Author: Varner, Mark

New Years
Dear friends,

Here we are at the last Welcome of 2007. It was a year that came with some sadness and I pray will leave with some hope. We lost a number of our community members, most lately Jack Freeman who was a darned nice guy and will be missed when the wagons circle up for our CBA events. Iím still working on Tom Tworekís passing. I have the unique situation, as editor of the Bluegrass Breakdown, to be painfully reminded each month how much he contributed to this passion play we call California bluegrass. I would call Tom every month asking for a photo of this or that band or artist. No more, my friend.

Many of us in this association are boomers and are facing the sunset years of our parents and older family members. Weíre missing some pretty good friends from our bluegrass events because those folks must dedicate time to caring for these aging loved ones. Sharon and Steve Elliott and Esther and Steve House come immediately to mind but there are more and more coming to that phase of life. Until recently we had my wifeís mom living with us. She needed to be cared for and my wife and kids did a beautiful job of making her last years a celebration of life and family. We lost my dear mother in law, Peggy, the Thursday before Christmas and the holidays have been a time of reflection for my family.

I guess all this is to say, letís take care of each other in 2008. Letís make it a year of love and kindness and letís lay down some music that will speak of who and what we are for ages. Letís make sure that the next generation has a role model that teaches the importance of family, both blood and extended. Letís make sure that no one passes from our circle without knowing how beautiful and worthy they are.

Ugh! Well thatís cheery, eh? On the lighter side, hey! The first festival of the year takes place in Portland, OR this coming weekend and my son Marty and I are going. Woo hoo! The River City Festival ( has a wonderful line up, including the new Dan Tyminski Bluegrass Band. A little preview of one of our Fatherís Day Festival artists. Anybody else going?

Happy New Year, grassers! Your pal,
Mark Varner
Posted:  12/31/2007

Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email