A special thanks from the Society to the Past Performers...

The Lehigh Valley Folk Music Society formed a performing group of volunteer musicians in 1996 who have played for hundreds of audiences throughout the Lehigh Valley for nearly 20 years. The group changed it's face many times over the years - from as few as 4 members to as many as 9 on stage - as new musicians joined and others retired from the group - but all shared a common goal: they all loved to play and sing folk music.

This site recognizes all of the past members of the performing group who voluntarily dedicated their time, effort and artistry to promote the mission of the Society and provide audiences across the Lehigh Valley with an enjoyable folk music experience. Thanks folks!

Kristin E. Benjamin

Kristin was one of the founders of the Society and past President. She managed all of the major Society activities and was active in local music circles to promote the Society and the band. She was a permanent fixture in the group for 20 years until retiring in 2013 due to failing health. Kristin was a walking music encylopedia of all genres of folk songs and always led the singing at jam sessions and in the band. Kristin played a strong rhythm guitar, autoharp, recorder, fiddle, ukelele and even bass for the band. Kristin was particularly fond of the music of the Carter Family and country classics and her sweet voice was impeccable, singing melody or harmony, whatever the band needed. Kristin was also a singer/songwriter and her original recordings of Too Late, My Angel in America, and Let Her Go, are available on the Society CD, "Garlic and Angels". Sadly, this past March, Kristin passed away after a long battle with cancer, but during her battle she always endured to seldom miss a performance with the band.

Jack Vass

Jack was with the band for 9 years and retired in December 2013. His love of Revival Folk, especially the music of the Kingston Trio, added a new flavor to band performances when he joined. Jack had a strong beautiful male voice and always worked hard to perfect three-part harmony in whatever songs we played. Jack played lead and rhythm guitar on his vintage Martin 12-string and sometimes played the bass and the long-neck banjo for the band. He handled the bookings for the band and composed many original songs done in the folk style of the fifties and sixties. Three of his songs, Angel of Mine, I'll Go on Loving You, and My Louise are recorded on the Garlic and Angels CD.

Jerry Gallagher

Jerry played with the band off and on for 10 years, and this year, he has rejoined the band. Jerry's powerful unique melodic voice lit up our stage many times when he performed the Kington Trio songs, Woody Guthrie and his own original music. Jerry is a solid rhythm guitarist for the band and sometimes plays banjo, Dobro, harmonica and even fiddle. No one can forget how Jerry would often stumble into our rehearsals with his multiple bags of gear! Jerry is a wonderful songwriter, and seems to have song after song which he shared with the Society. His two songs, I Saw the Lighthouse, and Jesus Came to Bethlehem, were the feature songs on the gospel CD, Home Beyond the Sky. He contributed two more of his songs, Smilin Jack and Sailin' on a Ship, to the Garlic and Angels CD.

Edie (Kuhns) Englert

Edie was one of the founding members of the Society, a bright and cheerful person who added an uplifting personality to our music, our jams and always volunteered to help with Society activities. She played rhythm guitar regularly with the band until about 2006 and sometimes came back to fill in when someone was absent. Edie was especially fond of singing the old songs, especially the Carter Family and she loved Gospel and bluegrass music and for years never missed a practice, a gig or a jam sesssion. Edie met Charlie Englert, who was one of our regular Society members, and they are now happily married. Edie was not a songwriter until her late husband passed after which she wrote a very beautiful emotional song in his honor, called "I Can't Let You Know". Edie kindly shared her song with the Society, and being too shy to sing it herself, asked Kristin to record it on the Garlic and Angels CD.

Carol Lighthiser

Carol joined the band early in 1997, and regularly attended jam sessions. Carol played a strong steady rhythm guitar on her Alvarez and added a middle vocal harmony to all of the band's music as well as on the Generation and Gospel CDs. Carol left the band in about 2004 when she moved away from the Valley. Her and her husband Tom now reside in Sunbury in central Pa.

Deanne Saab

Deanne was one of the originators of the Society. She was a true troubador of folk music and played and sang with the band until 2004 when she retired from performing. Deanne managed her own small business and was the Society's Treasurer until 2006. Deanne had a powerful alto voice suited well for many of the folk songs the band performed. She often soloed melodies and helped the Society record the Generation and Gospel CDs, and she always volunteered her time and her business acumen to run the Society activities. Not every folk group has a dedicated percussionist, but Deanne, a multi-talented string player, took up and added a variety of percussion instruments to the band's sound. She was especially proud of her collection of djembe and doumbec drums and many other types of percussive instruments which she played throughout her many years with the band.

Lamont Schaffer

Lamont, who hailed from Slatington, Pa. founded the Lehigh Valley Folk Music Society in 1994. His first meeting and jam session was held at the Sr. Citizen Center in Allentown and he was successful in attracting a number of interested folk music lovers. Lamont dearly loved the old time music and loved to entertain children and have them participate with the old folkers. He played a variety of instruments too, but was especially fond of mandolin and guitar, which he played with the performing group between 1996-1997. Lamont moved on in 1997 to perform his own solo show leaving the band and the Society in the competent hands of Kristin Benjamin. The Society dedicated its first CD, Genernation after Generation to Lamont.

Cary Rufe

Cary, from Catasauqua, joined the performing group in late 1998, having been recruited by Edie, but he remained with the band for only a few short years. Cary did not join in the vocals but brought specialized instrument skills in the bluegrass style to the band especially with his mandolin and 5-string banjo picking. Cary left the band shortly after recording the Generation After Generation CD. He was a tremendous influence to Karen as she was learned quickly to play the mandolin under his tutorial.

Mark Locher

Mark hailed from Quakertown and was the son-in-law of Cary, being the youngest member ever in the band. Mark joined the band when Cary joined in late 1998 and left also with Cary a few years later. While in the band, Mark played the electric bass and was instrumental in providing all of the bass tracks for the Generation After Gneration CD.

Pam Smith

Pam was from the Allentown area of the Valley and was invited to join the band in 2010 after appearing at several jam sessions where she displayed a remarkable talent and an in depth knowledge of hand held percussion instruments. Her sophisticated drumming technique added tremendously to the songs. She played several major concerts with the band at Musikfest but left the band abruptly in 2012.

Scott Atkinson

Scott was from Bethlehem and joined the band early in 2002 and remained with the band until he moved away to Ohio around 2005. He was a talented musician and songwriter and at that time was one of the editors of Sing Out magazine. Scott was a young musician who loved singing folk music and as editor of the magazine had a tremendous knowledge of the subject. He added a deep bass voice to the band's vocal harmonies and his awesome lead vocal on the Home Beyond the Sky CD recording of Down by the Riverside stands apart from all other Society recordings. Instrumentally, Scott could play just about every instrument we had in the band, but his favorite and important addition to our live sound and to the Gospel CD recordings at the time was the Dobro and the blues harmonica.

Alice Guille

Alice hailed from Montgomery County. She was a member of the Bucks County Folk Society and joined our Society with her husband Ralph early in the 2000 time frame. They both participated eagerly in our monthly jam sessions. Alice was an excellent autoharpist and auditoned for the band in the 2005 timeframe. However, Alice only played with the band for a very short time, as her husband became ill and she was forced to drop out to take care of him.

Bob Paradise

Bob Paradise joined the original 1996 band for a year playing the guitar with the band until he moved away to Florida. He is now deceased.

Alton Park Lady

Our final tribute goes to an African-American lady who hailed from the Alton Park area of south Allentown and who discovered the Society through the Senior Citizen Center. Unfortunately, no one remembers her name, but she performed with the Society band periodically in the 1996-1997 timeframe. Her picture here was taken from one of the band performances at a church picnic in 1997.