Rusty Floyd, Brian Fatzinger and Friends to perform folk concert on Hilton Head Island

loberle@islandpacket.comFebruary 2, 2013 

Rusty Floyd and Brian Fatzinger were raised on folk music.

LAURA OBERLE/STAFF PHOTO

A year ago, Jan Cook, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head Island asked Rusty Floyd and Brian Fatzinger to perform "Jesus Met the Woman," by Peter, Paul and Mary.

It is a song based on the Bible story of Jesus meeting an outcast Samaritan woman, and it went along with the message of her sermon.

But it was a song Floyd and Fatzinger had grown up on in the folk music genre.

Afterward, people in the congregation approached Floyd and Fatzinger, requesting a folk music concert. They wanted to hear more.

Many of them, too, were raised on the folk music of the 1950s and '60s -- Peter, Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio and Bob Dylan, to name a few.

Rusty Floyd, Brian Fatzinger and Friends will perform a folk concert at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the church.

Floyd's and Fatzinger's wives, Laura Floyd and Janice Fatzinger, will sing backup, Dave Kimbell will join on guitar and Delbert Felix on bass.

Rusty, the church's minister of music, first began playing the ukulele at age 6 because it was the right size for his small hands. During his childhood summers he attended Camp Arrowhead, a boys camp in Tuxedo, N.C.

He remembers a counselor singing to the campers before bedtime.

"He used to sing some of these Peter, Paul and Mary songs. I just became very attached to them," Rusty said.

He went on to study music at Furman University, then earned a master's degree in church music at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate in music theory and history from Michigan State University.

Brian's musical journey began growing up in New Jersey and performing with various folk groups in coffee houses and at hootenannys held at churches and in school gymnasiums.

He, like many others, experienced many of the songs the group will sing during their concert in another way.

"We sang them as protest songs," Brian said. The music reflects the main driving forces of the '50s and '60s -- the protests of the Korean and Vietnam wars and the civil rights movement, which Brian took part in marching in Philadelphia in 1964.

"We were kids, and it was wrong, and there was a ground swell that it was wrong, so folks protested, and so did I," Brian said.

Janice sang in a folk group while studying music at Ohio State, but she said her main emphasis was on classical music. She is used to singing notes exactly as they are written on a page but enjoys the spontaneity of folk music.

"There's something very freeing with being able to experiment with harmonies, but you have to let go of 'I have to know exactly what note I'm singing at all times,'" she said.

Laura studied classical music at Michigan State University and is a soprano in the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra. Since marrying Rusty 35 years ago, she has learned a lot of folk music. Rusty enjoys playing at home, and they sing together. For her, folk music in the church is about fellowship and making a personal connection to music.

"It's not really high church music, but it's of the people," she said. "There's a message people can really identify with, and they feel that, yes, this is our language."

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