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Discovering techniques that make it easier to learn fiddle tunes by ear.

fiddleclipNary a week goes by at the Folk School when you do not hear the sweet sounds of fiddling coming from either the Community Dance, the Music Studio, MorningSong, a concert, a jam, or perhaps a lone fiddler out in Open House practicing a tune.

The Folk School has a great schedule of upcoming fiddle classes. Come immerse yourself for a week of all day classes with top notch instructors, practice amid the beautiful backdrop of the blue mountains of Brasstown, make new friends and eat food right out of the Folk School garden.

Here are the wonderful instructors we have scheduled for upcoming fiddle classes:

Cathy Grant

Cathy Grant

Cathy Grant

I had never even picked up a fiddle until I took Cathy Grant’s Beginning Fiddle class. I was terrified that the whole week be spent amidst a continuous cacophony of discordant beginners, but Cathy’s class was so fun & engaging. The curriculum was varied and did not depend on how quickly you picked up the lessons. Although my first love is the banjo, Cathy got me off to a great start and it was a totally enjoyable week. As a total beginner, I highly recommend it: Beginning Fiddle with Cathy Grant June – July 4, 2015 (Level 1). If you are beyond beginner, consider taking Continuing Fiddle (Level 2) with Cathy either sooner: Oct 12-18, 2014 or later: Mar 1-7, 2015.

Cathy teaches regularly at the Folk School. She grew up playing classical violin, discovered fiddling as an adult, and is now a full-time fiddle teacher and workshop leader. She plays in a variety of groups ranging from old-time, contra, and ceili bands to symphony orchestras. Cathy’s mentors are the fiddlers of West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.

Michael Ismerio

michaelPortrait

Michael Ismerio

Already fiddling a bit and interested in really honing in on the Appalachian style? Experience the exciting rhythms, pulses, and drones that give Southern Appalachian old-time fiddling its distinctive sound in Michael’s upcoming class Appalachian Old-Time Fiddle on Nov 9-14 (Level 2). We’ll focus heavily on your bowing hand to get your muscle memory used to playing the rhythms, while giving your brain a chance to internalize the melody. All learning will be by ear.

Michael has been fiddling, teaching, calling square dances, and organizing events for the last 15 years in the exciting old-time music community in Portland, Oregon. He was a member of both the Dickel Brothers and the Government Issue Orchestra, two nationally known, old-time string bands. Michael also has two other classes coming up at the Folk School: 10th-Century Scandinavian-Style Turn Shoe Mar 22-28, 2015 and Old-time Jam Camp with Ben Nelson on May 10-16, 2015.

Check out Michael’s “Very Short Fiddle Lessons”

Rayna Gellert

Rayna Gellert (Photo by Jon Estes)

Rayna Gellert
Photo by Jon Estes

If you are comfortable with your fiddle and have at least 10 tunes under your belt, spend a week with Rayna Gellert to take your playing to a higher level. Her class, Intermediate to Advanced Fiddle Jan 4-15, 2015 (Level 3 & 4), will touch on Southern Appalachian historical context, enjoy listening sessions, and resolve to get more comfortable learning by ear. Focus on encouraging your bowing arm to be more versatile, rhythmic, and tonally rich while learning tunes in a variety of old-timey tunings.

Rayna has spent most of her life immersed in the sounds of rural stringband music, heartfelt gospel songs, and old ballads. After honing her fiddle skills playing at jam sessions and square dances, she began a life of traveling and performing. Her fiddle albums are widely celebrated in the old-time music community, and she has recorded with a host of musicians in a variety of styles, such as Robyn Hitchcock, Tyler Ramsey, Sara Watkins, Loudon Wainwright III, John Paul Jones, and Abigail Washburn. Rayna has taught at workshops, festivals, and fiddle camps across the U.S. and the U.K., including Swannanoa Gathering, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Augusta Heritage Center, and Ashokan Music & Dance.

Visit Rayna’s tune page to get a sample of her fiddling.

Susan Conger

Susan Conger (Photo courtesy of alongtheriver.com)

Susan Conger

Joining us for Scandinavian Heritage Week 2015 will be Susan Conger teaching Intermediate Fiddle Mar 22-28. In the company of newfound friends, you will enjoy special food, music, dance, and craft traditional to the region. In Susan’s class you will expand your fiddle repertoire and improve your playing technique. Learn lovely tunes and lively ones, including some from Scandinavia, and explore ways to bring the style of the music alive through your playing. Scandinavian Heritage Week honors the Folk School’s roots, inspired by “folkehøjskole” of these northern European countries.

Susan grew up playing classical violin, but as an adult was drawn to fiddle tunes she heard while contra dancing. In 1987 she followed the tunes and dances to western Massachusetts. Susan teaches fiddle and classical violin and plays for contra, English, and Scandinavian dancing. She is editor of “Along the River,” a collection of modern New England dance tunes, and has been on staff at various dance camps and festivals from New England to Seattle.

Visit Susan’s webpage

Fiddle class in the Music Studio

Fiddle class in the Music Studio

Upcoming Fiddle Classes

(in chronological order)

Continuing Fiddle with Cathy Grant, Oct 12-18, 2014 (Level 2)

Appalachian Old-Time Fiddle with Michael Ismerio, Nov 9-14, 2014 (Level 2)

Intermediate to Advanced Fiddle with Rayna Gellert, Jan 4-15, 2015 (Level 3 & 4)

Continuing Fiddle with Cathy Grant, Mar 1-7, 2015 (Level 2)

Intermediate Fiddle with Susan Conger, Mar 22-28, 2015 (Level 3)

Beginning Fiddle with Cathy Grant, June – July 4, 2015 (Level 1)

Music Levels

Level 1: Beginning (no experience required)

Level 2: Continuing (can play a few tunes slowly, a beginning fiddle class is advised prior to taking this one.)

Level 3: Intermediate (can play 10 or more tunes, not quite up to tempo)

Level 4: Advanced (you feel comfortable with the instrument)

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Spooning Up Fun In The Craft Shop!

by June Rollins on September 10, 2014

in Craft Shop

spoonsWe love our new wood pyrography spoons by Teri Paulk! They’re all food safe except for the painted Dogwoods on the back left.

Only $29.50 each and going fast!

Yes, the bear puzzle with a bee hive hidden inside on the right is for sale too! Yes, that awesome tumbler/spoon holder is for sale. Yes, those little brooms on the  lower  left are too. They’re great for sweeping up table crumbs…

Hope To See You Soon!

_______________________________________

The Craft Shop Hours:

Mon., Tue., Wed., Fri., Sat. – 8am-5pm
Thu. – 8am-6pm
Sun. – 1-5pm
Phone for pricing and shipping info: 828-837-3899
Or, stop by, we’d love to see you!
___________________________________________

Handcrafted Merchandise Arriving Daily
At John C. Campbell Folk School Craft Shop!

Bottom floor of the Olive Dame Campbell Dining Hall. Campus Map

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IMG_9474_retWEBRing in the New Year dancing to the glorious live music of Ethan Hazzard-Watkins, Anna Patton, Bruce Rosen, Mick Kinney, Geraud Barralon and FOXFIRE!

Winter Dance Week offers a unique combination of top-notch callers, teachers, and musicians – along with beautiful surroundings, good food, comfortable accommodations, and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
A Gala New Year’s Eve Party and New Year’s morning breakfast will finish off the week.

 *SPECIAL OFFER: Register on or before November 1 and get a special rate of $300

Your All-Star staff:
-Sue Rosen
-David Millstone
-Charlotte Crittenden
-Anna Patton & Ethan Hazzard-Watkins of Elixr
-Bruce Rosen of Phantom Power
-Daron Douglas & Karen Axelrod of Foxfire
-Matt Olwell & Emily Oleson
-Elise Witt
-Mick Kinney
-Carl Dreher
-Geraud Barralon

Participants should have previous contra dance and/or English country dance experience (such as our “Learn to Contra Dance” class or the equivalent). We do not recommend Winter Dance Week for beginning dancers.

Standard Tuition: $376*
Local Tuition: $188

Limited work exchange scholarships are available. Phone the office or email anniefain@folkschool.org to request a scholarship application.

This year’s schedule includes some exciting new workshops.

Daily Schedule:
8:15 A.M.    
Breakfast

9:00 – 10:10 A.M. 
Contras & Squares – Community Room – Sue, Fire Truck

10:15 – 10:45 A.M.  
Morningsong – Keith House Lower Level – Elise

10:50 – 12:00 P.M. 
Challenging English Country – Community Room  David, Foxfire
Partner Dance Boot Camp – Music Studio – Matt, Emily, Mick, Geraud

12:15 P.M.  
Lunch

1:20 – 2:20 P.M.  
English Country for All – Music Studio – Sue, Foxfire
Jazz Era Party Dances (Swing & Charleston)  Community Room –  Matt, Emily, Ethan, Anna, Mick

2:30 – 3:30 P.M.  
Contras & Squares  – Community Room – David, Fire Truck

3:40 – 4:40 P.M. 
Clogging/Flatfooting – Music Studio – Matt, Emily, Mick, Geraud
Harmony Singing-Keith House Lower Level- Elise
English & American Technique – Community Room – Carl, Daron, Karen, Bruce

4:50 – 5:50 P.M.
Open Dance Time – Music Studio – Matt, Emily
Jam Session – Lower Keith – Mick
Yoga (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) – Community Room – Hannah

6:00 P.M.
Supper

7:15 P.M.
Gathering with Elise & Special Guest – Keith House Lower Level

8:00 – 11:00 P.M.
Dance – Community Room (Tuesday 8:00-10:00)

8:00 – 10:00 pm
English Dancing – Music Studio (Only on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday)

11:00 pm
Refreshments – Keith House Lower Level

Register for Winter Dance Week here: folkschool.org

 

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Luttie May Comes Alive

by Martha Ann Wilkerson on August 26, 2014

in Around Campus, Hear from Students, We Still Make Things, Writing

Brasstown, NC

Brasstown, NC

“I can’t believe it’s over!” said Luttie May.  “Maybe I should have left my suitcase in the room at Rock House so we’d have to come back and get it.”

“And you were dreading the class before we got here,” laughed Irene.  “I guess you’re glad you came.

“Yes, I am!” said Luttie May. Luttie May and Irene walked through the cool, green trees that hid the serenading birds on their way to Keith House for the last Morning Song.

Their first trip to the John C. Campbell Folk School was coming to an end.

“Things I let you talk me into always turn out good.  I was worried when there were only three people in the class.  You know me; I wanted to fade into the background.”

Luttie May stopped on the stone walk in front of Keith House and turned to Irene.

“And I nearly died when you found the reading by the writing class on the schedule. But even that wasn’t bad.  It felt so good when people came up to me the next morning and told me they liked my story!”

“I love it here!” said Irene. “I like quilting but I like meeting all of the people
even more.  Everybody is so nice.  I can’t believe people come all the way from Alaska!”

Luttie May climbed the steps to the red door.  “There’s just one thing I never figured out.  Where exactly is Brasstown?”

Written by Martha Ann Wilkerson while attending “Creating a World That isn’t There” writing class.

For more information on classes, visit our website:   folkschool.org 

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We Dare You to Be Square: Nov. 14-16

by Cory Marie Podielski on August 25, 2014

in Featured Classes, Music! Dancing!

Molaro_Beth_DA_Callin#5050D

Put on your dancin’ shoes and grab a partner for a lively weekend of square dancing in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Join famed dance callers Tom Hinds, Beth Molaro and Janine Smith for an exciting variety of square dance styles originating from various regions of the United States. Enjoy live music by Steve Hickman, John Devine, Claudio Buchwald and Sam Bartlett of Evening Star.

Expect talks on the history of square dancing and dance calling technique, family style meals and a Saturday night Brasstown community square & contra dance. Some previous contra or square dance experience is recommended. Singles and couples welcome. Choose from a range of housing, camping and meal package options. A limited number of scholarships are available.

“Dare to Be Square” Weekend
Nov 14-16, 2014
Instructors: Beth Molaro, Tom Hinds, Janine Smith
Register online

[click to continue…]

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