How did Mom & Pop's begin?
For many years the place to go in Bucks County to hear folk music was The Troubadour Folk Club, held at the Churchville Nature Center in Churchville, PA. For over 10 years under the direction of Bob Pasquarello, The Troubadour featured many of the foremost folk music performers in the United States (and International performers like June Tabor). Just about every well-known, established performer (Bob Franke, for example) played at The Troub, as well as the best local performers. In recent years "the Troub" has been run by Scott Petersen. But in Lower Bucks County there was no folk music venue.
In the summer of 1994, a group of area churches sponsored a series of concerts (6 concerts in 7 days in the Philadelphia area) by well-known singer/songwriter Bob Franke, presented as a benefit for famine-stricken Rwanda. One of the churches selected for a concert was United Christian Church. A small group of volunteers from The Troubadour attended the concert, including Sue Deckhart, Marcia Gordon, and Debbie Kavanagh. Upon questioning one of the church members about the possibility of a folk music concert series at UCC, he stated that there was an interest and he passed the request along to Pastor Al Krass and church members Joy & David Keller, who played in an Irish band (The Connolly & Murphy Band).
A few weeks later, Deckhart met with Joy & Dave Keller, Joe Connolly, Bud Murphy, and pastor Tom Robinson of the Neshamony Methodist Church in Hulmeville, PA. From this meeting, there was a consensus decision to start the folk music concert series on first and third Fridays at United Christian Church. The Connolly-Murphy band provided a sound system and also played at our first concert in November, 1994. Long-time Troubadour volunteer Scott Petersen (who now directs The Troubadour) ran sound.
Who were the original volunteer staff at Mom & Pop's?
Joe Connolly, Bill Deckhart, Sue Deckhart, Marcia Gordon, Debbie Kavanagh, Dave Keller, Joy Keller, Dan Neubauer, Bud Murphy, and Scott Petersen.
Who drew the Mom & Pop's logo?
The "Mom & Pop's Folk Music" house and "Church by the River" were drawn by Willa Shaw, a talented artist who lived in Bristol Borough and was introduced to us by Pastor Al Krass. Most of the drawing and original photocopies were done in the Grundy Library by the river in Bristol. Last we heard, Willa was living in Alaska. The very first logo is the one displayed at the top of this page.
How did Mom & Pop's get its name?
In the autumn of 1994, Mom & Pop's started out nameless, or rather, it was called "A New Coffeehouse." We had a "Name the Coffeehouse" contest, and our audience came up with names. We asked our "six esteemed advisors" to look over the lists and pick out names they thought were good.
Who were our "six esteemed advisors?"
They were (in alphabetical order)
1) Anne Deeney, from South Jersey, who ran the Perimeter Folk Club at Rutgers in Camden and then in various locations including the Collingswood railroad station for many years. Annie still works for the Philadelphia Folk Festival as a stage manager and also books one of the stages for the Newton Colony Arts Festival.
2) Fred Kaiser, who ran the Cherry Tree for many years and is the Production Committee Chairman for the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Fred also booked the Sellersville Theater until recently. Fred and his wife, Mary Lou Troy, now live in Rock Hall, MD and are booking The Mainstay (see below).
3) Joanne (Moser) Fay, a folk music newspaper columnist who was active in the Bucks County folk music scene. Joanne now lives in Atlanta with her husband, Bob.
4) Ray Naylor, a performing singer and songwriter who was active in organizing open mic opportunities around the Philadelphia area. Ray moved to Georgia for a while and now is back in the Philadelphia area.
5) Bob Pasquarello, a singer and songwriter, guitarist, and piano player, who ran the superlative folk music program the Troubadour for over ten years during the 1980s and into the 1990s every Tuesday night from September through June. Bob plays regularly for Contra dances around the Philadelphia area.
6) Mary Lou Troy, who was refreshment coordinator at The Troubadour, helped run the Cherry Tree Folk Music Co-op, and coordinates the Production Committee of the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Mary Lou and her husband, Fred Kaiser, are now living in Rock Hall, MD, where they are booking The Mainstay, a fabulous music venue.
When did Mom & Pop's get its "real" name?
In April of 1995, the "Name the Coffeehouse" contest was over, and "A New Coffeehouse" had its real name.
By the end of the contest, we had 122 entries. Our six advisors judged the contest. Each was given a list of all the entries, but did not know who submitted them. Each advisor picked at least one entry (and we hoped some of them would pick the same ones!) When the final tally was in, our six advisors had given Mom & Pop's five votes! They felt this name represents "down-home kinds of things, home-grown music and home-grown values;" a comfortable place where people can hear good music.
Who submitted the winning entry?
The winning entry was submitted by Bob Pasquarello!
What were all the entries that received votes?
Here's a list of the winning entries:
Mom & Pop's Coffeehouse (5 votes)
Acoustic Blend (3 votes)
David's Harp (2 votes)
Sweet Harmony (2 votes)
Humble Pie Coffeehouse (1 vote)
The Broken String (1 vote)
Folk Pie-Sweet Sounds in Levittown (1 vote)
The House of Folk (1 vote)
Free Pickins’ (1 vote)
Sanctuary Coffeehouse (1 vote).
What did they win?
Why, free admissions to Mom & Pop's concerts, of course! Each entry voted on received one free pass.
Mom & Pop's has always been not-for-profit
Mom & Pop's has always been completely not-for-profit, with ALL the proceeds from concerts going to the featured performer(s) and a donation to United Christian Church for sharing this excellent space for folk music concerts!
Our 2009-2010 Season
Mom & Pop's returns for a full schedule of concerts. We continue with Program Director Sue Deckhart, Scott Petersen on Sound, and Jeanne and Larry Levin coordinating Kitchen Hospitality. We are pleased that Mom & Pop's remains a popular and comfortable place to relax and enjoy some great music and a good cup of coffee and home-baked goods. Please call ahead with special needs or to confirm a concert in inclement winter weather. Mom & Pop's is easily handicapped-accessible.