Ongoing News

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A Celebration of Life of Iris Edinger

A Celebration of the Life of Iris Edinger
Dec. 18, 2022 ~ 1:00 p.m. 
Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
7304 Jordan Ave, Canoga Park, CA 91303
Rev. Matthew McHale, Minister 
After the service, you are invited to a reception in the Pavilion. Because Iris so loved sharing music, there will be an opportunity for musicians to continue to play and sing in a song circle at her house this evening. This will also be a good time for more stories and remembrances. 
In lieu of flowers, Iris’s family asks that donations be made to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), or Emerson Memorial Fund. I
Iris’s family thanks you for being here to honor her life and for all your comforting messages and other expressions of kindness and love during this time of bereavement. 
Iris Nathalia (Mason) Edinger was born in Detroit, Michigan to 1st and 2nd generation Polish and Slovak immigrants. Her father’s name was Tadeusz Mosiejewski, but as Iris recounted the story, his 
bride to be, Ann Sykora, insisted he change his last name to Mason as a condition of marriage (not just any Anglo name, it had to be Mason). Hence the proudly Polish girl with the Anglo last name.
Iris spent her childhood years in northern Ohio, especially Cleveland. As a five year-old on her uncle’s farm, her jobs were to open the gate and let in the cows in the evening, and clean the kerosene lamps.. The young family later moved into a public housing project in Cleveland: that’s partly because her father believed in public housing, and wanted to help make it work. Activism came naturally to Iris. 
As a teenager, Iris and her mother moved to Tucson, Arizona, where she completed high school. Iris graduated from University of Arizona before moving to Los Angeles to attend USC library school in 1950. The LA area was her home base for the rest of her life.
Iris earned additional Masters degrees in English and Anthropology from UCLA and CSUN, respectively. Iris began her career as a secondary school teacher in Los Angeles in 1957, the same year she married Eddie Edinger. Iris spent most of her 34-year teaching career teaching English and social studies at Birmingham High School and Mulholland Junior High, in the San Fernando Valley. Iris was a dedicated and innovative teacher; she wove Women’s history, Black history, and Native American history into her classes when these disciplines were in their early years. She also enjoyed teaching English as a Second Language: she said that newly arrived students from foreign countries showed a great appreciation for teachers. 
She was an active, career-long member of her union, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), especially the UTLA Human Rights committee. A skilled musician, Iris played the recorder and the piano, and sang. Iris was a founding member of the Songmakers, from its beginnings in Griffith Park, when it was called People’s Songs West. She also played in the Geritones, the Recorders West ensemble, and other groups. 
Iris was a dedicated peace, social justice, and labor activist throughout her life. While a mother of young children, she demonstrated against the Vietnam war. In the 1980’s, she joined an international peace delegation to Hiroshima, and protested against US intervention in Central America. In her ‘60s she participated in civil disobedience against nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada Test Site. In her ‘70s and ‘80’s, as a long-standing member of Veterans for Peace, she helped run the Arlington West memorial on Santa Monica beach for many years. Iris’ volunteer activities with the American Friends Service Committee, the Sanctuary movement, and No More Deaths focused on refugees and on border issues. For example, helped establish a library and school in an informal border settlement in Baja California. 
She was a member of Emerson Church for more than 50 years, where she helped organize the Emerson social action alliance, among many other church activities. Iris’ extensive travels took her to the far corners of the world, often volunteering on projects such as building a school in Nicaragua, archeological digs with Elder Hostel. She visited all 50 US states, 11 of 13 Canadian provinces and territories, and more than 45 countries. Closer to home she was an active member of the Sierra Club, both for extensive outdoor recreation activities and for environmental activism, especially around nuclear issues in California. She loved the outdoors, and spent many trips backpacking, skiing, canoeing, or camping throughout California and the west. 

These photos were taken by Chuck Behrman and Mary Zangerle at Kenney Grove Campout in October 2022.


Music in the Mountains November 2022 
By Janice Gelencser

Music in the Mountains is an annual event at Camp deBenniville Pines in the San Bernardino Mountains near Angelus Oaks which will take place on November 4-6 this year. The cost is $175 which includes lodging and six delicious meals. For an extra $20, folks may arrive on Thursday, November 3rd to enjoy the facilities with no meals provided. This crisp fall weekend is a perfect place to sing, jam, attend workshops and meet other musicians from all over Southern California. The main lodge with the large fireplace and cozy hearth is a gathering place for reading and relaxing while sipping hot drinks from the beverage bar which is always
Our headliner will be musicologist and National Yodel Champion, Larry Wilder. Larry will open for the evening concerts and lead two workshops, one on stories and songs and the other on
yodeling. Other workshops include: Live Music Meditation, Song Writing, Singalong sessions, Choral Singing, Recorder, Tribute to Leonard Cohen, Tribute to Bob Dylan, Easy Sight Reading, Yodeling and Songs and Stories.
 For more information and registration details, please visit the website at:

See you at the camp!



Stagecoach Inn

There is a Songcircle held on the 4th Saturday of Each Month.  Check the calendar for further details.


March 2022 Songcircle in the Heritage Oak Grove

Kenney Grove June 2022

Our campouts at Kenney Grove in Fillmore have been well attended this year. In addition to the overnight Songmaker campers, many members “day trip” just for the day on Saturdays. 



It isn’t always about playing music and staying in the campground.  Many members went to Santa Paula for an evening car show and to hear Greg Lannar’s band perform.  A few members bring their bikes along and there is a great store with antiques and old-time items to visit in Fillmore.


Janice Gelencser biked to the nearby tennis courts to hit balls.



A sampling of items at the local downtown Fillmore antique store 





Greg Lannar’s band performed downtown at the car show in Santa Paula.

Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Festival 2022 

Photos by Chuck Behrman

Article by Louise Dobbs

The 2022 60th Topanga Festival by Louise Dobbs

Songmakers 2022 Roundup

This was held via zoom on February 26, 2022.

Some of our board members performed Sing With Me, by John Zipperer at the event.  Songmakers appearing in the video are Doug Kerr, Linda Szitkar, Janice Galencser, Louise Dobbs, Sally Charette, Dana Charette, Steve Berman and Sandy Lessner. Thanks go to Doug Kerr for producing this video.