Press-Citizen article on our upcoming online mini-concert

If you’d like to see the version of the story that includes a few stills from our videos, check it out here:

And here’s the text-only version:

by Jean Littlejohn

The Family Folk Machine is excited to announce our First-Ever Special Pandemic-Era Online Mini-Concert! Join us at a YouTube Premiere on Sunday, November 15 at 3:00 p.m. for the launch of five song videos. Several days before the event, we’ll publish a dedicated link on our website,, and on our Facebook page. We’ll have a Zoom session concurrently if you’d like to chat about the songs during or afterward, and we’re even going to have a drawing for prizes.

Last June, we began making recorded versions of the songs the FFM was rehearsing this spring before the pandemic shut things down. The spring concert was going to be a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, so the songs express themes about the love of nature, conservation, and concern about environmental degradation.

In this first set, we’ll present “Out in the Country,” a song made popular by the band Three Dog Night. It celebrates the restorative properties of nature for human well-being. “That Cause Can Neither Be Lost Nor Stayed” is also a celebration of nature, admiring the natural world’s power, wisdom, and resilience.

This first mini-concert features one brand-new original song, “This Is Home,” cowritten by FFM Associate Director Gayla Drake, Susan Spears, and myself. The song is accompanied by our FFM cello choir, and it reflects on humanity’s place as part of nature in unity with other creatures. We’re looking forward to presenting the world premiere of this song!

Pete Seeger’s song “My Rainbow Race” is a call to human unity based on the fact that we all share this earth. “One blue sky above us, one ocean lapping all our shores, one earth so green and round, who could ask for more?” The sheer abundance of natural beauty calls us to do better, to work with each other to solve our problems, to “give it one more try.” FFM video producer Aprille Clarke set this song with images of protests and social action to show people working to make our society more just and sustainable.

The mini-concert ends with R.E.M.’s “Fall on Me,” and our video production team had an enjoyable but unresolved discussion about the meaning of this song. FFM video producer Susan Stamnes created a visual representation of some of the difficulties we’ve faced in 2020 but also the ways people are engaging in activities that help. The result is fun to watch, and the video will become a good way for us to remember this period of our lives.

Hope you can tune in on November 15! Our aim is to bring a feeling of community and hope and perhaps even some laughter in a time when all those things are in short supply. Finding a way to keep singing and to be together while separated is going to help us through.

If you’d like to learn more about the Family Folk Machine, please visit or send an e-mail to