Pickin’ ’n’ Grinnin’

What is it?

Pickin' 'n' Grinnin' is a weekly event which consists almost solely of two hours of sitting around with people drinking tea and hot chocolate, eating home-baked snacks, and singing folk songs as a group.

It takes place every Wednesday night from 9-11pm in the Chapel Basement Lounge (take the stairs down on the east side of the Chapel). Anyone's welcome, anytime.

Where did it come from?

Pickin' 'n' Grinnin' has been around in its current form since about 1971; alums from that era say there was lots of informal folk singing going on in those days, but this event is the only survivor. No one's quite sure where the name "Pickin' 'n' Grinnin'" came from, but we haven't been able to shake it off. Until 1994, P&G was hosted at Farm House. It's still going strong after more than 35 years, making it one of the longest-running regular activities on campus.

What do you sing?

Rise Up SingingWe draw our material primarily from Rise Up Singing, a songbook published by the Sing Out! organization, publishers of the long-lived folk music magazine of the same name. Rise Up Singing contains a couple of thousand songs including traditional ballads, 60's and 70's folk songs, gospel, bluegrass, show tunes, rounds, and similar fun stuff. Basically, if you find a song you want to sing, and someone in the room knows it, we'll give it a try.

We also have a small but always-evolving compilation of other songs brought in over the years by folks who wanted to sing something that wasn't in the book.

Do you have to be a singer?

Everyone's a singer. You don't have to be a great singer, though. Everyone's singing at the same time, so you're not going to stick out. The point is to just enjoy the music. If you are a singer, it's a great opportunity to sing harmonies, learn new songs, and raise your voice with others.

Can I come and perform?

P&G is a group activity—we'd love to have you come sing or play with us, but solo performance isn't what it's about. For that, we have events like Farmstock.