KarenHaffnerLocal Hero: Karen Haffner

My sister Karen has been involved as a volunteer and Board Member of the South Shore Folk Music Club in Kingston, MA for over 30 years, but her involvement in community music goes much deeper than that.

For the past 26 years she has brought folk and traditional music to Rockland in an annual coffeehouse to raise money for the town food pantry -- raising at least $1200-$1500 a year for 26 years, and also bringing the music she loves to the town she loves.

Also, she has been the co-organizer (with me) of the Traditional Ballad Singing Competition for Students held for the past 7 years in Kingston, MA. The goal of the contest is to expose young people to traditional ballads and encourage their research, learning, and performance of a traditional ballad at the contest -- for cash prizes. Everyone who stands at the mic and delivers a ballad gets a modest cash prize, and every young person in the hall gets exposed to all the other ballads being performed by the contestants, and the hall is packed with adoring fans of the young performers.

During the SSFMC season, she learns and presents a new traditional ballad at the close of every open mic, informing the audience of the messages conveyed in these older songs and sometimes creating new traditional song enthusiasts.

I'm so proud of my sister's accomplishments in supporting community-based arts and carrying forward traditional unaccompanied ballad singing; I'm also proud to say she is my role model.

    - Submitted by Lynn Feingold