Fall Newsletter 2012 - Recap
Welcome to this year’s edition of our newsletter, the Postcard from Swannanoa. It’s Indian Summer here in our valley, with clear, warm days full of brilliant fall colors, and cool nights full of stars. And speaking of nights full of stars, we’re looking forward to another exciting summer next year, and you can read more about how things are shaping up in the “Coming Next Summer” section elsewhere in this newsletter.
Our spring Celtic Series, a part of the Mainstage Concerts at Asheville’s Diana Wortham Theatre, presents some of the world’s finest Celtic artists, and last year featured concerts by Solas, Lúnasa, Téada, and The Teetotallers. See the P.S. section below for details on next spring’s Celtic Series.
This summer we began our third decade with the introduction of a brand-new program, Mando & Banjo Week. In addition, Fiddle Week moved from our first week slot to be paired with the new program in week five, and the two programs together now offer instruction in banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar, all principal instruments for some of the most popular folk genres, including bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, and newgrass. Another record group joined us to help notch our twentieth year of growth. Once again, there was a drawing each week for two free registrations to next spring’s SERFA conference at nearby Montreat. Visit the SERFA website (www.serfa.org) for more details.
Our vocal program, Traditional Song Week, kicked off the summer with a killer staff that included Riders in the Sky’s Ranger Doug, five-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley, coordinator Julee Glaub, Irish singer Brían Ó hAirt, Scottish singer Ed Miller, early country & honky-tonk specialist Mark Weems, freedom singers Kim & Reggie Harris, multi-talented Appalachian musician Josh Goforth, shape-note leader Matt Wojcik, Irish radio host and writer Aidan O’Hara, singer and dulcimer player Anne Lough, and gospel singer Shirley Smith Montgomery. Radio host Matt Watroba traced the history of American roots music, and the week was highlighted by special presentations by Appalachian balladeer Betty Smith and Civil War expert Bobby Horton, who gave a one-man performance in period costume on a variety of instruments of the songs of that period. Denisa Rullmoss offered a monster-themed program for children during Traditional Song/Fiddle, Celtic, and Old-Time Weeks.
Celtic Week was our biggest program this year as we welcomed several new staff members including Irish fiddlers Liz & Yvonne Kane, Scottish singer Christina Stewart, Cape Breton fiddler Emerald Rae and banjo/mandolin player Pio Ryan. We also welcomed back fiddlers Martin Hayes, Liz Carroll, Brian McNeill, Liz Knowles, Andrew Finn Magill, and Jeremy Kittel, guitarist/singer John Doyle, singer and flute player Nuala Kennedy, percussionist Matthew Olwell, Scottish singer/folklorist Ed Miller, guitarists Eamon O’Leary and Donal Clancy, harpers Billy Jackson, and Gráinne Hambly, flutist Kevin Crawford, fiddle & accordion player Damien Connolly, dancer Erin Duffy Martorano multi-instrumentalist Robin Bullock, tinwhistle player Kathleen Conneely, Irish singer Cathie Ryan and Lúnasa’s piper Cillian Vallely. John Skelton once again served as Celtic Week Host.
Old-Time Music & Dance Week welcomed another big group, and featured new staff members Wayne Martin, Joseph Decosimo and Jim Collier, along with the college’s own Kevin Kehrberg. Appearing for the first time in Old-Time Week was Guitar Week vet Lightnin’ Wells, who joined veterans Paul Brown, Mike Bryant, Bruce Molsky, David Winston, Mike Fenton, Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz, Paul Kovac, coordinator Phil Jamison, John Herrmann, Ellie Grace, Gordy Hinners, Alice Gerrard, Wayne Erbsen, Meredith McIntosh, folklorist and shape-note singer Ron Pen, clogger Rodney Sutton, dulcimer ace Don Pedi and Carol Elizabeth Jones. This year’s Guest Master Artists were the Whitetop Mountain Band, fiddler Charlie McCarroll, banjo player Lee Sexton, dancers Thomas Maupin and Jay Bland accompanied by Daniel Rockwell, and fiddle/banjo duo Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle, who also performed with their wonderful hand-made picture scrolls called “crankies.”
Guitar Week welcomed new staff Greg Ruby, Sean McGowan, Jack Lawrence, and Mark Hanson, who joined staff alums Adam Rafferty, coordinator Al Petteway, Rolly Brown, Doug Smith, Mike Dowling, blues player Scott Ainslie, bluegrasser Ed Dodson, Celtic fingerstylists Robin Bullock, Steve Baughman and Tony McManus, percussive guitarist Vicki Genfan, slack-key guitarist Patrick Landeza, and swing and ukulele wizard Marcy Marxer. The week also featured demonstrations from instrument repairman Randy Hughes and daily displays of the guitars of master luthiers Michael Bashkin, Gerald Sheppard and John Slobod, along with selected inventory from Dream Guitars, a local shop specializing in high-end instruments. The highlight of the week was our now-traditional luau, coordinated by Patrick Landeza.
Contemporary Folk Week featured newcomers Sally Barris, LJ Booth, Buddy Mondlock and the touching and hilarious Cheryl Wheeler. Coordinator David Roth also welcomed back a few faces we haven’t seen in a while including Ellis Paul, Cosy Sheridan and Cliff Eberhardt, who joined veterans Jon Vezner, Danny Ellis, Siobhan Quinn, and Ray Chesna. The close partnership with our Guitar Week program continued as many took classes in each program, and the combined programs again proved to be our biggest week.
Fiddle Week flourished in its new pairing with Mando & Banjo Week, and the two programs combined jams and band sessions, as well as a new format for the staff concerts which grouped members of both staffs by genres over three nights. Coordinator Julia Weatherford’s stellar staff included bluegrass legend Byron Berline, Beausoleil’s Cajun master and National Heritage Award winner Michael Doucet, swing/jazz fiddler Jason Anick, improvisational wild man Joe Craven, old-time fiddlers Emily Schaad, Rayna Gellert and Josh Goforth, New England fiddler Lissa Schneckenbuger, Irish fiddlers Winifred Horan and Duncan Wickel, Scottish fiddler Ryan McKasson, fiddle/cello siblings Tashina and Tristan Clarridge, guitarists David Surette and Roger Bellow, and bassist Kevin Kehrberg.
Our new Mando & Banjo Week debuted in spectacular fashion with a staff of banjo and mandolin royalty including bluegrass banjo legends Tony Trischka, Alan Munde and Pete Wernick, clawhammer masters David Holt and Ken Perlman and Irish tenor banjo wizard Seamus Egan. The mandolin staff was no less impressive, featuring international virtuosi Mike Marshall and Radim Zenkl, classical mandolinist Caterina Lichtenberg, bluegrass great Mike Compton, swing/jazz player Don Stiernberg and Irish player Marla Fibish. Adam Tanner taught old-time and beginning mandolin, while Joan Wernick led jams and long-time Doc Watson sideman Jack Lawrence taught guitar.
Check out the Coming Next Summer section for a sneak preview of the 2012 lineup.