Music in the Bleak Midwinter

By Bob Small

Yes, there is live music in Swarthmore, even in the bleak midwinter. On January 21, there were four duos performing as part of the Last Chance CD Release Party at Swarthmore’s waR3house3 at 100 Park Avenue, in the Alleyway between Park and Rutgers.

This was a standing room only crowd, partially due to the four groups, partially to admission only being a tenspot (in advance), partially due to free food and the loose byob atmosphere.

Ingrid Rosenback and Jack Scott of Last Chance in performance at waR3house3. Photo by Carolyn Miller

Ingrid Rosenback and Jack Scott of Last Chance in performance at waR3house3. Photo by Carolyn Miller

The group Last Chance Duo is Ingrid Rosenback of Swarthmore on fiddle and harmonica, and Jack Scott of Wallingford on banjo and guitar. Jack writes the songs which both sing. This second CD, Endless Flight, is available through the duo.

The party was also a benefit for One Step Away, a Philly Street newspaper sold by street vendors. By selling these newspapers and keeping the proceeds, these homeless individuals are able to gain a degree of self-reliance. Communications director Alexis Wright-Whitley gave a brief speech about the One Step Away group. Copies of the newspaper were included with the CDs, both of which were included in the price of admission. When planning the event, Ingrid and Jack invited three other duos whom they had met at The Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Though we have heard Last Chance many times at various venues (are we “Last Chance heads?”), we never tire of hearing their songs. Maybe it’s because each concert is different.

The Michael Spear Duo consists of Michael Spear, guitars and songs, plus multi-instrumentalist Smiling Ed. They have a CD release planned later this year, which hopefully will include “Already Dead” from this concert.

Rusty and Jan consists of Rusty Crowell on guitar and vocals and Jan Alba on flute, saxophone and vocals. This husband and wife duo describes their music as “acoustic familiarity with a classic woodwind twist”. They did the best cover of Van Morrison’s “Moondance” we’ve ever heard.

Probably many of you know Square Wheels from their many performances at Media Coffeehouses, the Peace Center, etc. They consist of Mac Given, clarinet and harmonica, and Wayne G. Harvey, sharing singing duties. You can taste some of their music at their myspace site.

Other groups are at:,, and

One thought on “Music in the Bleak Midwinter

  1. Enjoyed all the music at the benefit. The efforts of Last Chance for this cause are appreciated. Their music is especially well written and vocals and instrumentation are well done. I hope to return to Swarthmore again soon. Nice town and venue.

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