A Happy Hootenanny Thanksgiving!

When’s the last time you sang and played and clapped into the wee hours? We’ve been doing it more and more. Some theaters sing show-tunes. Some do cabarets. I think we’ve found our bliss with the hootenanny. Every Sunday night (for the time being) at the J. And we started singing even before Woody Sez(!), at the closing night of Our Class. Menachem (Tim Getman) brought his banjo, and the artistic director brought his guitar, and we sang and sang until well past 1 in the morning. These Woody Sez hoots are shorter, but they’ve gotten us started on a tradition that won’t stop (I’m predicting Israeli sing-alongs for the closing nights of our Voices From a Changing Middle East Festivals!) For the next two Sunday nights, right after the 7:30 show, beginning at 9:20 pm in the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery, where we’ve got a great, great tribute exhibit to Woody Guthrie celebrating his 100th birthday (learn more about the exhibit here), you are invited to bring your instrument, your voice box and your presence down to the J for some Sunday night baying at the moon.

As for the etymology of the word “hootenanny?”

“We was playin’ for the Lumber Workers’ Union. We was singin’ around in the shingle mills. There was a lady out West out there in the lumber camp and her name was Annie and so every time they’d have a songfest Annie would outshout all of them. So people got to call her Hootin’ Annie but the name got spread all over and so out there when they are going to have a shindig they call it Hootenanny.”

And that’s how Hootenannies began, according to Woodrow Wilson (“Woody”) Guthrie.

Read more about the origins of the hootenanny here.

All photos by Dancing Moose Photography (c)