Bones Fest XVII began as scheduled and unfolded much like the lotus flower in the Buddhist parable. From the performance on Dean Mazzerella’s program on Thursday to the last hug goodbye on Sunday morning, Bones Fest XVII was what we have come to expect: a gathering of good friends, old and new. This year’s fest could be described as “Community” (read more details in (RBP,421,15 #3).


Saturday morning started with a loving tribute and reflection on the life of our founding father, Everett Cowett. Six members of his family attended. Martha Cowett produced a CD “of Swedish Rhapsody”, one of Everett’s favorite bones playing tunes, and we all played away. Intertwined with this was a tribute to Joe Birl, an iconic figure in the bones playing world.


After Bill Vits’ enlightening program on integrating the drum set with bones playing (man can that guy play!), we headed to the Flash Mob at Kimball Farm in Lancaster.


Highlights for me at Saturday night’s finale include: Ari Erlbaum’s hysterical Star Wars bones playing rap; Mitch Boss’ persistent dry humor and bones playing pyrotechnics; Adam Klein’s soaring version of John Henry; Tim Reilly accompanying to a harpsichord; Frank and Mary Lee Sweet accompanied by the band on, “Tell Me Ma”; Bernie Worrell demonstrating the Mescher tradition of bones playing; Steve Wixson playing to the 17 year cycle of cicada’s; Bill Vits blowing our socks off accompanying his own band on CD; and, Kenny Wolin doing a Rickey Ricardo tribute complete with advertisements for RBS members parody products. Nicole Singer and Scott Spiegler, two first time attendees beat their fear and played.


My enduring gratitude goes to several people: Steve Wixson for being the glue that holds us together and encouraging me; Mary Lee Sweet giving me the gentle strength to continue; and, Kevin Kelly and Ernie Duffy for cleaning the facility after Saturday night’s program. These friends lifted me up and for that I thank them. Last, but not least, my wife, Jennifer, for being there and helping me to persevere.