Mission: The Arctic Circle
Once I made up
my mind to go to Old Crow, I contacted the webmaster, Paul Doehle
for traveling information. During that process, I was asked if I would
like to talk to the school board about their future plans set up a
music program (this from the Chief and the council). I felt it was
such an honor, and of course agreed to help any way I could. (picture
Crow's webmaster, Paul Doehle.
Bill Stevens to tell him I was going and he decided to go as well.
When he made his contacts there, it was arranged for him to play
fiddle at a few dances. Allan Benjamin, a fiddler in Old Crow wrote,
"We have 3 days of activities, games, feasts and dancing (jigging
and square dancing) probably to the music of Harold
and Marvin Frost. (don't forget to bring your fiddle)." We had
coordinated our stay around the Gwitchin Days Gathering (not the
same as the biannual Gwich'in nation gathering, but a smaller, local
one). However at the last minute it was moved back a week to coincide
with an upcoming wedding. That also affected the travel arrangements
because of the large influx of people anticipated to arrive. Since
Air North and Old Crow have a close alliance, these last minute
changes can happen, however the change in schedule and additional
overnight stay in Dawson City was paid for by the airline. In spite
of the change of plans, Canada Day celebrations would still occur
and they held 2 dances anyway.
Frost looks on, as husband Harold plays a few tunes on Bill
Stevens' fiddle at the B&B.
Both of us wound
up staying in rooms at the Porcupine Bed and Breakfast, an extremely
pleasant place owned and run by Harold and Theresa Frost. It proved
to be a heavenly retreat from the mosquitos, with a breakfast-stocked
refrigerator, a washing machine (dryer was broken), nice lavatory,
and rooms with comfortable twin beds and large closets. It had a
river-view and was in close walking distance to the store and community
of the trip were the tour around the town clinging to the back side
of a 4-wheeler, courtesy of Paul Doehle, fiddling the Red River
Jig with Bill while people danced, eating caribou, and talking
to the school board about their plans for a music program. I hope
I can continue to be helpful to them in whatever capacity they need.
is a picture of Bill Stevens and I playing the Red River Jig
at the dance our first night there. Notice my sunburn. The sun
is huge in the arctic. Bring sunscreen!
It would be
nice if some
generous people would be willing to donate violins or talent to
their program. On my part, I'll do what I can to
them from down here with the music program and with their
struggle to protect the sacred calving grounds
from drilling which could disrupt the caribou migration, destroy
the herd, and
change Old Crow.
slippers cover these happy dancing feet (woman left, man right).
excerpts from my trip, beginning with Fairbanks.