Ron Van Nostrand can wear many hats. This is a picture of him wearing his straw cowboy hat at a recent Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, New York. And if you have not figured it out, Ron is a musician, just one of the several hats that he can successfully wear. Now he does not plan to wear this “hat” at the Carriage House at Cayuga Museum when he reads on March 23rd since spring will only be four days old. But, let’s let Ron explain.
This hat I reserve for times of heat and drought, but I have worn many hats on the path that leads me here. I have been a student, a soda jerk, a plumber, a leather worker, a bus driver, a cook, an entrepreneur, an administrator for Head Start, a caregiver for a special needs child, a house husband/handyman and a pitiful excuse of an organic farmer in order to follow my artistic calling. The call came in my senior year of high school when I received a request to attend the awards assembly. I thought perhaps I’d been selected to hold the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance. Was I surprised when I found out that I had won the English prize for creative writing. ‘At last I found my niche,’ I thought. On March 23rd, I may include a selection from that prize winning booklet of 49 years ago, if it can be found beneath the accumulated layers of 30 years in the same residence.
[Over a few decades,] I’ve been busily recording my observations of the events that have transpired around me in poetic form, some which I have adapted into songs. In 1986, I began a ‘zine,’ called “Olive Trees” in order to share my art and the talents of other artists I have had the pleasure to meet on this journey. I’m hoping to be joined on stage that evening by the “Flock of Free Range Children” to enhance my words with their music. Besides creating with the “Flock,” my other interests are, but not limited to, facilitating a drumming circle the first Thursday of each month at the Center for Wellness in Auburn, as well as the studies of theology, philosophy, sociology, chi qong, and the natural world. Mostly though I enjoy spending quality time with my companion for the last 35 years, Toni (also pictured,) my friends and our cat, Wesley Niles.