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Our History

Patty McCollom, former President of The Living Tradition, wrote the following short history of The Living Tradition.  This history has been expanded to include additional information.  Click here to view Patty's original history (PDF).

Click here to view a transcription of James Hutson's 1995 interview with Carolyn Russell (PDF).

A Brief History of The Living Tradition
Based on text from Patty McCollom, former President of The Living Tradition, with additional updated information.

December 21, 1994 was the official launch date for The Living Tradition as a non-profit organization, but the organization actually started 12 years earlier. In 1982, Carolyn Russell started hosting informal concerts and dances at her home in Garden Grove, California. Many of us remember going to Carolyn’s house on warm summer evenings to hear talented performers and to do contra dancing on the patio.

Since the informal inception of The Living Tradition in 1982, to this writing in 2019, there have been four Concert Coordinators. Carolyn Russell was the first Concert Coordinator and Dance Coordinator from 1982 until 1998, when she retired from active involvement in the organization and moved to Lucerne Valley. At that point, Steve and Michele Dulson took over as Concert Coordinators. After eleven years, they turned over the Concert Coordinator position to Gary and Terri Trobridge, who had previously assisted as volunteers for a concert series in Texas. Gary and Terri managed The Living Tradition concerts for seven years from 2010 through 2016. At the end of 2016, they turned the concert series coordination over to Ron Bloom and Carol Schryver Bloom, who served as Concert Coordinators through 2022.  Patty McCollom served as Concert Coordinator from early until mid 2023.  Michael Frey served as Concert Coordinator from mid 2023 until early 2024.

The first Coordinator was Carolyn Russell, followed by Rich Di Marco. When Rich moved out of the area, Lynn Ricketts became the third Dance Coordinator until a job transfer took her to Florida in 2016. Patty McCollom served as the next Dance Coordinator from 2017 until 2022.  Michael Frey served as Dance Coordinator from early until mid 2023.  In mid 2023, Lynn Ricketts assumed the role of Dance Coordinator, again.

An outgrowth of the monthly concerts and dances was the request by local musicians to have a monthly music jam where beginners as well as seasoned pros could make music together in an informal setting. Jams feature everything from Celtic music to Blues to Old-Time American music.  Two former Jam Coordinators include Emil Olguin and Patty McCollom. The jams had last been meeting at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Fullerton. At this time, jams no longer meet on a regular schedule but instead are organized as special events during the year.

Many thanks to all of the volunteers who have worked tirelessly on behalf of The Living Tradition, so we can continue providing high-quality concerts, dances, and jams to our community.


The Living Tradition Timeline




The Living Tradition founded by Carolyn Russell. Concerts and dances held at her home in Garden Grove, CA.


The Living Tradition officially qualified as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization on Dec. 21, 1994.


First newsletter of The Living Tradition was published March 1996. It was written by Carolyn Russell and Ruth Bailey.


Merger of the Folk Music Society of Orange County and The Living Tradition.


Carolyn Russell moved to Lucerne Valley and ceases direct involvement with The Living Tradition.


Jan. 1, 1999: first concert at the Anaheim Community Center. It presented a showcase of many local bands.

1999 - 2009

Steve and Michele Dulson served as the Concert Coordinators.


Music jams became a regular monthly event at the Anaheim Community Center, led by Emil Olguin and Patty McCollom.

1999 - 2010

Rich Di Marco served as the Dance Coordinator.

2010 - 2016

Contra Dances reduced to once per month after closing the Bellflower and El Segundo dances due to financial constraints.

2010 - 2016

Gary and Terri Trobridge served as the Concert Coordinators.

2010 - 2016

Lynn Ricketts served as the Dance Coordinator.

2017 - 2022

Patty McCollom served as the Dance Coordinator.

2017 - 2022

Ron Bloom and Carol Schryver served as the Concert Coordinators. 

Jan. 2023 - July 2023

Michael Frey served as the Dance Coordinator.

Aug. 2023 - Feb. 2024

Michael Frey served as the Concert Coordinator.

Aug. 2023 - present

Lynn Ricketts serves as the Dance Coordinator.


Dance and Concert Locations, Past and Present

        Carolyn Russell’s Garden Grove Home (dances and concerts)

        Anaheim Arts Center on Harbor Blvd. (Saturday dances; hall subsequently torn down)

        Ball Junior High in Anaheim (Saturday dances and concerts)

        Woman’s Club of Bellflower (Friday dances)

        Rebekah Hall in El Segundo (Friday dances)

        Anaheim Downtown Community Center (Saturday dances, concerts, and jams)

        Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Fullerton (Saturday jams)



Dulson, S., Romano, B., & Romano, J. “Featured Organization-The Living Tradition” [PDF file]. Folkworks  January/February 2001: p. 13.  Web. <http://folkworks.org/FWIssues/FWv01n01/FWv01n01.pdf>.

S. Dulson, personal communication, Aug. 5, 2019.

L. Ricketts, personal communication, Nov. 11, 2018.

T. Trobridge, personal communication, March 30, 2019.