I never tried to collect recommendations or reviews, not planning to pursue a musical career that required them. I found a few old recommendations, and included them to show how long I have been doing this. I chose just a few recommendations rather than create an huge page of them. Still, now that I am trying to "do more", an ongoing collection might be appropriate. If you would like to contribute to this page, it will be appreciated. Recommendations are grouped by the type of venue they relate to: Festivals, Schools, and Venues.
Tanana Valley Fair , Alaska
I have been coordinating the entertainment for the Tanana Valley Fair for the past several years and it has been my pleasure to work with Brian aka Folksinger as one of our entertainers.
Brian is one of a kind. His music is both traditional and original. His hand made dulcimer offers a unique and unusual sound that attracts fairgoers. His voice is the voice of THE folksinger, i.e.., the one who originally sang the songs out of life experience. When Brian performs on stage people are drawn to him, stay for his performance, and linger afterwards to talk to him and look at his instrument. When not on
stage, he sets up in an off stage area at our fairgrounds and draws people to him to listen and talk. He is a real asset to the atmosphere of the Fair.
Brian is extremely flexible, spontaneous, reliable and easy to work with. He is a refreshing break from the waves of other entertainers who somehow all begin to sound the same after a while. I would highly recommend him as an entertainer and performer, both on and off stage.
I would be happy to answer any questions.
Tanana Valley Fair Association
1800 College Road
Fairbanks, AK 99709-4173
(these are both from the late 70's, before I even played the dulcimer)
.."Brian had a great rapport with my students...
One of my students even wrote an article in the Edison newspaper' about the excellent performance.
I highly recommend Brian's presentation to other teachers."
Mrs. Janis Harless, U.S.History Teacher
Edison High School
Fairfax Co., Virginia
..."He is a personable, talented young man and he kept a group of approximately 40 students listening throughout his two hour plus performance. He has a wide-ranging repertoire from all areas of folk music, including ethnic, historical, labor oriented songs, which he sings in a pleasant, energetic style accompanying himself on the guitar.."
"Brian is an entertainer of professional quality with a program that is worthwhile as history, folklore, and entertainment. He is excellent for high school and junior high school classes studying American History and culture, or for any group interested in superior performances of this sort of music."
Alternative Program, Ridgewood High School
Ridgewood, New Jersey
To Whom it May Concern:
It is my pleasure to write this letter of recommendation for Brian Clauss regarding his application for the Artists in the Schools program.
I have known Brian for over seven years through my position as Entertainment Coordinator for the Tanana Valley State Fair. He has been a regular at the Fair since I have been there. His performances are unique and entertaining and, when he is not on the stage, he is set up on the grounds playing his music and education the fair goers about folk music and his one-of-a-kind dulcimer. He is extremely reliable and professional. Brian has an extraordinary ability to relate to people, and has an enormous bank of knowledge regarding folk music traditions, history, instruments and lyrics. Few can equal him in this regard.
I have also worked with Brian in my other job, teacher at Ryan Middle School in Fairbanks, Alaska. Brian has come into my classroom on multiple occasions and has worked with my students, sharing musical knowledge, folk traditions, recording techniques, and his expertise in the building and playing of instruments. He has also worked with our music teacher in the music classes. He has visited other schools in Fairbanks, doing the same things. All of this was volunteers work, stemming from his love of education and of music.
Brian would be an excellent person to have participating in the Artists in the Schools program. His unique talents and ability to work with people and relate to them make him someone who has much to share with students. The fact that there are no others with his particular talent and expertise adds to the desirability of recruiting him for the program.
If you have any questions or if you would like further information from me, please do not hesitate to call me.
Entertainment Coordinator, Tanana Valley State Fair
Teacher, Ryan Middle School (Fairbanks Northstar Borough School District)
October 24, 2003
Brian Clauss has an amazingly entertaining and informative show for kids of all ages as well as adults. He has been to my school two years in a row now and I can't wait for him to return again next year. Not only does his show change each year, but it is always applicable in my music room as well as many other areas such as history. My colleagues enjoyed the presentation as much as the kids and found everything correlated in some way to what they are studying in their classrooms.
Brian brings his own instruments to play, and the most loved by the audience is his self-made hammered dulcimer. He integrates the instruments, songs, and stories mixed in with history to make the lesson fun. I was amazed as to all the details the kids remembered after he left and we dialoged on the experience. His program helped the lessons that I was teaching to my students reach another level of understanding. The kids were excited when they were able to correctly answer his questions and be a part of the program. I highly recommend to any music teacher to take a day and have him come to your school.
.."your performance was excellent .... was very praising of your high
quality performance as well as your extensive knowledge of the history
of your songs... Very often we listen to a song but know nothing of its
history or its origin..."
Wanda Dowell, Assistant Curator
Fort Ward Museum Park
..." Speaking on behalf of the rest of the Organizing Committee for
IRF Conference 1980, as well as those who attended the conference, I am
pleased to make a high recommendation for Brian..."
1st V.P.International Religious Fellowship 1980-1
member, Youth-Adult Committee,
Cedar Lane Unitarian Church