News Clippings and Memories -
Date Unknown - Late 50's or Early 60's Dad working on song while one of the local papers photographs him - The photographer was Marge Mikkelson - have no idea which paper
Photo to left - Stone Fort Singers - from St. Catharines Standard - July 22, 1967 when they were to be heard in Montebello Park, St. Catharines - Also explaining that the group started out as the Gleaners.
Stone Fort Singers in order, consisted of Marlene Pentaluke, Sylvia Pedley [my sister], Clodagh and Derek Bancroft, and my dad, Charles W. Pedley
The article is explaining that the songs are mainly composed of original compositions by my dad usually in reference to some Niagara historical event. Three songs are mentioned: Moseby  , the story of an escaped slave who came all the way from Kentucky and found refuge in Niagara-on-the-Lake where slavery had been abolished.
The Burning of the Peel in 1838 was another historical event occurring as revenge for the burning of the ship, Caroline above Niagara Falls during the Mackenzie Rebellion.
The Pedlar of Blenheim - The words are taken from a "Wanted" poster of about 100 years ago [as of 1967] which was on the wall of the history room at Rodman Hall Arts Centre in St. Catharines when it first opened . Dad used almost the exact words of the poster in his song which recounts how the pedlar was murdered.
The group besides singing at the first Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, has sung at numerous coffee houses and in some locations in Toronto. Their specialty was pure folk music.
Clipping to right from St. Catharines Standard entitle Peninsula Parade from June 18, 1970
He was 63 at the time. It explains about him losing his sight and information about the Stone Fort Singers, formed in 1967 to entertain and inform local audiences in clubs, schools, churches and folk festivals.
Dad goes on to explain that he likes classical folk music because it tells a story, usually based on the true life of early settlers. They represent standards of integrity of the day and give hope.
The group had at that time about 200 pieces in their repertoire, all of which could be performed for any family group.
The article goes on to explain that my dad was a self-taught singer who went on to learn some finer points about music through a correspondence course through the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He learned counterpoint which is a process of writing two individual melodies to harmonize with each other.
He was first motivated by the song stylings of Burl Ives, about 1945. After he heard Ives, he went out and bought a guitar and some music. Songs by Alan Mills [which I personally remember on CBC Radio] and Ed McCurdy, two early folk singers, also influenced him greatly.
The article goes on to point out that my dad had learned to edit and rearrange old music as well as having written about 25 songs himself.
At the time, the Stone Fort Singers were composed of Clodagh Bancroft, Carol Mooridian, who had won awards at local music festivals, Jane Sweingard who was lead voice in the Grantham High School choir and also plays piano and guitar, Sylvia Wiens [my sister] who has sung solos and played at some coffee houses as well. Derek Bancroft, Clodagh's husband, who had played and taught drums.
It explains that my dad was finishing up a folk opera, based on a local Indian legend regarding the maid of the mist. The folk opera was called Nee-Oh-Ah-Gra which has been performed at Westdale school in West St. Catharines and Virgil Public School with the help of my sister, and many other students and adults at both schools.
Clipping at right below from the Niagara Advance of July 6, 1988 - Obviously part of the first word is missing. I found it in the other part of the clipping to the left below. This is when my dad was 81 years old.
My dad is explaining that he still hopes to continue his folk music career when the time is right. [Unfortunately that was not to happen on earth as he passed away in January 1990 in his 83rd year, of oesophogal cancer. ...any details here need confirmation]
[More clippings and memories to come ....]
Editor - Charles Pedley