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Traditional Song Week - July 6-12, 2014

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 seventh 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. In celebration of Peter Yarrow’s visit and after the success of last year’s featured Song Contest, we will host the first “Best Sixties Folk Song Contest” on Tuesday evening. Students will have an opportunity to share their best versions of songs from an era which marked history. Extra points will be given for crazy costumes! Our Community Gathering time each day affords us the opportunity to experience together as a group diverse topics concerning our shared love of traditional song. This year’s spotlight will shine on Peter Yarrow, a true icon of American music, as we continue to celebrate Peter, Paul, and Mary’s 50th Anniversary (2013). Peter will share his music and stories during one of the Community Gatherings as well as joining in on a staff concert night. Other special guests will include NC ballad treasure Bobby McMillon and his Anthology Project of rare songs, Doug and Darcy Orr on the eve of the publication of their new book project (with co-author, Fiona Ritchie) Wayfaring Strangers, and, back by popular demand, the dynamic duo Rev. Robert Jones and Matt Watroba presenting songs from the 1840’s up to present day. We will also learn from behind the scenes about one of our state’s finest resources for traditional singers, the Backporch Music radio series from National Public Radio affiliate WUNC, out of the Triangle area. Very special guest, radio host Freddy Jenkins, will join us for an insightful program on the evolution of traditional song. As requested by students, this year, we will feature classes in singing with instruments (guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo) and song arrangement as we welcome back Dáithí Sproule (guitarist for Irish super-group Altan), the talented Nicole and Brian Christianson from Nashville (Brian performs weekly on the Grand Ole Opry with the Mike Snider Band), camp favorite Mark Weems to teach a new class of Banjo Songs and Josh Goforth to teach Music Theory. A special welcome to new staff Tim May, multi-instrumentalist and bluegrass singer, who was selected by the Nashville Scene as “Best Instrumentalist” in their 2012 Reader’s Choice poll. We’ll also feature classes in blues and gospel (taught by the Rev. Robert Jones from Detroit), cowboy songs and songs of the frontier (taught by the finest yodeler on the Grand Ole Opry, Riders in the Sky’s Ranger Doug), songs from Ireland (Dáithí Sproule and song collector Len Graham), Scotland (Brian McNeill), England, North Carolina mountain ballads (with National Heritage Award winner, Sheila Kay Adams), Virginia ballads (Elizabeth LaPrelle), songwriting in the tradition, finding your voice and choosing your songs, shape-note, duet harmony, community singing, children’s songs, camp meeting songs 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 mid-day Community Gathering times.