Educational Documentary Produced by Will McLean Foundation and Live Oak Production Group. Directed, Cinematography and edited by Elam Stoltzfus
Will McLean Music video of the Courtship Dance of the Florida Sandhill Crane
The "Father of Florida Folk," the late Will McLean wrote hundreds of poems and songs. One of the most treasured songs is McLean's description of the Florida Sandhill Cranes. Donna Green-Townsend produced this video to go along with a live performance of McLean singing his song at a performance in 1985 in the historic Thomas Center in Gainesville. (song is used with permission). To see more of Donna Green-Townsend's portfolio of work go to donnagreentownsend.com
Will McLean and Lais performing Florida Sand
Will McLean, the first folk artist inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, has written hundreds of poems, stories and songs about Florida lore and legend. Many of his songs point out the importance of taking care of Florida's environment. McLean was a POW during WWII. It's been said that when he made it back to Florida he kissed the ground and said he would only write about Florida. One of his favorite songs must have come from that experience of being away from his home and then making it safely back---Florida Sand. McLean died in 1990.
Don Grooms, Tim DeMass and Will McLean performing Vitachuko
Don Grooms wrote the song Vitachuko about a piece of Florida history involving Native American Chief Vitachuko who was involved in a bloody skirmish with Hernando de Soto. Grooms was inspired in his songwriting by Will McLean who is considered to be the Father of Florida Folk and is the first folk artist inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Grooms often played music with McLean. When he played Vitachuko for Will McLean, Will told Don, "Grooms you have finally justified your existence." In this recording Will played harmonica. Grooms musical buddy Tim DeMass played bass. Will McLean died inJanuary of 1990. Grooms died on January 10th, 1998. Tim DeMass died March 15th, 2010.
Will McLean and Lais performing Lament
Will McLean, the first folk artist inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, has written hundreds of poems, stories and songs about Florida lore and legend. Many of his songs point out the importance of taking care of Florida's environment as in his song "Lament." McLean died in 1990.
Will McLean singing Hold Back The Waters late 70s or early 80s
The late Will McLean's most famous song is about the 1928 hurricane that swept Florida's Lake Okeechobee over its banks drowning some say between three to four thousand people. Many were buried in mass graves which made it difficult to get an accurate accounting of the number of dead. McLean was the first folk artist inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. He died in 1990 and his ashes were dispersed into the Ocklawaha River. He often camped beside the river at Gore's Landing. A marker was placed at that location. McLean penned hundreds of stories and songs. Every second weekend in March there's a festival held in his honor which includes a "Best New Florida Song Contest."
Rare Footage of Cousin Thelma Boltin with Will McLean and Gamble Rogers
In 1988 the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site hosted the 50th Anniversary Celebration of "The Yearling." The event drew out hundreds of visitors and members of the Cross Creek community. Among those in attendance were the late storyteller Cousin Thelma Boltin along with two members of the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, the late Will McLean and the late Gamble Rogers. The video snippets were recorded by an amateur photographer that day.
Cryin' Bird sung by Emeline Rose at the Will McLean Festival 3 13 2022
During the Hour of Power at the 2022 Will McLean Festival, five year old Emeline Rose made her stage debut performing one of Will McLean's songs, "Cryin' Bird" about the crying Florida Limpkin. She was accompanied by Andy Johnson on guitar and her Aunt Jessie Armstrong on vocals.
Archival video of Will McLean Memorial Service, 1/24/1990, Thomas Center, Gainesville, FL
On January 24, 1990 hundreds of people filled the Thomas Center in Gainesville, FL to capacity. They were all there to pay tribute to the Father of Florida Folk, Will McLean, who had just passed away from cancer a few days before. This archival video features many of his friends sharing not only their own precious stories about Will and how he touched their lives, but also sharing their versions of Will's original songs. Some of those friends in attendance included Gamble Rogers, Don Grooms, Dale Crider, Jeanie Fitchen, Doug Gaus, Frank and Ann Thomas, Wayne Martin, Dennis Devine, Mary Ann DiNella, Barbara Sheen Todd, Margaret Longhill, Donna Green-Townsend and Bobby Hicks to name a few. There were not only tears, but laughter as many of the speakers shared personal memories demonstrating Will McLean's sense of humor. Following the ceremony many friends travelled to McLean’s favorite camping spot, Gore's Landing in Marion County, to disperse his ashes into the Ocklawaha River. Will McLean's desire to “save Florida through music" continues today through a music festival held in his honor. The festival is usually held the 2nd weekend of March at the Sertoma Youth Ranch, 7 miles west of Dade City and near Brooksville. For more information about the Will McLean Festival and Foundation go online to willmclean.com