Per Gary Lynch:
Clark Weissman passed away on June 17, 2021. He and his wife Elaine, who passed away on February 4, 2005, were board members (and Clark was president in 1979). In 1980 they left Songmakers and founded the California Traditional Music Society. In 1988, they were the driving force in establishing Folk Alliance.
Phee Sherline once told me that Clark and Elaine wanted to turn Songmakers into more of a public performance based organization, but the rest of the board resisted and in fact voted to replace Clark with Ken Graydon as president. So the Weissmans left Songmakers and achieved their vision through CTMS and ultimately Folk Alliance. Although it was undoubtedly a traumatic rift when it happened, I’ve always thought it was actually a blessing because both organizations contributed so much to the folk music scene in their own way: CTMS promoting folk music through public performances, and Songmakers through collaborative home-made music (i.e. hoots).
Clark and Elaine Weissman traveled across America in 1988 talking to folk music community organizers, gathering over 100 people the following year in Malibu, California, ultimately leading to the formation of the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance (now Folk Alliance International). Clark was seminal in steering the young organization, ensuring its stability, and stewarding its hand off as it formalized. During preparations for FAI’s 30th anniversary, Clark met with the Board and staff members during a planning retreat at Camp Hess Kramer where he shared stories and photos of the initial meeting and discussions there.
The Weissman family is asking for all memorial donations to be made to the Clark and Elaine Weissman “First-Time Conference Attendee” scholarship fund.