to sit down with old friends in Seattle before heading home. We did all that, and more.

Pictures are worth a thousand words, so here goes.

First two days we were sailing on San Francisco Bay during America's Cup prelims

 We expected to have nice sailing days with friends, but didn't know we would get up close and personal with America's Cup Oracle boats and the 42-foot Red Bull competition. Then it was on to Olympia.

Days 3, 4 and 5: Granddaughter Katie and son Zack hamming it up
Zack and Katie have a new home and apartment, and are surrounded by friends. She started her new high school and was excited about it. They showed us their new town and were the perfect hosts. Then we were  on the road north to Canada.

Day 7: Arriving at Nanaimo BC by ferry from Tsawwassen

We spent a night in Bellingham en route to Canada, crossed the border in plenty of time to catch the Tsawwassen ferry that takes folks and vehicles across to Vancouver Island. It is the only way to travel, and a delight. By chance we decided to head north on Vancouver Island and find a place to camp for a couple of days.

Day 8: Pat studies the flora, or fauna, or something
 The beach at the provincial park where we stayed was several miles long with tidal flats and rock and driftwood everywhere, overlooking the straits of Georgia. Very few people. Just us and the birds.

Day 9: Beach at the Provincial Park where we camped. Pat with birds and beach.

Our campsite was within walking distance of the beach. The place was clean and well run.

While there we heard a man talking about how beautiful the Pacific Rim Park area is on the western side of Vancouver, so we changed our mind about going further north and crossed the mountains to the West and landed in an area right out of a movie set.

Day 10: Our first look: Ucluelet Yurt living requires minimal activity

Also on day 10, we took a hike near Ucluelet to see the coastal area

Day 11: Pat reads instructions on yurt living
On the first day we took a hike near Uclelet, right on the Pacific coast. Local folks were disagreeing over what type of whales we were seeing. We did not care. The next day we went up to Tofino.
Day 11: Tofino, as far as you can drive in northwest BC
In Tofino, north of our private beach, we found picturesque views, lots of great places to eat local seafood, offers of tours to see bears and whales,  and an end-of-season fair/market where we bought photographs of wildlife.

Then it was heading south again, aimed for Victoria -- one of the most beautiful cities in North America, and a taste of the English-styled Canada.

 This  dockside cafe just happened to be along the way to Victoria. More great seafood and scenery, near Salt Springs Island.

On to Victoria.

Day 13: Victoria is a beautiful blend of old English stuff and First Nation art and atmosphere. 

In Victoria we managed to get slightly lost in traffic, but found our way to the harbor and the center of the city. We stayed here once before on a boat, a great memory. It is a great city, and the new Bateman Center in the old Steamship Building is host to some glorious nature art. We found it while looking for a bathroom. More serendipity. That afternoon we boarded the ferry for the trip back to the U.S.

Day 13: Learning to park on a ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles can be a challenge. That's us on the left.
We took the ferry across Juan de Fuca to Port Angeles, then another ferry across Puget Sound to Edmonds north of Seattle for a visit with our fellow fellows from the class of 1978 at the University of Michigan.

Journalists never really retire, they just get together to talk about the good old days, how much fun we had, and how blessed we are by friendships.

Day 14: The Pike Street Market in Seattle, one of our favorite spots. We are in front of the brass pig.

Day 14: Marsha gives me a lesson in eating smoked salmon, while Warren records the moment.

Day 14: A perfect end to to a perfect day: dinner on Puget Sound with old friends.

Warren and Marsha, friends for 36 years, were the perfect hosts in Seattle. Years ago they interviewed us about having children: we had two and they had none at the time. They went home and had two beautiful daughters, both grown now. We've shared a lot through the years and miles, and we are better for having known them.

After two great days and nights, we loaded the car one last time and headed south on Interstate 5. Homeward bound. By the end of the first day we were very tired of driving, and looked for just anyplace to stay. We found this spot in Southern Oregon.

Day 15: The last night on the road at Wolf Creek Inn, Oregon
The Wolf Creek Inn is a restored 1880's travelers inn, run by the state of Oregon. The place once was a major stop for people going from the Oregon Trail to California. Still is.
Our room was furnished with antiques, the dinner was superb, and we even ran into people with whom we share mutual friends. More serendipity.

Day 16: Homeward bound with Shasta in sight

I believe this is in Northern California, somewhere near Weed, and we headed home on the final day. If it turns out t be Mount Ranier, or Lassen, I am truly sorry, but I am a bit tired.

I've refilled the bird feeders, been to my favorite bakery for a morning treat, and we are back in touch with home.

Tonight we work -- a pleasure really -- at a Habitat for Humanity Fund Raiser.

Home is good.

To misquote someone: "It's not about the destination. It is about the journey."

And, one last sunset....

Sunset at Wya Point on the Canadian coast

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cool nights in Canada - Beauty all around us

The view from our Yurt at Wya Point
Ucluelet,  Vancouver Island, British Columbia -- We are in the land that no one can pronounce.
Well, that’s not entirely true. The First Nation people who live here, and the frequent visitors seem to manage quite easily.

The community of Ucluelet, for example, is called “Uke” for short. But the native name for it is “Yuul?il?ath.”  Pronounce the question marks as a  consonant in the roof of your mouth and you can come close.

We are deep into our vacation, 1,200 miles north of smokey Murphys, staying in an oceanside Yurt at  Wya Point. We are staying on native treaty lands just outside the  Pacific Rim National Park.  The resort town of Tofino is a few kilometers north. This is a far west as you can get in this part of Canada, and there are no roads to the north. They use boats and planes.
During a short hike we enjoyed hearing Canadian tourists arguing over the whales we saw were Orcas or Grey Whales. Matters not to us.
This area was inaccessible for most people until a road was built across the island of Vancouver in the 1950s. Now it is a sought-after resort area, mostly campgrounds and surfers, hikers and kayakers, but with a distinctive native chill out  ambiance.
Pat reads the "welcome" book at the Wya Resort yurt

The Ucluelet First Nation people have lived here for 7,000 years, and through a treaty they have taken control (regained?)  600 acres of old growth  rainforest on the edge of the Pacific, the almost forgotten Pacific side of Vancouver Island.

No casino here, just a beautiful place, well cared for where guests are welcomed. To quote the welcome page in our yurt: “The yurts are a part of a First Nation cultural destination resort ...

The Yuul?il?ath cultural connection to the land means that sustainability  is the guiding principle for all aspects of Wya Point development..”

Everything is made from local products, including the cedar floors in the yurts, and the  nearby lodges have earned a LEED Platinum award. That means it is very green.

That also means the showers and toilets use non-potable water, limited electrical power from battery kits and generators, and drinking water is hauled in every day.

But that allows us the privilege is being nestled into the edge of the cedar rain forest overlooking  a beach. At sunset last night a big crowd of maybe 8 or ten people were visible. 

My photos cannot do this place justice, but it gets two thumbs up, more if I had them.

Meanwhile,  here are a few local names to consider: Amphitrite is the lighthouse; Du-Quah is the native art gallery, Otalith is the local music festival, Cynamocka is a road, Ukee Scoops is the ice cream parlor, Kwisitis is the Feast House Restaurant located on  Wickaninnish Beach, popular with surfers but with miles of sand and driftwood that no one comes near.

You get the idea.

So, Nuu-cha-nulth
(Take Care and Thank You).

From the beach

A two-person Yurt, with deck and million dollar view, cost us $113 a night

Sunday, July 28, 2013

More music is always a good thing

Murphys, Ca -- Most of my friends know I like many different kinds of music. If I play, I keep it simple (folk and bluegrass and gospel). But I love listening to almost everything (except obscene rap and acid rock).

So the following is an announcement I put together for one in a series of concerts I am helping encourage at our little church.  If you are nearby, come see us and hear some fine musicians next Saturday.

    Murphys, Ca -- The Delphi Trio, the ensemble currently in residence at the
annual Bear Valley Music Festival, will present a free concert this coming
Saturday (Aug. 3) at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary of the historic First
Congregational Church in Murphys.

Trio individual members have performed in 14 countries and on four
continents, including as a trio in Europe, California and the Midwest. The
Delphi Trio has completed artistic residencies at the Dakota Sky
International Piano Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and is
currently featured as artists-in-residence at Old First Concerts in San
Francisco where they have juxtaposed classic repertoire and works
commissioned for them.

Members Liana Be'rube', Michelle Kwon and Jeffrey LaDeur are graduates of
the University of Toronto, Stanford University and the Eastman School of
music respectively. The trio was formed while they were studying at the
Chamber Music Program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Saturday's concert will be the second in a series of musical events at the
church. The initial concert was presented this Spring by Cooking With Turf,
a traditional Celtic band. Later this year the church will host
performances by the Masterworks Chorale, a jazz group from Pennsylvania, a
traditional/bluegrass/gospel band and other local/regional musicians.
The church sanctuary is located at the corner of Church and Algiers
Streets, one block above the Murphys Hotel on Main Street.

The trio believes chamber music is an integral part of music education, and
has coached students at the San Francisco Conservancy of Music and the
Crowden School in Berkeley. They developed an innovative chamber music
mentoring program at the Dakota Sky International Piano Festival Young
Artists Program and developed an Emerging Artist Program to guide
collegiate students through their first independent concert experience.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A little vacation by the Bay

Me and my Modesto Bee souvenir shirt

Pat getting ready for a cool day of sanding and oiling teak

Alameda, Ca -- Pat and I are staying aboard s/v Good News for a few days, mostly filled with the work any owner of a 32-year-old boat will know well (sand, clean, varnish, paint) but also a few happy breaks.
The weather deserves kudos after baking in the summer heat at home. Temperatures have ranged from the low 70s to the high 50s, with good fresh breezes every day.

We actually went sailing yesterday, Saturday, though we started late and stayed in the estuary. We did explore some new areas for us, moving south past Coast Guard Island to the bridge and back.
The photos are during a work break on board the boat. Pat says the shirt looks like I bled on it, but that is merely old deck stain. It IS my painting shirt.
Looking across Marina Village en route to breakfast
We've met new neighbors on the dock, including a couple packing up to head down the coast for Mexico. Local lore says all you have to do is sail out the Golden Gate and turn left. They leave in two weeks. Ate well at the Oakland Yacht Club, and at Ole's Waffle House.

Today being Sunday, we declared it a NO WORK DAY and went to San Francisco for a full day.  We started a bit late but with good intentions to attend Sunday worship at Noe Valley Presbyterian Church. Our friend Dianna Cheifetz is pastor and we wanted to hear her as she is a super preacher and person. We found the hospital parking garage (services were being held in the chapel) but discovered we were locked out of access and had to give up and drive out into downtown traffic and find something else to do.
We found the Buena Vista Cafe, overlooking the Aquatic Park and the cable car stop, and had bacon and eggs and good company (a young couple who communicated through sign language and their three-month old baby).
We bought Pat a cheap fleece (they are still a bargain) to hold off the cold wind and walked out onto the dock at the Maritime Museum to watch the preliminary race for the America's Cup.  Our timing was perfect, though the "race" was not a race as only one boat was running the course due to an accident a few weeks ago which wrecked one boat and killed a crew member. The race was supposed to be an elimination heat, a warm-up for the real deal in September.
America's Cup challenger running the course off Aquatic Park
Still, it was a thrill to see one of the fastest sailboats in the world ripping down the Bayfront. The America's Cup boats this year are 72-foot Catamarans, probably the highest tech boats in the world. They routinely go over 40 knots per hour (that's about 50 mph) by riding up on foils that lift the entire boat (both hulls) out of the water. You can see this by checking YouTube. It is both scary and thrilling.

We met an interesting couple from Tampa Florida, that have traveled the world to see every America's Cup race in recent memory, only to get here and find that due to the accident and the extreme expense of putting teams together they won't see any real competition during their stay.
There are a lot of ticked off businesses and people in San Francisco because of the problems with the races.  Simply put, even before the tragic accident a few weeks ago, about half the normal number of teams were competing. To compete used to cost sponsors about $150 million. This year's teams, because of the boat design chosen, are paying in the neighborhood of $500 million. Yep, that's a half BILLION dollars.  Larry Ellison of Oracle is the host team, and while he can afford it, not everyone can or thinks it is worth that.

We had our brief look at the big time race, and then went back to spend a great hour at the San Francisco Maritime Visitor Center. It is a National Park Historical Site, and tells the fascinating story of how San Francisco developed along the bay.
Rev. Jeff Cheifetz and son's self portrait

The gallery was crowded for his first San Francisco reception
Then we found a cab and went to a reception for a great San Francisco artist name David Cheifetz (look him up on the Internet). The art was great, he and his wife were charming, and their parents Jeff and Dianna were at the gallery so we had a good brief visit. David is a rare talent, working mostly with still life that are luminous, almost startling, better than reality.

We walked down from Russian Hill to the parking lot ($33 for five hours) and drove along the waterfront in bumper-to-bumper traffic to come back across the Bay Bridge. We stopped off at the Oakland waterfront for dinner at Quinn's Lighthouse (yep, you can find it on the Internet). Crabcakes, fried chicken, salad and fries and a Sangria and a Guinness and the home to the boat.

All in all, a very full day. I may sleep in tomorrow.
At the Maritime Museum we found this Chevy just like the one I learned to drive in...  My Aunt Betty, bless her, let me drive at night in pouring down rain to my first job as a drummer in a band. What was she thinking?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Parks for People? Or Just a Few People?

At the Warming Hut last Winter
The Trail Through the North Grove
Murphys -- The Gulf Coast town where I grew up offered pretty much everything a kid could need: neighborhoods, schools, friends, family and a  park a few blocks away with ball fields, a playground and tennis courts.
If I wanted a wilderness experience I could explore the mostly undeveloped swamps, bayous and hills nearby. The sugar-white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico were close.
If I wanted to go camping I went with my Boy Scout troop, or slept out on an old Army blanket on the sand beaches.
Today private land is mostly closed off for fear of “unsuitable” people or lawsuits and beaches are wall-to-wall condominiums. If you tried throwing down a blanket to sleep you would probably be arrested as a vagrant.
Public parks -- both state and national -- have become much more important to me.
The Great Smoky Mountains provided my first park experience It was stunning to learn that unnamed people in earlier generations saved this special place for me.
 I discovered state parks initially on Florida’s beaches and in her swamps. Fishing from the beach, watching a storm come in off the ocean or snorkeling on a  coral reef were part of  state parks.
When I migrated to California and was living near Yosemite National Park, it was  a dream come true. My first trip there on an October day over 30 years ago,  we woke up to snow covering our old VW camper. Wonderful.
My family discovered the wealth of state and National Forest parks and campgrounds across the state. There were almost no limits to where we could go and what we could see. Waking to the Pacific thundering onto a rocky beach, or a Roosevelt Elk’s bugling call, were made possible because of California’s parks.
All of this was affordable, from Yosemite to Prairie Creek on the North Coast, and could be reached within a day’s drive. A few more days put us into Washington, Nevada and Utah with enough parks to satisfy even me.
Today, the parks are still  available where we can get in touch with our souls, or simply sit on a rock.

The sequoias are the largest trees in the world

I settled in Calaveras County because of my  experience at parks along Highway 4’s corridor.  Our initial criteria for our home was to be as close to Calaveras Big Trees State Park as possible.
A success story in recent years is the little park by the creek in downtown Murphys. It is available to everyone and used by many. “First Friday” concerts in the summer draw more people than live in the town. Kids play in the creek or on the playground equipment while families picnic. Office workers take their lunch breaks near the bubbling water. People dance, sing and play. The park is part of the glue that holds the community together. With no town government, local people support the park through fundraising efforts.
But there are no guarantees any of these parks will be available to our children and grandchildren. And potlucks and raffles won't keep state and national parks open.

A recent investigation by a watchdog group recommends the state system  be revamped and modernized. Interestingly, they did not recommend the park system be privatized, and encouraged better taxpayer support for the system. They did recommend the forging of new partnerships with local communities and people.
National Parks have gone through lean years as well, which led to decisions to raise entry fees dramatically, and the rates for overnight stays in lodging have been climbing dramatically. When attendance immediately dropped, park officials wondered aloud  what had happened.

Neither the California legislature nor the public has been very enthusiastic about parks in the last five years or so.

As a result, state and national parks may some day be reserved for the small group of people that can afford to pay prices too high for the average family. That is not what community should be.That was not the idea when the parks were set aside for everybody. I want my grandchildren to benefit the way I did.
People who love parks have to do a better job of explaining why parks have value for everyone. Parks really are places where knowledge is gained, health is restored, and we learn important stuff about our world and ourselves.
You know what parks do for you. Now is a good time to speak up.
In the old days they knew how to be tourists!

 Note: This was originally written for the local paper, the Calaveras Enterprise, and was published last week. I added the pictures to give you an idea what my local state park looks like.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In appreciation of newspapers - but not a memoir

Murphys, CA -- I hear that newspapers are dead or dying, and I know that change is the one sure thing in our lives. And few things have changed as much as newspapers in the past five to ten years.
But I still love newspapers. Not just the abstract idea of newspapers and their worth to society, but the look and feel and even the smell of ink on newsprint.
I can get just as irritated as the next person at the failures of newspapers, the greed of their owners, and the idea that we readers should pay more for less.
But I really love the newspapers that blessed my life with challenge, adventure, a life-time occupation, support for my family, and great, interesting and quirky friends.
Here's a personal history of newspapers where I worked, grew up, matured and eventually retired.
The Atlanta Journal was the biggest paper in Georgia when I started there as an intern in 1961, a summer of turmoil and excitement, and it schooled me in essentials I never forgot. My teachers were some of the best reporters and writers in the South, all keen on finding out what was really going on and letting the public know in crisp clear language. 
Ralph McGill was the Journal-Constitution's voice for morality
I came back to the Journal as a reporter after graduation in 1962, and I still can't think of a better place to be a reporter (and a bachelor) than in a big changing city on a great afternoon newspaper. Where else can you cover a Klan Rally on Stone Mountain, Martin Luther King Senior preaching, a governor's campaign and expose crooked county officials and get paid for it.
The Army required me next, but even then I worked nights as a cop reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.  I made enough money moon-lighting to buy a Gibson guitar,  and went back to being a full time soldier at Fort Benning.
When I ended my tour, The Miami Herald -- then the biggest and best paper in a booming state -- called me to come work in their bureau system. My long-dead grandfather had worked there as a printer.
I was lucky beyond belief to be assigned to the Herald bureau on the East Coast closest to Cape Canaveral where world-changing events were in the works, and lucky to have editors who left me alone (so long as I produced stories, which I did every day) and trusted me.
The Herald's Bureau staff in 1966, with spouses
 Then in 1966 I was lured away from the Herald by a guy named Al Neuharth, who convinced me his brand new newspaper (to be called TODAY) was some sort of holy quest and probably a charitable effort at the same time. Whatever was true, he offered me a chance to report full time on the then-booming manned space program, the time and travel to do it well, and a $10 raise.
I got engaged, accepted the new job and they gave me a week off to get married.
I was at the TODAY Newspaper (now re-named Florida TODAY) as Aerospace Writer, my very first title, and ended up writing about one of the biggest accomplishments in human history -- men on the moon  -- for the Gannett chain of newspapers, a chain that grew into the biggest in the nation. I was even put on the corporate payroll, a nice way for the local editor to keep his costs down. And because I was in the right place, freelance writing offers came in almost daily from everywhere from the Washington Post Magazine to Paris Match.
As the manned space program wound down after Apollo ended, I was allowed to do more general science reporting, including ocean exploration, and that led me to the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and elsewhere.
In early 1971 the company decided to open a Gannett News Service Bureau in the state capitol of Tallahassee, and  I was tapped for that job. All of a sudden I was back to covering politics, but on a larger scale, traveling the state and the Southeast to cover news for seven newspapers. That led me to the political conventions of 1972 (McGovern and Nixon), and on the road with Southern governors named Wallace and Carter.
When you work for Gannett you never really unpack, so it was not a surprise that at the end of 1972 I was asked to go to the Fort Myers News-Press to work with my good friend  Executive Editor Bob Bentley as his Managing Editor, and sooner than I expected as his replacement.
It does not do the paper and its people justice to skim over those years, but understand we were building and growing and doing our best work. In my early and mid 30s, I was leading a staff of bright and hard-working people. Those surviving, not on book tours and sober enough to travel show up for reunions almost 40 years later.
One of the verities of the newspaper business is that all editors serve at the pleasure of their publisher. I survived one publisher, but his replacement wanted an editor more cooperative with his business interest (and willing to ignore his greed).
I escaped to a sabbatical year at the University of Michigan as a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellow, and ended up after that as executive editor of the Marietta Times in Ohio. It was small town newspapering, more of a team playing together than workers. Everyone was underpaid and overworked and had a good time.
After 14 years with Gannett Newspapers,  and  moving six times, it was clear that a packed suitcase (and lots of publisher changes) would always be a requirement, no matter what your family situation. So when an unexpected call came from California to consider a different company, we put aside our West Coast biases and took a look.
I never really had heard much about the "Bee newspapers," much less considered working for a paper with an insect name. But when I checked out the man who made the call -- C.K. McClatchy -- his reputation was pure gold in West Coast journalism. He was president and editor of the company, but wanted an executive editor in Modesto.  He offered professional integrity, no publishers in the system (I would report to him as CEO), and the first truly decent salary I had ever been offered.
It seemed too good to be true, but it was. I became the executive editor of The Modesto Bee, which turned out to be the longest tenured job ever for me, and a great opportunity.
During C.K.'s time the only problem I ever had was worrying why no one ever called from corporate to check up on Modesto's newsroom, or the content of the paper. I finally got up my courage to ask him and he told me he hired me to run the paper, not to be bugged by folks in the headquarters in Sacramento.
I was privileged to be in Modesto through boom and bust times, but mostly during times of growth and expansion. The staff size doubled over the years, and even through numerous changes (the company's expansion, public stock being offered, several changes in the general manger's post, and the untimely death of C.K. while out jogging) we were always able to do the kind of honest journalism  he had established.
Change is the only constant in newspapers, and after 18 years as executive editor the company converted to a publisher top-down system, and the new publisher wanted a new editor.
I was offered a chance to go back to writing as Ombudsman for The Sacramento Bee.   We left our long-time Modesto home, friends, church and neighborhood and moved into downtown Sacramento -- no commute required.  I traded suits and ties and ten-hour days in six-day weeks for more relaxed garb, normal working hours for the first time in almost 40 years, and the job of being the readers' representative.
I wrote a column about the strengths and weaknesses of the newspaper, and rediscovered the joy of writing. I maintained the joy of talking with people -- both readers and staff -- about what makes good journalism.
In my new spare time we took up sailing, which has led to all sorts of good times and friends.
Finally, 43 years after walking into that first newspaper job, I decided to step aside, try new things, and give other people a chance to be as lucky as I had been.

It was an accident that I retired just before the industry began to collapse.

I was one of the lucky people in many ways.

How many people you know get to work their entire career with people they trust?

How many people get look back with affection at every place they worked, and recall it with fondness and a sense of satisfaction?

 My friend and mentor John Quinn, a great American editor, was right when he said working for a newspaper is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

My friend and mentor C.K. McClatchy, a great American newspaper owner and editor, was right when he said newspapers owe the public uncompromised honesty and independence  from the influence of anyone who wants to hide the truth.

 I still love newspapers.

Now newspapers are going digital. I always wanted to be cremated and have my ashes mixed into the giant inkwell of black ink that prints the words on the pages of your newspaper. That won't happen.

 I still love newspapers.


Irish Music in Murphys

Murphys, Ca-- A Celtic band will present the first in a series of concerts by regional musicians  at the historic First Congregational Church this Sunday afternoon.
"Cooking with Turf" will play beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday at the sanctuary at the corner of Church and Algiers streets, one block uphill from the Murphys Hotel. Refreshments will be served at intermission. A donation of $7 will be asked for at the door with the proceeds going to the musicians.
The series of concerts is sponsored by the church as a community outreach, and to provide the talented pool of local and regional musicians an opportunity to perform close to home. The band members in "Cooking With Turf" come from the Mother Lode and nearby valley towns, and play in venues from the Bay Area to the foothills. They specialize in traditional Irish and Scottish tunes.
The first congregation in Murphys was founded at the same site in 1853, and the old sanctuary building is pointed out as part of the weekly historic tours given by the local museum.
The schedule for later concerts is not yet established, but plans include music by groups that perform classics, jazz, vocal ensembles and individual performers. For inquiries about future performances contact the church office at  209-728-3141 or coordinator Sanders LaMont at 209-890-3172.