By Stewart Hendrickson

No, I am not leaving, but this is my last column for the Victory Review. I wrote my first column under the heading Musical Traditions in February, 2002. Seven and a half years is a long time - over 55 columns! - and it's time to move on. As I have become more involved in other projects - producing the monthly concert series for the Haller Lake Arts Council, reviving the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society, and my own music - I find less time for writing this column and have fewer ideas for new topics.

I began this column as an attempt to bring to Victory Music a discussion of traditional folk music. When I began performing at VM open mics in about 1999 I was one of the few people doing traditional music, and I thought of this column as a sort of educational endeavor. I chose the title Musical Traditions over the more prosaic Traditional Music. I found that the former allowed me to be broader in scope and cover just about anything relating to music.

I have an archive of all of my columns on my own web site, here. I'll briefly mention some of the columns I have enjoyed writing and that others have commented on.

My first column, Musical Traditions - Introductory Column (February, 2002) sort of set the stage for what I wanted to write about. I followed some of those ideas, but later developed others.

One of my early columns Living Traditiions (May, 2002) explored the idea of traditional music as a living and evolving art form, and the value in keeping it alive. I profiled two traditional musician friends of mine, klezmer violinist Cookie Segelstein, and Irish traditional singer Paddy Graber. I later wrote another column about Paddy, Paddy Graber - A Living Tradition (March, 2004) on the occasion of his first CD at age 80.

My guest columnist Bob Nelson wrote about Walt Robertson, one of Seattle's earliest professional folk singers - The Walt Robertson I Knew - Part 1 (June, 2006) and The Walt Robertson I Knew - Part 2 (July, 2006). And guest columnist Don Firth also wrote about Walt - WaltRobertson - Seattle Folksinger (April, 2002), and about early folk music societies in Seattle - A Folklore Society - Early Organization Attempts (Parts 1 & 2) (Jan., Feb. 2003).

I wrote about other people in the Pacific Northwest who were important in the history of folk music in our region - James Stevens - Paul Bunyan and the Frozen Logger (November, 2005); Earl Robinson - Seattle-Born Composer/Song Writer/Activist (January, 2008); Pacific Northwest Folklore - Paul Ashford (December, 2008); Stan James, Memories of Stan (January, 2009); and a recorded 1959 KCTS interview with James Stevens and Ivar Haglund in Archiving Folk Music (May, 2009).

Other columns about the Seattle folk music scene: The Irish Session (Part 1) (June, 2003) ("Just read Part 1 of "The Irish Session" in the latest Victory. Thanks for a well-researched article. Dale Russ"), and The Irish Session (Part 2) (July, 2003); The Greek Connection - Georgia's Restaurant (January, 2004); and Hootenannies in Seattle (September, 2008).

I wrote several columns about music theory: Of Scales and Temperament (March, 2006); Of Scales and Modes (September, 2006) for which I received this response - "Just a note to say 'good job' on your September '06 Victory article on modes. We archive the magazine here, but I may photocopy your article for a 'modes' subject file; it's such a clear and basic explanation for our researchers who are interested in that. Keep up the good work!, Jennifer Cutting, Folklife Specialist (Reference), Archive of Folk Culture, AmericanFolklifeCenter, Library of Congress"; and Odd Meters, 7/8 Anyone? (November, 2006).

And I wrote several columns about my musical instruments (fiddles and guitar): Fiddle or Violin? (March, 2003); Soul of a Fiddle (November, 2007); and My $99 Martin Guitar (March, 2008).

It's always encouraging when a writer receives feedback from his readers. Over the years I have received many comments, both written and verbal, about my columns, including this one from an internet reader in Massachusetts, "Dear Victory Music and Stewart, I especially enjoyed Stewart's Musical Traditions article - Attributions - in the April 2006 issue. May we reprint it in our newsletter? If so, can you send me the text via email, either as an attachment or as straight text? Looking forward to hearing from you. Caroline Batson, Editor, CDSS News, Country Dance and Song Society, Haydenville, MA," and more recently this nice note from Hank Cramer, "Speaking of your column, it's my favorite piece in each month's Victory Review."

I feel it an honor and a privilege to have been allowed to write this column for the Victory Review over these many years. I have learned a lot in the process, and hopefully improved my writing. It has been a good run - now it is time for someone else to take over. But I won't give up writing - you can read my occasional columns in the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society's e-zine, the NW HOOT. And you can read all my archived columns on my web site, here.

So goodbye and thank you dear readers. I'll still be around, continuing to do what I do, but not writing any more Musical Traditions columns for the Victory Review, sigh!

Stewart Hendrickson is Chemistry Professor Emeritus - St. Olaf College, Research Professor Emeritus - University of Washington, and in his new career, an unemployed folk musician (voice, fiddle, guitar; Email him for questions, ideas or comments.