Traditional Song Week - July 5-11, 2015


Traditional Song Week realizes a dream of a comprehensive program completely devoted to traditional styles of singing. Unlike programs where singing takes a back seat to the instrumentalists, it is the entire focus of this week, which aims to help restore the power of songs within the larger traditional music scene. Here, finally, is a place where you can develop and grow in confidence about your singing, and have lots of fun with other folks devoted to their own song journeys. Come gather with us to explore various traditional song genres under the guidance of experienced, top-notch instructors. When singers gather together, magical moments are bound to happen!

For our eighth year, Traditional Song Week is proud to present a gathering of highly influential singers and musicians who have remained devoted over the years to preserving and promoting traditional song. This year will introduce several new programs into the week. We have added a fourth class period from 4-5:15 so you can fit even more wonderful classes into your schedule. Tuesday evening, we will celebrate “A Winter Wonderland in July.” so wear your pajamas, bring your voices and instruments, and get ready to bring on the snow and hot chocolate as we sing all the old Christmas and holiday favorites. Our Community Gathering Time each day just after lunch affords us the opportunity to experience together, as one group, diverse topics concerning our shared love of traditional song. This year we spotlight the release of Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr’s award winning book, Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia. a NY Times Best Seller in both the “Travel” and “Culture”categories, and we will hear firsthand from the authors and art director Darcy Orr about their journey in writing this gem. Fiona Ritchie will also conduct an interview with a staff panel on song collecting to be recorded and aired on her national radio program, NPR’s The Thistle & Shamrock. Fiona is also quite a singer herself and will teach us some Scottish songs in a time of community singing. We’re thrilled to have our Master Music Maker Tom Paxton join us this year, “the real founder of the new song movement in the sixties” as Dave Van Ronk has said. He too will lead us in community song with “Tom Paxton’s Songs as an Aid to Digestion.” Brian Peters will join us from England with “Sharp’s Appalachian Harvest” as he presents his most recent collaboration describing Cecil Sharp’s visits to the Appalachian Mountains in 1916-18. We will again feature classes in singing with instruments (guitar, mandolin and banjo); Ranger Doug, the “Idol of American Youth,” will teach a new class called “Swing While You Sing;” camp favorite Mark Weems will teach “Banjo Songs,” and we welcome back Claudine Langille to teach “Singing with the Mandolin.” A special welcome to new staff – Cathy Jordan, singer with Ireland’s Dervish, Robin and Michael Midyette who will lead us in some dynamic North Carolina gospel, and Jon Pickow, son of the dearly loved folk icon, Jean Ritchie, who will share his family’s musical heritage with us. We are also honored to welcome back the returning staff who add so much to our program: Tom Paxton, Matt Watroba, Brian Peters, Mark Weems, Rev. Robert Jones, Len Graham, Ranger Doug, Sheila Kay Adams, Josh Goforth and Claudine Langille. We’ll have classes in gospel, blues, cowboy songs, songs from Ireland, England, Nova Scotia and Canada, North Carolina mountain ballads, songwriting in the tradition, storytelling, finding your voice and choosing your songs, shape-note, duet harmony, community singing, singing with instruments, children’s songs, songs of the sea and more! The week will also feature nightly concerts and singing sessions, the Old Farmers Ball dance, a wonderful Children’s Program, ample opportunities to mix with other singers, and midday Community Gathering times.