Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy New Year from all of us here at Soundside Records!

Excuse us while we thaw out our frozen fingers so we can type some more… At the end of January, Ocracoke experienced one honest-to-goodness cold snap, keeping us all hunkered down next to our inadequate heat sources. We don’t expect much sympathy from folks in the frozen north, but we have had a very cold January so far, with many days and nights dipping below freezing, even down into the 20s. Brrr!

We even had an Ocracoke Blizzard! Ocracoke snow is usually nothing more than a few teasing flurries, but this time the snow fell and stuck! On Tuesday, January 20th, while two million people braved freezing weather to gather on the National Mall and witness the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, here on the island a winter storm blew in bringing overcast skies, bitter cold winds and about 1.5 inches of snow. Wednesday morning was bright and clear and the sunshine melted too much of it, but shaded spots stayed white until Thursday, when temperatures in the 40s melted all the rest. It was pretty while it lasted!

So, how do we stay warm when the bitter winds blow? Here are a few of our island secrets:

Pickin' and Singin' at the Community Store…

We gather around the toasty fire in the old potbellied stove at the Community Store, which has been luring islanders in from the cold since 1918. Proprietors Susan and James Paul have been hosting musical gatherings on Friday nights this winter at 6pm. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun ¬– so if you’re on the island, come on out and bring an instrument, or just help with the singing. Bringing your own chair is a good idea, too, unless you want to sit on a milk crate! You’ll see lots of familiar faces from the Soundside Record family, and other musical friends from on and off the island.

Catching Up on All the Movies We Haven’t Seen…

Susan and James have also opened a second business down on the harborfront, in the old cedar-shake house adjacent to the Community Store. Fantastic Flix opened at Thanksgiving, just in time to provide DVD and video game rentals to help us survive the long winter.

Fantastic Flix also rents DVD players and Wii, Xbox and PS 2 video game consoles. They sell camera supplies, small electronics, film, memory sticks, batteries, universal remotes, digital cameras, telephones, and alarm clocks – and candy! What would a movie-watching experience be without Dots or Junior Mints?

Improving Our Minds with the Help of Great Literature…

Ocracoke Friends of the Library is sponsoring a series of Book Talks this winter in an effort to expose us to some culture – and it seems to be working!

Over thirty eager readers gathered in our little library on January 15th to discuss Madame Bovary with scholar and librarian Willie Nelms. Willie traveled from Greenville, NC, where he is the director of a library, and more importantly, plays bass with the Tar River Boys bluegrass band. Our sources also discovered that he’s a Molasses Creek fan, too, so we gave him a warm welcome to the island.

Willie gave an engaging and learned talk about Madame Bovary, focusing on the life of author Gustave Flaubert, and then opened the discussion to the group. A lively debate ensued about the book, with strong opinions offered about the characters of Emma Bovary, her husband and lovers, and the writing style of Flaubert.

(For those who wished they had the Cliff notes, Ocracoke librarians Ingeborg Frye and Ann Borland snuck in a showing of the 1949 film version of Madame Bovary the night before the Book Talk. Deepwater Theater was the venue, and they plan to show movies to go with the books in the series, when available.)

The Book Talk series is provided by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, the NC Center for the Book, and by matching funds from Ocracoke Friends of the Library. For each book, a different scholar will visit our library and lead the discussion. Copies of the books are available now at the library, so if you’re on the island and need a little culture, you can join the Book Talk fun.

February 5th 6:30pm The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles.
February 26th 6:30pm End of the Affair by Graham Greene.
March 19th 6:30pm Morgan’s Passing by Ann Tyler.
April 9th 6:30pm A Mother and Two Daughters by Gail Godwin.
For more information contact Ingeborg Frye at 928-4436.

Rehearsing for an Old Time Ocracoke Variety Show…

On Saturday, February 28th, extroverted islanders will take to the Community Center stage to entertain their friends and help to raise money for renovations on the Methodist Church Rec Hall. The show will start at 7pm and there will also be a bake sale, with all proceeds benefiting the Rec Hall building fund.

The show is open to all types of local acts: songs, stories, dancing, poetry, skits – whatever they can come up with. Organizers Marcy Brenner and Lou Castro (a.k.a. Coyote) are hoping to revive the old Ocracoke-style variety shows from years past, which had the reputation of always including some O’cockers in drag. In any case, you’ll be sure to see some familiar Soundside Records and Ocrafolk Opry faces at the show: Martin Garrish, Jamie Tunnell, Sundae Horn, Rob Temple, and, of course, Marcy and Lou, are among those who’ve already signed up.

The Rec Hall building was originally part of the WWII Naval Base on Ocracoke, and was moved to the church property on School Road in the late 1940’s.

It has served the community in many capacities over the years. As well as being used by the Methodist Church, the Rec Hall has also been a temporary classroom for the school, a meeting place for community organizations, and a place of worship for the Catholic community. The Rec Hall is rented out to the public for showers, birthday parties, wedding receptions, etc., and was the venue for a delicious Thai Moon-catered dinner during the 2nd annual Ocrafolk School. The Rec Hall recently got a new roof, and funds being raised now will go toward a new foundation for this historic and much-loved building.

Soundside Records Unveils its New Website!

Fiddler Dave has been telling his wife Amy, "It's almost ready. . . I think I'm almost done now!" since the end of December. Last weekend, the small dream came true when he uploaded the fancy new Soundside Records website. Check it out at

Ocrafolk School Announces 2009 Classes
The 2009 Ocrafolk School is now accepting registrations for our next session Oct. 25-30, 2009 here on Ocracoke Island. This year's classes include

Island Photography ~ Ann Ehringhaus
Exploring Songwriting: Finding the Voice of Your Heart ~ Marcy Brenner
Island Cooking ~ Debbie Wells
Ocrafolk Sampler: Ocracoke’s History, Seafaring Traditions ~ Philip Howard & Capt' Rob Temple
Vision in Clay: Pottery ~ Rhonda Bates and Wes Lassiter

You can take a look at for more information and registration, or contact Gary Mitchell at if you have specific questions that are not answered on the website. As the Ocrafolk School becomes more well known each year, it becomes more important to register as early as possible!

Ocrafolk Festival Now Accepting Artisan Applications for 2009
The 2009 Ocrafolk Festival is now accepting artisan applications. All interested parties can visit for information and a listing of last year's artisans.

Whew! December was a blur of fun, festivities and food! Some highlights were… well, just about everything!!

Kids gather for a community Xmas party

An Ocrafolk Christmas Concert

The Ocracoke School Christmas Program

Santa arrives at the day care on the Fire Truck

Ocracoke Library Cookie Swap & Concert

Ocracoke Preservations Society's Wassail Party

Decorations around the village

Ocracoke Methodist Church Pageant

An Oyster Roast Fundraiser at for the Working Waterman's Association

Baby Dee and Free Moustache

Ocracoke is such a fun place to be for any holiday that’s it’s hard to imagine folks having as much good cheer anywhere else. But we know that First Night in Williamsburg, VA must be a great place to be because our own Molasses Creek was there! Gary, Kitty, Fiddler Dave, and Lou Castro were joined by Marcy Brenner and Gerald Hampton for three packed houses at the Phi Beta Kappa Hall and a midnight show at the grand finale in the football stadium (temperature was 27 degrees. Whew!) Molasses Creek will return to Williamsburg on August 22, 2009 for a special Rotary Club fundraising concert at the Kimball Theater.

We have a bunch of new projects to tell you about in the upcoming posts!

Meanwhile, wherever you are, try to stay warm and remember, if you're lonesome for Ocracoke, listening to some music from Soundside Records can help banish the winter blues!

Upcoming Molasses Creek performances

Saturday, March 7, 7:30pm
Molasses Creek at ~ Music Across the Sound
Mattamuskeet High School, Swan Quarter, NC
Molasses Creek will partake in a variety show featuring performers from Ocracoke Island and mainland Hyde County.

Saturday, April 4
8:00pm Molasses Creek with Carolina Still and the Barnraisers
Turnage Theater, Washington, NC

Saturday, April 11
7:30pm Molasses Creek at ~ Ocrafolk Festival Easter Fundraising Concert
Ocracoke Community Center, Ocracoke Island, NC
Fundraising Concert with a host of Ocracoke Performers!