Author: Varner, Mark

Let it be a dance
Dear friends,

Happy Monday everybody. Hope we’ll see ya’ll at Turlock for CBA Spring Campout. It’s going to be fun! For one thing our friend Sharon Elliott, who we’ve seen precious little of in the last year, has played matchmaker for a number of bluegrass kid musicians who are meeting up at the Campout. She’s been quarterbacking the CBA role in the May 3rd event taking place in Windsor, Ca ( They’ll have a parade and a one day “Foggy Mountain Bluegrass Festival” that’ll feature headliner Ed Neff and his band, Blue and Lonesome. The organizers wanted to get some KOB action, so they contacted Sharon.

Sharon has lined up a couple groups of Kids on Bluegrass alumni to perform. One group, the Mighty Chiplings, is made up of twins David Thiessen, 13-mandolin and Marshall Thiessen, 13-banjo, Jesse Fichman, 13-guitar and Adrian Shader, 12-fiddle. The other invitee is the Bay Area band, OMG (Obviously Minor Guys), comprised of Nate and Max Schwartz and my own darlin’ boy, Marty. AJ Lee is joining the group to take them to higher heights with her legendary voice (no hyperbole, folks!).

So the campout will be a summit meeting between these groups of young pickers. Look to witness some crazy jamming from those quarters.

See you all in Turlock!

I was reading one of our Santa Cruz local weekly papers the other day and came across a “poetry corner” kinda thing they were doing. I randomly read a poem, actually a song, called “Let It Be a Dance” by a fellow named Ric Masten.

Let it be a dance we do
May I have this dance with you
Through the good times
And the bad times too
Let it be a dance

Let a dancing song be heard
Play the music, say the words
And fill the sky with sailing birds
And let it be a dance
Learn to follow learn to lead
Feel the rhythm, fill the need
To reap the harvest plant the seed
And let it be a dance

Everybody turn and spin
Let your body learn to bend
And like a willow with the wind
Let it be a dance
A child is born the old must die
A time for joy a time to cry
So take it as it passes by
And let it be a dance

The morning star comes out at night
Without the dark there is no light
And if nothing’s wrong then nothing’s right
So let it be a dance
Let the sun shine, let it rain.
Share the laughter, bare the pain
And round and round we go again
So let it be a dance

I couldn’t help but read between the words and I found a wistfulness that touched me beyond the simple, brave and happy images in the piece. Then I read the story of the poet:

He has been battling prostate cancer for nearly 10 years and recently brain tumors were discovered. His family says he is “going out dancing” and “we are all going to love and embrace each other and enjoy all the time we can squeeze out. No more treatments. Just love and good food.”

Learn more about Ric Masten at Thanks to the GoodTimes Santa Cruz for this the other poetry they publish!

Your pal,
Mark Varner
Posted:  4/7/2008

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