Traditional Song Week Classes - July 3-9, 2016
PLEASE NOTE THIS INFORMATION IS FOR THE 2016 WORKSHOPS.
INFORMATION FOR THE 2017 WORKSHOPS WILL BE POSTED NEXT MARCH.
(Unless otherwise indicated, all classes have a limit of 15)
SHAPE-NOTE SINGING (Josh Goforth)
Western North Carolina has a long history of shape note singing. From the haunting melodies of William Walker’s Christian Harmony to the complex, moving parts of Stamps-Baxter Conventional Hymn Books, this class will be an exploration of the evolution of Shape Note. You will be able to hear the differences through group singing. We will discuss a variety of singing styles that are most effective for each hymn and above all, have fun! Gospel harmony has always been an important part of traditional singing and you’ll get the chance to hear where Josh, along with many others, got their start in music. We will begin by learning the shapes, so no prior experience is required. Get ready to have lots of fun hearing some amazing harmony and experiencing it with a full group in four parts. (No class limit)
MUSIC THEORY (Josh Goforth)
Ever hear a song and wonder why it’s so pleasing to your ear? Have you always wanted to be able to sing in harmony without approaching it like a math problem? Have you tried to learn theory before and just didn’t find it interesting in the least or just way too difficult? Perhaps you are thinking, “Why do I need music theory as a traditional singer, shouldn’t it just come naturally?” Well, this class is for you! We will explore the advantages of visual and aural learning in traditional music. No experience or formal music training necessary! This is a good way to get pleasantly thrown into the deep end of music theory and ear training basics.
FOR THE SAKE OF THE SONG (Matt Watroba)
This class will be all about the singing and the song. This will be an opportunity for you to learn what you need to know to unleash the power of song in your community. Matt will share his experience as a song leader and community performer by teaching and leading a wide variety of songs in a wide variety of styles. After learning song leading and Community Sing organizational techniques, participants will be encouraged to bring in songs and try out their song-leading talents on the class. You will sing everyday and leave on Friday inspired to take what you’ve learned back into your community. (No class limit)
CHOICES: HOW TO GET THE MOST
OUT OF THE SONGS YOU SING (Matt Watroba)
Bringing traditional songs alive is all about choices. In this interactive class, Matt Watroba will show you the choices great singers make to get the most out of a song. Participants will then be encouraged to apply what they’ve learned to the songs they choose to sing. This workshop promises to be a safe, friendly place where beginners and professionals alike will benefit from the wisdom of the instructor and the group. Phrasing, style and performance techniques are just a few of the areas this class will explore on the way to wowing any audience with the power of traditional music.
SONGS OF THE SINGING COWBOY (Ranger Doug)
Western songs from folk songs to ‘singing cowboy’ movie-era songs. A song will be learned each day; instruments are welcome but not necessary. (No class limit)
SWING WHILE YOU SING (Ranger Doug)
In this class you’ll learn to accompany yourself on swing songs with rhythm guitar. This is a guitar-oriented course, but other instruments, and even no instruments, are welcome to those who want to sing some western swing. A song will be learned each day, and rhythm guitar techniques and chords will be revealed.
HAPPY SONGS FROM THE IRISH TRADITION(Len Graham)
Len will open another bag of songs and ballads from his extensive collection. Themes covered will include classic and broadside ballads, music hall pieces; songs of love, politics, emigration and much more. Each song will be put in context, giving historical and social background. As an oral tradition these songs will be taught by repetition and ear with lyrics provided. Participants are encouraged to bring an audio recording device. (No class limit)
THE IRISH & APPALACHIAN
CONNECTION IN SONG (Len Graham)
This class will explore some of the many songs which turn up in the Appalachian tradition, with Len teaching their Irish counterparts with song subjects covering many themes. As an oral tradition these songs will be taught by repetition and ear with lyrics provided. Participants are encouraged to bring an audio recording device. (No class limit)
INSTANT ANGELIC CHOIR (David Roth)
This is singing from the ground up, especially for (but not limited to) those who may have been discouraged over the years by family, friends, self-doubt, music teachers who told you to move your lips and not make any sound – the list goes on. Take a deep breath and enter the “laboratory of no wrong notes” where even the chronically timid are encouraged to embrace the natural singing ability we ALL possess. We’ll use group sound-making, songs, rounds, chants, vocal exercises, yawns, sighs, guffaws, dreams and desires to provide the foundation for our time together. You provide the willingness to jump in and make joyful noises with us. This will increase your lung capacity, reduce stress, help you regain confidence and access joy, is open to ALL levels, and is an opportunity (not a requirement) to own fear as an ally rather than an obstacle. A sense of humor is helpful. Bring a couple of songs you know by heart. (No class limit)
TRADITIONAL SONGS FOR THE FUTURE (David Roth)
How might you describe a “traditional song”? They originate among the people of a particular country or area, are passed by oral tradition from one generation of singers to the next, often exist in several versions, and frequently are marked by simple, modal melody and narrative verse. For our purposes this week let’s call this “Songwriting 101” and roll up our sleeves together to build a new wave of songs that will carry on long after we’re here. We’ll work simply and sequentially by brainstorming compelling themes, shaping lyrics, adding melodies in creative ways, and putting them all together with an eye on the qualities that make great traditional songs endure. We’ll also use one session to do a complete group co-write of a custom-made song for a sick child and his/her family for the Songs of Love Foundation in New York... very meaningful, long-lasting, and powerful. We’ll also have fun in a safe, playful, supportive, permissive, all levels, and powerful environment.
BLUEGRASS HARMONY (Tim O'Brien & Tim May)
Harmonies in bluegrass are rooted in the gospel music that Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and others grew up with. Bluegrass sounds earthy with a touch of old-time, but the harmonies are very tight with very little unison or notes that are not in perfect harmony. We’ll look at how harmonies are created in bluegrass and how great bluegrass harmony singers use simple chord extensions to create interest. Covering duets, trios, and quartets, we’ll also explore various ways to stack harmonies. Some basic theory offered, but we will spend most of our time finding harmony parts and singing standard bluegrass classics.
RECYCLED FOLK SONGS (Tim O'Brien & Tim May)
Tim O’Brien and Tim May will show how to reboot and refresh traditional songs, using examples from their own repertoire and from others. Try a new melody or chord progression, or mix and match lyrics from the tradition to come up with your own version. They will also discuss traditional songs and motifs as jumping off points for brand new songs.
SONGS OF HANK WILLIAMS: HONKY-TONK BLUES (Mark Weems)
In the current old-time scene, banjos are most often used to accompany a fiddle in a string band. But there also exists a tradition of the solo banjo song, and a body of songs that were written either on the banjo, or expressly for it. These songs usually reflect and well represent the unique rhythmic and drone-like qualities of the instrument. We will examine and learn, with the use of tablature, to play and sing some of these songs, starting with one of the earliest published banjo songs from 1840, passing through a Stephen Foster song or two and moving forward into the repertoire of what we now call old-time banjo music. This is not a class in learning how to play the banjo, so a basic working knowledge of clawhammer or fingerstyle banjo is recommended. Tab will be for clawhammer style but can be easily adapted to fingerstyle as well.
FIND YOUR VOICE & USE IT TO THE FULLEST (Cathy Jordan)
The voice is and amazingly delicate and unique part of us all. In this workshop we will explore the mechanics of the voice, how it works, what we can do to support and care for it so we can use it to its full potential. We’ll start with vocal warms ups, then learn breathing exercises, scales, vocal chord stretching etc., all of which support our voices so we can use them to the fullest with ease and playfulness. We will endeavour to bring out the uniqueness of the voice in each of us through singing songs we love, so bring along your favourite song or one you’d like to improve on, also recording devices would be useful.
100 YEARS OF IRISH SONG (Cathy Jordan)
This year celebrates 100 years of Irish independence and in this class we will explore some of the finest Irish folk songs written in this time, from haunting ballads, love songs, immigration and political songs of the time as well as modern ballads written by the likes of Brendan Graham, Paul Brady, Jimmy McCarty and more. So much information regarding Irish history, folklore, tradition and personality shines through these songs, to which Cathy has dedicated her life. We will look at how the music has changed over the century and in other areas has been preserved and incubated through the decades.
DUET HARMONY SINGING (Mark Weems & Julee Glaub Weems)
Learn some of the specific techniques and nuances of duet singing. We will work at choosing keys, finding parts, exploring different types of harmony, building harmony mathematically, blending voices, feeling and phrasing, learning to sing with different partners and developing listening skills. We will learn how to adapt harmonies to different songs and various genres such as Appalachian, Irish, gospel, and country. The initial classes will focus on singing with instruments, to hear the chord structures of the harmonies, consider how they affect the overall harmonic sound, and discuss the creation of tasteful arrangements. As the week progresses, we will work towards freedom from chordal structure in order to encourage experimentation with more diverse kinds of harmony. It is not necessary to read music, as we will be learning by ear. Bring a partner or find one in the class! Note: students should come to this class with some experience in singing melody. (Class limit: 14)
SINGING TRADITIONAL APPALACHIAN BALLADS (Sheila Kay Adams)
I started learning what my family called ‘them old love songs’ as a five-year- old. No one said I had to learn them, or pressured me to listen to and sing back, one at a time, twenty-seven verses. First, as a child I loved the stories of knights and ladies riding on snow-white steeds, or what all could take place in “her father’s great hall,” or why a bird perched in a willow tree would speak to a woman who had “just murdered your own true love.” I could go on and on but the stories were fantastic, mysterious, believable and I heard them every day. The people I learned from were born in the 1890s and early 1900s and had learned them from their parents and grandparents – generation after generation after generation had learned them and passed them on. The words aren’t a problem. They’re written down in more collections than you can shake a stick at. But, if the story was the initial reason my mind chose to learn, it was the way they sang that took my heart over fifty years ago: the odd phrasing, the choice of words and the way they put those words together. This is what I hope to share with you in this class. I promise you, the songs are wonderful, but what will keep you singing is the way I’m going to teach you to do it. I’ll provide you with the words; the rest I’ll help you with, and those that really “get it” by the end of the week will help me carry this beautiful, ancient tradition a bit further down the road.
SINGING WITH THE BANJO (Sheila Kay Adams)
Sheila has played banjo over 50 years and in this class she’ll be sharing a bunch of traditional tunes with words she’s learned along the way – some of the verses are guaranteed to have you laughing. But, there’s another side to singing with the banjo lots of folks don’t explore – it can add a haunting quality to old love songs and we’ll work on some of these, too. So, come ready to learn some great tunes and songs and to have a blast while doing it.
DUET SONG ARRANGING (Robin & Linda Williams)
We will break down and demonstrate how we arrange our songs. We’ll discuss and show how we use harmony in our vocal arrangements and how we utilize our instruments to make each song as unique as possible. (Class limit: 14)
DEVELOPING A REPERTOIRE (Robin & Linda Williams)
Using our musical influences (old-time, bluegrass, country) we’ll show how we’ve developed our repertoire and how others can use their influences to develop theirs. We’ll also show how to use these influences in songwriting.
SCOTS SONGS OF LOVE & COURTSHIP (Alan Reid)
The language of Scots is perhaps not readily associated with romance and gallant wooing. Yet, despite an often sober and pragmatic approach to life, not to mention a climate liable to dampen any lustful ardour, there exists in the country a rich vein of love songs both before and after Robert Burns. This class will search out some of these gems and have fun along the way. Recording devices and inquisitiveness are encouraged. Lyric sheets provided. (No class limit)
SONGS IN THE LOWLAND SCOTS TRADITION (Alan Reid)
The rich tapestry of English traditional song covers topics such as love, rural life, crime, work, maritime adventures and seasonal celebrations. We’ll be learning (mostly by ear) examples of all of these, and joining a good chorus or two. There will also be some attention to singing style, helped by recordings of classic ‘source’ singers from the English countryside, who are well worth hearing in their own right. Some word sheets will be provided, and audio recorders are welcome. (No class limit)
IF YOU TALK, YOU SING (Kathy Bullock)
African and Caribbean Songs! From South African freedom songs, to Ghanaian praise and worship, to Jamaican folk songs and games, we will celebrate music from various areas of the African diaspora. Covering both traditional and popular forms, we will sing songs, learn the accompanying movements, and share the stories as we enjoy the musical and cultural connections. (No class limit)
GOSPEL CHOIR (Kathy Bullock)
Come Share the Joy! Join us as we sing gospel and spirituals in the African American tradition. From nineteenth century folk spirituals through twentieth and twenty first century traditional and contemporary gospel songs, we will celebrate music of the African American sacred tradition. This experience is a joyful, inspiring, celebration of life, spirit and community. (No class limit)
ACCOMPANYING SONGS WITH DADGAD GUITAR (Dáithí Sproule)
The DADGAD guitar tuning, invented by English guitarist, Davy Graham, entered the world of Celtic music via the recordings of master guitarist, Bert Jansch, but it is, in fact, an immensely versatile tuning whose open quality provides interesting harmonies and overtones for just about any musical style. On the one hand, it is much easier than standard tuning to get started on – while still providing very interesting sounds – and, on the other hand, it provides access to a wide variety of colors, harmonies and inversions without being too physically demanding. Dáithí was one of the first people to adapt and explore the tuning in Irish music and will show the many ways in which the tuning can be used to make your songs and tunes come alive.
IRISH TRADITIONAL SONGS AND THEIR RELATIVES! (Dáithí Sproule)
Explore the lyricism and melodic beauty of Irish traditional song with an eye to versions from other regions such as England, Scotland, and North America. Dáithí will share songs of love, history, local lore, and the Otherworld from his wide repertoire, provide simple helpful guidelines to their performance, and play rare recordings of some of the great source singers. Dáithí’s background in Celtic lore and language, as well as his lifetime of stories and travels with musicians and singers, will fill in the fascinating background of the songs. Everyone can and should sing, so why not sing the most beautiful songs you can find? This class will feature both unaccompanied and accompanied song, and some songs in the Irish Gaelic language. Bring a recording device.
Note: A highlight of the day's schedule is when we gather together each day after lunch for these special events. No advance registration necessary.
ROBIN & LINDA WILLIAMS: A 44-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE
Join us for a community camp concert with Robin and Linda Williams. They’ll sing old songs, new songs, gospel songs, secular songs, original songs, non-original songs, their own songs, other people’s songs, murder songs, Christmas songs, beach songs, mountain songs, songs for the audience and songs for themselves. Plus, they might take requests.
MOVIE DAY: AN END OF AN OLD SONG
We’ll feature a documentary film by filmmaker and former member of the New Lost City Ramblers John Cohen, telling the story of ballad singer Dillard Chandler from Sodom, North Carolina. Discussion afterwards led by Dillard’s cousin, Sheila Kay Adams.
A WEE DROPPIE OF SCOTS & IRISH
Join Alan Reid and Len Graham for an informal discussion as they share songs, stories and memories from a lifetime of singing and collecting the songs of Scotland and Ireland.
We offer a full-day program, taught by Melissa Hyman, for children ages
6-12. Children must have turned 6 by July 1st to participate. No exceptions
please. Evening childcare for ages 3-12 will be provided at no additional cost.
This summer, we will explore the fascinating world of ANCIENT EGYPT! Journey back in time to visit one of the most powerful and colorful civilizations on Earth. Over 3,000 years of mummies, pyramids, mythology, and mystery will be our inspiration. We’ll learn about the ancient world of the Nile Delta through crafts, music, games and stories. We’ll make new friends, play our favorite messy games and dress up like kings and queens of the Old Kingdom. We’ll write our own original, Egypt-themed songs with the help of our very talented music teacher, Jane Kramer. At the end of the week, parents will get to hear us sing and see the crafts we’ve made, at our big performance at the Student Showcase. As a special treat, we will be visited throughout the week by wandering musicians and artists (Gathering staff) who will perform just for our kids. We will, of course, continue our beloved traditions of shaving cream hairdos, movie night, crazy contests and the Gathering Scavenger Hunt. Hop into our time machine for the journey of a lifetime!! There will be a $30 art/craft materials fee for this class, payable to Melissa, the Children’s Program coordinator, on arrival.