The Folk Collection has played to enthusiastic audiences and standing ovations at performing arts halls
(such as the 1200 seat Yavapai College Performance Hall in Prescott AZ;
The World Theater Performing Arts Center at Cal State University Monterey Bay;
 the historic Poncan Theatre in Ponca City OK; and the Recreation Center at Green Valley Arizona);
amphitheater and outdoor band shell and stage concerts (e.g., the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena CA;
the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Amphitheater in Lakewood, Colorado;
Hammond Amphitheater in Loveland, Colorado;
the Summer Civic Center Concert Series in Culver City CA;
“Concerts by the Sea” in Channel Islands Harbor/Oxnard CA;
and the Yucca Valley Summer Music Festival);
traditional and venerable folk venues
(such as Freight & Salvage in Berkeley;
Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena CA; and Boulevard Music in Culver City CA);
at other facilities and events. 

From The Ridgecrest California “The News Review,” week of November 18, 2013, by Linda Saholt.

“Here’s to You, You Old Folkies” is the title of one of “The Folk Collection’s” original songs, and it suited the evening well. The Indian Wells Valley Concert Association’s latest concert, held Nov. 18, featured the talents of “The Folk Collection” trio, who are all perfectly happy to be “stuck in the 60s.” Their performance featured the laid-back, casual style that was always a hallmark of the 60s folk era, with harmony and all acoustic instruments.

Do you remember back when popular songs were tuneful and easy to sing? The trio invited the audience to sing along. “We love it when the audience sings louder than us,” said Ed Labowitz, who plays guitar and banjo.

So they launched into a variety of well-loved favorites, including “500 Miles,” “Tom Dooley,” “If I had a Hammer,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Greenback Dollar,” and more. I thought their version of “They Call the Wind Mariah” was the best I’ve ever heard, with just enough three-part harmony to make it haunting.

In between numbers, the group members took turns telling funny stories about some of the songs and their experiences. For one thing, the Burroughs High School Drama Department has been constructing a stage set reminiscent of the old Globe Theater from Shakespeare’s day for an upcoming production. The Folk Collection simply made use of it, performing from “the stage upon the stage.” Labowitz looked around and said, “We’ve
never played the Globe Theater before. This makes for an interesting juxtaposition of styles and art.”

Tony Unger and Labowitz have been friends since high school, and all three fell in love with folk singing in the 60s and love to share it. That love comes through clearly in their performance. Mike Sirota joined them in 2003. All three have families, live in Southern California, and hold down regular jobs in addition to performing.

During the intermission, the trio were helping sell CD’s of their music. When the second half began, Labowitz said, “My hand hurts from signing autographs on CD’s. It’s okay, we have enough gas money to get home now.”

Since this group’s material is family-friendly and audiences are multi-generational, there were more youngsters in the audience than usual—and the kids seemed to know the songs, too. The entire audience got into the spirit and joined in on “Tom Dooley,” creating a fine sound.

One highlight was a medley of TV Western theme songs from the 50s, sung with gusto. Audience members were delighted to hear old favorites they had forgotten about. “I haven’t heard the theme from ‘Palladin’ in decades,” said one audience member. Other theme songs included “Rawhide,”  “Davy Crockett,”  “Maverick,” “Bat Masterson,” “Wyatt Earp,” and “Bonanza.” A Johnny Cash imitation was well received.

For the student program that morning, The Folk Collection did a program on the history of music for Sierra Sands elementary school students. “We really enjoyed singing and playing for the kids this morning,” said Unger. “They were singing and dancing and they were great.”

When the trio got to their final song, Unger challenged the audience to sing as well as the students. “The kids sang this really loud,” he said.

The song was “This Land is Your Land,” and earned a standing ovation from the audience.

I had a chance to chat with the singers after the show, and all were friendly, laid-back people enjoying reaching out to people through their music.

According to Greg Morrow, IWVCA president, the Parker Performing Arts Center was 75 to 80 percent full. “It was a really good turnout,” he said.


Sample quotes from venues we have played:

Bob Stane, of The Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, CA, says of The Folk Collection: Last night, as usual, every seat was filled with paying customers.  I knew it would sell out.  Always has.  What a wonderful evening of song and show.  The Folk Collection really has the stagecraft down to an art and a science.  Huge applause and constant laughs all night long.  More than ever, the audience was laughing, clapping, and singing along with you - which was great for me, too, as I love satisfied customers!  Looking forward to having you grace my stage in August.  Wish it could be sooner.

From Susan Garner, Artistic Programming Coordinator, Yavapai College Community Events, Prescott, AZ  Link to full letter
"Our patrons thoroughly enjoyed their music, humor and easy manner.  Following the evening performance, our audience gave them a standing ovation and I heard nothing but rave reviews.  We look forward to presenting The Folk Collection again..."

From Dave May, Director, Poncan Theatre, Ponca City, OK
"A very talented, well-rehearsed group of professionals that are a breeze to work with... I strongly recommend The Folk Collection, without hesitation, to performing arts houses -- anywhere."

From Bobbie Young, Recreation Supervisor, Green Valley Recreation Center, Arizona  Link to full letter
"You were very well received, and achieving a standing ovation, which down here is like a gem (precious and few), was a great indication how much our group enjoyed you."

From Kim Akeley-Charron, Cultural Events Coordinator, City of Loveland, Colorado  Link to full letter
"I guarantee that everyone...that evening became huge fans of The Folk Collection. I truly appreciate the performers' flexibility and grace in the face of nasty weather."

From Susan Martin, Culteral Center Administrator, Lakewood, Colorado  Link to full letter
"It was the perfect evening for an outdoor concert and The Folk Collection was a terrific band to open our summer concert season."

From Phil Esparza, WORLD THEATER, Cal State University Monterey Bay, CA  Link to full letter
"Your show was upbeat, soulful and captured the true spirit of the 60’s and 70’s while maintaining a freshness and contemporary feeling that made everyone feel good.  You brought a lump to my throat and touched the heart of our audience."

From Candy Drake, Yucca Valley, CA Summer Music Festival  Link to full letter
"Every aspect of our collaboration from start to finish was highly professional, as well as the band's presence on stage."

From Michele Gilmour, Channel Islands Park "Concerts by the Sea", Oxnard, CA  Link to full letter
"Not only is your group comprised of gifted musicians, your are all, truly wonderful entertainers."

From Brian Kendall, City of Las Vegas, NV Office of Cultural Affairs  Link to full letter
"The Folk Collection is entertaining and professional in every respect.  Without hesitation I would recommend you to other performing arts venues."

From Cathy Cronin, Concerts at Wood House in Woodland Park, San Marcos, CA  Link to full letter
"The enthusiasm and enjoyment you displayed during your show was infectious; everyone had a great time laughing at your stories and jokes, listening and singing along."

From Walt Pyle, Event Coordinator, Calimesa, CA Community Summer "Concerts on the Green"
"Your professionalism and stage presentation was appreciated by everyone in attendance.  Your song selections really reflected the 'Folk' era and everyone enjoyed the audience participation numbers."

From Roslyn Templin, El Segundo, CA Public Library  Link to full letter
"I would not hesitate to recommend The Folk Collection to anyone who has an appreciation of authentic folk music and variety entertainment."

From Cynthia Smith, Escondido, CA Public Library:
I strongly recommend The Folk Collection to other civic organizations and presenters.  You will not be disappointed and your audiences will be delighted."  Link to full letter

From Chris Warber, California Traditional Music Society, Encino, CA  Link to full letter
"I can't recall any other performer that gets the audience involved as much as you do."

From Bob Stane, Coffee Gallery Backstage, Altadena, CA  Link to full letter
"You and your audience will know they've gotten their money and their evening's worth and that everyone will want to repeat the experience soon."

From Steve Baker, Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA Link to full letter
"It has been our great pleasure to present The Folk Collection to our multi-generational audiences, and we look forward to their future visits.  The members of this harmonious trio bring new life to the best of American folk music and offer audiences a uniquely entertaining and enlightening musical experience."

From Russ & Julie Paris, Russ & Julie's House Concerts, Oak Park, CA  Link to full letter
"More than one attendee told us afterward that it was among the best shows we've hosted and that they couldn't remember the last time they had so much fun."

From Tim Day, San Diego, CA Folk Heritage  Link to full letter
"Not only did you sell the place out, but we feel you were among the most entertaining acts we have provided to our audiences in some time."

From Bill Fields, Old Town Music Hall, El Segundo, CA  Link to full letter
"Through a harmonic blend of voices and instruments, the entire performance was nothing short of stunning."

From Barbara Greenspan, Noble House Concerts, Van Nuys, CA
"We had such an overwhelming reservation response to our notice that The Folk Collection would be playing our Noble House Concert, that we scheduled an earlier second show -- something I have never done before.  The Folk Collection was one of the most entertaining and crowd pleasing acts we have presented.  The trio connected immediately with the audience, which included young children, and brought them all "into" their performance.  Their humor and surprise last song -- a satire on rap music -- was warmly received by adults and children.  We are having them back as soon as my "one-year" between shows rule is met."