The Folk Collection impresses audiences of all ages, with set lists full of beloved songs like “This Land is Your Land,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Greenback Dollar,” and “City of New Orleans.” Renee Gaumond, formerly of Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage Coffee House, has said, “The Folk Collection is a testament to the enduring quality of this upbeat and universal music, and the best way to enjoy it is to sing and clap right along with them. Bring your kids, because they’ll have a great time, too.” In addition to performing several of their original songs, The Folk Collection’s arrangement of a medley of TV western theme songs from the 50’s (including Bonanza, Davy Crockett, and Rawhide), is always one of the highlights of their show.
It all started in the mid 60’s, when Hollywood High School buddies Ed Labowitz and Tony Unger performed in a local folk trio. After the military, Tony was a touring musician and pop singer for 15 years. Ed went on to law school at Cal. Mike Sirota played folk songs as a camp counselor in Los Angeles and then graduated and received his teaching credential from Cal. Flash forward to the new century. After many years, Ed and Tony put their old folk trio together, only this time they added new friend, Mike, and The Folk Collection was formed. Their memorable three-part harmonies now bring family and friends together, making even more merriment and memories.
Labowitz is an L.A. entertainment lawyer, Sirota serves as a cantorial soloist at two Southern California synagogues, and Unger is the pastor of a church in Bishop, California. Just like the folk songs they have performed around the country, the magic lies within seemingly disparate elements coming together as one, creating the unforgettable music that continues to shape our lives.
“We grew up loving this sort of music, and we’ve been thrilled by the amazing response to our shows from people of all ages who really get a kick out of joining in with the words and harmonies. The show is all about folk music and good clean jokes,” says Labowitz. Unger adds, “The Folk Collection provides one of those all-too-rare opportunities for family friendly fun. We get a real kick out of watching teenagers reluctantly coming to our gigs as a favor to a their mom and dad, and then watching them walk out of there smiling and humming the tunes that we all love so much. No matter how different we may be, the music never fails to bring us together.”