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 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!
Traditional Song Week is proud to present a group of highly influential singers and musicians who have remained devoted over the years to preserving and promoting traditional song. Back by popular demand, Tuesday evening will be our big night for students to have the rare opportunity to be backed by our stellar staff band. This year we will celebrate “Jean Ritchie Night” with solos, duets, trios and groups. Imagine singing to a house band of Josh Goforth, Tim May, Ed Trickett, Matt Watroba and Mark Weems. Come sing your favorite Jean Ritchie song or another song in her honor. Our Community Gathering Time each day just after lunch affords us the opportunity to experience together, as a group, diverse topics concerning our shared love of traditional song. In past years we’ve featured conversation and song with national treasures Peter Yarrow, John Cohen, Charlie Louvin, Fiona Ritchie, David Holt, Jean Ritchie, Josh Goforth, Betty Smith, Dáithí Sproule, Aidan O’Hara, Freddy LaBour, Cathie Ryan, Bobby McMillon, Brian Peters, Tom Paxton, Doug and Darcy Orr, Cathy Jordan, Robin and Linda Williams, Tim O’Brien, Sheila Kay Adams, Alan Reid, Len Graham and more. This year’s Community Gathering Time will feature interviews with the super women on staff – Cathy Jordan, Dr. Kathy Bullock and Sheila Kay Adams, exploring the connections between their genres, by Thistle and Shamrock radio host Fiona Ritchie. She will also interview Matt Watroba and Len Graham, song leaders in their communities, to learn how to bring more singing to our local communities. The interviews will air on her show later in the year. We will also have an extra special visit with banjoist Tony Ellis, a member of Bill Monroe’s band; we’ll hear about our Western NC heroes through the dynamic duo of Laura Boosinger and Josh Goforth, and first-time staffer George Grove will share his musical journey as a member of the Kingston Trio. As requested by students, we will again feature classes in singing with instruments. Mark Weems will teach classes in singing with the banjo while Tim May will be back to teach a Carter Family guitar class. New staff member Ed Trickett, a member of the Gordan Bok Trio, will teach the guitar as a second voice and Joe Newberry, a favorite guest on A Prairie Home Companion, will feature the music of the Ozarks. Returning staff include Karl Scully, Dr. Kathy Bullock, Cathy Jordan, Sheila Kay Adams, Matt Watroba, Mark Weems, Len Graham, Josh Goforth, Melissa Hyman, Alan Reid and Tim May. This summer will feature classes in gospel, bluegrass, Carter Family songs, songs from Ireland, England, Scotland, Africa, North Carolina, the Ozarks, songs of the sea, banjo songs, finding your voice and own style, choosing your songs, performance, shape-note, duet harmony, music theory, community singing, children’s 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 midday Community Gathering times. Bring a friend and come join us for a week you will never forget!