Participants at the Joni Mitchell Tribute round out the show by singing “Big Yellow Taxi.”

It was a chilly mid-December night at the Patagonia Lumber Company when the air was warmed by a large crowd who had gathered to witness ten of Patagonia’s bravest show their stuff. No, not the volunteer firefighters or the Sheriff’s posse, but rather amateur singers stepping to the microphone (many for the first time) to play tribute to Joni Mitchell, one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time. The evening was organized by the Sashas, a local band who wanted to honor Mitchell and give local folks a chance to perform on stage.

Riotous support and energized whooping greeted each of the local folk who had practiced with the band after choosing their particular song to sing. It was a touching and inspiring evening – the community support was warming and familial – in the very best Patagonia way.

Planned for months, and canceled once due to Covid, the event featured renditions of songs from across Mitchell’s career, from “The Circle Game,” performed by Mark Berg, to “Help Me,” sung by Keith Spooner. Some of the vocalists had never sung on a mike before. 

Two members of the Sashas, Melanie Morrison and Cindy Mohr, prepared the aspiring singers with individual rehearsals to work out arrangements, entrances, and how to approach a microphone. One participant said, “They were incredibly encouraging, and the rehearsals were just as much fun as the performance.”

The Sashas, formed last June, feature Cindy Mohr on drum kit, Melanie Morrison on guitar, Jeff Latham on bass, Mary Tolena on percussion and Rochelle Raya on harmonica. “I never thought I’d be singing or playing in a band again but here I am,” said Morrison. “There’s something magical about being in Patagonia that allowed this to happen.”

The Sashas’ next gig is scheduled for January 21 at the Patagonia Lumber Company.