Preliminary workshop descriptions – last update 17 April 2017
Eddie Bond and the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters
Blue Ridge Fiddle Music: Eddie Bond – Eddie will teach from the Blue Ridge repertoire including tunes from the Galax region as well as from West Virginia and Kentucky. You will learn tunes the way they should be learned, by ear, one phrase at a time. Students are encouraged to bring recording devices to the class. We will talk about bowing and other techniques to make these tunes come alive.
Old-time Rhythm Guitar: Dennis Hall – Dennis plays in a style very similar to Gene Meade (who played with Clark Kessinger). The greatest thing about Uncle Dennis’ guitar playing is the fantastic runs. Many of these he learned from watching Gene Meade play at the fiddlers convention in Galax as a young boy. This workshop will feel more like a jam session with intermittent stops to demonstrate what Dennis is doing.
Old-time Mandolin: Caroline Noel Beverley – Students will learn chords and strumming patterns to be able to back-up fiddle tunes and vocal songs as well as learn how to play lead melodies by ear. No playing experience necessary. Students will need their own working mandolins, picks and tuners. Recording devices are welcome.
Flatfooting: Phil Jamison – Traditional flatfooting steps and styles of western North Carolina for all levels of dancers. No prior experience is required, but wear smooth-soled shoes (preferably leather) and no taps please.
Caller, Dancer, and Musician Roundtable: Phil Jamison – A discussion of issues related to dance calling and the sharing of wisdom and insights gained over four decades behind the mic as a dance caller. Everyone welcome: novice and experienced callers, dancers, dance musicians, wannabe callers, and you.
Approaching New Fiddle Tunes for Banjo: Phil Jamison – A chordal approach to playing banjo that makes it easy to accompany fiddle tunes that you’ve never heard before.
The Ozark Highballers
Fiddle Music of Skeeter Walden and Lon Jordan: Roy Pilgram – Music and stories from two great fiddlers of Northwest Arkansas.
Fiddle Music of Bill Driver and Bill Caton: Roy Pilgram – Studies of the music of two African American fiddlers of Southern and Mid-Missouri.
Old-time Finger Style Banjo Part1: Clarke Buehling – We will work in “Standard C” tuning gCGBD taking an in depth look into chord positions and learn a few dance tunes.
Old-time Finger Style Banjo Part2: Clarke Buehling – This workshop builds on the chord positions learned in part 1 focusing on right hand picking patterns. We will also learn a few dance tunes along the way.
Old-time Harmonica: Seth Shumate – This inspirational class, complete with audio examples, is an introduction to the various harmonica master styles recorded before the 1940s. These range from stringband straight harp styles to cross harp fox chase and train songs, and include the pinnacle of excellence in both tongue blocking and lip-pursing harmonica styles.
Backup Guitar 101: Aviva Steigmeyer – This is a beginners level class focusing on strumming technique, rhythm, and chord choices.
Emily Miller and Jesse Milnes
Duet Singing: Emily Miller and Jesse Milnes – Emily and Jesse will teach you how to make a great duet, including the basics of harmony structure, what to listen for in your partner’s singing and how to problem-solve. You will go home with one or two new songs to sing and a lot of new ideas! You will get the most out of this workshop if you can hold a part on your own, but all are welcome.
Fiddle Music of West Virginia: Jesse Milnes – Jesse will teach a selection of fiddle tunes from the some of the great central West Virginia players he heard and played with growing up, such as Melvin Wine, Murrell Hamrick and Ernie Carpenter. Tunes will be taught by ear.
Finger Style Guitar: Jesse Milnes – Jesse will open the door to the world of finger-picking guitar playing, giving you some basic instruction in the mechanics of his finger-style playing and a song to practice (practice, practice!) at home. You will get the most out of this workshop if you are an intermediate-advanced player and are hoping to learn a new technique, but it is open to everyone.
The Musky Dimes
Piano Backup for Fiddle: Kim Lansford and David Scrivner – Pianos and pump organs were often the preferred accompaniment for fiddlers in Missouri and the upper mid-west, and in fact, piano “back-up” was once quite common on many early commercial and field recordings of fiddlers and stringbands in regions throughout the country. In this workshop, Kim will discuss both right and left-hand piano techniques that help to enhance rhythm, drive and strong bass lines, all within the context of the “Missouri tune” repertoire including tunes from Bob Walters, Casey Jones, Vee Latty, Dwight Lamb, Art Galbraith Cyril Stinnett and others. Tunes from RP Christeson’s collection The Old-Time Fiddler’s Repertory and Cole’s 1000 Fiddle Tunes (also significant tune sources for the genre) will be included as well. David will discuss playing tunes in B flat, and will also play a wide variety of dance tunes common to the Missouri repertoire including schottisches, quadrilles, hornpipes, waltzes and reels. This is an informal repertoire workshop meant to introduce participants to some new possibilities as far as tunes and fiddle accompaniment.
Dance Music of Bob Holt: David Scrivner –
Beginning Fiddle: Nathan McAlister – Participants will study fundamentals of traditional American fiddle playing such as basic bow control, playing clean notes in pitch, common double stops, and an introduction into nuances differentiating several regional styles.
Ozark Fiddle Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo: Nathan McAlister – This intermediate level workshop will focus on clawhammer banjo playing in the tradition of Ozarks fiddle music. Tunes from several prominent Ozarks fiddlers will be featured along with an in-depth discussion of how the banjo fits in a dance band ensemble. Students will study playing with drive and economy, along with creative ways to approach more melodic playing in conjunction with other members of a string band ensemble.
Ballad Singing: Kim Lansford and Aviva Steigmeyer – A considerable number of ballads have been collected and sung in Appalachia and the Ozarks and many of their stories mysteriously continue to resonate all over the place. In this workshop Aviva draws from the songs of North Carolina singers Dellie Norton and Dillard Chandler, and Kim from those of Arkansas singers Emma Dusenbury and Almeda Riddle. Included in the workshop will be the consideration of stylistic characteristics and background of the singers and their songs, identification of different ballad types and contexts, and the opportunity to sing with and without accompaniment. Participants will learn as many ballads as time allows with texts of each ballad provided.
Steve and Joanie Green
Waltz & Two Step Workshop: This is a learn-by-doing workshop for all levels of experience. Come out and learn the dance for the first time, or learn some “cool moves” to add to your repertoire. Both the old-time waltz and two-step are danced to similar music as the ballroom waltz and country western two-step, but are easier to learn. These dances are common at square dances and you will be dancing before you know it! Partners not required.
Polka & Schottische Workshop: This is a dance workshop for all levels of experience. There is more to polka than exhausting yourself dashing around the floor at Oktoberfest! Come out and dance for the first time, or learn some new turns and twirls. Also try the Schottische, a close cousin of the Polka, but with distinctive and fun step work. In both dances, you will learn steps with a partner, and also how to do dance figures with other couples. Partners not required.
Beginning Clawhammer Banjo: Tony Holmquist – This workshop will focus on basic techniques to build confidence with rhythm and finding melody notes. We will work on songs and instrumental tunes. These will be presented up to speed, then broken down and simplified. There will also be discussion on listening and practicing.
Beginning Old-Time Fiddle: Tony Holmquist – This workshop will focus primarily on bowing as a root of old-time fiddling. We will focus on simpler tunes and break them down based on student need. Standard tuning and some alternate/cross-tunings will be covered. There will also be discussion on listening and practicing.