Fall Newsletter 2017 - Recap
Welcome to this year’s edition of our newsletter, the Postcard from Swannanoa. This summer Warren Wilson College welcomed a new president, Dr. Lynn Morton, who was on hand for several of our Orientation sessions and concerts throughout the summer. We also debuted our newly-renovated Kittredge Theatre, with new seats, carpeting, sound baffling and other impovements, funded through the generous contributions of the Kaman Family Foundation, the charitable organization of one of our long-time attendees, Bill Kaman. This spurred a capital campaign for the next phase of renovations for Kittredge, called “Take Your Seat,” about which you can find out more by contacting Renee Danger-James in our Advancement Office.
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, The Máirtín O’Connor Trio, Liz Carroll, John Doyle, & Billy McComiskey and Tannahill Weavers. See the P.S. section for details on next spring’s Celtic Series.
Our vocal program, Traditional Song Week, kicked things off with the return of Reggie Harris teaching songs of social justice.We also got a hefty dose of Broadway from the Phantom of the Opera’s Ciarán Sheehan and Karl Scully of the Four Irish Tenors. They were joined by Nashville’s Brian & Nicole Christianson, Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie, Irish ballad singer Len Graham, Coordinator Julee Glaub Weems, Dervish vocalist Cathy Jordan, gospel singer Kathy Bullock, early country & honky-tonk specialist Mark Weems, multi-talented Appalachian musician Josh Goforth, Nashville guitarist Tim May, blues historian Rev. Robert Jones and singer/storyteller Sheila Kay Adams. Radio host Matt Watroba traced the history of American roots music and Melissa Hyman offered a Dinosaurs-themed program for children during Traditional Song, Celtic, and Old-Time Weeks.
Celtic Week was once again our largest single program, welcoming new staffer Katie McNally on Scottish fiddle and the return of Irish fiddler John Carty. Siobhan Butler taught sean nós dance, joining a powerhouse fiddle lineup that included Martin Hayes, Liz Carroll, Colin Farrell, Laura Risk, Andrew Finn Magill, Kimberley Fraser and Rose Flanagan, vocalist Cathy Jordan and guitarist Alan Murray. We also welcomed back guitarist/singer John Doyle, mandolinist Marla Fibish, accordion master John Whelan, singer and flute player Nuala Kennedy, percussionist Matthew Olwell, Scottish singer Ed Miller, guitarist Eamon O’Leary, harpers Billy Jackson and Gráinne Hambly, pipes and whistle players Kathleen Conneely, Kieran O’Hare and Cillian Vallely, Lúnasa flute player Kevin Crawford, multi-instrumentalist Robin Bullock, and Irish singer Len Graham. John Skelton again served as the Celtic Week Host.
Old-Time Music & Dance Week was once again our second largest program, and featured the debut of new Coordinator Erynn Marshall. She assembled the usual sterling staff, consisting of James Leva, Earl White, Kirk Sutphin, Dan Gellert, Phil Jamison, Kari Sickenberger, Meredith McIntosh, Cary Fridley, John Hollandsworth, Carl Jones, Joe Newberry, Susie Goehring, John Herrmann, Ellie Grace, Greg & Jere Canote, Kenny Jackson, Gordy Hinners, Rafe Stefanini, Rodney Sutton, Ben Nelson, folklorist and shape-note singer Ron Pen and dulcimer ace Don Pedi. New this year was guitarist Dave Keenan and fiddler Clelia Stefanini. This year’s Guest Master Artists were singer Alice Gerrard, fiddler Bruce Greene, Mick Kinney & sons, Ada & Jimmy McCown and dancer Thomas Maupin, accompanied by the irrepressible Daniel Rockwell.
New to Guitar Week this year were Della Mae guitarist Courtney Hartman and fingerstylist Jamie Stillway. We welcomed back slack-key master Patrick Landeza and blues guitarist Mary Flower, who joined renowned fingerstylists Clive Carroll and Peppino D’Agostino, with Pat Donohue, Mike Dowling, ukulele master Gerald Ross, Coordinator Al Petteway, Scott Ainslie, Robin Bullock, Sean McGowan, Greg Ruby, Josh Goforth, percussive guitarist Vicki Genfan, and clawhammer evangelist Steve Baughman. The week also featured demonstrations from instrument repairman Randy Hughes and daily displays of the guitars of master luthiers Leonardo Buendia, Gerald Sheppard, Michael Bashkin and John Slobod, along with selected inventory from Dream Guitars, a local shop specializing in high-end instruments.
Contemporary Folk Week welcomed newcomers Tift Merritt, Joshua Davis and Camela Widad and veteran staff members Janis Ian, Tom Paxton, Kathy Mattea, Don Henry, Amy Speace, Ellis Paul, Jon Vezner, Cliff Eberhardt, Siobhan Quinn, and Ray Chesna to the staff. We were also pleased to welcome back, after a too-long hiatus, the irrepressible Vance Gilbert. Kim Richardson again acted as the Contemporary Folk Week Host.
Fiddle Week continued its pairing with Mando & Banjo Week, and the two programs combined jams and band sessions, and members of both staffs performed in the staff concerts over three nights. This year’s Luthier’s Exhibit featured violinmaker Joe Thrift, bowmaker Roger Treat, mandolin builder Dan Voight and the folks from Northfield Mandolins. Coordinator Julia Weatherford’s all-star staff included jazz violin great (and recent Asheville transplant) Christian Howes, Beausoleil’s Cajun master and National Heritage Award winner Michael Doucet, klezmer fiddler Eden MacAdam-Somer, old-time fiddlers Kilby Spencer and Emily Schaad, Irish fiddler Liz Knowles, multi-stylist Alex Hargreaves, Scottish fiddler Laura Risk, Paul Anastasio teaching Mexican fiddle, Quebecois fiddle player Pascal Gemme, innovative cellist Malcolm Parson, Laura Lengnick teaching beginners technique, bluegrass fiddler Matt Combs, creativity evangelist Joe Craven, guitarist Greg Ruby and bassist Kevin Kehrberg.
Mando & Banjo Week was a worthy partner to Fiddle Week and added a powerhouse group of fretted instrument players including legendary banjo innovator Tony Trischka and bluegrass masters Alan Munde and Bill Evans. To teach clawhammer banjo, we recruited Old-Time Week veterans Paul Brown and Terri McMurray. The mandolin staff featured a new staff member in bluesman Rich DelGrosso and we welcomed back Bill Monroe-stylist Mike Compton. They joined international virtuosi Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg, bluegrass greats Alan Bibey and John Reischman, jazz mandolinist Don Stiernberg, and the eclectic styles of Matt Flinner. We were very pleased to welcome back guitarist David Surette, who missed last year due to illness, while Ed Dodson taught guitar and led the daily bluegrass jam. Legendary mandolin builder Lynn Dudenbostel was again on-hand to offer repair work and bad puns.
Check out the Coming Next Summer section for a sneak preview of the 2018 lineup.