Category: Music

Janet Shepherd & The Dog Branch Cats

Here is a slideshow from Saturday night’s Community Contra and Square Dance! Janet Shepherd & The Dog Branch Cats brought the fun to the Keith House Community Room. (September 1, 2012)

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Brasstown Dancers greet Olympic Torch, win the Wickham Cup

Brasstown Morris Dancers greeted the Olympic Torch in Kenilworth, England, and brought home the “Gold” of West Yorkshire Morris Dancing. Except it’s not gold and they didn’t bring it home. The Wickham Cup, actually a silver plated mug, remains in its place of honor in England, but newly inscribed with the name Dame’s Rocket.

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Dance Musicians’ Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School

Dance Musicians’ Week is for the musician who is comfortable playing a few tunes on his or her instrument and wants to play for traditional contra, square, and couple dancing. It is a week of breaking out of shells, letting the “inner-musician” flourish, improving techniques of playing and arranging music, and being part of a band. It comes around once a year, in July, and I can say from experience that the larger the class, the more the fun.

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Dare to Be Square!

Over 60 square dance enthusiasts came from all over the country (and internationally!) to participate in last weekend’s “Dare to Be Square” dance workshop. Dancers came as far as California, Texas, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, Vermont, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and New York.

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Learning Guitar at the Folk School

“What was I thinking?” passed through my mind several times last week while I sat in “Intro Guitar” class at the Folk School. In other studios, I imagined, students happily wove Shaker rugs or rolled polymer clay into intricate beads. Why had I signed up for a music class? My left fingers hurt from pressing on the steel guitar strings, I couldn’t change from a G chord to a D chord fast enough, and I’d probably never get “Goodnight Irene” out of my head again.

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An Evening Dance at Dance Musicians’ Week

This week at the Folk School, we have many talented musicians who serenade us on the Dining Hall porch before lunch, and provide incredible live music at contra dances each night. This treat is brought to us by the talented folks participating in Dance Musicians’ Week, an annual class that teaches musicians how to play together for contra and square dances.

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Dance Callers’ Week

In conjunction with Little Middle Folk School last week, adults had some fun dance opportunities. The Dance Callers’ class gave callers great instruction and practice in calling contra and square dances. With the small class size, students benefited from plenty of personalized instruction and hands-on practice. Of course a contra dance can’t happen without dancers. Dancers also signed up for the week, to be guinea pigs for practicing callers. Energetic live music by Steve Hickman and John Devine kept everyone in high spirits.

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Many Fine Tunes: A Brief History of Dancing at the Folk School

The stories of our lives where dance and song are called for, go back to faraway lands where kings and villagers alike danced for joy.  Dance as a way to express joy that cannot be contained is part of many legends across the globe.  I know that you understand what I am talking about.  The many threads of our Southern Appalachian story can be seen beginning with the Singing Games or Play Party Games, which are a long time part of a vibrant mountain culture.  Almost any occasion where the earliest settlers and pioneers gathered, there was time to sing, clap, laugh,  and stomp in time with the music they created.  Not too different from what we do now, whenever we are together!

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Play all day, dance all night!

At Dance Musicians week it so happens that there are numerous people wandering around with instruments looking to play music.  During the week-long musical “take-over” you can hear music all around campus.  The musicians are put into bands and before long they infiltrate the nightly dances and bump the instructors off stage.  David Kaynor, Susan Songer, Naomi Morse, and Peter Siegel don’t seem to mind, actually I hear that they encourage it.

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Dance Musicians’ Week Update

Here we are at John C. Campbell Folk School for another week of music and dancing.  This is the seventeenth year of this fantastic class, with dancing every night for everyone, and dancing and playing every day for the 21 instructors and students participating in the class.

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Learning by Doing

Summer is here and so is Little/Middle Folk School.  While the campus is taken over by kick ball, card games, picnics, and the fire truck that stopped by on Tuesday to spray the kids off – there is still one adult class happening, and that’s Dance Caller’s Week.

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Current Catalog

Embrace your creative potential, and join us for a life-changing Folk School experience. Our new January–June 2022 eCatalog is now available.

Online Craft Shop

Our online Craft Shop is now live! Support our vision, mission, and values by purchasing handcrafted items. Our online selection of items will continue to grow, so check back regularly for new items, interviews and more.

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