Morningsong – it’s a great way to start the day! To watch live, all you have to do is visit our Facebook Page at 7:45 a.m. until 8:15 a.m. on Fridays.
January 15: Tom Morley
January 22: Marvin Daniels
January 29: Jennifer Rose Escobar
February 5: Peter Thomas
February 12: Frank & Allie Lee
February 19: Andy Davis
February 26: Peter Siegel
Virtual Morningsong Recordings
Marvin Daniels & Grandkids Mollie and Jackson
Friday January 22, 2020
Marvin is a regular woodcarving instructor at the folk school. Marvin has also taught ukulele with Mollie as co-instructor.
Marvin has been playing and singing most of his life, when his grandchildren, Mollie and Jackson, came along they just joined right in. Marvin will be on guitar and vocals, Mollie on ukulele and vocals, and Jackson on percussion and vocals. The trio has been playing fun and familiar songs for the last 10 years.
Friday January 15, 2021
Jim & Cheri Miller
Friday January 8, 2021
Martha Owen & David Liden
Friday December 18, 2020
Curtis & Kim Jones
Friday December 11, 2020
Friday December 4, 2020
The Pressley Girls
Friday November 20, 2020
Friday November 13, 2020
Karen is one of the top autoharp and dulcimer players/teachers in the country. She has taught at Western Carolina University and the Swannanoa Gathering in NC, the Augusta Heritage Center (WV), the Ozark Folk Center (AR), Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering (PA), the California Autoharp Gathering, Sore Fingers Week in England, and Seattle Autoharp Week, and more. Winner of the 1986 International Autoharp Championship and member of the Autoharp Hall of Fame, she has released six solo CDs, authored two books, and contributed to several anthologies. She is known as a patient and inspiring teacher.
Visit Karen’s website here: www.karenmueller.com
Dawn O. Davis
Friday November 6, 2020
Dawn has been composing since 1992. Her music has appeared in numerous films and documentaries, such as “Sanctuary,” a short film by renowned wildlife photographer, Scott McKinley of Jackson Hole, WY; and the “Vaquero Series” of DVDs by J&S Productions in Santa Barbara, CA. At the Folk School, Dawn’s piece, “A Composer’s MorningSong” has been sung in the Keith House at daylight many times. Her original music, “The Oldest Hemlock,” inspires preventative disease treatment for the species. As a resident contra-dance musician at the school, she currently writes tunes in traditional style and structure. Her instruments include piano, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, Celtic folk harp, and Irish tenor banjo.
Friday October 30, 2020
Anne is an internationally known traditional musician who performs and teaches at the Folk School and at schools, workshops, and festivals throughout the country and in Europe. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Murray State University (Kentucky) and a master’s in music education from Western Carolina University (North Carolina). She is well known in the dulcimer world for her artistic and sensitive style of playing, as well as her skill as an instructor. In addition to many recordings, Anne has published over 10 books of dulcimer arrangements, including “Old-time Hymns & Gospel Favorites for Mountain Dulcimer,” through Mel Bay.
Visit Ann’s website here: www.annelough.com
Friday October 23, 2020
Lee is a long-time resident of the Southern Appalachians. He has been a folksinger/folklorist by trade for over 30 years. He has studied Cherokee and Appalachian history and culture with leading historians on these topics, as well as doing fieldwork on his own. Lee’s credits include journal articles, appearances in documentary films, and playing music from Tashkent to Carnegie Hall. Lee’s latest recording with the Kronos Quartet was recently released “Long Time Passing-songs of Pete Seeger.” The recording is on Smithsonian Folkways. Along with the Kronos Quartet, Lee filmed a concert in Los Angeles to celebrate the album.
Friday October 16, 2020
Aubrey from Warren, Rhode Island is an award-winning folk musician, vocalist, writer, and dancer. A performer and teacher throughout the U.S. and beyond, she sings and plays mountain dulcimer, old-time banjo, guitar, mandolin, and Irish whistle, and thrills audiences with highly percussive traditional clogging. In a scholarly yet easy-going way, Aubrey conveys the heritage behind traditional folk music and dance, and has spent years around older, source players and singers from Appalachia and the Ozarks. Aubrey and her husband, Elwood Donnelly, have produced 13 recordings and 7 books.
Friday October 9, 2020
Riley first discovered traditional music through his family and an early exposure to church and ballad singing. He is now a much sought-after banjo player, maker, and instructor. Riley was the a cappella singing voice of Pangle in the film “Cold Mountain,” followed by participation in the Great High Mountain tour. He has performed or recorded with the likes of Tim O’Brien, Dirk Powell, Alison Krauss, and Willie Nelson, and he teaches workshops both nationally and abroad.
Friday October 2, 2020
Kathy is a professor emeritus of Berea College, after serving as a music professor for almost thirty years. A scholar, teacher, performer, choral conductor, accompanist, and arranger, she specializes in gospel music, spirituals, and classical music of the African diaspora. Dr. Bullock provides workshops and performances in African American sacred music throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa. Additionally, she has studied and presented workshops on African American and Appalachian Musical and Cultural Connections. Dr. Bullock earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in Music Theory from Washington, University, MO, and a B.A. in Music from Brandeis University, MA, and has performed and studied spirituals and gospel music for over fifty years. Awards/Honors include the Mary McGaw Endowed Professorship, the Seabury Teaching Award, and Honorary Alumni Award from Berea College. She is currently teaching African American music at the University of Kentucky, School of Music.
Visit Kathy’s website here: www.drkwb.com
Dr. Dave & The Nowbillies
Friday September 18, 2020
Dave Peters is a retired psychologist who lived in Brasstown for over 20 years and has served on the Folk School board of directors. Dave has written a number of songs with humorous and ironic themes and has won several regional and national songwriting awards. He and his friend Peter Thomas teach ukulele at the Folk School. His wife Elizabeth plays a washtub bass, called a Tub-a-Tone, that Dave made in a Folk School class taught by Jack Smoot. While she and Dave form the core of the Nowbillies, there are several Now & Then Billies that often play with them. Currently, these Now & Then Billlies are social distancing so well that Dave’s not sure where they are.
Friday September 11, 2020
Lorinda is an adjudicated member of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Performing Arts Directory and is actively involved with Arts Thrive, a program of The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. With a childhood background in piano and oboe, she holds degrees in music education and music therapy. Lorinda teaches and performs across the U.S. on the Irish harp and mountain dulcimer. She has produced numerous CD recordings and has instructional material published by Mel Bay Publications and Lo’s Notes Publications. Lorinda has taught and performed all over the U.S. as a solo performer and as a member of the Irish trio, Na Skylark.
Geoff Hohwald and Rick Taylor
Friday September 4, 2020
Geoff has been playing and teaching the 5-string banjo for over 40 years. He has played with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, the Alliance Theatre Orchestra, and has been with the Greater Atlanta Bluegrass Band for the last 18 years. He is known in the bluegrass world for authoring five banjo instruction books and one DVD through Watch & Learn Inc., a company that distributes instructional materials worldwide and offers web-based music lessons. Geoff loves to teach and never tires of seeing the satisfaction of beginners learning to play their first tune.
Rick has been performing with various bands, singing and playing banjo, guitar, and mandolin for the past 30 years. As a session player, he has played on recordings by Bob Dylan and the Black Crowes. Rick has been featured in four productions of “Cotton Patch Gospel” and most recently in Woody Guthrie’s “American Song” at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta. He has enjoyed teaching private instrument lessons throughout his career.
Friday August 28, 2020
Curtis & Kim Jones
Friday August 14, 2020
Curtis Jones reins as one of the most highly-respected flatpicking guitarist on the planet. Expanding on a legacy forged by musicians such as David Gilmour, Pat Metheny, Paco De Lucia, Doc Watson and Tony Rice, Jones is often called by fans and critics alike, “The World’s Fastest and Cleanest” acoustic guitarist. This is an extraordinary technique that he both teaches and brings to his contemporary guitar performances and productions. However, speed is only a small part of what Curtis can do. Through his pure guitar mastery, he has the ability to weave in and out of Jazz, Rock, Bluegrass, Flamenco, and World Music styles in a way that is more original than anything that has been heard since Django Reinhardt, while taking the listener to a world of complete beauty, passion, grace and fire.
Kim is an artist, singer, and songwriter. Her vocal influences growing up were Wynonna Judd, Patty Loveless, Janice Joplin, Bobbie Gentry, and Bonnie Raitt. Her musical influences include Richard Wright, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and McCoy Tyner. She plays keys and sings with the Curtis Jones’ rock band Echoes of Imagination, sings with his Bluegrass band Primal Roots, and is the manager of HigherArt Entertainment.
Marvin Daniels & Grandkids
Friday August 7, 2020
Marvin is a regular woodcarving instructor at the folk school. Marvin has also taught ukulele with Mollie as co-instructor.
Janie Rothfield & Allan Carr
Friday July 31, 2020
Scottish ballad singer and guitarist Allan Carr (From Aberdeen, Scotland) and American Old-Time fiddler and clawhammer banjo player/singer, Janie Rothfield have been performing their unique blend of traditional and original music from Scotland and America since they met in 1978. Since then, they have performed throughout the UK, USA and Canada and now live in Staunton, VA. They will present a program of old ballads and humorous songs from Allan’s native North East Scotland and instrumentals and songs from the American Appalachian tradition. Great singing, soulful harmony’s, hot tunes, and beautiful melodies-and stories, too!
Ann Whitley & John Day
Friday July 24, 2020
Raised in the Piedmont of North Carolina, Ann was privileged to learn violin in public school. The violin went into the closet after high school, but at age 35 she found herself in the world of contra dancing in Atlanta, where most of the bands at the time played old-time music. She got out the violin and worked hard to keep the best of what she’d learned from her schooling while transforming her bowing to make the instrument turn into a fiddle. She spent years playing fiddle and singing with the Peavine Creek String Band, the Atlanta Swamp Opera Cajun Band, Whistlin’ Rufus, The Rosin Sisters, and Good in the Kitchen. She is Curriculum Director for the Georgia Pick & Bow Traditional Music School, an after-school program teaching Appalachian Music to 4th graders through high schoolers in Dahlonega, Georgia. For twelve years now she has co-directed the Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week at Mars Hill University in North Carolina, and with The Rosin Sisters, she taught harmony singing there for over a decade.
John Day has become a mainstay of Dahlonega’s old-time and Celtic music community. He and his wife Cathy moved from Del Rio, Texas to Dahlonega close to six years ago. He began playing guitar as a young boy and became accomplished at everything from The Beatles, to leading worship in church, to Bluegrass, but he quickly immersed himself in the old-time and Celtic communities in Dahlonega, playing an integral part in organizing and leading those regular jams. He is now on the Board and teaches guitar and mandolin for Georgia Pick & Bow. John has become an important part of the staffs of Dahlonega’s Bear on the Square, the Swannanoa Gathering, and the Blue Ridge Old-time Music Week, and shares his wealth of musical knowledge and his excellent vocal skills wherever he can.
Peter Siegel & Andy Davis
Friday July 17, 2020
Peter Siegel and Andy Davis live blocks apart in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Born a folkie in the New York scene, Peter later made his way up to Vermont, which he now calls home. Over the years he’s shared the stage and been mentored by folks like Pete Seeger, Jay Unger and Molly Mason, Judy Collins, Utah Phillips, Noel Paul Stookey, and was a bandmate of bluegrass powerhouse Michael Daves “New Old Time” band Underbelly which the “Berkshire Eagle” called a supergroup of New England talent.
Peter contributed and recorded on the Grammy award-winning Pete Seeger album “Tomorrow’s Children.” His other credits include publication in “Sing Out!” magazine and the fiddle tune compilation, “The Portland Collection,” as well as a guest appearance on the nationally syndicated Etown.
As an educator, Peter has been writing songs and theatrical productions with children for the last 15 years and has been a contributing writer to The George Lucas Foundation site Edutopia on social curriculum and music educational practices. His Symonds School CD “Peace Place” won a Parents Choice Award in 2012.
When he’s not playing or recording, he is a devoted public school music educator in the great state of New Hampshire. You can find him leading stringed and vocal workshops in places like the Folk School too!
In the fall of 1976, Andy Davis walked into a small dance hall in Unity, New Hampshire. A contra dance was in progress and, having recently moved to new england from Virginia, Andy was looking for a way to fit in. Finding the musicians friendly, he volunteered to play piano to accompany the fiddler and concertina player. This joyful evening of traditional dance music, plus an entirely unexpected twelve dollars, led to a steady schedule of dances for the next forty years.
A retired music teacher, Andy now plays accordion, piano and banjo, as well as calls dances. Andy has appeared as a dance musician, leading dance and song at many well-known traditional music and dance camps throughout the United States.
Andy’s calling of square and contra dances is often for the benefit of community dances where dancers of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to join in. His commitment to promoting traditional dance in schools and communities led him to start, along with Peter, Mary Alice Amidon, and Mary Cay Brass, New England Dancing Masters, publishers of books, recordings, and a video for teachers and recreation leaders.
For thirty years Andy performed throughout new England with Nowell Sing We Clear, a concert of mid-winter carols, with Tony Barrand, John Roberts, and Fred Breunig. The group specializes in traditional songs, shape-note hymns, and instrumental dance music and customs from Christian and pagan traditions.
Sarah Kate Morgan
Friday July 10, 2020
Sarah Kate Morgan started her musical journey at 7 years old when she was introduced to old-time music through a dulcimer that her grandfather built. From there, she has gone on to develop a uniquely intricate and virtuosic style inspired by the traditional Appalachian music she grew up with in rural East Tennessee.
At 18, Sarah placed 1st at the 2012 National Mountain Dulcimer Championships held in Winfield, KS. She recently graduated from Morehead State University in eastern Kentucky with degrees in Traditional Music, Appalachian Studies, and Arts Administration. You can find her living in a little hippie camper on a farm in Olive Hill, Kentucky, playing lots of music, trying her best at gardening, and calling the occasional square dance.
Sarah Kate also performs as a regular member of the Michelle Canning Band supports Kentucky songwriter Jasmine Fouts on bass, calls square dances, and runs an afterschool program in Haldeman, KY focused on traditional music, dance, and fostering mental health through creative expression.
Friday July 3, 2020
Ivan is known in autoharp circles across the country as an autoharpist of unique ability; not just as a performer, but also as a recording artist, instructor, author, and co-founder and co-editor of Autoharp Quarterly® magazine from 1988 until 1997. He performs nationwide at fairs, festivals, coffeehouses, colleges and clubs. In addition to the autoharp, he plays the Appalachian dulcimer, bowed psaltery, musical saw, and hurdy-gurdy.
Ivan is an International Autoharp Champion and in 2000, was inducted into The Autoharp Hall of Fame. Ivan won first place in the 2006 Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering Autoharp Contest, the 1991 International Autoharp Competition, the 1987 World Autoharp Championship, and the 1985 Great Lakes Regional Autoharp Championship.
He has five recordings, four featuring autoharp and one featuring musical saw. Last year, Ivan teamed up with Chuck Kupfershmidt to form the Acoustic Coots. The duo released its first CD entitled “The Early Years” in 2019.
On the festival side, he was program director for the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering in Newport, Pennsylvania for over 20 years. He also served on its board of directors from 1990 until 1995.
Friday June 26, 2020
Jack Smoot was drawn to the Brasstown community by his love for his wife, Sally Blankenship, and her love of the John C. Campbell Folk School. After learning about the construction of mountain dulcimers during his first visit in 1991 to the Folk School, Smoot has continued to teach hundreds of students for the last twenty-four years to build and play this instrument so ubiquitous in Appalachian culture. He continues to learn by taking classes at the Folk School.
Smoot works in his home woodworking shop building mountain dulcimers and ukuleles. He has recently started teaching a weekend class at the Folk School to build a fancy washtub bass called the Tub-O-Tone. He and his wife also lead a local group in learning the basics of playing the mountain dulcimer.
Steve Hickman & DeLaura Padovan
Friday June 19, 2020
Steve Hickman is known throughout the land as a master Hambone artist. His fiddle music has been an integral part of Little Middle at John C. Campbell Folk School for decades. In life as-we-used-to-know-it, Steve performed with John Devine to the delight of everyone who has had the good fortune to hear their beautiful and often funny songs.
Thanks to quarantine, Steve now sings with DeLaura Padovan, his wife of many years. DeLaura, a homeschool mom, local foods activist, dance caller, and music educator, is currently a full-time nursing school student who looks forward to launching herself in a new career as an RN in 2021. Steve and DeLaura are delighted to share some of their family’s favorite songs, many of which they learned at the Folk School.
Jennifer Rose Escobar
Friday June 12, 2020
Jennifer Rose is a true folk singer who learned her songs as she learned to speak growing up in the small town of Berea, Kentucky. As an educated performer with a degree in vocal music from Berea College, Jennifer unites her heritage with her classical training to give listeners an experience of the true integrity of Appalachian singing. Her strong, clear soprano voice and sparkling personality continue to mesmerize audiences the world over. Jennifer’s training in dance from an early age inspired her to share traditional dance with anyone who was interested – especially young people. She is hailed as one of Kentucky’s best dance educators and has published two manuals for teachers. She is one of the instructors for the Berea College Country Dancers and is enjoying being the new Director of the Berea Festival Dancers, a teen folk dance group that she and her friends started when they were in high school back in 1984. She directs the Spring Mountain Folk Festival, a traditional dance event for young people hosted by Berea College, which began in the 1930s. Jennifer and her family are continuing her family’s tradition of hospitality, and fulfilling her father’s vision of a family retreat center in the hills outside Berea, by living at and managing Happiness Hills Farm & Retreat Center in the Red Lick Valley.
Bob & Amy Buckingham
Friday June 5, 2020
Husband and wife duo, Bob & Amy Buckingham are regular instructors at the Folk School for mandolin, fiddle and banjo.
Bob Buckingham started playing guitar and banjo in the 1960s. By the ’70s, he had branched out to fiddle and mandolin. Bob has played in several old-time and bluegrass bands and on more than a dozen recordings under his own name, as a sideman.
Amy Buckingham sings and plays guitar, banjo and fiddle. She and Bob specialize in close harmony duets and hard driving dance tunes.
Friday May 29, 2020
Leah is a Montreal-based indie folk musician who plays, teaches, records, and writes/arranges music on the autoharp. She also plays folk harp and dulcimer.
Leah picked up the autoharp when she was 25, after randomly hearing someone playing it on the radio, and thinking it sounded so beautiful. It was love at first strum. She didn’t know at the time that the autoharp would turn from a crush to a long term relationship. Seven years later, she plays in several bands and musical projects, has toured extensively across Canada and parts of the United States, and extols the virtues of the instrument whenever she takes it out in public. Maybe it’s because autoharp holding technique involves hugging the instrument? Who knows, but they’re together forever.
Friday May 22, 2020
If you love the Folk School this Morningsong is a must see. Bob will share the fascinating story of how the school was founded. Bob Dalsemer has been calling square, contra, and English country dances for more than 40 years. He has called throughout the U.S. and in a number of foreign countries. In 2011, Bob received the Country Dance and Song Society’s Lifetime Contribution Award. He served as the Folk School’s Music and Dance Coordinator for 22 years until his retirement in 2013 and is a true friend of the Folk School.
Friday May 15, 2020
Jim is a singer, old-time banjo player, public radio host, music teacher, bluegrass rhythm guitarist, storyteller, banjo museum curator, and a barber of Rural Retreat, Virginia. He puts his mountain guitar expertise front and center on his CD, Play Guitar in 7 Days. From the jazz standard, “St. James Infirmary,” to traditional tunes like “Darlin’ Cory,” humor with “Uncle Hiram’s Homemade Beer,” gospel “Must Come in at the Door,” and even the 1960s pop hit “Little Red Riding Hood.”
Emolyn Liden, Martha Owen & David Liden
Friday May 8, 2020
David, Martha and family have been part of the Folk School for decades. Everyone plays music, dances, and loves handmade work. Martha is the Folk School’s Resident Artist (Spinning, Knitting, Crochet, Felt Making, Dyeing, and Surface Design), and a frequent instructor, as well as a banjo player, storyteller, and Morris Dance team member. Her family on her mother’s side came from Murphy, 6 miles down the road from Brasstown. David is a former Folk School Development Director and Board Chair but now is an active musician playing for dancing and frequent programs. Emolyn, the youngest musician in the Liden/Owen family, grew up at the Folk School and now enjoys teaching knitting and clogging. She also does programming for kids of all ages for Little/Middle Folk School and Intergenerational Week. Currently, she is facilitating online Zoom programming for children of south Louisiana, where she currently lives and works. Emolyn was visiting in Brasstown when the world shut down and we were lucky to have her still here for Morningsong.
Frank & Allie Lee
Friday May 1, 2020
Frank and Allie Lee are a vocal-driven old-time duo. With nylon-string fretless banjo, guitar, slide guitar, and steel-string banjo, fiddle, harmonica, and harmony vocals, they give a wide variety of heirloom songs and tunes new life. They sing lead and harmony in the duo and their band The Freight Hoppers. Treat A Stranger Right is their new album.
Friday April 24, 2020
Jim has taught many classes at the Folk School over the years and there’s not many instruments that he doesn’t play – or at least dabble with. Jim started out playing at home, with family, then with friends in high school, and although he may have started out as most hometown musicians do, he continued to pursue music as an art and a career. The love that he has for his music has afforded him many opportunities; Jim has played stages ranging from the Black Box in Belfast to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
The Pressley Girls
Friday April 17, 2020
The Pressley Girls were born and raised in Brasstown, North Carolina. They are an authentic Appalachian duet that focuses on tight harmony and lyrical meaning. The Pressley Girls perform a wide range of music including Folk, Bluegrass, Gospel, and Country. Corie Pressley plays the guitar and mandolin while singing harmony with her sister, Katie, who plays the fiddle while singing lead.
Morningsong, a Danish custom of singing, folklore, and camaraderie, is how we start class days at the Folk School. Before breakfast, from 7:45 to 8:15, folks congregate in the Community Room to listen to music, stories, and jokes. All are encouraged to sing along. During a typical week, every Morningsong is hosted by a different musician or group.
Here are a few words from Martha Owen about Morningsong…
Morningsong is a time when all the people of the week, both student and the community, get together and have an experience together outside of the class. It is something shared by all who choose to get up in the morning! At the John C. Campbell Folk School this generally includes singing. It is a time for jokes and stories and history and sometimes even magic!All the Liden young people went to a folk school in Denmark that specialized in leadership training, outdoor education, and sports. There, Morningsong was before lunch and included singing, but also announcements and watching international news. Just like at our Folk School in Brasstown, the whole student body and the teachers stopped and sat together in the same room, and sang, and listened together.
The Folk School transforms lives, bringing people together in a nurturing environment for experiences in learning and community life that spark self-discovery. Located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina, the Folk School offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing.