Ted Cooley leads a pre-pandemic Morningsong in the Folk School Community Room.

Join us every Friday morning on Facebook Live for Virtual 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.

Upcoming Schedule

July 24: Ann Whitley

July 31: Jane Rothfield & Allan Carr

Virtual Morningsong Recordings

If you miss a Morningsong, or want to re-watch, view the recordings of each individual artist by following the links below.

Peter Siegel & Andy Davis

Friday July 17, 2020

Peter Siegel and Andy Davis live blocks apart in Brattleboro, Vermont.

View the recording.

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.​

View the recording.

Ivan Stiles

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.

Jack Smoot

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.

Watch the recording.

The Pressley Girls

Monday June 22, 2020

Join The Pressley Girls for a very special Little Middle Folk School-themed Morningsong, originally recorded on Monday June 22, 2020. The week of June 21 was scheduled to be our annual Little Middle Folk School. Since we’re unable to meet in person, the Folk School has developed an entire week of fun for Little Middle students. 

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.


Watch the recording.

Steve Hickman & DeLaura Padovan

Friday June 12, 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.

Watch the recording.

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.

Watch the recording.

Leah Dolgoy

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.

Watch the recording.

Bob Dalsemer

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.

Watch the recording.

Jim Lloyd

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.”

Watch the recording.

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.

Watch the recording.


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.

Watch the recording.

Jim Pankey

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.

Watch the recording.


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.

Watch the recording.

About Morningsong

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.  


John C. Campbell Folk School
About John C. Campbell Folk School

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.