Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Warren Argo Jam, led by W.B. Reid ^*

Six people stand in a row, holding instruments and smiling. A person wearing a green shirt and tan pants playing a banjo.

Warren Argo Jam, led by W.B. Reid ^*

Join us for a jam in memory of Warren Argo, lead by WB Reid and Doug Plummer.

Warren Argo started out playing banjo and guitar, but when he came to Seattle in 1968 he became a dance caller, the person who alerts square dancers and contra dancers to the next move. “Warren was a really good caller,” said Sandy Bradley, also a major figure in Seattle’s old-time music scene who, along with Mr. Argo and others, turned the Emerald City into a nationally known hotbed for old-time music and dance. “Everybody who is on the dance floor has an expectation and an agenda. The caller makes it so that everybody gets a piece of what they want. That’s what Warren did. It was a huge talent.”

Warren’s talent as a caller is a good metaphor for his capacity as a community organizer. He was noted for bringing people together — even when they disagreed — whether he was running the “Roadhouse” dances at the Northwest Folklife Festival, managing Centrum’s Festival of Fiddle Tunes or serving as president of the Seattle Folklore Society. He also played in the Gypsy Gyppo String Band, one of the bands that spawned the old-time music revival in Seattle. “Warren was inspiring,” said Scott Nagel, former executive director of Northwest Folklife. “He could get anything done. He made great music and he made collaborations happen. He was universally liked and a leader in the whole folk community.” Warren later became president of the Seattle Folklore Society, a board member of Northwest Folklife, a board member at Centrum at Fort Worden and the manager of Centrum’s Festival of Fiddle Tunes and attended every edition of the Northwest Folklife Festival since its founding, in 1972. At Folklife, he organized the bands at the Roadhouse as if he were programming a symphony, paying attention to every detail of every band and the order in which they played. Mr. Argo was a big, robust man with a mustache and long hair who filled up the room with his presence, voice, a big laugh and good humor.

- Excerpt from Seattle Times article written by Paul de Barros

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Scheduled performance time: Saturday, May 29 - 5:00pm | Channel: 50 Years of Folklife | Category: Workshops