For our twelfth year, we are excited to invite you to Traditional Song Week, realizing our 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 main 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!
Back by popular demand is Tuesday evening’s big Hoedown for a traditional country, bluegrass, honky-tonk and blues Song and Dance Night. Imagine singing to a house band of Ranger Doug, Dáithí Sproule, Josh Goforth, Joe Newberry, Tim May, Matt Watroba or Mark Weems. So wear your boots and hats, bring your voices and instruments, and get ready to bring on the fun, with solos, duets and trios. Community Gathering Time will feature oral histories from Grand Ole Opry regulars Ranger Doug and Tim May, as well as interviews by Fiona Ritchie, host of NPR’s The Thistle & Shamrock with Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Dáithí Sproule and Cathy Jordan from leading Irish bands Altan and Dervish. Fiona airs these interviews on her radio show throughout the year so you can re-visit your Swannanoa experience. It’s a unique opportunity to learn more about our instructors and gain insights into their musical influences, mentors, and passions. They always have songs and stories to share, often including material they have yet to record or perform. This summer will feature classes in gospel, bluegrass, Carter Family songs, songs from Ireland, England, Scotland, North Carolina mountain ballads, cowboy songs, old country, folk songs, gospel, songwriting in the tradition, women’s rights songs, finding your voice and own style, choosing your songs, performance, shape-note, duet harmony, music theory, community singing, singing with instruments, guitar accompaniment and more! The week will also feature nightly concerts and singing sessions, the Old Farmers Ball dance, a wonderful children’s program and ample opportunities to mix with other singers. In addition, this year, folk legend Janis Ian will be offering her “Master Class in Artistry” during all five weeks of the Gathering. Bring a friend and come join us for a week you will never forget!