Fall Newsletter 2016 - Coming Next Summer
Traditional Song Week, July 9-15
Celtic Week, July 16-22
Old-Time Music & Dance Week, July 23-29
Contemporary Folk Week, July 30-August 5
Guitar Week, July 30-August 5
Fiddle Week, August 6-12
Mando & Banjo Week, August 6-12
Next year, the big news is that we have located another air-conditioned classroom available for our use, which means that, in our biggest weeks, we will now have space for up to four more classes and two more instructors to teach them. We’ll be able to add more sections of popular classes, and hopefully, this will allow more attendees to take classes in the subjects that have traditionally filled up the fastest.
We will again offer a full Children’s Program during our Traditional Song, Celtic and Old-Time Weeks. For those families bringing small children, we will continue to provide evening childcare at no additional cost.
The Swannanoa Gathering is structured around what we call an ‘open format’, which allows students to create their own curriculum and take as many classes as there are periods in the day. We require that students register for specific classes, but allow them to switch after the first day into another, open class if they find they have made an inappropriate choice. After this ‘settling-in’ period, we expect that students will remain in those classes, and we discourage dropping in and out of classes during the week. This structure allows students considerable flexibility, and is an essential element of our program’s character and appeal. Many of our classes may include musical notation or tablature, though in general, we emphasize learning by ear.
Classes generally have a maximum of 15 students. Some may have more or less than this figure due to the nature of the subject or the discretion of the instructor, and limits for each class will be indicated in our catalog. Several of the 2016 workshops filled up early last year and we expect that trend to continue as more of our programs approach their limits, and although our schedule of classes is not currently complete, pre-registrations from this newsletter are strongly encouraged. While it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get all the classes you want, pre-registration definitely gives you the best chance at doing so. Folks may register with a tuition deposit of $100 and may reserve housing without a deposit. The deadline for pre-registration is Feb. 10. Pre-registrants will be sent a class schedule as soon as it is ready and given priority in class assignments. Full payment is required by June 9 to guarantee a space. After that date, class reservations will be unconfirmed until we receive the balance. If we are holding a space for a student in a class that is full, and their balance is unpaid after June 9, we may release that space to another student.
At present, we are completing our staff selections for next year, but many of our instructors have already confirmed. The online version of this newsletter will be continually updated with the most current staff roster. Here’s a peek at the 2017 lineup....
Traditional Song Week, July 9-15, promotes a wide variety of traditional singing styles. Next year, Coordinator Julee Glaub Weems and husband Mark Weems have invited back Dervish vocalist Cathy Jordan, blues singer and historian Rev. Robert Jones, Irish singer Len Graham, Master Music Maker and host of NPR’s Thistle & Shamrock, Fiona Ritchie, multi-talented Appalachian musician Josh Goforth, seventh-generation Appalachian ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams, Nashville player Tim May, and Sing Out! Radio founder Matt Watroba. There are a number of additional staff to be hired, so watch our website for updates.
Celtic Week, July 16-22, welcomes new Scottish fiddler Katie McNally, and a few folks who are returning after a few years: fiddlers John Carty & Colin Farrell and whistle player Kathleen Conneely. They join veteran fiddlers Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes, Kimberley Fraser, Rose Flanagan and Andrew Finn Magill, Scottish fiddler Laura Risk, Irish guitarist and singer John Doyle, Lúnasa’s Cillian Vallely and Kevin Crawford, guitarists Alan Murray and Eamon O’Leary, Irish singer and flute player Nuala Kennedy, Celtic Week Host John Skelton, Dervish vocalist Cathy Jordan, mandolinist Marla Fibish, ballad singer Len Graham, accordionist John Whelan, harper/concertina player Gráinne Hambly, bodhran player Matt Olwell, piper Kieran O’Hare, harper Billy Jackson, sean nós dancer Siobhan Butler, Scottish singer Ed Miller, fret wizard Robin Bullock and more.
Old-Time Music & Dance Week, July 23-29, is one of the Gathering’s original programs and its oldest. This year, we’ll be offering more sections of our most popular classes to allow more folks to take them. New Coordinator Erynn Marshall continues the tradition of assembling the finest old-time staff to be found anywhere. So far, this year’s installment includes Kirk Sutphin, Dan Gellert, Carl Jones, Greg & Jere Canote, Ben Nelson, Gordy Hinners, John Herrmann, Ron Pen, Sheila Kay Adams, Earl White, Adrienne Davis, Rodney Sutton, James and Vivian Leva, Ellie Grace, Don Pedi, Rafe and Clelia Stefanini, Dave Keenan, Phil Jamison, John Hollandsworth, Kari Sickenberger and Meredith McIntosh. We will continue our tradition of visits by special Guest Master Artists from the senior generation of local traditional performers throughout the week. Classes will include fiddle, clawhammer banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, clogging, square dance, dance calling, southern harmony singing, string band, shaped-note singing and more.
Contemporary Folk Week, July 30-August 5, offers an inspiring week of artist development for all acoustic performers. Classes include songwriting, performance, vocal coaching and more, taught by an outstanding lineup of seasoned professionals passionate about their art and equally passionate about inspiring others to develop their own unique gifts. This year, we will be adding a few more classes and instructors to the staff to meet student demand. We welcome back Grammy-winners Kathy Mattea, Janis Ian, Tom Paxton, Don Henry and Jon Vezner, folk veterans Ellis Paul and Amy Speace, the irrepressible Cliff Eberhardt, vocal coach Siobhan Quinn, and guitar theory guru Ray Chesna. We still have several more slots to fill, so stay tuned.
Guitar Week, July 30-August 5, ooffers classes in fingerstyle and flatpicking guitar in a wide variety of styles as well as classes in ukulele. Coordinator Al Petteway welcomes new staff members flatpicker Russ Barenberg and fingerstylist Jamie Stillway. They join veterans Clive Carroll, Mike Dowling, Peppino D’Agostino, Pat Donohue, ukulele whiz Gerald Ross, blues players Mary Flower and Scott Ainslie, gypsy jazz player Greg Ruby, Celtic guitarists Steve Baughman and Robin Bullock, jazz guitarist Sean McGowan, percussive fingerstylist Vicki Genfan, and Appalachian multi-instrumentalist Josh Goforth. A special ‘Swanaloha’ goes to Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Patrick Landeza, who returns to Guitar Week after a long hiatus. Guitar tech Randy Hughes will offer maintenance tips, and this year’s Luthier’s Exhibit will once again feature the guitars of master luthiers John Slobod, Gerald Sheppard, Leonardo Buendia, Gerald Sheppard and others, and a selection of amazing instruments from the inventory of Dream Guitars located in nearby Weaverville, NC.
Fiddle Week, August 6-12, will continue to explore a variety of fiddle styles and continue its integration with several features of Mando & Banjo Week. Coordinator Julia Weatherford is still recruiting a staff that currently includes jazz great and new Asheville resident Christian Howes, cajun master Michael Doucet, the wonderfully versatile Eden MacAdam-Sommer, creative dynamo Joe Craven, Irish fiddling great Liz Knowles, swing and Tex-Mex master Paul Anastasio, Quebec’s Pascal Gemme, Scottish fiddler Laura Risk, great dance fiddler Laura Lengnick, guitarist Greg Ruby, bluegrasser Matt Combs, and old-time fiddlers Eddie Bond and Emily Schaad.
Mando & Banjo Week, August 6-12, features classes in bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, swing/jazz, newgrass & more for both instruments as well as a few classes in guitar accompaniment. The program continues to be integrated with Fiddle Week through common jams and Band Sessions that encourage players in both programs to form bands that will work up a few tunes throughout the week. Next year sees the return of a new Master Music Maker to anchor each instrument’s staff. The pioneering Tony Trischka heads up the banjo players, while the dazzling Mike Marshall leads the mandolinists. Bluegrass greats Alan Munde and Bill Evans join old-time players Paul Brown and Terri McMurray to complete the banjo staff. The mandolin staff features bluegrass greats Mike Compton, John Reischman and Alan Bibey, swing mandolinist Don Stiernberg, the eclectic music of the Modern Mandolin Quartet’s Matt Flinner and classical mandolinist Caterina Lichtenberg and guitarist Ed Dodson. We are especially pleased to welcome back Irish player David Surette, who will teach classes in Irish mandolin/tenor banjo and guitar. This year’s Luthier’s Exhibit will include Northfield Mandolins, with others TBA. Lynn Dudenbostel will once again be onhand to offer repair services. We’ve still got a few more slots to fill, so watch our website for updates.