by Sally Cohen
This Sunday, June 15, eight local groups will perform songs about fathers and grandfathers in a free outdoor concert, 12:30 to 4 pm. While the lyrics in the show are focused, the range of musical styles is broad — soul, country, folk, rock — even Yiddish, some Italian, likely Spanish and maybe Greek, too. Really.
The “musical mashup” concert will be held by the corner of Greene Street and Carpenter Lane in Mt Airy Village, a name that locals increasingly call their vibrant neighborhood within a neighborhood. Look for the street-side show in front of MaMa: Moving Arts of Mt Airy. It is being produced by MaMa’s director, Pamela Rogow.
The Father’s Day show follows on the heels of a robust Mother’s Day concert held at the same location in May, with lyrics that similarly corresponded to the honored parent, mammas one and all. “Heather Levi and Claudia Ginanni not only sang in two languages,” said Rogow, “but they also managed the acoustics, raising the production values in the neighborhood by an order of magnitude.”
After that show’s positive reception, one of the performers, guitarist/singer Art Miron, asked Pam if fathers deserved a concert, too. So a show was born.
It was not long, however, until Art reported that songs about fathers and grandpas were scarcer than material available about moms. He was not alone in this thought. Singer-songwriter Sad (correct spelling) Patrick, who has long organized Open Mic nights in Germantown and is helping plan the event, agreed.
So to buttress the efforts of the performers and promote the show, Pam began collecting a small cache of popular song sheets about dads, and granddads. At least two dozen, most of them vintage and cheeky or sentimental with cover illustrations that bespeak of past eras, are now displayed in MaMa’s big picture windows on Carpenter Lane facing Weavers Way Co-op. They are a show unto themselves and will remain on display until June 20.
The final song lists won’t be revealed until Sunday, but the titles and cover illustrations speak a special language. There’s “Daddy, You’ve Been a Mother to Me” (1920); “Daddy Has a Sweetheart, and Mother is Her Name” (1923) and “Daddy Come Home” (1915, Irving Berlin). And what to make of “Daddy Brings Home Something Every Day” (1909)? Or “Daddy’s Little Tom-boy Girl”, written by Robert Roden in 1934?
More familiar in the window is Elvis’ “Don’t Cry Daddy” and Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Daddy Could Swear, I Declare.” And then there’s Eric Clapton’s “My Father’s Eyes.” Do you know the Everly Brothers’ “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine?”
We leave the rest to your imagination. Or rather the performance on Sunday. Listen for Sonja Peterson-Lewis, who has put to song two poems that she wrote about a father’s advice; and accordionist/singer Frank Ewing whose peppy Italian is as good as his French.
And there will be Pamela Heatherton, whose Yiddish diction belies her background and evokes a warm and nuanced world; and Art Miron returning from the Mother’s Day engagement with more ballads and rock. At least one performer plans to reprise dad’s favorite song. And several other surprises are in the wings. Extra seats and umbrellas will be on the street for the event.
Singers and other musicians are invited to contact the Moving Arts studio if they are interested in performing at the Father’s Day concert. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.