The Anchorage Folk Festival

by Peter Twitchell

I was invited by Mary Walker to join her and Carl Jack at the Anchorage Folk Festival 2020 on January 19, 2020 at the Wendy Williams Auditorium Stage that evening at 7pm on the UAA Campus.

This was my first exposure to this Festival and I guess the experience is sorta like being on the “Grand Ole Opry!”

Coming in into the Auditorium guest rooms in the back of the stage, just in, from the falling snow in Anchorage was exciting. There were a few musical instruments familiar to me like the dulcimer, a harp, and guitars that were being tuned for stage by a handful of folks preparing to play and perform.

There were numerous posters on the walls of past and previous performers and performances at the Auditorium.

We were told to prepare to go on state for 3 songs, 3 numbers that didn’t exceed 15 minutes. This is the allotted time for each performer and Mary had chosen to perform “If Teardrops were Pennies”, “Guitars, Cadillacs, and Hill Billy Music”, and “I Just Want to Dance With You”.

That was our set and Mary sang and performed them flawlessly. It was over just as fast as it began!

It was a wonderful musical benchmark for me; I’d come a long way to get here and I have Mary to thank for the thrill of it all.

It was a flash in the pan, but all the ingredients were perfect. It was all our love for music coming together. I thought, “Music unites us all!”

It was an unforgettable experience for me. It doesn’t end here. Carl informed me that Jr. Kiunya Paul, him, and I were booked for Thursday, January 23, 2020 to sing three Joe Paul songs under the “Kusko Yup’iks” at the Folk Festival.

We performed “Lonely Whistle”, “Wildwood Little Girl”, and “In the Stormy Weather” – all Joe Paul Originals.

I thoroughly enjoyed our part of the Folk Festival and you can check it out on youtube. I really appreciate how Anchorage is showcasing all music Folk talent young and old. Thank you.