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Sugar in the Gourd

by Cory Marie Podielski on November 7, 2014

in Around Campus, Music & Dance, This Week at the Folk School

Sugar in the Gourd on the Folk School stage earlier this week with Erich fiddling and Bonnie on the banjo! Host Sarah is tapping her toe and considering running upstairs to get her mandolin. You never know when a spontaneous jam will spring up at the Folk School. Catch Erich fiddling for the dance this Saturday night!

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Dust Off Your Petticoats for DTBSQ!

by Cory Marie Podielski on November 6, 2014

in Featured Classes, Music & Dance

Hand over hand and head over heel… the more you dance, the better you feel!

It’s time to take a partner and square up on the dance floor for Dare to Be Square at the Folk School, November 14-16. We have three fabulous callers lined-up: Tom Hinds, Janine Smith and Beth Molaro. Evening Star is playing the music for the weekend. The band includes Folk School favorites Steve Hickman on fiddle, John Devine on guitar, Claudio Buchwald on fiddle/piano and Sam Bartlett on banjo.

Dare to Be Square at the Folk School

Dare to Be Square at the Folk School

Caller Tom Hinds

Caller Tom Hinds

I asked caller Tom Hinds a few questions about calling and dancing in anticipation for this rip-roarin’ fun-filled weekend:

CP: Tell me how you got into dance calling.
TH: I took a three hour calling class. It was enough to get me started and enough to get me into trouble.

CP: Two of your class segments: “Western Hash” & “New, New England Squares” talk about specific locations/regions. How does location and region come into play with square dancing?
TH: The regional flavor of square dancing doesn’t really hold anymore. Fifty years ago you could do western style square dancing in New England. So I’m inclined to talk about Western and New England as styles that aren’t pinned down to a place any longer. It’s just a style that callers and dancers can choose no matter where they live.

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Photography by Sarah Altendorf  at Pleasant Hill Shaker village. Pleasant Hill, KY.

Photography by Sarah Altendorf at Pleasant Hill Shaker village. Pleasant Hill, KY.

In preparation for my upcoming class “Shaker Music & More” I decided to go on an adventure early this summer to explore several Shaker Villages located in New England.

My first stop was Albany, NY.  I rented a car and trekked to Shaker Village, Sabbathday Lake.  It was a rainy afternoon in northern Maine, but my spirit was soon lifted by conversations with Michael S. Graham, director of the Sabbathday Lake Village Museum for The United Society of Shakers in Gloucester.  It was a special treat to meet Brother Michael, one of three remaining practicing Shakers.  I collected several enlightening resources from their gift shop and Brother Michael presented me with a cassette recording (remember those from the past century?) of Sister R. Mildred Barker sharing “Early Shaker Spirituals.”

My next stop was a great visit with Lesley Herzberg, curator of the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts .  I had the great fortune to experience their terrific music presentation filled with song and dance and, yes, I even danced in their meeting house to an almost frenzy!

Hancock Shaker Village, Berkshires, Western Massachusetts, USA.  Photography by Richard Taylor

Hancock Shaker Village, Western Massachusetts. Photography by Richard Taylor

Other stops included meeting Samantha & Starlyn at the Shaker Heritage Society in Albany, NY  who shared their wealth of knowledge about the musical traditions of the Shakers and invited me to visit the grave site of Sister Anne which is located at the perimeter of the Albany airport – very interesting.  Also, Dr. Roger L. Hall, a Shaker Music Scholar who lives in Stoughton, MA has been most helpful in providing additional resources and overall encouragement toward the preservation and enjoyment of Shaker Music tradition.

I look forward to being part of this incredible week at the John C. Campbell Folk School and in addition to experiencing the traditional, we may create a few hymns/anthems of our own! Bring along any inspirational texts that we may set to our own music.

Hope to see you there!


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Craft Shop October Event Enjoyed By All

by June Rollins on October 25, 2014

in Craft Shop

On Thu., Oct. 23rd, The Craft Shop hosted Falling In Love With Fall from 4:45-6pm. Students, staff, instructors and visitors enjoyed wine, music and surprise discounts!

Thank you to Crane Creek Vineyards for providing several wonderful choices for our wine-tasting!

Thank you to Instructor, Janita Baker, and her students for providing sweet, mountain dulcimer music!

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Rag Rug Weaving on ole’ Brownie

Over a year ago, I decided to try my hand at a weekend weaving class in which I would weave a scarf. I was really excited. The first weaving class I took was Weave a Scarf – Intro Class with instructor Elaine Bradley. It was a fast paced class and ended up with a beautiful woven scarf using a crammed and spaced weaving technique.

Fast forward to this past week. I was a student in Rag Rug Weaving, instructed by Christine Rogers. This was my first time weaving a Rag Rug. I had my prepared fabrics and had in my mind what I wanted my Rag Rug to look like.

Sunday evening all the students in our class got acquainted and talked about our weaving experiences. Our class had beginners and seasoned weavers that were great inspiration.

Monday and Tuesday were the decision days.  First, we discussed different types of weaves, and then decided on the size and type of weave that we would use to make our rugs. We selected our carpet warp yarn colors and wrapped our warp boards and readied our selected loom to warp. I spent Tuesday warping the loom with a beautiful purple and teal colored carpet warp yarn. To be honest, I was tired at the end of the day but looking forward to finally getting to weave on Wednesday.

I was throwing a shuttle with my strips of fabric rags using a plain weave on Wednesday afternoon with anticipation of what my rug was going to evolve into.


Rag Rug


By Friday morning, I was wide open trying to get the rug done so I could cut off before the end of class and get the rug hemmed. As everyone in class worked on completing their beautiful woven pieces, they already were chatting about what weaving class to take next.

So if any of you think, I can’t possibly do that… Yes you can! And I plan to continue with my fascination of weaving.

If you are interested in a week or weekend weaving class visit our website for more information.