Traditional Song Week - July 7-13, 2013
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 sixth 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’s program has several new features. The week’s first night will feature the Gathering’s own Grand Ole Opry, with folks who have performed regularly on the Nashville stage. “Too Slim” from Riders in the Sky will emcee the evening with his hilarious Opry humor and his upright bass. Bring your boots and hats! We will also introduce our first Traditional Comic Song Contest in which students will have an opportunity to share their funniest versions of traditional songs. Our Community Gathering time each day affords us the opportunity to experience together as a group diverse topics on our shared love of traditional song. Several days will be hosted by NPR’s legendary broadcaster, Fiona Ritchie of The Thistle & Shamrock. She will conduct interviews to be aired on radio with Brian McNeill from Scotland, Cathie Ryan from Ireland, and a panel of our staff discussing the future of traditional song. One day we will highlight Swannanoa’s own Beth Magill, who has influenced many by her life of music and one day we’ll welcome special guest Freddy LaBour (“Too Slim”) and his one-man show. This year we will also feature classes in singing with instruments (guitar, fiddle, mandolin) and song accompaniment as we welcome back Dáithí Sproule (guitarist for Irish super-group Altan) and new staff member Brian Christianson from Nashville (who performs weekly on the Grand Ole Opry with the Mike Snider Band). We’ll also feature classes in bluegrass (taught by seven-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Dale Ann Bradley), blues (taught by Ben Wiley Payton from Mississippi, where the blues originated), gospel, songs of Ireland, Scotland and England, cowboy songs and songs of the frontier (taught by the finest yodeler on the Grand Ole Opry, Ranger Doug), North Carolina mountain ballads, songwriting in the tradition, finding your voice and choosing your songs, shape-note singing, duet harmony, community singing, camp meeting songs and more! The week will also feature nightly concerts and singing sessions, the Old Farmers Ball dance, a children’s program, ample opportunities to mix with other singers, and mid-day Community Gathering times.