ITS Current Project:

"Memories of a true Renaissance Man"  A Robert Donovan Thomas video is currently in production. RDT born July 21, 1939, died December 16, 1993. Band leader of "The Golden Toad", "Raggle Taggle Gypsies", "Pipe & Bowl Morris", The French Cheese band, "Le Camembert" and more. Video will include footage of Robert playing music, many stills of his paintings, artwork and performances at Renaissance faire, Sweets Mill, the streets of San Francisco, Preston Mansion and the Dickens Faire.

The Living History Centre has given us a small grant, which I hope to match via donation. Want to Donate?.

The Alta California Orchestra: (TACO)
Photos of the Orchestra, research, presentation of early California music and dance, info, contact and current performances.
TACO is Proud to be part of CAC Sponsored American Masterpieces California, "Musica Festiva De Las Misiones".

Fandango at Sonoma CD: CD for Sale - Early California Mission and Immigrant "Fandango" or Dance Music, recorded in 1996 by, The Alta California Orchestra. REPRINT with all 17 tracks remixed and READY for your event. PayPal easy credit card accept.

Community Fandango: You Tube 5 minute video of a residency and public performances, with The Alta California Orchestra. Lee Birch featured in performance at SF Museum.

Check out: "California Folk Dance Traditions Instruction Booklet and CD" with The Alta California Orchestra and Deborah Fischbach, Arts educator teaching 9 simple dances and a song with words and chords for the waltz. Also "how to use this book" includes lesson plans and more!Purchasing with online discount and PayPal secure cart.

World Music Program, Cultural Arts and Music K-12: Poster with photos, summary, info and contact. Program focuses on the music and musical history of world cultures, with students drawing the displayed instruments as they listen. Musical history from Ancient Persia through Afghanistan and India, the Moorish civilization to Renaissance Europe and today. Playing Antique and unique instruments from their own collection, this husband and wife team plant the seeds of culture into the imaginations of the students, giving them much food for thought.

ITS Traditional Arts Education : Looking for local partners to receive matching funds. Poster with project summary, info and contact. Partnership K-12, and or community arts education groups, research, presentation of and classes in traditional music and dance program.

Preston Historical Research and Restoration Fund: The Preston Historical Research and Restoration Fund has been created to preserve the memory of the town of Preston (1875-1941) and its people, with articles and photos of Madame Preston and her clients/residents/community. The "Free Pilgrims" church, the jewel of Preston is owned by a private party who halted the process of restoration in 2015. The Preston Historical Research and Restoration Fund, was founded to pay for the preservation of this 19th century historical landmark. Thank you to all who donated to this preservation effort.

Preston Historical Photos: #1. Commercial district circa 1910 ~ #2. Community musicians circa 1985 ~ #3. Inside the Preston church, 1999 ~ #4. 1999 Aerial view northeast, overlooking the Russian River and the Preston colonist residences. ~ #5. The covered bridge spanned the Russian River at Preston from 1872-1931 ~ #6. The Preston church 1886 ~ #7. Hartwell Preston ~ #8. Emily Preston aka Madam Preston.

Zincali Middle Eastern Orchestra Available for performances and parties; established and respected full piece orchestra. Performance photos, band members, info and contact.

Life and Times of San Francisco Dancer, John Patterson. Photos of John with the Golden Toad. Dancers and artists, close friends; David Barnard and John Patterson are very loved for their contribution to the Institute's programs. This is a page to honor them and their art. Contributors contact Deborah

Please direct memories, comments or questions to Deborah Fischbach, E-mail Director Deb

You'll see a list of projects on your left + below
Click on underlined Red titles for info and photos link.


The Institute for Traditional Studies researches, performs and promotes traditional arts education. Our logo (above) was originally designed by Robert Donovan (Bob) Thomas, who was a founding member of the Institute. Though the original drawing was lost; an embossing stamp remained. Melissa Fischbach, who knew Robert since her birth has copied the stamp design as close as possible. Bob Thomas is most recognized for his famous logo (Skull with lightning bolt) that he and Ernie Fischbach designed for the Grateful Dead, (rock band).

"Mission Statement" 

"ITS Community Links" 

"Directors & About ITS" 

Make a tax deductible Donation so we can help fund and produce current and future projects. Mark your donation with a list of your favorite projects or pick just one!


Ernest L Fischbach, Mandolin Maker, Instrument Repairman, Music History and Performances with Zincali, Bal~Anat and others. Ernie Fischbach, founding member of ITS and eclectic musician with a flair.

Hands on Healing, Reiki : The Institute Program Director's personal page, please look if you are interested in Natural Healing, Reiki, Power of Positive Thinking and cultivation of your True Self. Check it out!

ITS Street Musicians Postcards : Sale of Postcard Series, with The Golden Toad, Raggle Taggle Gypsies, Bob Thomas, John Patterson, David Barnard and more!

Farideh Dance Arts: Our beloved Farideh aka Cathryn Balk has passed fall of 2018-RIP Dear One. Pictures and links to video of Farideh still available on this Memorial page.

ITS is the proud sponsor of the Villa de Branciforte Preservation Society and their good works; Seeking recognition and preservation of the unique character and history of the Villa de Branciforte area. Founded in 1797, Villa de Branciforte is a unique occurrence in Spanish Colonial history. Unlike the Spanish missions, the Villa was secular, and unlike the other two original secular settlements, the pueblos of Los Angeles and San Jose, Branciforte was a "villa," the only villa to be created during the Spanish Colonial era in California. The Society in partnership with CalTrans and the State of California has set up Villa de Branciforte Historical Landmark signs on the freeway. They are working on funding to set up more signs locally, make a brochure and map of the specific sites in the area and secure a privately owned lot full of artifacts that is for sale. Check out a 2014 article, "Discoveries: Santa Cruz's 'East Side' lobbies for respect. "
Check out the History; unique people, places, politics and culture. Call Deborah at ITS for donations, bequeaths.
Director; Ed Silviera

Bal~Anat Band performances: Ernie Fischbach, Brian Steeger, David Brown, Melissa Fischbach and guest musicians play for Suhaila Salimpour's Troupe of Dancers! Performance Photos and links to Suhaila, Jamila and Bal~Anat. Ernie created the music for Jamila's original Bal~Anat Dance Troupe.

Chris Carnes Memorial: Photos of Chris, one with Carmen Amaya and one a painting by the late Olaf Palm, also a letter and poem, remembering Chris Carnes. A Video project is currently pending funds: "Gitanos Caballeros" The Gypsy Life, will be a story of Chris Carnes' adventures in Andalusia. Chris was a student, teacher and historian of Andalusian Gypsy Flamenco guitar, specializing in the accompaniment of singers and dancers.

Mike Seeger Traditional Banjo Video Series sponsored in part by ITS: A series of instructional videos on traditional banjo styles. Information only.

ITS Musician Referral Service: West Coast Musicians, including players of bagpipes, steel drums, accordions, mandolins, Klezmer, salsa, Middle Eastern oud, saz, bouzouki, oboe, world rock, French folk dance, Italian favorites and more!. Contact name and photos only sorry, no audio.

Merchandise and Projects office; Deborah Fischbach (707) 937-2133 PST
21512 Orr Springs Rd. #ITS
Ukiah, California 95482 USA
E-mail Director Deb

Thank you for your visit!