When the Audience Sings

Music teacher Sherry Stidfole likes to hear voices singing in unison.

A lover of folk songs, Sherry, who lives in New London and teaches in Waterford, Conn., says she’s a great believer in the mandate, “It ain’t over until the audience sings.”

Plan to accommodate her when she performs with myself and Mike Ball at Captain’s Pizza, 8 Bank St., from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3.

Sherry has practiced this precept by writing original songs for her Waterford, Conn., students, and in many other ways.

Also a lover of the guitar, she bought her first model in a Kingston, N.Y., pawn shop in the early sixties. She taught herself how to play using the book by Jerry Silverman, “Beginning the Folk Guitar.” Next, she memorized “Greensleeves,” and “graduated,” as she puts it, to “The Joan Baez Songbook.”

In 2006 she, Mike Bailey and Steve Fagin formed The Shoreline Acoustic  Music Society, which recently held its 6th Annual festival during Sailfest. It’s there that songwriters (myself among them) have the opportunity to jam and float original tunes by amateurs and seasoned performers alike.

At SAMS, singers and musicians are the audience. And that holds true in other performances Sherry leads as well.

Back in the mid-1980s, Sherry got a bunch of Waterford public school teachers to play “A-Soulin’ ” with her fifth and sixth-grade Southwest School chorus. Now expanded to exclude out-of-towners, the group is known as “The Crew” and can be seen after SAMS festivals and various hootenany performances.

Sherry’s exuberance and love of music are sure to get your blood pumping, your feet stomping — and your voice crackling.

So come on down and, as Sherry advises, “join in!”

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