Concert in the Park in Honey Brook: Spirit Wing offers something for everyone

Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko - Berks-Mont Newspapers Right after the intermission, Lee lead the audience in social dancing such as the traditional stomp dance.
Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko - Berks-Mont Newspapers Spirit Wing played an enlivening set at Honey Brookís Borough Park. Band members include Barbra Greg Andrews-Christy, vocalist and flautist, Barry Lee, vocalist and guitarist, Chris Hawley, bassist, Doug Penglase, percussionist.

Honey Brook Borough >> Burning sage, social dances, and contemporary Native American music. I’ve never been to an actual pow wow, but I can imagine that Honey Brook’s concert in the park would only be the start of one.

On Aug. 10, Honey Brook Borough continued its ongoing concert series in the park by inviting Native American folk band, Spirit Wing, to its outdoor stage.

Splitting the evening into two different parts, there was something for everyone to become engaged.

Starting off the show on a fairly traditional note, Spirit Wing played an enlivening set of songs off of their albums, including a few crowd favorites “Shenandoah,” “Counting Coup on the Highway,” and “Thankful Song.” The audience ended up being a diverse group supporting the Phoenixville originated band. Some members wore in full on traditional garb, while others were more subtle by wearing just traditional jewelry or other accessories.

“They’re the ones that go to pow wows,” Barry Lee, head vocalist and guitarist of Spirit Wing, tells me.

Although he might not know their names, some came as far as New Jersey to support the strong bond in the Native American community. The rest of the audience was the Honey Brook community coming out for a worldly experience in their own back yard.

After being shown some Native American artifacts by one of the pow wow members, an elderly couple seemed astonished that they never partook in the growing community event by quietly mentioning, “We’ve never come to one of these before.”

Giving more than just a musical experience, Lee and Barbra Greg Andrews-Christy, Spirit Wing’s front man and woman, gave an opportunity to explore their heritage through social dances and stories told between each song. Although he admits that the tune “When The Buffalo Come Back” is a little bit negative for their uplifting set, Lee says it has a good message of taking care of what we have in the world.

“People need to look at them things as gifts,” Lee said about the natural beauty of birds singing and the meteor shower that occurred later Sunday evening. “We don’t have a divine right to any of this, Creator gives them. It’s our jobs to say thank you.”

Giving thanks to every natural gift in the world, Spirit Wing played a song Lee wrote for his wife and band companion, Barbra, called “To Walk In Beauty.” Mentioning that it is an old Navajo phrase, Lee said, “It’s about seeing the beautiful things around you, no matter where you are.”

Lee then went on to talk about how it is the 100th year anniversary of WWI, and that even the soldiers in “no man’s land” found something beautiful to watch by playing a game called cloudwatch; seeing how many images they could see in the clouds.

After a brief intermission and having the audience join in some traditional social dances, the mood changed a little from contemporary Native American to bluesy rock-n-roll as the band took off the outfit of Spirit Wing and put on a more recent name, Red Crows Blues Band. From their original “49’n All Night Long” to their version of BB King’s “Please Accept My Love,” Red Crows Band boogie-woogied for the rest of the evening, ending just as sprightly as the bagan.

The Honey Brook Borough concert series began in 2009 with only one concert. After that the Borough Council found it important enough to budget out enough money for three concerts a year, and has been having three ever since.

“Music brings people together and, in today’s world, communities need that more than ever!” said concert organizer Jeanne Jenzano.

The next concert will be held on Sept. 7 featuring Rizzetta’s Tones. Check out Honey Brook Borough’s website www.honeybrookborough.net for more details.