Joe Jencks

Joe Jencks -- Upcoming Concerts, The New Chautauqua Ramblers, and more...

In This Newsletter

New Years greetings

Concerts in the next 2 weeks (Cleveland, Boston Etc.)

NEA song project

The New Chautauqua Ramblers

Link to Joe Jencks: Art of The Song interview

Upcoming Concerts: Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia, Ontario, and Tennessee

Dear Friends…

Happy New Year! I hope 2008 came in for you with good cheer and with genuine joy! On this end, it promises to be a remarkable year. I have a new band with whom I will be touring. The ensemble is comprised of myself on voice and guitar, Helena Nash on voice and guitar, and Karen Michelle Bergmann on 'cello and voice. We will be traveling under the name The New Chautauqua Ramblers. More information on that can be found below.

In the near future…

I have a rare solo concert in Cleveland this weekend at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland, on Saturday, January 12th. I will also be presenting a musical sermon there on Sunday the 13th focusing on teachings of non-violence and compassion in societal transformation. I have been inspired by this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." "MLK, Jr.

Next week, I will be in Massachusetts with my performing partner Helena. Our schedule will including a special MLK weekend performance at the UU Church in Worcester, along with guest choir, the Master Singers (Jan. 19th). We will also provide music for their Sunday services the next day (Jan 20th), and an afternoon opener for the ever amazing Kim & Reggie Harris (Jan 20th). However, our first performance in the Boston region will be at the Me & Thee Coffee House (Jan 18th). A full concert listing is included at the end of this letter. Please follow the link below to read a recent interview they have posted on the Me & Thee blog:

In the long term…

I will be taking on some new projects. I have been commissioned by the National Education Association to compose some new music for them, for use on a national level within the union. The project has been a long time in coming to fruition, and I am delighted beyond description that it is going to progress in 2008! The NEA is also going to use my song "Rise As One" as the soundtrack for a short training and inspirational film they are producing. Yeah! Stay tuned for more information.

Back to the New Chautauqua Ramblers…

Helena, Karen and I have been performing together on and off for the last six months… and really enjoying the music! All of the audiences we have played for agree: the overall effect is powerful and greater than the sum of its parts. We bring a solid reputation in both folk and classical music to the table. We are all graduates of various music programs and conservatories, and we all have chosen to take that music in new directions. For each of us, our music is not just about music, but also about communication, enlightenment, education, spiritual awakening, and societal transformation… and it is about FUN!  It is about the wonder and the healing power of beauty!

How do you sum all that up in a band name?

Well, we tried for a long time to consider just how that might be done. Jencks, Nash & Bergmann sounds a bit too much like a law firm or something. So we set the old craniums on search mode and got back to work. In December, I had an 'Ah-ha!' moment and said to Helena, "The New Chautauqua Ramblers. That's it!"

As I understand it, in 1874 two progressive Methodist ministers came together to found the organization that evolved into the Chautauqua Institute, on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in upstate NY. They were concerned with the lack of intellectual development that was occurring as the industrial age moved into full swing. They wanted to provide a place where people could continue to seek enlightenment and transformation in all forms. And where people could lay down the burdens of the daily grind, and nourish themselves as whole human beings in spirit, mind, and body. Amazing, eh? 1874.

They wanted people to take time to read literature, to educate themselves on the latest advancements in science and technology, and to have discussions about what those advancements meant to society as a whole, and to individuals. They saw no reason why critical thinking and a spiritual life need be mutually exclusive. The Chautauqua movement firmly believed in reason and in the value of continuing education in all disciplines. And they wanted to make sure that music and art and culture remained a part of the common culture.

Lake Chautauqua became a gathering place for Intellectuals, Artists, Musicians, Scientists, and Authors of all stripes as they came to the serene shores of Lake Chautauqua to perform, lecture, reflect, and converse.  The Chautauqua movement quickly spawned the Chautauqua Institute, which enrolled 1800 or so students in its first year. These students were to spend a certain amount of time at the Chautauqua camp in the summer, and then get together for reading groups during the year. It was a four-year process to get to graduation, and among other things, the program was very successful in bringing a form of higher education to people who could not go to college. It sought to cross class and economic barriers and bring continuing education to the masses in whatever forms possible. I smell the delightful overtones of socialism here.

The Institute spawned the Circuit Chautauqua, whereby performers and lecturers would travel under a circus tent to small towns and set up shop for a while. It was a fusion of the classroom, theater, dance hall, and pulpit, all merged into one beautiful attempt to get people to step outside of their daily routine and consider a much larger world!

This is what I have been about for the last eight years, touring all over North America. This is what we all want to be about as a band: providing entertainment, culture, and information hand in hand, thereby stimulating ideas and thinking. And awakening the heart and the mind, and the spirit, so as to help people view the world with a little more wonder and a little more compassion!

So… While we haven't taken out a mortgage on a tent yet, we will be touring and bringing the finest music possible to a town near you! And we will often be inviting other guest musicians to join us. In the spirit of the Chautauqua movement of long ago, we hope to provide a diverse form of entertainment that also enlightens, heals, and transforms. Please keep your eyes open for more information about Jencks, Nash & Bergmann performing as The New Chautauqua Ramblers.

Last but not least… Starting at the end of January, this list will also begin featuring a monthly review of music I have encountered in my travels. These will all be artists you might not stumble upon on your own, but who I feel have a great deal to offer. I will provide info about the artists and links to their sites. It is part of my sense of obligation to my craft to help share the wealth of talent that is out there!

Thanks to my band mate Karen, I am now up and running on So if you want to set up a friend link, go to, and send a friend request to me. Please put TURTLE BEAR in the header, so I know you are a friend and not a spammer.

And… If you are interested in hearing a live performance interview I gave for the nationally syndicated show "Art of The Song," you can listen to it on this site:

I look forward to seeing you soon!

Happy New Year!

Joe Jencks

Jencks, Nash & Bergmann

The New Chautauqua Ramblers


Saturday, January 12th, 2008, 8:00 PM

Concert at Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland

2728 Lancashire Rd " Cleveland Heights, OH 44106 " (216) 932-1898

Joe Jencks in a rare solo concert appearance

Sunday, January 13th, 2008, 10:00 AM

Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland

2728 Lancashire Rd " Cleveland Heights, OH 44106 USA " (216) 932-1898

Joe gives a musical sermon: "Compassion is the Key to Change"

Friday, January 18th, 2008, 7:00 PM

Me & Thee Coffee House

28 Mugford Street " Marblehead, MA " (781) 631-8987

Joe Jencks & Helena Nash feature set

Saturday, January 19th, 2008, 7:30 PM

Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester

90 Holden St " Worcester, MA 01606 USA " (508) 853-1942

Joe & Helena perform a concert at the Church in honor of Dr. King, and the ongoing process of developing a society based on human dignity and compassion. A special guest choir will also perform.

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester

90 Holden St " Worcester, MA " (508) 853-1942

Joe & Helena sing for Sunday Services

Sunday, January 20th, 2008, 2:00 PM

Franklin House Concerts

1:00 PM Pot Luck, 2:00 " 4:00 PM Concert

Massachusetts ~

(508) 528-0026 "

Joe & Helena open for Kim & Reggie Harris

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Cedar Run Song Workshops Winter Weekend at the Seven Oaks Pathwork Center

Madison, VA USA

(203) 972-3261 "

Joe Jencks leads " "Songwriting as Journalism" at this weekend-long songwriting retreat

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008, 7:30 pm

The Flying Cloud Folk Club

292 Brunswick Avenue " Toronto, ON M5S 2M7 Canada

(416) 410-FOLK (3655) "

Joe Jencks will give a concert with vocalist Helena Nash and 'cellist Karen Michelle Bergmann, A.K.A. The New Chautauqua Ramblers

Doors open at 7:00 pm, concert starts at 7:30 pm

25 years of Toronto's finest in folk music!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008, 7:30 PM

Jay Linden House Concerts

Cambridge, ON " about 2 minutes from the 401

E-mail Jay for directions and address

Jencks, Nash & Bergmann / The New Chautauqua Ramblers

Friday, February 8th, 2008, 8:00 pm

Aussie House Concert

Ottawa, ON Canada

(613) 237-8398 "

Call or E-mail for directions

Jencks, Nash & Bergmann / The New Chautauqua Ramblers

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Dwyer House Concerts

Lanark, ON Canada " (613) 278-0057

Call or E-mail for directions

Jencks, Nash & Bergmann / The New Chautauqua Ramblers

Friday, February 15th, 2008, 7:30 pm

Leopard Frog Studio Concerts

267 Queen St. " Kingston, ON Canada

Jencks, Nash & Bergmann / The New Chautauqua Ramblers

Sunday, February 17th, 2008, 2:00 pm

Hugh's Room Gospel Sunday with Ken Whiteley!

2261 Dundas St. West " Toronto, ON Canada " (416) 531-6604

Jencks, Nash & Bergmann / The New Chautauqua Ramblers

Sunday, February 17th, 2008, 7:30 pm

The Cuckoo's Nest at Chaucer's Pub

122 Carling St. " London, ON Canada " (519) 473-2099

Reservations by email:

Jencks, Nash & Bergmann / The New Chautauqua Ramblers

Wednesday, February 20th " Sunday, February 24th, 2008

20th Annual International Folk Alliance Conference

The Mariott Hotel, Memphis, TN


Joe Jencks []


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