As a flute and pennywhistle player in local bands and a step-dance teacher, Renn played a central role in Homer's thriving contra dance scene, providing an authentic link to the New England and Cape Breton traditions he treasured. Every New Year's Eve, his boat shop was thronged for a community dance, sometimes featuring ringer musicians flown in by Renn. He published The Nelson Music Collection, an historic New England contra dance tunebook accompanied by a CD and musical biography of his father, Newt, a noted flute player. Renn also recorded his own CD, Roughly Cape Breton, released in late 2014. For more information or to purchase a copy of Roughly Cape Breton or The Nelson Music Collection, email @ .
Despite his poor health, Crane never stopped moving in an attempt to be on the frontline of some of the grimmer scenes of his time. His travels took him to Greece to report on the Greco-Turkish War; to England, where he befriended contemporaries such as Henry James, H. G. Wells, and Joseph Conrad; back to Cuba to cover the Spanish-American War; and finally to England and Germany, where he succumbed to tuberculosis. During all this time, Crane persisted in writing fiction and poetry, much of it characterized by his naturalistic perception of man caught in the throes of the conflicting, alienating forces that define the human condition. Ultimately, Crane tried to follow his own maxim that “the nearer a writer gets to life the greater he becomes as an artist.” For him, this meant a commitment to reality in life as well as in art. Crane lived this maxim so deeply that in the end, his desire to report from the thick of war was responsible for putting him in contact with the diseases that killed him while he was still in his twenties.