Music and dancing is the heartbeat of the Folk School. While students, instructors, and staff work during the week, it is at the dances and concerts when the community comes together to have fun. Free concerts are held almost every Friday night at the school and this Friday Paul and Jerry Wilson and their family will perform. Groups who play here often travel from afar to share their music, but this week the band will be coming from just down the road. Tipper Wilson writes about her memories at the Folk School:
My name is Tipper, I spend my days writing about all things Appalachian over at the Blind Pig & The Acorn. Fortunately for me-my writing abode is just down the road from the John C. Campbell Folk School.
The first time I remember being at the Folk School, I was six years old. My 2nd grade class had planned a field trip to the Folk School. My grandmother, Marie Wilson, worked in the craft shop, instead of taking the bus with the other kids I rode to work with her that morning.
Even though the years have passed quickly since then, I still vividly recall the day as the beginning of my fascination with the Folk School. First there were the wood carvings-dozens of little animal figures–any child would have been spell bound by them, there was the sliding door refrigerator with more fruit in it than I’d ever seen before, and as I wandered around and lost my way-there was the nice housekeeper who let me follow her back to my Grandmother-never scolding me for nosing around and getting lost.
Through the years the Folk School has continued to weave its way through my life. My father, Jerry Wilson, has performed at many a Fall Festival and Friday night concert. The Folk School even aided in one of the greatest achievements of his musical career-when they assisted the North Carolina Arts Council in awarding Dad and his brother the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award for their music.
The Folk School continues to be a part of my life today. For the past four years my daughters have clogged on the John C. Campbell Folk School Clogging Team and we all enjoy attending Contra Dances held at the school.
When Olive Dame Campbell opened her beloved Folk School it was primarily to help our little community of Brasstown and the surrounding area. To be sure, people from all over the world have benefited from the John C. Campbell Folk School. However, as we take our places on the stage Friday night I know Mrs. Campbell will be proud because four generations of the Wilson family, who live just down the road, have intertwined their lives with her dream.
Visit www.blindpigandtheacorn.com where Tipper writes about the history and culture of Appalachia.