Around a dozen stalwart folklorists, ethnomusicologists, and
sympathizers from Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota braved
busy times during February 20-21 to gather and share concerns,
projects, and ethnic edibles near the shores of Lake Michigan at
Illinois State Beach Resort (Zion, IL).
Folklorist Cindy Kerchmar organized the event, with help from Tamara Kubacki (who's now acting as Ethnic and Folk Arts Director of the Illinois Arts Council, formerly tenanted by Sue Eleuterio). Since participants were so rushed this
year, they gathered over meals Friday evening, and Saturday morning and
noon. Between meals on Saturday, participants briefly shared news of
recent projects, lingering on Paul Tyler's beginning journey in search
of folk music documentary recordings in Illinois repositories and John
Berquist's adventures in encouraging inner city African-American teens
in an afterschool program to record their artistic language and poetry.
After lunch, archivist Suzanne Flandreau of the Center for Black
Music Research at Columbia College in Chicago presented a detailed and
harrowing explanation of copyright law and how it applies to
folkloristic documentation and contemporary intellectual property
rights. Those of us who attended were delighted to join our colleagues
and happy to keep the Midwest Folklorists Retreat alive. Some of us
had fun swimming in the pool and wilting in the sauna. Anne Pryor has
valiantly taken on the job of finding a meeting organizer and location
for 2005. Beware you folklorists in Ohio, Iowa, and Indiana!