PCFS: A Page in History
by Glen Morningstar Jr.
In celebration of the upcoming 30th anniversary year of Paint Creek Folklore Society
The first documents to be placed in THE ARCHIVES of Paint Creek Folklore Society tell of the original formation of our unique groups of musicians, singers, historians, craftsmen and friends. This information came from interviews in 1978 and 1979 with both John Carter and Vincent Sadovsky, our founders. John had been a member of Detroit Folklore Society for a number of years before moving to Rochester. Vince had opened the Rochester Folk Workshop in October, 1973, prior to their meeting. Here’s their account…
John Carter and Vincent Sadovsky first met in January, 1974 when John visited Vince’s Rochester Folk Workshop at 420 East Street in downtown Rochester. John had initially searched the Rochester area via bulleting boards and notes (Oakland University and local stores) for folk interested in playing music and singing together. A response from Vince to one of John’s notes at Oakland University prompted their first meeting at the Workshop. Increasing visits to the Folk Workshop and the weekend jam sessions that ensued proved that the folk spirit was alive and well in Oakland County. These sessions soon drew a lot of repeating participants.
In November of 1974, John and Vince and Brian O’Keefe (a classical piano player/guitar player in Rochester) sat down and mapped out a workshop on guitar picking styles: flat picking and elementary fingerpicking. Vince put the program together in tablature form and advertised the event in his store. The workshop that followed consisted entirely of folk and bluegrass guitar styles. The first gathering saw between 20 and 25 people, comprised primarily of the weekend players that gathered in the store and students that Vince was teaching at the time. The first get-together went over so well that those involved suggested more formal gatherings on a regular basis.
Having been a member of the Detroit Folklore society since 1968, John invited Vince to join him at one of the Detroit Society’s meetings. In November, 1974, John and Vince packed up guitars, banjos, autoharps and mandolin and trucked off to Southfield, Michigan for a Detroit Folklore Society meeting at Bob and Carolyn Montgomery’s home. Although that particular meeting saw meager attendance due to inclement weather, it did provide the impetus to John and Vince to seriously pursue the regular gathering of the first group that had met at the Folk Workshop. In that same month, John and Vince sat down and mapped out basic goals aimed at expanding the original guitar nucleus. The goals as they were noted then are:
“THE PURPOSE OF PAINT CREEK FOLK GATHERING: The gathering of friends for the purpose of exchanging ideas, instrumental techniques and songs relative to traditional and contemporary folk music. We meet once a month with the possibility of additional get-togethers.”
A copy of these first goals is included in the binder “The Archive of FOUNDERS & OFFICERS” for Paint Creek Folklore Society.