The “Sweet Sixteen” Bones Fest was held at the elegant Rosen Plaza Hotel. Thursday night began with 31 bones players venturing to the Raglan Road Irish Pub for dinner and playing bones. The band, Creel, invited RBS members to play with them. Highlights from this first night: Jonathan Danforth and Skeff Flynn’s “talking bones face off”; Hank Tenenbaum, Mitch Boss, “Spike Bones” Muhrer, and “Black Bart” Boyles rocked the pub; and, our champion “All- Ireland” bones player, Steve Brown, and Creel, raised the roof! The crowd was on its’ feet stomping, dancing and clapping. An unforgettable night.
Every bones fest is different. A fest personality develops from the camaraderie of those who come, and you never know who will come. At 99, Jim Steakley had decided to learn to play the bones. So, his daughter, Jimi, brought her father to his first fest. He wanted to attend the workshops so he could learn to play better. Jim played the bones while the crowd clapped a rhythm. He will be one of the “precious memories” from BFXVI.
Friday and Saturday were full days of workshops, bones stories, and jamming. We spent the day in our conference room at the Rosen Plaza where music was provided by Brogan’s Blues Band and Just in Time, an old time music band.
Sharon and Jerry Mescher kicked off the informal work-shops by demonstrating all things bones. Methods of playing were shared by Mitch Boss, Steve Brown, Skeff Flynn, Dennis Riedesel, Jonathan Danforth, Dave Boyles, and Spike Bones Muhrer. Hank Tenenbaum offered one-on-one instruction. Steve Brown emphasized there is not substitute for repetition. Dennis demonstrated the “fly swatter” technique. Jonathan showed us how to play with palm frond bones.
For the first time, the last night ended with Bob Campbell playing his bagpipes. Dave Broyles led the conga-line parade as we bid another bones fest adieu.