The nineteenth century Danish thinker N. S. F. Grundtvig proposed that the purpose of the Folk School would be to “awaken, enliven, enlighten,” or, as the twentieth century Jamaican thinker Bob Marley put it, “lively up yo’ sef.”
Today is a great day to be alive anywhere, and especially at the Folk School. Full of promise, it offers the journey of discovery, the thrill of learning, the joy of companionship, and the satisfaction of accomplishment. The scenery’s really nice too. The bluebirds have returned, looking for a pleasant place to spend the year. The Martin family is expected soon for their annual visit. Their little Folk School houses are ready to receive them. Yours is too. Yours is not in a gourd on a pole.
There are folks painting, playing the fiddle, gouging spinning logs into bowls and spinning wool into yarn, writing funny stories and baking pies, and that’s all within the length of two football fields from where I’m having some of the pie.
A lot of people have a lifelong attachment to the Folk School. This sense of belonging sometimes starts at an early age. At the end of last summer’s Little/Middle Folk School, some grandparents had arrived for show-and-tell. Their young’un, leading them across the campus, suddenly took them on a detour with the cry “Let me show you my studio!”
We’re a folk school. So while we love our objects, our tunes and our pies, we are most interested in what the experience does to our folks. The schools were at first just for younger folks, but soon expanded to all adults, because the need to come alive can dawn on us at any age. When it does hit us, we need vehicles to jump on and ride. Like a Harley* or the Folk School.
In fact, age is one of our secret ingredients. In any dance or concert there are people from infant to quite grown up. In almost any class here, you will be learning alongside people not of your generation. The discovery of friendships at the Folk School knows no age boundaries.
When you support the Folk School’s annual fund, here are some of the things you will be doing: keeping up all the craft studios, equipment and spaces; supporting Little/Middle Folk School, a summer program for kids from 2nd grade through High School; supporting the Work/Study program, in which folks exchange mostly manual labor for school time; teaching Appalachian music in after-school programs; repairing and remodeling of studios and houses—if you’ve ever owned and loved an old house, you know how it is. We’ve got a couple dozen of them that we love and are devoted to preserving.
Most of all, you will be sustaining a unique institution that brings joy to thousands of folks, whether they are in Brasstown or not.
Love from Brasstown,
*known in our family as a “Davidson”