Blues & Swing Week

Blues & Swing Week

July 14 - 19, 2019

Augusta’s Blues & Swing Week provides participants with the opportunity to work with some of the finest performers and educators in the Blues and Swing worlds. Workshops cover a variety of styles and levels of instruction on guitar, bass, piano, harmonica and voice, as well as the history of both genres. Evening activities include legendary late-night jams, concerts, and dances. All workshops are intended for those who can already play their instrument to some extent and are ready to start learning blues & swing style, technique and repertoire. Youth, as well as adults, are welcome to participate.

Blues & Swing Week runs concurrently with Old-Time Week; Arts, Crafts, & Folklore Workshops; Folk Arts for Kids; and Evening Mini-Courses. Participants can take advantage of both weeks by attending special events, swapping tunes and songs in jam sessions, and sharing in the fun!

Welcome to Blues and Swing Week 2019! Our staff includes people who truly love the music and enjoy teaching and sharing it. Our vision is to focus on the roots of these two great musical traditions in a supportive, sharing environment. Workshops, jams, and getting to know people who love the music as much as you do makes Blues & Swing Week the ideal place to come and learn something new or share and grow the skills you already have. We hope you won’t just learn the music, but in the process will better understand its folkways and origins. Our blues dance program puts the music in context. The swing cabaret gives you a chance to perform for your fellow participants in a fun, nightclub atmosphere. Many of our participants come year after year, and we hope that if you haven’t been to Augusta, or to Blues & Swing Week, you will join us this year and make us part of your summer plans every year.

Tuition Guide:
$490/week if paid before June 1. $5
30/week if paid on or after June 1. 

Registration will open on March 5, 2019. 

(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

Please select workshops for Periods 1 – 4 when you register.  

Register Here! |Blues & Swing Week Class Schedule by Period| 2019 Week at a Glance2019 Schedule of Events / July 14 – 19!Blues & Swing Week Flyer

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Coordinators

Coordinator (Blues) – Joan Fenton

Joan Fenton in class
Joan Fenton

Joan Fenton has worked as a musician, folklorist, and business woman. She is the recipient of the WC Handy award for keeping the blues alive in education. She produced traditional music shows for 15 years for various radio stations and received two National Endowment for the Arts grants to record traditional musicians. Her field recordings can be found at the D&E Library and in the Joan Fenton collection at the University of NC at Chapel Hill library. Her work with nonprofits includes serving on the executive board of the Folk Alliance.

Coordinator (Blues) – Phil Wiggins

Phil Wiggins

Washington, D.C. native Phil Wiggins, a Takoma Park, Maryland, resident, blues musician, teacher and artistic director, a two time winner of the prestigious WC Handy Blues Foundation awards, is only the third harmonica player to receive the lifetime honor of an NEA National Heritage Fellowship. Today he is the only living player of the instrument to hold the prestigious honor of being a “Master of Traditional Arts.” Often referred to by its unofficial designation as “Living Cultural Treasure” award, the fellowship honors and preserves the diverse cultural heritage in the United States. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) annually awards one-time-only NEA National Heritage Fellowships to master folk and traditional artists, to recognize lifetime achievement, artistic excellence, and contributions to our nation’s traditional arts heritage.

The NEA National Heritage Fellowship has been bestowed on some of the greatest luminaries in traditional and folk music. In the traditional blues genre, past winners include some of the most important figures in blues history: B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Pinetop Perkins, Sunnyland Slim, Elizabeth Cotton, Clifton Chenier, Robert Lockwood Jr., Honeyboy Edwards, Brownie McGhee, Jack Owens, Mavis Staples and her father Pops Staples, and many more. Harmonica players Sonny Terry and Elder Roma Wilson are the only other harmonica instrumentalists to receive the honor.

Phil now joins the ranks of his eminent elders, friends and compatriots in the Washington, D.C area traditional Piedmont blues scene to win this distinguished award. His former duo partner, the Piedmont blues singer and guitarist John Cephas, received the National Heritage Fellowship Award in 1989. Phil’s friend and early career catalyst , the great blues singer/guitarist and songster John Jackson received the honor in 1986. The blues singer/guitarist and songster Warner Williams, who took the award in 2011, is now the only other living practitioner of the regional traditional blues besides Phil Wiggins with this recognition.

He is a versatile traditional harmonica player, continuing the Piedmont blues tradition, a gentle and melodic blues style of the mid-Atlantic region. He plays the diatonic ten-hole harmonica in the country blues style, cupping both hands around the instrument and playing acoustically. His sound is not shaped by the gear, the microphone or amplifier when performing on stage, instead by his complex syncopated patterns, breath-control and rhythm, stylistic virtuosity and fiery solo runs.

As a teenager living in Washington D.C. in the 1970s, he played at the Smithsonian National Folklife Festival with street singer Flora Molton, sitting in with blues greats Johnny Shines, Sunnyland Slim, Sam Chatmon, Robert Belfour and Howard Armstrong. By the time he graduated from high school in 1973, D.C. blues elders John Jackson, John Cephas and Archie Edwards had embraced him. He joined the Barrelhouse Rockers, a band fronted by pianist and singer Wilbert “Big Chief” Ellis, where John Cephas played guitar. They toured regionally until Ellis retired in 1977, when John Cephas invited him to join in the duo ‘Cephas & Wiggins’.

With John Cephas as guitarist and primary singer, the duo performed together for 32 years as internationally renowned stars of the country blues, and a staple on blues radio, ever present on the concert and festival circuit – all with the help of National Council for Traditional Arts director Joe Wilson. Cephas & Wiggins played Carnegie Hall, Royal Prince Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House, as well as small venues worldwide, touring every continent except Antarctica. They recorded more than a dozen critically acclaimed albums, including on Flying Fish and Alligator Records, winning the prestigious W.C. Handy Blues Award in 1984 for Best Traditional Album of the Year and in 1987 as Entertainers of the Year. They even performed at the White House with B.B. King. Phil Wiggins as well as Cephas & Wiggins have been featured in major music magazines, including on the cover of Living Blues, and the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and many more. University of Maryland professor, author, blues historian and producer Dr. Barry Lee Pearson has released numerous Cephas & Wiggins tracks on his Smithsonian Folkways album collections, in addition to his frequent writings over more than 30 years, which also featured the duo and John Cephas’ autobiography.

Since the 2009 death of John Cephas, Phil has performed with numerous musicians including Nat Reese, Corey Harris, Australian guitarist Dom Turner, Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons, Sherman Holmes, the Rev. John Wilkins, Jerron Paxton, and longtime friends Eleanor Ellis and Rick Franklin. He fronts the acoustic swing/roots/blues ensemble, the Chesapeake Sheiks, and is actively engaged in reuniting the Piedmont blues with its origins of African American buck and tap dancing.

Phil has taught thousands of burgeoning harmonica players and actively continues to teach and lead as artistic director in workshops, such as at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia and the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop in Washington State. Plus, he continues to play an active role on the board of the National Council for Traditional Arts.

Additionally, he performed in the feature film Matewan about the coal mining wars in West Virginia, written and directed by John Sayles. Phil appears in the film and contributed music to the soundtrack. He also appeared in Blues Houseparty , a documentary produced by Eleanor Ellis that captures a wonderful celebration of music and culture that takes place at the home of John Jackson. Phil appears in the film and supplies the voiceover narration. Plus: Portland Mojo: How Stumptown Got the Blues Written and produced by Bob Lietch, a documentary film about the blues scene in Portland, Oregon, narrated by Phil. Letters from Mound Bayou A documentary film about the establishment of a community health center for the rural community of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Produced by an activist group in Washington, D.C. called Video Action, Phil wrote and performed the music for the soundtrack.

Coordinator (Swing) – Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell’s guitar playing is rooted in the styles of the 1920s and ’30s jazz, western swing, country blues, and old-time music. Ten years of playing with the legendary Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks took him around the world and led to the recording of two acclaimed CDs including Beatin’ the Heat, which featured guest appearances by Bette Midler, Ricki Lee Jones, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Brian Setzer. His work with Ann Savoy and her Sleepless Knights led to a movie soundtrack spot and producer credits for the Sony picture All the King’s Men. He makes his home in Baltimore where he can be seen playing with some great players and bands including the Blue Rhythm Boys and The Redwine Jazz Trio.

As a teacher and performer, Tom has worked at many music and dance workshops and camps such as Ashokan Fiddle and Dance, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, The Swannanoa Gathering, The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and Augusta Heritage Center.

Tom’s love of swing guitar shines brightly through his playing, and his extensive knowledge and appreciation of jazz history and tradition brings a “true to style” integrity to any venture he undertakes.

Coordinator (Swing) – Wes Crawford

Wes Crawford

Wes Crawford

After graduating from Virginia Tech in Psychology with some work towards an MBA, Wes toured North America and the Caribbean for eleven years with Jazz/Rhythm & Blues song stylist Jane L. Powell (www.JaneLPowell.com ) where he performed on drumset and worked as Road Manager for the group. Since leaving perpetual road life in 1992, Wes has continued as Ms. Powell’s Manager where he oversees her international performance schedule. While performing for Ms. Powell, the group won numerous awards on the college circuit including Entertainer of the Year in 1990.

Since settling into the Washington DC/Baltimore region in 1992, Wes has performed and recorded on drumset and hand percussion with numerous musical acts of all styles including Higher Octave/Narada recording artists Shahin & Sepehr, popular saxophonist Ron Holloway, the late legendary Eva Cassidy, Daryl Davis, and many others. He also performs his solo interactive performance, “A Rhythmic Murder Mystery” on electronic percussion for schools, drumming groups, and musical camps. Wes works with the corporate team-building program, Beatswork!, by Catalyst Events and leads his own group, Enviro Drum- Maryland. Wes was trained for drum circle facilitation by internationally known facilitator, Christine Stevens.

Wes considers musical education to be his most important legacy to the future and therefore has taught drumset privately and at Goucher College in Baltimore since 1996. Wes also directed the annual Drumset And Percussion Camp (www.DrumsetAndPercussionCamp.org) of the Goucher Summer Arts Institute from 2005-2013, has taught for the National Guitar Workshop camp system, and has taught at Augusta Blues and Swing Week since 2014. Wes also presents drumset clinics and workshops at schools and universities and for drumming groups. He also writes and conducts interviews for DrumPro Magazine (www.Drum.com) and for Percussive Notes. Since 1999 Wes has offered unique interactive, educational music media through his company, Music And Games 4 U (www.MusicAndGames4U.com).

From 2005-2014 Wes served as Vice-President and then President of the Maryland/Delaware Percussive Arts Society Chapter (www.PAS.org) where he organized and managed their annual Day of Percussion event.

Wes has an Artist Endorsement relationship with Baltimore Drum Company (www.BaltimoreDrum.com), Dream Cymbals (www.DreamCymbals.com), and ProLogix Percussion (www.ProLogixPercussion.com) and is a member of the Vic Firth Educational Team (www.VicFirth.com).


All Instruments

Band Labs (All Levels) – Kathy Reitz AND Marv Reitz

Don’t miss this opportunity to collaborate with other participants with guidance from Kathy and Marv Reitz and various other instructors. At the beginning of the week, participants will choose a genre (for example: big band swing, country blues, Gypsy jazz, bluesy ballad) and then form a group with like-minded musicians. Over the course of the next few days, participants will decide on a song and a key, create an arrangement, and get their song ready to perform in front of an audience of fellow participants and instructors. The band experience is the highlight of the week for many participants. Open to all levels, instruments and vocalists.

Kathy Reitz

Kathy has attended Augusta for over 25 years. She plays a big bass and a little uke. She appears on The Zombies of Swing (Swing Cat Records, recorded at Augusta with Paul Anastasio and other swing faculty in 1992), Home by Miss Tess, Razz’em Jazz’em’s album on Patuxent, and a small variety of other people’s recordings. She freelances around DC and plays in most of the same bands as her music and life partner, Marv Reitz. These include the Buffalo Nickel Band, Paramount Jazz Orchestra, Big Bang Swing Band, Swing Underground, and Sunshine Skiffle Band. Besides playing with Marv, Kathy’s favorite people to play with are her friends from Augusta.
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Marv Reitz

Marv Reitz was warned by his music teacher father not to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. But Marv decided he’d rather not be a jack of one either. He plays sax, clarinet, guitar, steel guitar, and sings. Last year marked more 25 years at Augusta and 20 on the faculty. A molecular biologist/virologist by day, Marv has been on the Washington, DC, music scene for 45 years. He was an original member of Doc Scantlin’s Imperial Palms Orchestra and now leads the Paramount Jazz Orchestra, a 10 piece’20s and ‘30s band, and Swing Underground, a 17-piece swing big band. He also plays with the Big Bang Big Band and the Buffalo Nickle Band, a western swing-oriented sextet. He and his wife share a vast repertoire of music. He can be heard with the Sunshine Skiffle Band on Rounder and on Patuxent Music with the Buffalo Nickel Band and Razz’em Jazz’em.

Chord Families: How Chord Progressions Work (All Levels) – Peter Davis

This is a fun, practical theory class that anyone can enjoy, instrumentalists (with some basic facility) and singers can play the material in class or just come watch and listen. Come and learn some practical secrets of how chord sequences are put together in blues, swing, jazz, ragtime, folk, country and pop music. Goals will include – how to listen to and recognize common progressions by ear, how to predict what’s going to happen next and how to use and choose appropriate chords for your own compositions. Each topic covered will be illustrated with songs and tunes that we play and sing in class.

What is a Cadence and Why is the Dominant 7th important?
The Circle of 4ths and 5ths and the Number System
1, 2 and 3 chord songs for folk and pop
Cycle 4 Progressions for ragtime and trad
The 2-5-1 progression for swing and jazz
Blues Progressions and Rhythm Changes
Diatonic Chording the Scale, the i, ii, and vi Minor Chords, Minor Progressions, Mixing Relative Majors and Minors

Peter Davis

Peter Davis is a multi-instrumentalist and educator from Saratoga Springs, NY. He plays clarinet, alto sax, 5-string and tenor banjos, piano, guitar, mandolin, whistle and his current fave; tenor guitar. He loves to vocalize, improvise and concertize, and is a member of 5 or 6 active bands. He has an intuitive approach to a variety of musical genres including traditional folk, blues, vintage pop and jazz forms.
When he was five, Peter took piano lessons, but after six months the teacher fired him asbecause he was for playing by ear instead of reading notes. At eight, Peter connected with a private clarinet teacher culminating in playing the Mozart clarinet concerto. He was handed a saxophone in 8th grade band class,was introduced to the 12 bar blues progression and at in the late ‘50s startedplaying rock and roll music on saxophone with older kids in bars around Babylon, Long Island.

In 10th grade, Peter was sent to Oakwood School – a Quaker boarding school in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he was exposed to political activism, folk music and Pete Seeger, who lived nearby, was blacklisted from doing regular gigs, and used to come a few times a year to Oakwood to sing and play with the students. Peter most played records in high school were by JS Bach, Thelonius Monk, Mississippi John Hurt and Earl Scruggs. At SUNY Binghamton Peter minored in music – played in a jug and bluegrass band, sang in a doo wop and madrigal groups and played reeds in pit bands for musicals.

After getting a masters degree in teaching at Columbia University, Peter spent three years in the Peace Corps in Malawi, Central Africa, teaching high school social studies. He directed his school’s a capella group and jammed South African zulu jive with some of his students.

Peter’s current projects include the vintage blues, jazz and Americana band Annie and the Hedonists, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers, a dixieland jazz band, which is the house band at Saratoga Racecourse every summer, and Peter, Paul, and George, who teach elementary school kids about traditional music and dancing. Other projects include The Clayfoot Strutters, a rocked-out contradance band from Vermont and The Whippersnappers, an eclectic string band. He has long been an instructor at Western and Swing Week Ashokan Music and Dance Camps and is the director of Ashokan Acoustic Guitar Camp.

Peter also plays at festivals, concerts, camps and dances with Swingology, with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. He appears on Jay and Molly’s CDs including “the Lover’s Waltz” and “Relax Your Mind” and played with them in the house band of “A Prairie Home Companion” in the 1990s. In the 1980s, Peter was part of the back-up band for John Phillips and the “Mamas and Papas,” and founded the seminal swing dance band Lindy Hop Heaven. In 2011, Peter spent 3 months in Shanghai, China playing 6 nights a week in The House of Blues and Jazz.

Peter resides in Saratoga Springs, New York with his amazingly musician tolerant wife Beverly.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL Improvisation Inspiration: Getting Ideas (All Levels) – Peter Davis

Want a safe space to learn and practice improvisation skills? Although scales, arpeggios and patterns are useful, there’s more to it if you want the listener to “get” what you’re saying. We’ll have a few “tunes of the week” and use the melody, harmony and rhythm as launching pads for improv ideas. Some areas covered:

Playing and Inventing Melodies: Every melody was once someone’s improvisation!
Rhythmic Phrasing: Every word or phrase can be put to rhythm – including mundane things you see, like “The ceiling is white and the walls are yellow…”
Making Phrases Memorable: using repetition, statements, answers, riffs and motifs.
Scales Arpeggios and Appoggiaturas as launching points.
Thirds and Sevenths!
Rhythm in Your Notes: Swinging, Straight, Accents,or what?
Analyzing Chord Progressions, Chord Spelling and the Number System
Getting the Blues into it.

Peter Davis

Peter Davis is a multi-instrumentalist and educator from Saratoga Springs, NY. He plays clarinet, alto sax, 5-string and tenor banjos, piano, guitar, mandolin, whistle and his current fave; tenor guitar. He loves to vocalize, improvise and concertize, and is a member of 5 or 6 active bands. He has an intuitive approach to a variety of musical genres including traditional folk, blues, vintage pop and jazz forms.

When he was five, Peter took piano lessons, but after six months the teacher fired him asbecause he was for playing by ear instead of reading notes. At eight, Peter connected with a private clarinet teacher culminating in playing the Mozart clarinet concerto. He was handed a saxophone in 8th grade band class,was introduced to the 12 bar blues progression and at in the late ‘50s startedplaying rock and roll music on saxophone with older kids in bars around Babylon, Long Island.

In 10th grade, Peter was sent to Oakwood School – a Quaker boarding school in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he was exposed to political activism, folk music and Pete Seeger, who lived nearby, was blacklisted from doing regular gigs, and used to come a few times a year to Oakwood to sing and play with the students. Peter most played records in high school were by JS Bach, Thelonius Monk, Mississippi John Hurt and Earl Scruggs. At SUNY Binghamton Peter minored in music – played in a jug and bluegrass band, sang in a doo wop and madrigal groups and played reeds in pit bands for musicals.

After getting a masters degree in teaching at Columbia University, Peter spent three years in the Peace Corps in Malawi, Central Africa, teaching high school social studies. He directed his school’s a capella group and jammed South African zulu jive with some of his students.

Peter’s current projects include the vintage blues, jazz and Americana band Annie and the Hedonists, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers, a dixieland jazz band, which is the house band at Saratoga Racecourse every summer, and Peter, Paul, and George, who teach elementary school kids about traditional music and dancing. Other projects include The Clayfoot Strutters, a rocked-out contradance band from Vermont and The Whippersnappers, an eclectic string band. He has long been an instructor at Western and Swing Week Ashokan Music and Dance Camps and is the director of Ashokan Acoustic Guitar Camp.

Peter also plays at festivals, concerts, camps and dances with Swingology, with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. He appears on Jay and Molly’s CDs including “the Lover’s Waltz” and “Relax Your Mind” and played with them in the house band of “A Prairie Home Companion” in the 1990s. In the 1980s, Peter was part of the back-up band for John Phillips and the “Mamas and Papas,” and founded the seminal swing dance band Lindy Hop Heaven. In 2011, Peter spent 3 months in Shanghai, China playing 6 nights a week in The House of Blues and Jazz.

Peter resides in Saratoga Springs, New York with his amazingly musician tolerant wife Beverly.

String Band / Jug Band Performance (All Levels) – Ben Hunter, Joe Seamons, AND Phil Wiggins

This workshop will provide an opportunity for folks to learn some great dance and party tunes, learn to play well together as an ensemble, mine the intersection of blues and swing that happens in the string band / jug band tradition, and have a great and joyful time providing the sound track for dances and celebrations. Songs will come from from the Mississippi Sheiks; Martin, Bogan and Armstrong; Fats Waller; Duke Ellington; Gus Cannon; and many more! All instruments are welcome. The level will be intermediate / advanced but participants who feel like they are a little bit below intermediate should come and check it out. Accommodations can most likely be made.

Phil WIggins

Ben Hunter (L) and Joe Seamons (R)

Phil Wiggins

Washington, D.C. native Phil Wiggins, a Takoma Park, Maryland, resident, blues musician, teacher and artistic director, a two time winner of the prestigious WC Handy Blues Foundation awards, is only the third harmonica player to receive the lifetime honor of an NEA National Heritage Fellowship. Today he is the only living player of the instrument to hold the prestigious honor of being a “Master of Traditional Arts.” Often referred to by its unofficial designation as “Living Cultural Treasure” award, the fellowship honors and preserves the diverse cultural heritage in the United States. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) annually awards one-time-only NEA National Heritage Fellowships to master folk and traditional artists, to recognize lifetime achievement, artistic excellence, and contributions to our nation’s traditional arts heritage.

The NEA National Heritage Fellowship has been bestowed on some of the greatest luminaries in traditional and folk music. In the traditional blues genre, past winners include some of the most important figures in blues history: B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Pinetop Perkins, Sunnyland Slim, Elizabeth Cotton, Clifton Chenier, Robert Lockwood Jr., Honeyboy Edwards, Brownie McGhee, Jack Owens, Mavis Staples and her father Pops Staples, and many more. Harmonica players Sonny Terry and Elder Roma Wilson are the only other harmonica instrumentalists to receive the honor.

Phil Wiggins now joins the ranks of his eminent elders, friends and compatriots in the Washington, D.C area traditional Piedmont blues scene to win this distinguished award. His former duo partner, the Piedmont blues singer and guitarist John Cephas, received the National Heritage Fellowship Award in 1989. Phil’s friend and early career catalyst , the great blues singer/guitarist and songster John Jackson received the honor in 1986. The blues singer/guitarist and songster Warner Williams, who took the award in 2011, is now the only other living practitioner of the regional traditional blues besides Phil Wiggins with this recognition.

Phil Wiggins is a versatile traditional harmonica player, continuing the Piedmont blues tradition, a gentle and melodic blues style of the mid-Atlantic region. He plays the diatonic ten-hole harmonica in the country blues style, cupping both hands around the instrument and playing acoustically. His sound is not shaped by the gear, the microphone or amplifier when performing on stage, instead by his complex syncopated patterns, breath-control and rhythm, stylistic virtuosity and fiery solo runs.

As a teenager living in Washington D.C. in the 1970s, he played at the Smithsonian National Folklife Festival with street singer Flora Molton, sitting in with blues greats Johnny Shines, Sunnyland Slim, Sam Chatmon, Robert Belfour and Howard Armstrong. By the time he graduated from high school in 1973, D.C. blues elders John Jackson, John Cephas and Archie Edwards had embraced him. He joined the Barrelhouse Rockers, a band fronted by pianist and singer Wilbert “Big Chief” Ellis, where John Cephas played guitar. They toured regionally until Ellis retired in 1977, when John Cephas invited him to join in the duo ‘Cephas & Wiggins’.

With John Cephas as guitarist and primary singer, the duo performed together for 32 years as internationally renowned stars of the country blues, and a staple on blues radio, ever present on the concert and festival circuit – all with the help of National Council for Traditional Arts director Joe Wilson. Cephas & Wiggins played Carnegie Hall, Royal Prince Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House, as well as small venues worldwide, touring every continent except Antarctica. They recorded more than a dozen critically acclaimed albums, including on Flying Fish and Alligator Records, winning the prestigious W.C. Handy Blues Award in 1984 for Best Traditional Album of the Year and in 1987 as Entertainers of the Year. They even performed at the White House with B.B. King. Phil Wiggins as well as Cephas & Wiggins have been featured in major music magazines, including on the cover of Living Blues, and the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and many more. University of Maryland professor, author, blues historian and producer Dr. Barry Lee Pearson has released numerous Cephas & Wiggins tracks on his Smithsonian Folkways album collections, in addition to his frequent writings over more than 30 years, which also featured the duo and John Cephas’ autobiography.

Since the 2009 death of John Cephas, Phil has performed with numerous musicians including Nat Reese, Corey Harris, Australian guitarist Dom Turner, Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons, Sherman Holmes, the Rev. John Wilkins, Jerron Paxton, and longtime friends Eleanor Ellis and Rick Franklin. He fronts the acoustic swing/roots/blues ensemble, the Chesapeake Sheiks, and is actively engaged in reuniting the Piedmont blues with its origins of African American buck and tap dancing.

Phil Wiggins has taught thousands of burgeoning harmonica players and actively continues to teach and lead as artistic director in workshops, such as at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia and the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop in Washington State. Plus, he continues to play an active role on the board of the National Council for Traditional Arts.

Additionally, he performed in the feature film Matewan about the coal mining wars in West Virginia, written and directed by John Sayles. Phil appears in the film and contributed music to the soundtrack. He also appeared in Blues Houseparty , a documentary produced by Eleanor Ellis that captures a wonderful celebration of music and culture that takes place at the home of John Jackson. Phil appears in the film and supplies the voiceover narration. Plus: Portland Mojo: How Stumptown Got the Blues Written and produced by Bob Lietch, a documentary film about the blues scene in Portland, Oregon, narrated by Phil. Letters from Mound Bayou A documentary film about the establishment of a community health center for the rural community of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Produced by an activist group in Washington, D.C. called Video Action, Phil wrote and performed the music for the soundtrack.

Ben Hunter

Ben Hunter was born in Lesotho, a tiny nation in South Africa, and was largely raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Living with his globe trotting mother, he also spent two of his formative years in Zimbabwe. There, at the age of seven, his love of rhythm began to blossom as he learned to play the marimba and perform traditional Shona music, while also continuing to pursue a better grasp of the violin. Throughout his early travels, Ben was introduced to a large variety of music, ranging from the folk traditions of the United States, down through Latin America, and across the seas to the continent of Africa.

Ben began studying classical violin at at the age of 5, and was taught predominantly in that tradition. He played in a variety of youth and string orchestras before eventually majoring in violin performance at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. Adopting the Pacific Northwest as his new home, Ben moved to Seattle, WA, soon after college. After discovering the vibrant diversity of southeast Seattle, he founded a non-profit, Community Arts Create, to break down social barriers through community arts activities. In 2011, he joined Renegade Stringband after meeting its banjo player, Joe Seamons, at String Summit.

After two years of national tours in 2012 amd 2013, both Ben and Joe attended the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival, where living legends of traditional blues and ragtime showed them a new musical direction. After founding a new duo act with Joe to pursue this new interest, Ben suggested that they expand their work as educators (both regularly taught private lessons and after school classes) by developing a new music project as a program of Community Arts Create. The Rhapsody Project was thus established, with the goal to strengthen communities through song and spread the gospel of folk and blues music. Rhapsody is the integration of performance and teaching through public events and school workshops designed to facilitate cross-generational, cross-cultural interactions through the medium of music.

Ben plays an active role in the southeast Seattle community, serving on a variety of boards and committees that work to develop the south Seattle region economically, socially, environmentally, and all the while, artistically. In 2013, Ben co-founded The Hillman City Collaboratory, the mission of which is to be an instrument of transformation that provides a built environment and programming specifically designed to create community and equip change-makers.

Joe Seamons

Joe Seamons is a songster and teacher of the Pacific Northwest. Raised in the backwoods of Oregon in a house built by his parents, he was exposed to local folk music of sawmill workers, loggers and fishermen whose music reflected the character of the region.

As he heard these songs in living rooms, around campfires, and at cider pressing parties, Joe also attended public school in the small nearby town of Rainier, Oregon. Consequently, he was exposed to the artistry and fierce environmentalist passion of his parent’s and their friends as well as the quiet conservatism of a tiny town full of paper mill workers and longshoremen. Living between these two cultures prepared Joe to relate to the perspectives of the great early blues artists, whose music he discovered after taking up guitar at age 16.

The poetic clarity of southern blues got Joe to thinkin about the history and character of Northwest folk music, worked to deepen his knowledge of the history of Northwest folk songs by applying for and receiving a Woody Guthrie Fellowship from the BMI Foundation. He travelled to New York City, where he worked for a week in the Woody Guthrie Archives uncovering manuscripts and letters written by Guthrie during his time in Portland, OR (in 1941). This intensive study of Guthrie’s Columbia River songs greatly enhanced his appreciation of the power and value of the obscure music he had heard growing up. To properly perform and interpret this music, Joe soon took up the banjo, taking instruction from the brilliant Northwest folklorist (and old family friend) Hobe Kytr. Joe’s passion for Northwest folk culture soon took shape in a new musical endeavor called Timberbound, a revivalist band performing the region’s ballads.

Around this time, Joe met the violinist Ben Hunter, and the two began playing music together. Inspired by the community Ben was engaging in South Seattle, Joe moved from Portland to Seattle in 2013 and the two began working as a duo. There, Ben had founded his own non-profit, Community Arts Create, with programs dedicated to food, murals, and the power of art to build community. Joe & Ben co-founded a new music project under CAC, The Rhapsody Project, which helps people to engage with their heritage through roots music. They have delivered programming for this project throughout America, and in 2019 were recognized by the Ethnic Heritage Coucil for excellence in ethnic performance and significant contributions to the development and presentation of the traditional cultural arts in the Pacific Northwest.

String Band / Jug Band Repertoire (All Levels) – Ben Hunter, Joe Seamons, AND Phil Wiggins

This workshop will explore the art of playing well with others in different arrangements. Tunes like “Dinah,” “Sweet Sue,” “Dallas Rag,” and different types of blues will be the catalysts. Roles in background, foreground, and arrangements will be discussed.

Phil WIggins

Ben Hunter (L) and Joe Seamons (R)

Phil Wiggins

Washington, D.C. native Phil Wiggins, a Takoma Park, Maryland, resident, blues musician, teacher and artistic director, a two time winner of the prestigious WC Handy Blues Foundation awards, is only the third harmonica player to receive the lifetime honor of an NEA National Heritage Fellowship. Today he is the only living player of the instrument to hold the prestigious honor of being a “Master of Traditional Arts.” Often referred to by its unofficial designation as “Living Cultural Treasure” award, the fellowship honors and preserves the diverse cultural heritage in the United States. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) annually awards one-time-only NEA National Heritage Fellowships to master folk and traditional artists, to recognize lifetime achievement, artistic excellence, and contributions to our nation’s traditional arts heritage.

The NEA National Heritage Fellowship has been bestowed on some of the greatest luminaries in traditional and folk music. In the traditional blues genre, past winners include some of the most important figures in blues history: B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Pinetop Perkins, Sunnyland Slim, Elizabeth Cotton, Clifton Chenier, Robert Lockwood Jr., Honeyboy Edwards, Brownie McGhee, Jack Owens, Mavis Staples and her father Pops Staples, and many more. Harmonica players Sonny Terry and Elder Roma Wilson are the only other harmonica instrumentalists to receive the honor.

Phil Wiggins now joins the ranks of his eminent elders, friends and compatriots in the Washington, D.C area traditional Piedmont blues scene to win this distinguished award. His former duo partner, the Piedmont blues singer and guitarist John Cephas, received the National Heritage Fellowship Award in 1989. Phil’s friend and early career catalyst , the great blues singer/guitarist and songster John Jackson received the honor in 1986. The blues singer/guitarist and songster Warner Williams, who took the award in 2011, is now the only other living practitioner of the regional traditional blues besides Phil Wiggins with this recognition.

Phil Wiggins is a versatile traditional harmonica player, continuing the Piedmont blues tradition, a gentle and melodic blues style of the mid-Atlantic region. He plays the diatonic ten-hole harmonica in the country blues style, cupping both hands around the instrument and playing acoustically. His sound is not shaped by the gear, the microphone or amplifier when performing on stage, instead by his complex syncopated patterns, breath-control and rhythm, stylistic virtuosity and fiery solo runs.

As a teenager living in Washington D.C. in the 1970s, he played at the Smithsonian National Folklife Festival with street singer Flora Molton, sitting in with blues greats Johnny Shines, Sunnyland Slim, Sam Chatmon, Robert Belfour and Howard Armstrong. By the time he graduated from high school in 1973, D.C. blues elders John Jackson, John Cephas and Archie Edwards had embraced him. He joined the Barrelhouse Rockers, a band fronted by pianist and singer Wilbert “Big Chief” Ellis, where John Cephas played guitar. They toured regionally until Ellis retired in 1977, when John Cephas invited him to join in the duo ‘Cephas & Wiggins’.

With John Cephas as guitarist and primary singer, the duo performed together for 32 years as internationally renowned stars of the country blues, and a staple on blues radio, ever present on the concert and festival circuit – all with the help of National Council for Traditional Arts director Joe Wilson. Cephas & Wiggins played Carnegie Hall, Royal Prince Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House, as well as small venues worldwide, touring every continent except Antarctica. They recorded more than a dozen critically acclaimed albums, including on Flying Fish and Alligator Records, winning the prestigious W.C. Handy Blues Award in 1984 for Best Traditional Album of the Year and in 1987 as Entertainers of the Year. They even performed at the White House with B.B. King. Phil Wiggins as well as Cephas & Wiggins have been featured in major music magazines, including on the cover of Living Blues, and the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and many more. University of Maryland professor, author, blues historian and producer Dr. Barry Lee Pearson has released numerous Cephas & Wiggins tracks on his Smithsonian Folkways album collections, in addition to his frequent writings over more than 30 years, which also featured the duo and John Cephas’ autobiography.

Since the 2009 death of John Cephas, Phil has performed with numerous musicians including Nat Reese, Corey Harris, Australian guitarist Dom Turner, Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons, Sherman Holmes, the Rev. John Wilkins, Jerron Paxton, and longtime friends Eleanor Ellis and Rick Franklin. He fronts the acoustic swing/roots/blues ensemble, the Chesapeake Sheiks, and is actively engaged in reuniting the Piedmont blues with its origins of African American buck and tap dancing.

Phil Wiggins has taught thousands of burgeoning harmonica players and actively continues to teach and lead as artistic director in workshops, such as at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia and the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop in Washington State. Plus, he continues to play an active role on the board of the National Council for Traditional Arts.

Additionally, he performed in the feature film Matewan about the coal mining wars in West Virginia, written and directed by John Sayles. Phil appears in the film and contributed music to the soundtrack. He also appeared in Blues Houseparty , a documentary produced by Eleanor Ellis that captures a wonderful celebration of music and culture that takes place at the home of John Jackson. Phil appears in the film and supplies the voiceover narration. Plus: Portland Mojo: How Stumptown Got the Blues Written and produced by Bob Lietch, a documentary film about the blues scene in Portland, Oregon, narrated by Phil. Letters from Mound Bayou A documentary film about the establishment of a community health center for the rural community of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Produced by an activist group in Washington, D.C. called Video Action, Phil wrote and performed the music for the soundtrack.

Ben Hunter

Ben Hunter was born in Lesotho, a tiny nation in South Africa, and was largely raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Living with his globe trotting mother, he also spent two of his formative years in Zimbabwe. There, at the age of seven, his love of rhythm began to blossom as he learned to play the marimba and perform traditional Shona music, while also continuing to pursue a better grasp of the violin. Throughout his early travels, Ben was introduced to a large variety of music, ranging from the folk traditions of the United States, down through Latin America, and across the seas to the continent of Africa.

Ben began studying classical violin at at the age of 5, and was taught predominantly in that tradition. He played in a variety of youth and string orchestras before eventually majoring in violin performance at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. Adopting the Pacific Northwest as his new home, Ben moved to Seattle, WA, soon after college. After discovering the vibrant diversity of southeast Seattle, he founded a non-profit, Community Arts Create, to break down social barriers through community arts activities. In 2011, he joined Renegade Stringband after meeting its banjo player, Joe Seamons, at String Summit.

After two years of national tours in 2012 amd 2013, both Ben and Joe attended the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival, where living legends of traditional blues and ragtime showed them a new musical direction. After founding a new duo act with Joe to pursue this new interest, Ben suggested that they expand their work as educators (both regularly taught private lessons and after school classes) by developing a new music project as a program of Community Arts Create. The Rhapsody Project was thus established, with the goal to strengthen communities through song and spread the gospel of folk and blues music. Rhapsody is the integration of performance and teaching through public events and school workshops designed to facilitate cross-generational, cross-cultural interactions through the medium of music.

Ben plays an active role in the southeast Seattle community, serving on a variety of boards and committees that work to develop the south Seattle region economically, socially, environmentally, and all the while, artistically. In 2013, Ben co-founded The Hillman City Collaboratory, the mission of which is to be an instrument of transformation that provides a built environment and programming specifically designed to create community and equip change-makers.

Joe Seamons

Joe Seamons is a songster and teacher of the Pacific Northwest. Raised in the backwoods of Oregon in a house built by his parents, he was exposed to local folk music of sawmill workers, loggers and fishermen whose music reflected the character of the region.

As he heard these songs in living rooms, around campfires, and at cider pressing parties, Joe also attended public school in the small nearby town of Rainier, Oregon. Consequently, he was exposed to the artistry and fierce environmentalist passion of his parent’s and their friends as well as the quiet conservatism of a tiny town full of paper mill workers and longshoremen. Living between these two cultures prepared Joe to relate to the perspectives of the great early blues artists, whose music he discovered after taking up guitar at age 16.

The poetic clarity of southern blues got Joe to thinkin about the history and character of Northwest folk music, worked to deepen his knowledge of the history of Northwest folk songs by applying for and receiving a Woody Guthrie Fellowship from the BMI Foundation. He travelled to New York City, where he worked for a week in the Woody Guthrie Archives uncovering manuscripts and letters written by Guthrie during his time in Portland, OR (in 1941). This intensive study of Guthrie’s Columbia River songs greatly enhanced his appreciation of the power and value of the obscure music he had heard growing up. To properly perform and interpret this music, Joe soon took up the banjo, taking instruction from the brilliant Northwest folklorist (and old family friend) Hobe Kytr. Joe’s passion for Northwest folk culture soon took shape in a new musical endeavor called Timberbound, a revivalist band performing the region’s ballads.

Around this time, Joe met the violinist Ben Hunter, and the two began playing music together. Inspired by the community Ben was engaging in South Seattle, Joe moved from Portland to Seattle in 2013 and the two began working as a duo. There, Ben had founded his own non-profit, Community Arts Create, with programs dedicated to food, murals, and the power of art to build community. Joe & Ben co-founded a new music project under CAC, The Rhapsody Project, which helps people to engage with their heritage through roots music. They have delivered programming for this project throughout America, and in 2019 were recognized by the Ethnic Heritage Coucil for excellence in ethnic performance and significant contributions to the development and presentation of the traditional cultural arts in the Pacific Northwest.

Swing Jam – Kathy Reitz AND Marv Reitz

The swing jam will be a swing happy hour to cover some repertoire at an intermediate to advanced level. But all instruments and all levels are welcome. You can always chunk along on the chords without soloing. We will use this year’s jam tunes, tunes from the Augusta anthology, and whatever tunes participants bring along. There will be more playing than talking and we hope that singers will come too. This is a chance to solidify some things you have learned in class that day.

Kathy Reitz

Kathy has attended Augusta for over 25 years. She plays a big bass and a little uke. She appears on The Zombies of Swing (Swing Cat Records, recorded at Augusta with Paul Anastasio and other swing faculty in 1992), Home by Miss Tess, Razz’em Jazz’em’s album on Patuxent, and a small variety of other people’s recordings. She freelances around DC and plays in most of the same bands as her music and life partner, Marv Reitz. These include the Buffalo Nickel Band, Paramount Jazz Orchestra, Big Bang Swing Band, Swing Underground, and Sunshine Skiffle Band. Besides playing with Marv, Kathy’s favorite people to play with are her friends from Augusta.
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Marv Reitz

Marv Reitz was warned by his music teacher father not to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. But Marv decided he’d rather not be a jack of one either. He plays sax, clarinet, guitar, steel guitar, and sings. Last year marked more 25 years at Augusta and 20 on the faculty. A molecular biologist/virologist by day, Marv has been on the Washington, DC, music scene for 45 years. He was an original member of Doc Scantlin’s Imperial Palms Orchestra and now leads the Paramount Jazz Orchestra, a 10 piece’20s and ‘30s band, and Swing Underground, a 17-piece swing big band. He also plays with the Big Bang Big Band and the Buffalo Nickle Band, a western swing-oriented sextet. He and his wife share a vast repertoire of music. He can be heard with the Sunshine Skiffle Band on Rounder and on Patuxent Music with the Buffalo Nickel Band and Razz’em Jazz’em.


Bass

Blues Bass (Beginning / Intermediate) – Ralph Gordon

The direction of this blues bass session will be determined by the participants and their needs. All aspects of playing blues bass will be covered, including chordal construction and variations of the 12-bar and 8-bar blues, what notes typically are played for them, walking lines and moving between chords, and turnarounds. The numbering system for the notes and chords will be explained to facilitate changing keys and seeing/hearing their harmonic values. We will cover the blues scale and how it is used for soloing. Most important for the bassist will be time matters, how the grooves and styles are rhythmically tensioned to create the different feels (i.e. 12/8 shuffle, funk and straight eighths, swing, and others) while sometimes playing the exact same notes. If you want to start playing blues bass or deepen your groove and understanding of it, this would be the workshop for you.

Ralph Gordon

A uniquely versatile musician, Ralph Gordon brings 45 years of musical experience to the bass and cello in the genres of Blues, Swing, Jazz, Klezmer, Folk, Bluegrass, Country, and many others. Classically trained in music studies at West Virginia University and the Manhattan School of Music, Ralph went on to do a stint with the New Jersey Symphony and tour with Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians. When it comes to knowing and holding down the bottom, Ralph is on top!!! www.RalphGordonMusic.com

Swing Bass (Beginning / Intermediate) – Ralph Gordon

This workshop will explore some of the harmonic elements and physical techniques used for playing swing music on the bass to get participants up walking. Since the right hand is where the different feels and grooves are expressed, the class will take time to learn some different right hand techniques and listen to and experiment with these different techniques while playing standard swing songs. The class will talk about the role of the bass within the swing band rhythm section. Since the groove is paramount in swing music, participants will spend some time learning how to better play “in the different pockets” with other instruments. The drum instructor, Wes Crawford, along with another instructor or two, will help out during a couple of the sessions so that participants can get a real rhythm section experience!

On the left hand, participants will play through and talk about some basic scales and Ralph will show how to break down chords into arpeggios and then use some of these intervals to make creative and interesting bass lines that will complement a song. Since turnarounds are a main component of swing music, the class will talk about what a turnaround is, how it is used, and will play through some of the common swing turnarounds so that participants will become familiar with them. This will be a great skill to get comfortable with as participants join in on jam sessions in the evening!

The workshop will explore and experiment with all of these concepts using swing tunes that employ chord structures common to many other swing songs:
Rhythm Changes (I Got Rhythm chords)
Honeysuckle Rose
Swing/Jazz Blues progressions (only a little different from traditional blues changes!)
Participants will try the tunes above in several different keys so they can get a feel for “what makes the song tick”, thus taking the mystery out of playing without the music in front of them!

Participants should have some level of comfort on their instruments and know at least a few major scales. Knowing how to play a 12-bar blues is helpful but not required. Upright, electric, and ukulele basses are welcome in this workshop. Some handouts will be made available in advance in PDF form. Contact augusta@augustaheritagecenter.org to request the files via email.

Ralph Gordon

A uniquely versatile musician, Ralph Gordon brings 45 years of musical experience to the bass and cello in the genres of Blues, Swing, Jazz, Klezmer, Folk, Bluegrass, Country, and many others. Classically trained in music studies at West Virginia University and the Manhattan School of Music, Ralph went on to do a stint with the New Jersey Symphony and tour with Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians. When it comes to knowing and holding down the bottom, Ralph is on top!!! www.RalphGordonMusic.com

Swing Bass: Playing the Changes (Advanced) – Ralph Gordon

Using some of the archetypal swing / jazz songs, participants will learn about the common chord patterns that comprise many favorite songs in the swing genre. Among these songs are, “All the Things You Are,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “All of Me,” “There Will Never Be Another You,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” and “Take the A Train.” Once participants learn to recognize and play these common chord patterns, they will be well on the way to being able to play along with almost anything they hear. In order to get these patterns “under their fingers”, participants will play the songs in more than one key – thus bringing the structure of the songs to the forefront.

Who doesn’t love a (great) bass solo? The workshop will cover some soloing techniques and how to play a solo that actually makes melodic sense. Bass solos are at their best when they express something about the song over which it is being played and about the personality and heart of the individual player. This process can be a lifelong endeavor, but there are tools and ideas for getting there.

Ralph Gordon will structure the workshop on the “One-A-Day” method: The workshop will cover some of the more “exotic” scales (minor, harmonic minor, augmented, etc). The “One-A-Day” method should keep participants’ heads from exploding! The participants will learn one song per day, examining and playing the chord structure and playing in several different keys. The “song of the day” will be used to show where some of these scales can be applied. The “song of the day” will also give participants a chance to try out some soloing each day as well.

This is an advanced workshop. Participants should be familiar with their instrument, have a good grip on the major scales and some modes, and know how to play when looking at a chord chart. Some handouts will be made available in advance in PDF form. Contact augusta@augustaheritagecenter.org to request the files via email.

Ralph Gordon

A uniquely versatile musician, Ralph Gordon brings 45 years of musical experience to the bass and cello in the genres of Blues, Swing, Jazz, Klezmer, Folk, Bluegrass, Country, and many others. Classically trained in music studies at West Virginia University and the Manhattan School of Music, Ralph went on to do a stint with the New Jersey Symphony and tour with Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians. When it comes to knowing and holding down the bottom, Ralph is on top!!! www.RalphGordonMusic.com


Dance

Dance: Walkarounds, Cakewalks, & Cyphers – Emancipation Ceremonies? (All Levels) – Junious Brickhouse & Jontavious Willis

This workshop will meet period 2 and will provide a historical and cultural framework for the House Party Dance class in the afternoon, but can also complement other music classes participants choose to take. We will investigate the early dance traditions associated with the blues and how those traditions have evolved into the present. Through lecture, discussion, and experiential movement, Junious “House” Brickhouse will be presenting in-depth research into these controversial art forms and their communities of practice, with emphasis on their critical significance to blues music and its legacy musical genres. We will discuss our roles as students of the blues in the preservation and evolution of this movement and social history that comes along with it. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and bring materials for taking notes.

Junious Brickhouse

Junious “House” Brickhouse is an internationally established educator, choreographer, and cultural preservationist with over 30 years of experience in Urban Dance Culture. Born in Virginia Beach, VA, his dance training began at family gatherings dancing the funk styles of the era. Growing up, he sought out all the learning opportunities available to him, from community centers to parking lots, where young people were teaching each other and building communities around urban dance forms. Early on, he established himself as a leader and mentor in those communities, serving to educate and guide others. At age 18, Junious embarked on an over 21-year career as a Logistics Professional in the U.S. Army and later as a Department of Defense contractor. Throughout his time in various international assignments, Junious developed both a military an dance career, eventually rising to positions of leadership and responsibility in both areas. As the Founding Executive Director of Urban Artistry Inc. (www.urbanartistry.org), Junious has inspired and created a movement of artists dedicated to the preservation of urban dance culture, specifically within communities of practice. As Urban Artistry’s Executive Director, Junious produces projects such as The International Soul Society Festival, The Preservatory, and the UA Digital Archives to encourage other artists to research and document these tradition bearers and their stories. As a scholar/practitioner, Junious teaches at colleges and universities, using an experiential approach to teaching, Movement of the African American South, Hip Hop, as well as urban dance movement and the cultural context from which it evolves. As the Co-Director with Next Level, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in association with the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Meridian International Center for Cultural Diplomacy, Junious works tirelessly to promote international cultural exchange in underserved communities, conflict prevention and resolution, and entrepreneurial skill building through hip-hop music and dance. A citizen folklorist, Junious also conducts independent research into those cultural traditions whose influence is reflected in urban dance culture. From ring shouts and acoustic county blues to hip hop, understanding the nature and meaning of these art forms and their influences is what motivates this artist.

Jontavious Willis

Hailing from Greenville, Georgia, Jontavious Willis grew up singing gospel music at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church with his grandfather. At the age of 14, he came across a YouTube video of Muddy Waters playing “Hoochie Coochie Man” and was hooked. That’s when he set his course on the blues. As a fingerpicker, flat-picker, and slide player, he explored all types of blues — Delta, Piedmont, Texas, gospel — and on harmonica, banjo, and cigar box.

Four years later he was playing on Taj Mahal’s stage. Currently Jontavious is finishing his studies at Columbus State University, majoring in sociology. But on most weekends, he can be found playing a small house show, up on the main stage, or posting music videos for his friends and fans around the world.

House Party Dance: Part 1 (All Levels) – Junious Brickhouse

Guided by Junious Brickhouse, the House Party Dance workshop will meet periods 3 and 4 and will dovetail with the String Band / Jug Band workshops. Learn to respond to the rich genres of string band and jug band music with dance, informed by tradition and open to innovation. The goal is to experience dance as a celebration of American blues music and to explore the variety of movement styles that have evolved from the blues including tap dance, house dance, and jazz dance. No specific dance or music experience is required, and participants should come prepared to move and learn through presentations, choreography, improvisation, and sharing. Comfortable clothes and shoes are recommended, hard-soled shoes or tap shoes are helpful if you have them but not required. Participants should also bring a water bottle and materials for making note of new ideas, steps, or movements.

Junious Brickhouse

Junious “House” Brickhouse is an internationally established educator, choreographer, and cultural preservationist with over 30 years of experience in Urban Dance Culture. Born in Virginia Beach, VA, his dance training began at family gatherings dancing the funk styles of the era. Growing up, he sought out all the learning opportunities available to him, from community centers to parking lots, where young people were teaching each other and building communities around urban dance forms. Early on, he established himself as a leader and mentor in those communities, serving to educate and guide others. At age 18, Junious embarked on an over 21-year career as a Logistics Professional in the U.S. Army and later as a Department of Defense contractor. Throughout his time in various international assignments, Junious developed both a military an dance career, eventually rising to positions of leadership and responsibility in both areas. As the Founding Executive Director of Urban Artistry Inc. (www.urbanartistry.org), Junious has inspired and created a movement of artists dedicated to the preservation of urban dance culture, specifically within communities of practice. As Urban Artistry’s Executive Director, Junious produces projects such as The International Soul Society Festival, The Preservatory, and the UA Digital Archives to encourage other artists to research and document these tradition bearers and their stories. As a scholar/practitioner, Junious teaches at colleges and universities, using an experiential approach to teaching, Movement of the African American South, Hip Hop, as well as urban dance movement and the cultural context from which it evolves. As the Co-Director with Next Level, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in association with the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Meridian International Center for Cultural Diplomacy, Junious works tirelessly to promote international cultural exchange in underserved communities, conflict prevention and resolution, and entrepreneurial skill building through hip-hop music and dance. A citizen folklorist, Junious also conducts independent research into those cultural traditions whose influence is reflected in urban dance culture. From ring shouts and acoustic county blues to hip hop, understanding the nature and meaning of these art forms and their influences is what motivates this artist.

House Party Dance: Part 2 (All Levels) – Junious Brickhouse

Guided by Junious Brickhouse, the House Party Dance workshop will meet periods 3 and 4 and will dovetail with the String Band / Jug Band workshops. Learn to respond to the rich genres of string band and jug band music with dance, informed by tradition and open to innovation. The goal is to experience dance as a celebration of American blues music and to explore the variety of movement styles that have evolved from the blues including tap dance, house dance, and jazz dance. No specific dance or music experience is required, and participants should come prepared to move and learn through presentations, choreography, improvisation, and sharing. Comfortable clothes and shoes are recommended, hard-soled shoes or tap shoes are helpful if you have them but not required. Participants should also bring a water bottle and materials for making note of new ideas, steps, or movements.

Junious Brickhouse

Junious “House” Brickhouse is an internationally established educator, choreographer, and cultural preservationist with over 30 years of experience in Urban Dance Culture. Born in Virginia Beach, VA, his dance training began at family gatherings dancing the funk styles of the era. Growing up, he sought out all the learning opportunities available to him, from community centers to parking lots, where young people were teaching each other and building communities around urban dance forms. Early on, he established himself as a leader and mentor in those communities, serving to educate and guide others. At age 18, Junious embarked on an over 21-year career as a Logistics Professional in the U.S. Army and later as a Department of Defense contractor. Throughout his time in various international assignments, Junious developed both a military an dance career, eventually rising to positions of leadership and responsibility in both areas. As the Founding Executive Director of Urban Artistry Inc. (www.urbanartistry.org), Junious has inspired and created a movement of artists dedicated to the preservation of urban dance culture, specifically within communities of practice. As Urban Artistry’s Executive Director, Junious produces projects such as The International Soul Society Festival, The Preservatory, and the UA Digital Archives to encourage other artists to research and document these tradition bearers and their stories. As a scholar/practitioner, Junious teaches at colleges and universities, using an experiential approach to teaching, Movement of the African American South, Hip Hop, as well as urban dance movement and the cultural context from which it evolves. As the Co-Director with Next Level, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in association with the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Meridian International Center for Cultural Diplomacy, Junious works tirelessly to promote international cultural exchange in underserved communities, conflict prevention and resolution, and entrepreneurial skill building through hip-hop music and dance. A citizen folklorist, Junious also conducts independent research into those cultural traditions whose influence is reflected in urban dance culture. From ring shouts and acoustic county blues to hip hop, understanding the nature and meaning of these art forms and their influences is what motivates this artist.


Guitar

Country Blues Guitar Fingerpicking Basics – Part 1 & 2 (Beginning) – Valerie Turner

These two workshops will be conducted in daily, back-to-back sessions and it is an opportunity for participants to be immersed in Country Blues guitar fingerpicking for an entire morning each day.

The first session (Part I) will focus on learning basic guitar fingerpicking skills and techniques along with first position chords. This session is ideal for guitar players who are new to fingerpicking, or those who want to brush-up on fingerpicking basics. A new skill will be introduced each day along with new chords, drills, exercises, and lots of time to practice. If time allows, we’ll also get a head start on the Country Blues arrangement that will be presented in the second session.

The second session (Part II) is a repertoire based class that picks up where Part I leaves off. Participants in the Part II workshop should be familiar with basic first position guitar chords and be able to keep time while changing between them. The goal in each Part II session will be to learn a new Country Blues guitar arrangement, primarily using the skills and techniques being covered during the previous Part I session. Songs will be presented in a variety of keys, structures, and timings.

Participants are welcome to attend one or both sessions with the caveat that Part II attendees must be familiar with the skills presented in the corresponding Part I session. Both sessions will begin with a brief review of the previous day’s work, move at an easy pace, and will be taught by ear. Each session will conclude with a short summary and it is recommended that participants are encouraged to bring recording devices to capture this important information.

Valerie Turner

Valerie Turner plays finger style country blues guitar and specializes in the Piedmont style of fingerpicking. She has taught at Blues & Swing Week in West Virginia, Blues in the Gorge in Oregon, the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation in Maryland, and the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop in Washington. She is also the author of Piedmont Style Country Blues Guitar Basics, an independently published book that was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2017. Her guitar playing is reminiscent of traditional blues greats like Mississippi John Hurt, Etta Baker, and Elizabeth Cotten.

Valerie is a native New Yorker with southern roots. During the great migration, when millions of African Americans left southern American towns and ventured to the industrialized cities of the west and the north, Valerie’s grandparents and parents abandoned their ties with Virginia and Georgia and relocated to New York City where she was born and raised. One grandparent moved as far north as Saranac Lake, and summer visits to the Adirondacks are where Valerie was first introduced to hoedowns, square dancing, and country music. Her love of traditional, acoustic music was reinforced by visits to Washington Square Park with her parents on most fair weather weekends, where she was exposed to New York City’s folk music scene at a very young age.

Valerie’s official introduction to country blues music came through Stefan Grossman’s book, Country Blues Guitar, which she discovered in her late teens. She had many interesting teachers over the years, beginning with Jack Baker of the Fretted Instruments School in Greenwich Village. Valerie also studied with Woody Mann, a former student of Rev. Gary Davis. Her main influence, however, was John Cephas, a world-renowned, Piedmont style, country blues musician from Washington, DC, and half of the famed Cephas & Wiggins duo which included his enormously talented harp playing partner, Phil Wiggins. By the time Valerie met Cephas, he was living on a sprawling ranch in Virginia and, in addition to attending his formal workshops, she would occasionally travel to Virginia to study with him there.

Valerie is a co-founder of the Piedmont Blu?z Acoustic Duo in which she performs with her husband, Benedict Turner. The duo was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame in 2018 and, in addition to a host of domestic venues and festivals from coast to coast, these tradition bearers have traveled as far as Israel, Ireland, Spain, and Germany to share their music.

Introduction to Swing Rhythm Guitar (Beginning) – Albanie Falletta

Rhythm is the glue! The role of the rhythm guitar in swing is an essential and often overlooked sonic pillar that keeps the groove machine running. Learn some simple chord shapes that lay the foundation for a full swing band sound. Time and feel are of the essence! I will give some exercise ideas for keeping good time, and discuss a few examples of ways to approach a swing feel. As with learning any style, it’s always a great idea to listen to lots of different folks to find out what direction you want to go in, and we’ll do some of that throughout the week. Students should be able to play basic bar chords, and the only materials necessary are a guitar, pick, and open ears.

Albanie Falletta

A native of Monroe, Louisiana, Albanie was exposed to the local music of Louisiana in her formative years: the sounds of Cajun, zydeco, blues and gospel musics at festivals and backyard parties. Shortly after relocating with her family to San Marcos, Texas, at the age of nine, Albanie began taking guitar lessons and developing an interest in acoustic-roots and electric blues, punk rock, and hair metal. Albanie began her love and study of early American Jazz as a freshman in high school in Wimberley, Texas, when she was exposed to the Parisian Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt. Listening fervently to recordings of Reinhardt, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, and other such great figures of jazz, she began to develop her feel for swing. Soon she was performing alongside mentors and other players of the Austin scene where she lived and performed in the years after high school. In the summer of 2013 Albanie relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she is currently living and performing with various traditional jazz and swing ensembles. Since the summer of 2015, Albanie has also been doing solo performances featuring her original songs.

Blues Guitar: Part 1 (Beginning / Intermediate) – Justin Golden

In this workshop, participants will learn basic Piedmont Blues Guitar techniques. Participants will practice building finger/thumb independence, basic picking patterns, a few essential Piedmont licks, and develop a foundation for further study. We will focus on a couple of Piedmont Blues tunes to help reinforce technique.

On the left hand, participants will learn picking patterns using mainly open chords. On the right hand, we will examine how to incorporate an independent alternating bass line and learn how to use the index, middle, and ring fingers to make intricate melodies.

Participants should have basic knowledge of chords.

Justin Golden

Justin Golden’s origins are deeply vested in the blues. With roots in the Mississippi Delta, Chicago, and the Piedmont of Virginia, he has always felt most connected to the blues. First picking up the guitar at age 19, Golden did what came naturally and let the music flow through him. With an extremely diverse musical palette, Golden aims to bring some new ideas to traditional blues forms.

The Piedmont Blues style came to Golden in a dream. Before he had ever heard the term, he had written several songs in the Piedmont style. He seemed destined to play the blues in his own way. Now 27 years old, Golden calls Richmond, VA, his home base. He tours regionally, and as far north as Montreal.

Blues Guitar: Part 2 (Beginning / Intermediate) – Justin Golden

In this workshop, participants will learn basic Piedmont Blues Guitar techniques. Participants will practice building finger/thumb independence, basic picking patterns, a few essential Piedmont licks, and develop a foundation for further study. We will focus on a couple of Piedmont Blues tunes to help reinforce technique.

On the left hand, participants will learn picking patterns using mainly open chords. On the right hand, we will examine how to incorporate an independent alternating bass line and learn how to use the index, middle, and ring fingers to make intricate melodies.

Participants should have basic knowledge of chords.

Justin Golden

Justin Golden’s origins are deeply vested in the blues. With roots in the Mississippi Delta, Chicago, and the Piedmont of Virginia, he has always felt most connected to the blues. First picking up the guitar at age 19, Golden did what came naturally and let the music flow through him. With an extremely diverse musical palette, Golden aims to bring some new ideas to traditional blues forms.

The Piedmont Blues style came to Golden in a dream. Before he had ever heard the term, he had written several songs in the Piedmont style. He seemed destined to play the blues in his own way. Now 27 years old, Golden calls Richmond, VA, his home base. He tours regionally, and as far north as Montreal.

Blues Guitar: Slidin’ on the Frets (Beginning / Intermediate)Hubby Jenkins

The distinctive sound of blues being played on guitar with a bottleneck slide has its roots in Hawaii, the Diddley bow and one stringed ancestors in Africa. In this class we will study the proper technique for holding a slide and intonation. We will begin with the first known bottleneck style recording by Sylvester weaver and work our way to delta blues styles.

Hubby Jenkins

Hubby Jenkins is a talented multi-instrumentalist who endeavors to share his love and knowledge of old-time American music. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he delved into his Southern roots, following the thread of African American history that wove itself through country blues, ragtime, fiddle and banjo, and traditional jazz. Hubby got his higher musical education started as a busker. He developed his guitar and vocal craft on the sidewalks and subway platforms of New York City, performing material by those venerable artists whose work he was quickly absorbing. An ambitiously itinerant musician, he took his show on the road, playing the streets, coffee shops, bars, and house parties of cities around the US. After years of busking around the country and making a name for himself, Hubby became acquainted with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Since 2010 he has been an integral part of the Grammy award winning band and continues to make solo performances.

Blues Guitar: Women of Acoustic Blues (Beginning/Intermediate) – Erin Harpe

In this workshop Erin gives students an overview of early women of the acoustic blues – who accompanied themselves by snapping and bending strings just as masterfully as their male counterparts! Though these women didn’t record many songs and weren’t as famous, their unique songs and masterful guitar playing have been influential and stand the test of time. The class will discuss what is known of these obscure blues women, and learn songs by Geeshie Wiley, Elvie Thomas, Mattie Delaney, Jessie Mae Hemphill, and Elizabeth Cotton. Skills covered include varied picking patterns, playing in different keys, and some innovative guitar styles invented by these ladies as they played solo or as a duo (like Geeshie Wiley and Elvie Thomas). Resources will be provided for students including tabs and lyric sheets.

Erin Harpe

Boston-based guitarist, singer, songwriter, and visual artist Erin Harpe is a two-time Boston Music Award-winner and three-time International Blues Challenge semifinalist. Growing up watching her dad, Neil Harpe, along with a long list of other local DC area acoustic blues players, Erin soaked it all in. She remembers being a little girl attending performances by Neil, Eleanor Ellis, Rick Franklin, John Cephas and Phil Wiggins, John Jackson, Archie Edwards, Warner Williams and Jay Summerour, and many more – and she was inspired to pick up the guitar in her teens. Early on Erin learned fingerpicking songs directly from her dad, as well as from Eleanor Ellis, who she cites as a big influence. After relocating to Boston, she continued to develop her own unique guitar and vocal style, influenced by piedmont and country blues, which often moves listeners to get up and dance. She performs original songs as well as her own spirited arrangements of songs by Memphis Minnie, Bessie Smith, Mississippi John Hurt, Tommy Johnson, and many many more – both solo, and with her blues bands Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers and Erin Harpe’s Country Blues Trio. (She also fronts the electro dance rock band Lovewhip!) Erin has released two acoustic blues albums, “Blues Roots” and “Delta Blues Duets” (an album of duets with her dad), as well as two albums with Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers – 2014’s “Love Whip Blues” and her brand new self-produced album “Big Road” (out on the VizzTone label). In 2016, she also released an instructional guitar DVD “Women of the Country Blues Guitar,” through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. For more information, music, videos, tour schedule, and more check out Erin’s website: www.erinharpe.com.

Pickin’ and Poppin’: Delta Blues Guitar Technique (Beginning / Intermediate) – Erin Harpe

In this workshop, Erin teaches delta blues finger-style songs that highlight what she calls “Pickin’ and Poppin’”. Students will learn to add some percussiveness to their playing by learning the “Poppin’” thumb technique, snapping the lower strings to give an extra pop, while “Pickin’” out the melodic lines. Erin will break songs down and help each student adapt the technique to their own playing style. This class is for beginning to intermediate finger-style guitar players. Resources will be provided for students including tabs and lyric sheets.

Erin Harpe

Boston-based guitarist, singer, songwriter, and visual artist Erin Harpe is a two-time Boston Music Award-winner and three-time International Blues Challenge semifinalist. Growing up watching her dad, Neil Harpe, along with a long list of other local DC area acoustic blues players, Erin soaked it all in. She remembers being a little girl attending performances by Neil, Eleanor Ellis, Rick Franklin, John Cephas and Phil Wiggins, John Jackson, Archie Edwards, Warner Williams and Jay Summerour, and many more – and she was inspired to pick up the guitar in her teens. Early on Erin learned fingerpicking songs directly from her dad, as well as from Eleanor Ellis, who she cites as a big influence. After relocating to Boston, she continued to develop her own unique guitar and vocal style, influenced by piedmont and country blues, which often moves listeners to get up and dance. She performs original songs as well as her own spirited arrangements of songs by Memphis Minnie, Bessie Smith, Mississippi John Hurt, Tommy Johnson, and many many more – both solo, and with her blues bands Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers and Erin Harpe’s Country Blues Trio. (She also fronts the electro dance rock band Lovewhip!) Erin has released two acoustic blues albums, “Blues Roots” and “Delta Blues Duets” (an album of duets with her dad), as well as two albums with Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers – 2014’s “Love Whip Blues” and her brand new self-produced album “Big Road” (out on the VizzTone label). In 2016, she also released an instructional guitar DVD “Women of the Country Blues Guitar,” through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. For more information, music, videos, tour schedule, and more check out Erin’s website: www.erinharpe.com.

Spirituals & Gospel for Guitar (Beginning / Intermediate) – Hubby Jenkins

In America, Gospel music has been the cornerstone of communities, the soundtrack of movements such as civil rights, and the inspiration for many popular songs. In this class we will talk about the history around spirituals and gospel songs as we learn them, covering songs from slave poets and gospel composers alike.

Hubby Jenkins

Hubby Jenkins is a talented multi-instrumentalist who endeavors to share his love and knowledge of old-time American music. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he delved into his Southern roots, following the thread of African American history that wove itself through country blues, ragtime, fiddle and banjo, and traditional jazz. Hubby got his higher musical education started as a busker. He developed his guitar and vocal craft on the sidewalks and subway platforms of New York City, performing material by those venerable artists whose work he was quickly absorbing. An ambitiously itinerant musician, he took his show on the road, playing the streets, coffee shops, bars, and house parties of cities around the US. After years of busking around the country and making a name for himself, Hubby became acquainted with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Since 2010 he has been an integral part of the Grammy award winning band and continues to make solo performances.

Blues Guitar: 5 Keys to the Highway (Intermediate) – Eric Noden

Eric will break down the Big Bill Broonzy classic “Key to the Highway” in the keys of E, A, G, D and C. For each key, a basic part and solo will explored. Students will learn how to find the right guitar key for different voices and performing situations.

Eric Noden

Deeply rooted in the music of ’20s and ’30s blues pioneers, Eric Noden’s percussive guitar work, timeless songwriting, and well-traveled blues vocals have earned the respect of audiences, critics, and musicians worldwide. The Illinois Entertainer described Eric as “a spiritual heir to Chicago blues guitarists of the ’20s and ’30s like Tampa Red and Big Bill Broonzy.”

This multi-talented acoustic artist fills an important niche in the city’s mostly plugged-in blues scene. Similarly, Eric’s artistry was also recognized in Cadence Magazine, which said he is, “intent on mastering older styles while transporting them and us into a new century where the past is not forgotten.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal adds, “The Chicago-based bluesman makes a National Resonator guitar absolutely wail.”

Eric Noden sings, shouts, and stomps while conjuring old spirits from the strings of his acoustic guitar. Varying his approach from song to song, Noden draws from a deep well of American music that fuels his high energy performances. His right hand thumb often lays down a driving bass figure that weaves around intricate melodic parts played with his fingers. This style, favored by early bluesmen like Charley Patton, Reverend Gary Davis, and Blind Blake, is one that only a few contemporary bluesmen have mastered.

Building Blocks for Swing Guitar Improvisation (Intermediate) – Albanie Falletta

Learn how to improvise over swing changes! We’ll learn how to outline common swing chords and use arpeggios as a foundation. Knowing the arpeggios of each passing chord gives us a “safe” place to land every time, and we can even use those building-block notes in interesting ways. In early forms of jazz, improvisations are often a variation of the melody of a tune, so it’s key that we learn the melody and chord structure of the tune we’re soloing over. I’ll also discuss the importance of syncopation, dynamics, and phrasing; the art of leaving space. Students should be able to play rhythm over swing tunes, and know how to play a major scale.

Albanie Falletta

A native of Monroe, Louisiana, Albanie was in her formative years exposed to the local music of Louisiana: the sounds of Cajun, zydeco, blues and gospel musics at festivals and backyard parties. Shortly after relocating with her family to San Marcos, Texas at the age of nine, Albanie began taking guitar lessons and developing an interest in acoustic-roots and electric blues, punk rock, and hair metal. Albanie began her love and study of early American Jazz as a freshman in high school in Wimberley, Texas, when she was exposed to the Parisian Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt. Listening fervently to recordings of Reinhardt, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, and other such great figures of jazz, she began to develop her feel for swing. Soon she was performing alongside mentors and other players of the Austin scene where she lived and performed in the years after high school In the summer of 2013 Albanie relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she is currently living and performing with various traditional jazz and swing ensembles. Since the summer of 2015, Albanie has also been doing solo performances featuring her original songs.

https://youtu.be/7IWawLq-il8

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Delta Blues Guitar (Intermediate) – Jontavious Willis

Class description coming soon!

Jontavious Willis

Hailing from Greenville, Georgia, Jontavious Willis grew up singing gospel music at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church with his grandfather. At the age of 14, he came across a YouTube video of Muddy Waters playing “Hoochie Coochie Man” and was hooked. That’s when he set his course on the blues. As a fingerpicker, flat-picker, and slide player, he explored all types of blues — Delta, Piedmont, Texas, gospel — and on harmonica, banjo, and cigar box.

Four years later he was playing on Taj Mahal’s stage. Currently Jontavious is finishing his studies at Columbus State University, majoring in sociology. But on most weekends he can be found playing a small house show, up on the main stage, or posting music videos for his friends and fans around the world.

Moveable Chords: Playing Blues Guitar Up the Neck (Intermediate) – Joan Fenton

Unlock the mysteries of playing up the neck. Most guitarists just play chords in first position or with a capo. Participants in this workshop will learn how to take 3 and 4 finger chords and move them up and down the neck and learn how to take a song and play it in any key. Then they will explore how to pick out melodies while holding the chord and also how to find the chords in a song. It’s a “must-take” class for guitarists who feel they are stuck down the neck, or who, when they play up the neck, really don’t feel comfortable or know exactly what they are doing. Participants should know how to play basic first position chords A, B, C, D, E, F, and B7, and be able to switch chords easily.

Joan Fenton in class

Joan Fenton

Joan Fenton has worked as a musician, folklorist, and business woman. She is the recipient of the WC Handy award for keeping the blues alive in education. She produced traditional music shows for 15 years for various radio stations and received two National Endowment for the Arts grants to record traditional musicians. Her field recordings can be found at the D&E Library and in the Joan Fenton collection at the University of NC at Chapel Hill library. Her work with nonprofits includes serving on the executive board of the Folk Alliance.

Slide Guitar (Intermediate) – Samuel James

From Son House to Muddy Waters, from Robert Johnson to Mississippi Fred McDowell, participants will learn the techniques and styles of the old masters and find the one that’s right for them. Participants who are curious about playing acoustic slide guitar or know the basics but are looking to sharpen up are all welcome. Participants can come in as absolute beginners — they can literally have just picked up a guitar on the way to class, and as long as they’ve got a slide and two hands we can make it happen! This class will cover open tunings as well as what that even means. It will also cover the best ways to hold a slide and the best techniques for self expression while using it. For this class participants won’t need to know how to read music. They won’t even need to know one single chord. A metal slide is recommended specifically because it won’t break and can be found easier if it is dropped, but it’s up to the participants’ personal preferences. A guitar tuner is also recommended.

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Samuel James

With a voice of grit and gravel, roots musician Samuel James sings with an authenticity lost in time. A modern guitar master, James’ skill has a depth and range that seems impossible for a man with only two hands. An award-winning songwriter, one of the world’s most innovative guitar players, and a Moth-featured storyteller, James brings all of this to his amazing stage show. His live performance is not just a concert, it is an event.

Swing Guitar: Introduction to Chord Melody (Intermediate) – JD Pendley

This class will focus on one of the dominant and formidable pre-electric, swing guitar styles. Students will be introduced to an approach that maximizes the sonic capabilities of the guitar by combining harmony with melody. Students will expand their knowledge of chord make-up, and exponentially grow their chord vocabulary. Focusing on the importance and versatility of basic triads, students will quickly be able to map out chord inversions spanning the entire fretboard, and thus plant helpful markers along pathways used when playing melodically. Steering away from large, clunky sounding chords and shapes that require hard to execute stretches, students will find themselves able to play a swingin’ tune and soon be able to make their own arrangements using the course guidelines – all while staying in the groove. Guitar players may find themselves becoming guitar thinkers, and will most definitely find their fretting fingers empowered as they enjoy a style that sounds and works terrifically in almost any musical setting. Students should have some familiarity with octaves, be able to read chord diagrams, and have at least some understanding of chord concepts like major, minor, 7th, etc.

JD Pendley

JD Pendley is a guitarist, arranger, and instructor living in Austin, Texas, since 2001. His hometown of Salt Lake City is where he first began playing guitar at age 12, eventually studying music at the University of Utah and receiving his degree in 2000. He has utilized his jazz training background to become a versatile musician capable of running the gamut, from classical to honky-tonk, from soul to musical theatre, plus the occasional dixieland banjo gig.

In a city known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” one must develop a signature sound in order to stand out amid a very large and well-staffed talent pool. JD has managed that by crafting a unique approach to the guitar that draws heavily upon early jazz guitarists such as Eddie Lang, George Van Eps, and Allan Reuss among others. This harmonic, or chord-based style has helped JD make a name for himself as as thoughtful and articulate accompanist and soloist. It’s ideal for small settings, and is often as just the right compliment to the many virtuosic musicians with whom he’s worked over the years. Currently, JD performs in Austin and its surrounding areas with soul group The Robert Kraft Trio and jazz quartet The Violet Crown Revue as well producing an album for the Western swing outfit, Big Cedar Fever.

Swing Guitar: Three Notes & the Truth (Intermediate) – Tom Mitchell

Have you ever wondered how a Jazz guitar player navigated their way through what seemed to be a chord change every other beat or worse yet every beat? Well, as usual there no substitute for practice and time spent learning how to play your instrument but… Tom Mitchell has something that will be a valuable tool if you aren’t already aware of it. In this workshop he will show you how to use three-note chord shapes to navigate some of the more common chord changes that you will come up against in Jazz. Three note chords, used by countless swing/jazz guitar players from the late ’20s to the present are a vital part of a guitar player’s arsenal. Participants will start by getting comfortable with moving one simple shape around to play a minor blues, concentrating on swinging together with the whole group. Next, participants will add more shapes and sounds to make it a little more interesting and soon move into a major blues. From there participants will go on to applying their newfound three-note wonders to some jazz standards and turnarounds. Participants will also work on analyzing these shapes and sounds to make the best use of them. At this point, Tom will ask participants not to let a little music theory (very little) send them running. The more you know about how these things work, the more you will be able to utilize them in your playing. This is an intermediate level workshop: Participants should feel very comfortable with basic guitar chord shapes and keep good, consistent rhythm while making chord changes. This is also a great workshop for people who want to refresh their knowledge of three-note moveable swing chords.

Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell’s guitar playing is rooted in the styles of the 1920s and ’30s jazz, western swing, country blues, and old-time music. Ten years of playing with the legendary Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks took him around the world and led to the recording of two acclaimed CDs including Beatin’ the Heat, which featured guest appearances by Bette Midler, Ricki Lee Jones, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Brian Setzer. His work with Ann Savoy and her Sleepless Knights led to a movie soundtrack spot and producer credits for the Sony picture All the King’s Men. He makes his home in Baltimore where he can be seen playing with some great players and bands including the Blue Rhythm Boys and The Redwine Jazz Trio.

As a teacher and performer, Tom has worked at many music and dance workshops and camps such as Ashokan Fiddle and Dance, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, The Swannanoa Gathering, The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and Augusta Heritage Center.

Tom’s love of swing guitar shines brightly through his playing, and his extensive knowledge and appreciation of jazz history and tradition brings a “true to style” integrity to any venture he undertakes.

Acoustic Blues Guitar Repertoire (Intermediate / Advanced) – Lightnin’ Wells

Lightnin’ Wells will teach Piedmont style blues guitar featuring the finger-picking style. The workshop will explore blues tunes in the keys of C, G, A, D, and drop D, and possibly some open tunings. The workshop will cover tunes from such Piedmont blues artists such as Blind Boy Fuller, Gary Davis, Sylvester Weaver, Elizabeth Cotten and William Moore. Students should have some familiarity with finger-picking guitar techniques.

Lightnin’ Wells

Mike “Lightnin'” Wells breathes new life into the vintage tunes of 1920s and Depression era America, employing various appropriate stringed instruments in a dynamic style which he has honed over forty years of performing. Raised in eastern North Carolina, Wells learned to play harmonica as a young child and later taught himself to play the guitar as he developed a strong interest in traditional blues and folk music. His many years of public performance began in Chapel Hill, NC, in the early 1970s. During the following decades he has presented his brand of acoustic blues throughout North Carolina, the United States, and Europe.

Lightnin’ is a life-long student and devotee of the pioneering performers in the piedmont blues tradition which once thrived in the Carolinas, including such artists as Blind Boy Fuller, Rev. Gary Davis, and Elizabeth Cotten, deceased musicians whose influence seems only to grow with time. He also produced the first commercial recordings of the NC blues veterans Big Boy Henry, Algia Mae Hinton, and George Higgs, and has traveled and performed extensively with these musicians in past years.

Since 1995, Lightnin’ Wells has had five solo CDs released with contributions to at least five other compilations and projects. This year, he will release a new CD release on the German Blind Lemon Records label. Publications have included contributions to the Encyclopedia of North Carolina, North Carolina Tar Heel Junior Historian, Music Makers, Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America, as well as various blues CD liner notes.

Besides his beloved guitar, Lightnin’ plays the harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, and banjo. He has taught blues guitar and ukulele at most of the leading “Blues Weeks” sponsored by universities and teaching organizations throughout the country. He served for ten years as a board member for the Music Maker Relief Foundation, and is presently included in the North Carolina Arts Council’s Touring Artist Roster.

With his experience, knowledge and well-honed performance skills, Lightnin’ Wells has established himself at the forefront of the traditional blues revival. His musical style is personal and energetic yet remains true to the original root form. His goal is to entertain and educate using a variety of sources, influences, and techniques to express his dedication, respect, and pleasure in presenting this unique American art form. Wrote one recent reviewer, “Whether you look to performers for inspiration, education, virtuosity, or sheer entertainment, Lightnin’ Wells delivers all the above, every single time”. www.lightninwells.com

Acoustic Blues Guitar Repertoire (Intermediate / Advanced) – Eleanor Ellis

No matter what the song or who the musician, you can almost always find something unique or peculiar going on in old-time acoustic blues, whether in the subject matter, the structure of the song, the guitar accompaniment, the style of the singer, or a combination of the above. Country blues is not all the same song, and the songs are not always the same tune. We’ll find and learn some interesting songs from the acoustic country blues tradition, songs which you can play as is or adapt to your own style and make your own.

Eleanor Ellis

Blues musician Eleanor Ellis, a native of Louisiana, has taught and played throughout the United States and Europe. She has developed a distinctive and personal approach to the music. According to one reviewer, “More than copying one artist or another, Ellis distills the elements of the originals and transmits them, intact, in her own expressive way.” Her musical influences include the blues musicians she has known personally as well as early blues greats such as Memphis Minnie and Mississippi John Hurt.

She has a long involvement with the blues scene and has traveled and played with the late gospel street singer Flora Molton, was a regular at the Saturday afternoon barbershop blues jams of Piedmont bluesman Archie Edwards, and sometimes accompanied Delta blues great Eugene Powell in Greenville, Mississippi. She is a founding member of the Washington, DC, Blues Society and the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation. She has written about the Blues for several publications, teaches guitar privately and at various blues camps, and is producer and editor of the video documentary Blues Houseparty, which features well-known Piedmont blues musicians such as John Jackson, John Cephas, Phil Wiggins, and Archie Edwards. Once upon a time she worked at the Archive of New Orleans Jazz at Tulane University and at the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

Blues Guitar in Dropped D Tuning (Intermediate / Advanced) – Eleanor Ellis

Alternate tunings can be a useful way to get fresh ideas for arrangements, voicings and sounds on the guitar, and this simple tuning works well with many styles of music. We’ll begin with an overview of the tuning – basic chords, turnarounds, intros etc – and will put these elements together to learn songs from musicians such as Tommy Johnson, Ragtime Henry Thomas, Pink Anderson and others.

Eleanor Ellis

Blues musician Eleanor Ellis, a native of Louisiana, has taught and played throughout the United States and Europe. She has developed a distinctive and personal approach to the music. According to one reviewer, “More than copying one artist or another, Ellis distills the elements of the originals and transmits them, intact, in her own expressive way.” Her musical influences include the blues musicians she has known personally as well as early blues greats such as Memphis Minnie and Mississippi John Hurt.

She has a long involvement with the blues scene and has traveled and played with the late gospel street singer Flora Molton, was a regular at the Saturday afternoon barbershop blues jams of Piedmont bluesman Archie Edwards, and sometimes accompanied Delta blues great Eugene Powell in Greenville, Mississippi. She is a founding member of the Washington, DC, Blues Society and the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation. She has written about the Blues for several publications, teaches guitar privately and at various blues camps, and is producer and editor of the video documentary Blues Houseparty, which features well-known Piedmont blues musicians such as John Jackson, John Cephas, Phil Wiggins, and Archie Edwards. Once upon a time she worked at the Archive of New Orleans Jazz at Tulane University and at the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

Masters of Piedmont Guitar (Intermediate / Advanced) – Shari Kane

Reverend Gary Davis and Blind Blake were masters of their unique styles. Shari will be showing the particular chord progression, cool fingering positions, and finger style rolls and techniques associated with these and other Piedmont greats.

Shari Kane

Shari started playing guitar at the age of five. By the early 1970?s she had become a devoted blues fan, and learned how to play fingerstyle blues on the acoustic guitar, exploring and embracing the many avenues of blues guitar.

Her many years spent studying the work of the Delta Blues masters can be heard nightly as she picks up her acoustic or National Steel guitar. Throwing herself into a stinging Robert Johnson interpretation, a jumping Robert Junior Lockwood shuffle, or the intricate fingerstylings of Reverend Gary Davis, Blind blake or Mississippi John Hurt, Shari’s love of the acoustic tradition is apparent.

In 1990, she began touring with harmonica legend Peter Madcat Ruth. The two recorded four CDs and played in venues nationwide and overseas.

In 2009, Shari teamed up with husband, Dave Steele (Big Dave & the Ultrasonics) to form a power blues duo. They’ve been touring all over Michigan and quality clubs east and west. Their two CDs received rave reviews and their combined energy has fans stomping their feet at every show.

Shari began teaching guitar when she was just sixteen. Teaching remains one of her great loves. After a 35 year stint teaching guitar at college level, she continues to teach privately, and at workshops throughout the country and abroad.

Playing with Other Guitar Players (Intermediate / Advanced) – Shari Kane

There are so many great ways for guitar players to play together without getting in each other’s way. From using a capo to play in the same key in two different fingerings, to learning to play in different areas of the fretboard, to using the great Freddie Green swing chords to play with players that are doing intricate fingerstlye work, to learning to noodle along when others are playing rhythm, Shari will give you the tools you need and map out great strategies for playing with other guitarists.

Shari Kane

Shari started playing guitar at the age of five. By the early 1970?s she had become a devoted blues fan, and learned how to play fingerstyle blues on the acoustic guitar, exploring and embracing the many avenues of blues guitar.

Her many years spent studying the work of the Delta Blues masters can be heard nightly as she picks up her acoustic or National Steel guitar. Throwing herself into a stinging Robert Johnson interpretation, a jumping Robert Junior Lockwood shuffle, or the intricate fingerstylings of Reverend Gary Davis, Blind blake or Mississippi John Hurt, Shari’s love of the acoustic tradition is apparent.

In 1990, she began touring with harmonica legend Peter Madcat Ruth. The two recorded four CDs and played in venues nationwide and overseas.

In 2009, Shari teamed up with husband, Dave Steele (Big Dave & the Ultrasonics) to form a power blues duo. They’ve been touring all over Michigan and quality clubs east and west. Their two CDs received rave reviews and their combined energy has fans stomping their feet at every show.

Shari began teaching guitar when she was just sixteen. Teaching remains one of her great loves. After a 35 year stint teaching guitar at college level, she continues to teach privately, and at workshops throughout the country and abroad.

Guitar – Slide / Bottleneck Guitar (Intermediate / Advanced) – Lightnin’ Wells

This workshop will cover pre-war songs and techniques for the blues slide guitar in open D and G tunings. Bring a metal or glass slide.

Lightnin’ Wells

Mike “Lightnin'” Wells breathes new life into the vintage tunes of 1920s and Depression era America, employing various appropriate stringed instruments in a dynamic style which he has honed over forty years of performing. Raised in eastern North Carolina, Wells learned to play harmonica as a young child and later taught himself to play the guitar as he developed a strong interest in traditional blues and folk music. His many years of public performance began in Chapel Hill, NC, in the early 1970s. During the following decades he has presented his brand of acoustic blues throughout North Carolina, the United States, and Europe.

Lightnin’ is a life-long student and devotee of the pioneering performers in the piedmont blues tradition which once thrived in the Carolinas, including such artists as Blind Boy Fuller, Rev. Gary Davis, and Elizabeth Cotten, deceased musicians whose influence seems only to grow with time. He also produced the first commercial recordings of the NC blues veterans Big Boy Henry, Algia Mae Hinton, and George Higgs, and has traveled and performed extensively with these musicians in past years.

Since 1995, Lightnin’ Wells has had five solo CDs released with contributions to at least five other compilations and projects. This year, he will release a new CD release on the German Blind Lemon Records label. Publications have included contributions to the Encyclopedia of North Carolina, North Carolina Tar Heel Junior Historian, Music Makers, Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America, as well as various blues CD liner notes.

Besides his beloved guitar, Lightnin’ plays the harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, and banjo. He has taught blues guitar and ukulele at most of the leading “Blues Weeks” sponsored by universities and teaching organizations throughout the country. He served for ten years as a board member for the Music Maker Relief Foundation, and is presently included in the North Carolina Arts Council’s Touring Artist Roster.

With his experience, knowledge and well-honed performance skills, Lightnin’ Wells has established himself at the forefront of the traditional blues revival. His musical style is personal and energetic yet remains true to the original root form. His goal is to entertain and educate using a variety of sources, influences, and techniques to express his dedication, respect, and pleasure in presenting this unique American art form. Wrote one recent reviewer, “Whether you look to performers for inspiration, education, virtuosity, or sheer entertainment, Lightnin’ Wells delivers all the above, every single time”. www.lightninwells.com

Blues Guitar: Skip James (Advanced) – Samuel James

Skip James had a singular voice in the Delta Blues genre—and I don’t just mean his falsetto. His guitar work, similar to a Piedmont tradition, is as unique now as it was then. Come join Samuel James (no relation) in bringing Skip’s songs to life in your own hands! The class will include a breakdown of Skip’s rhythms, tempos, patterns and open tunings. No knowledge of alternate tunings is necessary, but participants will be required to play fingerstyle (melody with their fingers and alternating bass with their thumb).

The following songs will be covered:
“Devil Got my Woman”
“Cypress Grove”
“Hard Time Killing Floor”
“I’m so Glad”
“Special Rider”

Samuel James

With a voice of grit and gravel, roots musician Samuel James sings with an authenticity lost in time. A modern guitar master, James’ skill has a depth and range that seems impossible for a man with only two hands. An award-winning songwriter, one of the world’s most innovative guitar players, and a Moth-featured storyteller, James brings all of this to his amazing stage show. His live performance is not just a concert, it is an event.

Swing Guitar Masters: The Style of Charlie Christian (Advanced) – JD Pendley

This class will focus on the preeminent of all the early electric guitarists, Charlie Christian. Gaining notoriety as a integral member of the Benny Goodman Sextet of the late 1930s into the early 1940s, Christian’s featured playing became the working template for jazz guitar. He showed musicians and listeners alike that he could not only speak with a voice comparable to all the great horn players of the day, but also help blaze a trail toward a new, boppin’ style of music soon to emerge. With a highly advanced harmonic sense, impeccable right and left hand technique, and an uncanny ability to start and stop rhythmically, Christian left a legacy of tunes and solos that remain every bit as hip as the days they were recorded, and that are still very relevant today. Through studying signature licks, solos, and supportive background riffs, students will acquire a glossary of swing-era sounds, and the tools to adapt and personalize them. Students should possess some ability to both play rhythm and take a solo over at least a few swing tunes. The ability to read music is a plus, but not required.

JD Pendley

JD Pendley is a guitarist, arranger, and instructor living in Austin, Texas, since 2001. His hometown of Salt Lake City is where he first began playing guitar at age 12, eventually studying music at the University of Utah and receiving his degree in 2000. He has utilized his jazz training background to become a versatile musician capable of running the gamut, from classical to honky-tonk, from soul to musical theatre, plus the occasional dixieland banjo gig.

In a city known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” one must develop a signature sound in order to stand out amid a very large and well-staffed talent pool. JD has managed that by crafting a unique approach to the guitar that draws heavily upon early jazz guitarists such as Eddie Lang, George Van Eps, and Allan Reuss among others. This harmonic, or chord-based style has helped JD make a name for himself as as thoughtful and articulate accompanist and soloist. It’s ideal for small settings, and is often as just the right compliment to the many virtuosic musicians with whom he’s worked over the years. Currently, JD performs in Austin and its surrounding areas with soul group The Robert Kraft Trio and jazz quartet The Violet Crown Revue as well producing an album for the Western swing outfit, Big Cedar Fever.


Guitar and Harmonica

Jamming Demystified for Blues Guitar and Harmonica (All Levels) – Joe Filisko AND Eric Noden

Joe and Eric will work with players to find musical and creative ways to approach jamming. The emphasis will be on finding unique musical parts that enhance the song. This workshop will feature real-time coaching on dynamics, timing, tone, groove, and communication.

Photo coming soon!

Joe Filisko

Revered as a master player, teacher, custom harmonica pioneer, researcher, and historian, Joe Filisko is arguably the world’s foremost authority on many aspects of the diatonic harmonica and a key figure in today’s harmonica scene. Over the past 20 years he has had a tremendous influence on developments in the culture of the instrument. His much sought after custom harps are used by a remarkable roster of players and are prized for their superb response and tonal qualities by a client list that includes a large proportion of the world’s diatonic harmonica elite. Since the early 1990s, his groundbreaking work in improving the playability of the instrument has directly affected the production of all major harmonica manufacturers. In 2011 Joe Filisko entered into a close cooperation with Hohner as Head of Certification Process for the company’s new Affiliated Customizer Program, a bold move to guarantee standards for purchasers of custom harmonicas which is without precedent in the harmonica industry. He also made important design contributions to the latest model of Hohner’s Marine Band range, the Thunderbird, which bears his signature and has been cited as the finest low key harmonica available on the market today.

Fueled by his desire to preserve historical harmonica styles from extinction, Joe Filisko has amassed not only an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire gamut of traditional harmonica techniques, but has mastered them to an extent unrivaled among contemporary players. His passion for both the well-known and the unsung heroes of the 10-hole diatonic has made him a riveting performer in his own right, with a fluid command of a wide range of styles and possibly the most powerful hand effects ever heard. A master of tone and complex, nuanced tongue block rhythms, he has for many years shared his knowledge with students on five continents and so contributed enormously to the widespread understanding of traditional harmonica styles among a new generation of players.

In recent years, Joe’s reputation as a performer and recording artist has been catching up with his legendary status as a customizer and teacher. Since he first hooked up with guitarist/vocalist Eric Noden in 2003, the duo has released three highly regarded CDs, and has performed at concerts and festivals around the globe. Reflecting their deep affinity with the tradition, their exciting explorations of seminal pre-war styles have won them an enthusiastic international audience and cemented their reputation as one of today’s premier acoustic country blues acts. Joe Filisko was awarded “Harmonica Player of the Year 2001? by the SPAH organization in the US and performed at the induction of Grand Ol’ Opry star Deford Bailey into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. Documentaries that feature Mr. Filisko include Harmonica Summit, Imagination is Limitless, In the Reeds, Tin Sandwich, and Pocketful of Soul. A native of Joliet, Illinois, Joe lives in the shadow of Chicago, the Windy City, and performs there regularly as well as teaching popular weekly classes at the city’s Old Town School of Folk Music.

Though his work as a scholar and a craftsman has rightly earned him a place in the harmonica pantheon, it is as a player that he truly shines. Joe Filisko coaxes sounds from the harmonica which few before him have ever created and which open up new perspectives for countless players and lovers of this remarkable little instrument.

Eric Noden

Deeply rooted in the music of ’20s and ’30s blues pioneers, Eric Noden’s percussive guitar work, timeless songwriting, and well-traveled blues vocals have earned the respect of audiences, critics, and musicians worldwide. The Illinois Entertainer described Eric as “a spiritual heir to Chicago blues guitarists of the ’20s and ’30s like Tampa Red and Big Bill Broonzy.”

This multi-talented acoustic artist fills an important niche in the city’s mostly plugged-in blues scene. Similarly, Eric’s artistry was also recognized in Cadence Magazine, which said he is, “intent on mastering older styles while transporting them and us into a new century where the past is not forgotten.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal adds, “The Chicago-based bluesman makes a National Resonator guitar absolutely wail.”

Eric Noden sings, shouts, and stomps while conjuring old spirits from the strings of his acoustic guitar. Varying his approach from song to song, Noden draws from a deep well of American music that fuels his high energy performances. His right hand thumb often lays down a driving bass figure that weaves around intricate melodic parts played with his fingers. This style, favored by early bluesmen like Charley Patton, Reverend Gary Davis, and Blind Blake, is one that only a few contemporary bluesmen have mastered.


Harmonica

Blues Harmonica: Part 1 (Beginning) – Stingy Brim Seals

Participants can choose to enroll in either Part 1, Part 2, or both. The focus of these workshops is on playing a ten-hole diatonic harmonica, solo or accompanying other musicians. In class, participants will be taught a 12-bar and an 8-bar blues song. Participants will learn breathing techniques, techniques for projecting sound, how to control tone, and how to play chords and individual notes within a 12- or 8-bar blues structure. These workshops will also cover bending notes, hand effects, blues riffs, call and response, supporting the groove, rhythmic playing, and accompanying others. Participants will need at least one harmonica. To participate in the workshop, participants should bring a ten-hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C. Other keys are optional, such as A, D, G, F, and Bb.

Stingy Brim Seals

Originally from Buffalo, NY, Geoffrey “Stingy Brim” Seals was exposed to all varieties of music from classical to country and soul to heavy metal. Through it all the harmonica drew his attention time and time again. However, his parents wouldn’t allow him to have one in the house. As an adult he stumbled across one in a store and learned on his own until 1997 when he began taking lessons. He relocated to Virginia in late 2007 and has played with a variety of local bands, performing music ranging from soft rock to down home blues with various local performers. He teaches beginner harmonica classes at the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation.

Blues Harmonica: Part 2 (Beginning) – Stingy Brim Seals

Participants can choose to enroll in either Part 1, Part 2, or both. The focus of these workshops is on playing a ten-hole diatonic harmonica, solo or accompanying other musicians. In class, participants will be taught a 12-bar and an 8-bar blues song. Participants will learn breathing techniques, techniques for projecting sound, how to control tone, and how to play chords and individual notes within a 12- or 8-bar blues structure. These workshops will also cover bending notes, hand effects, blues riffs, call and response, supporting the groove, rhythmic playing, and accompanying others. Participants will need at least one harmonica. To participate in the workshop, participants should bring a ten-hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C. Other keys are optional, such as A, D, G, F, and Bb.

Stingy Brim Seals

Originally from Buffalo, NY, Geoffrey “Stingy Brim” Seals was exposed to all varieties of music from classical to country and soul to heavy metal. Through it all the harmonica drew his attention time and time again. However, his parents wouldn’t allow him to have one in the house. As an adult he stumbled across one in a store and learned on his own until 1997 when he began taking lessons. He relocated to Virginia in late 2007 and has played with a variety of local bands, performing music ranging from soft rock to down home blues with various local performers. He teaches beginner harmonica classes at the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation.

Introduction to Blues Harmonica (Beginning) – Andrew Alli

This workshop will focus on the harmonica fundamentals. Participants will focus on proper holding technique and embouchure. In addition, we will discuss the two different techniques to play single notes on the harp (tongue blocking, and lip pursing). Participants will study the note layouts and patterns in a diatonic harmonica and will be introduced to bending notes. Participants will learn about the 12 bar blues song structure, and how to play along. The workshop will also cover how to read simple harmonica tabs and listening to a variety of harmonica recordings to begin developing participants’ musical ears. Participants should bring a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C and a note pad.

Andrew Alli

Andrew Alli is a 27-year-old Richmond, Virginia, native. Always into music, he stumbled upon the blues while taking up his first instrument, the harmonica. He instantly fell in love with the blues and all of the history that comes with the harp. Andrew developed his style of playing by studying from the harmonica greats, including Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Junior Wells.

Andrew co-founded Andrew Alli and Last Night’s Blues Band with drummer Charles Hibbler in 2012. The band had a particular interest to the Chicago and Delta styles of blues. The band, which also includes bassist Ken Kellner and guitarist Mike Burgess, won the title of 2013 River City Blues Society Blues Challenge Champions. They represented Richmond in the International Blues Challenge down in Memphis, Tennessee. Andrew also has had the privilege to tour with folk musicians Tim Barry and Josh Small during US, European, and Australian music tours.

He has played with a large number of other great local musicians including Phil Wiggins, Clarence “The Bluesman” Turner, Alison Self, Cy Taggart, and The Mike Lucci Band. The Richmond Folk Festival has featured Andrew for three years, teaching harmonica lessons and performing. Andrew continues to play with his band, Andrew Alli and the Mainline (formerly “Last Night’s Blues Band”), with Charles Hibbler on drums, Ken Kellner on bass, and Ivan Applerouth on guitar. He is also in a duo with legendary Richmond folk musician Josh Small. Andrew was very excited to be featured on the recent Big Walter Horton tribute album with EllerSoul Records, where the top harmonica players from around the world contributed songs to commemorate the great Big Walter! He is also planning a full length debut album to be released this year. AndrewAlliRva.com

Blues Harmonica (Intermediate / Advanced) – Joe Filisko

Participants will learn how to get the biggest, fattest, and greasiest sound out of their tiny harmonicas and better understand what makes it a great instrument in blues music. This is basically what describes the playing tradition of Sonny Boy’s and Walter’s and other Chicago blues harp styles. Participants should bring standard key harps in G, A, Bb, C, D, and F, and an audio recording device. The only experience needed is being familiar with the 12-bar blues form. The workshop will cover tongue blocking, dirty notes, chords, and chordal effects and bending, including how to best execute it.

Joe Filisko

Revered as a master player, teacher, custom harmonica pioneer, researcher, and historian, Joe Filisko is arguably the world’s foremost authority on many aspects of the diatonic harmonica and a key figure in today’s harmonica scene. Over the past 20 years he has had a tremendous influence on developments in the culture of the instrument. His much sought after custom harps are used by a remarkable roster of players and are prized for their superb response and tonal qualities by a client list that includes a large proportion of the world’s diatonic harmonica elite. Since the early 1990s, his groundbreaking work in improving the playability of the instrument has directly affected the production of all major harmonica manufacturers. In 2011 Joe Filisko entered into a close cooperation with Hohner as Head of Certification Process for the company’s new Affiliated Customizer Program, a bold move to guarantee standards for purchasers of custom harmonicas which is without precedent in the harmonica industry. He also made important design contributions to the latest model of Hohner’s Marine Band range, the Thunderbird, which bears his signature and has been cited as the finest low key harmonica available on the market today.

Fueled by his desire to preserve historical harmonica styles from extinction, Joe Filisko has amassed not only an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire gamut of traditional harmonica techniques, but has mastered them to an extent unrivaled among contemporary players. His passion for both the well-known and the unsung heroes of the 10-hole diatonic has made him a riveting performer in his own right, with a fluid command of a wide range of styles and possibly the most powerful hand effects ever heard. A master of tone and complex, nuanced tongue block rhythms, he has for many years shared his knowledge with students on five continents and so contributed enormously to the widespread understanding of traditional harmonica styles among a new generation of players.

In recent years, Joe’s reputation as a performer and recording artist has been catching up with his legendary status as a customizer and teacher. Since he first hooked up with guitarist/vocalist Eric Noden in 2003, the duo has released three highly regarded CDs, and has performed at concerts and festivals around the globe. Reflecting their deep affinity with the tradition, their exciting explorations of seminal pre-war styles have won them an enthusiastic international audience and cemented their reputation as one of today’s premier acoustic country blues acts. Joe Filisko was awarded “Harmonica Player of the Year 2001? by the SPAH organization in the US and performed at the induction of Grand Ol’ Opry star Deford Bailey into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. Documentaries that feature Mr. Filisko include Harmonica Summit, Imagination is Limitless, In the Reeds, Tin Sandwich, and Pocketful of Soul. A native of Joliet, Illinois, Joe lives in the shadow of Chicago, the Windy City, and performs there regularly as well as teaching popular weekly classes at the city’s Old Town School of Folk Music.

Though his work as a scholar and a craftsman has rightly earned him a place in the harmonica pantheon, it is as a player that he truly shines. Joe Filisko coaxes sounds from the harmonica which few before him have ever created and which open up new perspectives for countless players and lovers of this remarkable little instrument.

Harmonica: Playing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Position in Acoustic Blues Tunes (Intermediate / Advanced) – Andrew Alli

This workshop will focus on the advantages of each position and what they have to offer. Participants will practice licks and simple tunes in each position. Additionally, participants will learn how to effectively back other musicians playing in each position. Participants should be able to play strong single notes and bend notes for this workshop. Participants should bring a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in the key of A and a note pad.

Andrew Alli

Andrew Alli is a 27-year-old Richmond, Virginia, native. Always into music, he stumbled upon the blues while taking up his first instrument, the harmonica. He instantly fell in love with the blues and all of the history that comes with the harp. Andrew developed his style of playing by studying from the harmonica greats, including Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Junior Wells.

Andrew co-founded Andrew Alli and Last Night’s Blues Band with drummer Charles Hibbler in 2012. The band had a particular interest to the Chicago and Delta styles of blues. The band, which also includes bassist Ken Kellner and guitarist Mike Burgess, won the title of 2013 River City Blues Society Blues Challenge Champions. They represented Richmond in the International Blues Challenge down in Memphis, Tennessee. Andrew also has had the privilege to tour with folk musicians Tim Barry and Josh Small during US, European, and Australian music tours.

He has played with a large number of other great local musicians including Phil Wiggins, Clarence “The Bluesman” Turner, Alison Self, Cy Taggart, and The Mike Lucci Band. The Richmond Folk Festival has featured Andrew for three years, teaching harmonica lessons and performing. Andrew continues to play with his band, Andrew Alli and the Mainline (formerly “Last Night’s Blues Band”), with Charles Hibbler on drums, Ken Kellner on bass, and Ivan Applerouth on guitar. He is also in a duo with legendary Richmond folk musician Josh Small. Andrew was very excited to be featured on the recent Big Walter Horton tribute album with EllerSoul Records, where the top harmonica players from around the world contributed songs to commemorate the great Big Walter! He is also planning a full length debut album to be released this year. AndrewAlliRva.com

Evening Mini-Course – Country Blues Harmonica: Solo & Unaccompanied (All Levels) – Joe Filisko

We will explore the rural acoustic repertoire of players like Sonny Terry, DeFord Bailey and their peers from the foundation and up. Bring your diatonic harmonicas, A & C preferred. All levels, including beginners, are welcome.

Joe Filisko

Revered as a master player, teacher, custom harmonica pioneer, researcher, and historian, Joe Filisko is arguably the world’s foremost authority on many aspects of the diatonic harmonica and a key figure in today’s harmonica scene. Over the past 20 years he has had a tremendous influence on developments in the culture of the instrument. His much sought after custom harps are used by a remarkable roster of players and are prized for their superb response and tonal qualities by a client list that includes a large proportion of the world’s diatonic harmonica elite. Since the early 1990s, his groundbreaking work in improving the playability of the instrument has directly affected the production of all major harmonica manufacturers. In 2011 Joe Filisko entered into a close cooperation with Hohner as Head of Certification Process for the company’s new Affiliated Customizer Program, a bold move to guarantee standards for purchasers of custom harmonicas which is without precedent in the harmonica industry. He also made important design contributions to the latest model of Hohner’s Marine Band range, the Thunderbird, which bears his signature and has been cited as the finest low key harmonica available on the market today.

Fueled by his desire to preserve historical harmonica styles from extinction, Joe Filisko has amassed not only an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire gamut of traditional harmonica techniques, but has mastered them to an extent unrivaled among contemporary players. His passion for both the well-known and the unsung heroes of the 10-hole diatonic has made him a riveting performer in his own right, with a fluid command of a wide range of styles and possibly the most powerful hand effects ever heard. A master of tone and complex, nuanced tongue block rhythms, he has for many years shared his knowledge with students on five continents and so contributed enormously to the widespread understanding of traditional harmonica styles among a new generation of players.

In recent years, Joe’s reputation as a performer and recording artist has been catching up with his legendary status as a customizer and teacher. Since he first hooked up with guitarist/vocalist Eric Noden in 2003, the duo has released three highly regarded CDs, and has performed at concerts and festivals around the globe. Reflecting their deep affinity with the tradition, their exciting explorations of seminal pre-war styles have won them an enthusiastic international audience and cemented their reputation as one of today’s premier acoustic country blues acts. Joe Filisko was awarded “Harmonica Player of the Year 2001? by the SPAH organization in the US and performed at the induction of Grand Ol’ Opry star Deford Bailey into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. Documentaries that feature Mr. Filisko include Harmonica Summit, Imagination is Limitless, In the Reeds, Tin Sandwich, and Pocketful of Soul. A native of Joliet, Illinois, Joe lives in the shadow of Chicago, the Windy City, and performs there regularly as well as teaching popular weekly classes at the city’s Old Town School of Folk Music.

Though his work as a scholar and a craftsman has rightly earned him a place in the harmonica pantheon, it is as a player that he truly shines. Joe Filisko coaxes sounds from the harmonica which few before him have ever created and which open up new perspectives for countless players and lovers of this remarkable little instrument.!


Percussion

Pizza Box / Cajon Percussion (From Scratch to Advanced Beginning) – Wes Crawford

In this class we will begin with the basics of holding the brushes/sticks and obtaining a good sound. Expect to learn a variety of basic beats for a variety of Blues and Swing styles. We will practice fills and study subdivisions of the beat, common rhythms, and more. We will play-along with live recordings in various Blues and Swing styles. All students will learn how to transfer what we learn to a real drumset!

Traditionally, we have been drumming on pizza boxes for this class. This year we are moving up to the new Meinl Viva Rhythm Cajon-2-Go. This innovative super strong cardboard product comes in a box the size of a large pizza box and quickly folds into a working cajon (ca-HONE). The top of the cajon may be played like a pizza box with brushes and is high enough off of the ground that no second chair is necessary to support it. The cajon can also be played traditionally with hands or brushes while sitting on it to obtain more bass sounds and slaps. I weigh over 200 pounds and it supports my weight. It can easily be transported with one hand.

Materials: Meinl Cajon-2-Go ($20 each), and set of brushes ($15) available for purchase during the workshop.

Wes Crawford

After graduating from Virginia Tech in Psychology with some work towards an MBA, Wes toured North America and the Caribbean for eleven years with Jazz/Rhythm & Blues song stylist Jane L. Powell (www.JaneLPowell.com ) where he performed on drumset and worked as Road Manager for the group. Since leaving perpetual road life in 1992, Wes has continued as Ms. Powell’s Manager where he oversees her international performance schedule. While performing for Ms. Powell, the group won numerous awards on the college circuit including Entertainer of the Year in 1990.

Since settling into the Washington DC/Baltimore region in 1992, Wes has performed and recorded on drumset and hand percussion with numerous musical acts of all styles including Higher Octave/Narada recording artists Shahin & Sepehr, popular saxophonist Ron Holloway, the late legendary Eva Cassidy, Daryl Davis, and many others. He also performs his solo interactive performance, “A Rhythmic Murder Mystery” on electronic percussion for schools, drumming groups, and musical camps. Wes works with the corporate team-building program, Beatswork!, by Catalyst Events and leads his own group, Enviro Drum- Maryland. Wes was trained for drum circle facilitation by internationally known facilitator, Christine Stevens.

Wes considers musical education to be his most important legacy to the future and therefore has taught drumset privately and at Goucher College in Baltimore since 1996. Wes also directed the annual Drumset And Percussion Camp (www.DrumsetAndPercussionCamp.org) of the Goucher Summer Arts Institute from 2005-2013, has taught for the National Guitar Workshop camp system, and has taught at Augusta Blues and Swing Week since 2014. Wes also presents drumset clinics and workshops at schools and universities and for drumming groups. He also writes and conducts interviews for DrumPro Magazine (www.Drum.com) and for Percussive Notes. Since 1999 Wes has offered unique interactive, educational music media through his company, Music And Games 4 U (www.MusicAndGames4U.com).

From 2005-2014 Wes served as Vice-President and then President of the Maryland/Delaware Percussive Arts Society Chapter (www.PAS.org) where he organized and managed their annual Day of Percussion event.

Wes has an Artist Endorsement relationship with Baltimore Drum Company (www.BaltimoreDrum.com), Dream Cymbals (www.DreamCymbals.com), and ProLogix Percussion (www.ProLogixPercussion.com) and is a member of the Vic Firth Educational Team (www.VicFirth.com).


Piano

Blues Piano: Part 1 (Beginning) – Judy LaPrade

Participants should plan to attend both Part 1 and Part 2 of this workshop. This will be a piano program on acoustic traditional blues songs, including those not in the usual 12-bar form. The classes are designed for both true beginners to piano players who read music and want to learn to play blues piano by ear. Participants will learn completely by ear in this program, with the use of simple chord charts and lyric sheets. The class will start with the basic 8- and 12-bar blues forms in the key of C and build left- and right-hand skills note by note. Each participant progresses at their own pace, from single notes with each hand to simple blues chords and patterns. With the right hand, participants will pick out melodies by ear and riff on the blues scale and chords. The left hand is all about playing bass lines, from single notes to simple versions of walking bass, rhumbas, shuffles, and others.

Participants will use their voices and bodies to guide their natural sense of tone and rhythm as they sing, clap, and stomp each song. Participants should bring a recorder, so together with the many handouts of songs and useful theory, they will be ready to continue on their own. The class will play many different blues tunes and some gospel, which is similar in form. The aim is to have fun and take the fear out of starting something new. Keyboards will be provided, but participants should bring their own headphones. Participants who wish to bring a keyboard for class, jamming, or practice are welcome to do so.

Judy LaPrade

Judy LaPrade grew up playing piano at home and in church. She started as a toddler mimicking her older sister and then began classical lessons that left her strong, natural ear in the dust. Augusta’s Blues Week in 1985 began the long road to recovery of that ear with a deep love of traditional Blues. This background makes her a somewhat nervous performer but a wonderful teacher who truly understands the challenge of leaving printed music behind. She has a gift for breaking things down in a systematic yet artistic way that blends the use of the left and right parts of the brain.

Judy has taught Blues piano for ten years in a variety of Blues camps with students who are both raw beginners and trained pianists who yearn for freedom from the printed page. She has a joy for teaching that encourages people to have fun and move past the voice in their heads that says, “This is too hard. I can’t do it.” She found this joy as a member of the Elktones, a group of women musicians from Elkins, West Virginia, known for vocal harmonies and an eclectic repertoire that included African music, blues, rock, and folk. She is a life-long teacher in every aspect of her work, since she directed music programs and the choir at a local state mental hospital in junior high school.

Judy fell in love with the blues, studying piano, accordion, and voice with Maureen DelGrosso, Ann Rabson, Erwin Helfer, and others. It is her mission to keep traditional blues alive and growing by passing this joy on to others.

Blues Piano: Part 2 (Beginning) – Judy LaPrade

Participants should plan to attend both Part 1 and Part 2 of this workshop. This will be a piano program on acoustic traditional blues songs, including those not in the usual 12-bar form. The classes are designed for both true beginners to piano players who read music and want to learn to play blues piano by ear. Participants will learn completely by ear in this program, with the use of simple chord charts and lyric sheets. The class will start with the basic 8- and 12-bar blues forms in the key of C and build left- and right-hand skills note by note. Each participant progresses at their own pace, from single notes with each hand to simple blues chords and patterns. With the right hand, participants will pick out melodies by ear and riff on the blues scale and chords. The left hand is all about playing bass lines, from single notes to simple versions of walking bass, rhumbas, shuffles, and others.

Participants will use their voices and bodies to guide their natural sense of tone and rhythm as they sing, clap, and stomp each song. Participants should bring a recorder, so together with the many handouts of songs and useful theory, they will be ready to continue on their own. The class will play many different blues tunes and some gospel, which is similar in form. The aim is to have fun and take the fear out of starting something new. Keyboards will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own headphones. Participants who wish to bring a keyboard for class, jamming, or practice are welcome to do so.

Judy LaPrade

Judy LaPrade grew up playing piano at home and in church. She started as a toddler mimicking her older sister and then began classical lessons that left her strong, natural ear in the dust. Augusta’s Blues Week in 1985 began the long road to recovery of that ear with a deep love of traditional Blues. This background makes her a somewhat nervous performer but a wonderful teacher who truly understands the challenge of leaving printed music behind. She has a gift for breaking things down in a systematic yet artistic way that blends the use of the left and right parts of the brain.

Judy has taught Blues piano for ten years in a variety of Blues camps with students who are both raw beginners and trained pianists who yearn for freedom from the printed page. She has a joy for teaching that encourages people to have fun and move past the voice in their heads that says, “This is too hard. I can’t do it.” She found this joy as a member of the Elktones, a group of women musicians from Elkins, West Virginia, known for vocal harmonies and an eclectic repertoire that included African music, blues, rock, and folk. She is a life-long teacher in every aspect of her work, since she directed music programs and the choir at a local state mental hospital in junior high school.

Judy fell in love with the blues, studying piano, accordion, and voice with Maureen DelGrosso, Ann Rabson, Erwin Helfer, and others. It is her mission to keep traditional blues alive and growing by passing this joy on to others.

Blues Piano: Part 1 (Beginning / Intermediate) – Sunpie Barnes

Erwin Helfer and Sunpie Barnes will both teach one section of Beginning / Intermediate and Intermediate / Advanced Blues Piano, so participants at both levels will have the opportuntiy to learn from each of these great workshop leaders. In Sunpie’s beginning / intermediate workshop, participants will focus on how to play a walking bass patterns and shuffles on the left hand and simple right hand melody accompaniments. No previous knowledge is required for this class. No books or written materials are required, but a note pad or recording device will help to capture the music that will be taught. All participants are required to bring an 88-key keyboard with headphones.

Sunpie Barnes

If a career in music hadn’t panned out, a number of attractive and diverse career paths would have been open to blues harmonica player and zydeco accordionist Bruce Sunpie Barnes. Thanks to his athletic ability that earned him a football scholarship to Henderson State University in Arkansas, he had a brief career in professional football with the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs. He also studied marine biology, a background that could have led to a variety of jobs and which ultimately led Barnes to work for the National Park Service as a naturalist. Acting jobs in commercials and on Hollywood movie sets, too, have come to the musician. The entire time he was working elsewhere, however, music was always a part of Barnes’ life. Even when football provided a handsome paycheck, he chose to play a number of gigs.

Barnes, who can play seven instruments, knew enough about his chosen career in music to realize that it isn’t the most reliable work, especially in terms of a steady paycheck. When he made the leap to become a professional musician, he supported himself with a day job, putting in hours as a ranger in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana, where he also served in the capacity of a naturalist. Evenings found him on stage in New Orleans, working with such artists as bluesman “Boogie” Bill Webb, vocalist Barbara George, and the New Orleans Blues Department Band. He went on to establish a group of his own, drawing from a pool of zydeco musicians based in the city of Lafayette, and he called the outfit Sunpie & the Creole Zydeco Fanners. Along with Harold Ray Brown, former drummer for War, he established another band in late 1991 and dubbed it Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots. Barnes led the band through performances at such venues as Martinique’s 11th International Clarinet Festival, Houston’s Juneteenth Festival, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Blues was a part of Barnes’ life in Benton, AR, during his youth. His dad, who instructed him in the harmonica, was a blues harpist who impressed upon his son the importance of education. Good times like picnics and other family get-togethers revolved around the harmonica playing of the elder Barnes and other regional blues musicians, including Sonny Boy Williamson. In addition to the influence of his father and Williamson, Barnes draws inspiration from Carey Bell and Lee Oskar.

Blues Piano: Part 2 (Beginning / Intermediate) – Erwin Helfer

Erwin Helfer and Sunpie Barnes will both teach one section of Beginning / Intermediate and Intermediate / Advanced Blues Piano, so participants at both levels will have the opportuntiy to learn from each of these great workshop leaders. Erwin Helfer’s piano workshops will focus on Boogie-Woogie piano, and his Period 2 workshop will be geared toward beginning / intermediate participants. He will cover blues and boogie from the roots on up, tailored to your interests. Some Blues and/or Boogie-Woogie piano experience is necessary for these workshops. Participants do not need to know how to read music. Participants are encouraged to bring a tape recorder, and those who read music may want to bring some blank staff paper to take notes. All participants are required to bring an 88-key keyboard with headphones.

Erwin Helfer

Erwin Helfer is a Chicago boogie woogie innovator and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Born in 1936, Erwin has been playing and performing for over fifty years. The sounds and personalities of past boogie woogie and blues pianists have nurtured Erwin’s musical growth. For many years, Erwin accompanied Mama Yancey, the wife of Chicago blues piano patriarch Jimmy “Papa” Yancey, and later recorded one album with her. He was also mentored and influenced by Billie Pierce, Cripple Clarence Lofton, and Speckled Red. Helfer recorded Pierce and Speckled Red on his own Tone Records in 1957. During the ’60s and ’70s, Erwin released two piano duet albums with his performing and recording partner of ten years, Jimmy Walker. On their first album, Peter J. Welding, one of the preeminent blues historians and scholars of all time, wrote that Helfer had “mastered the rhythmic and melodic subtleties” of the blues piano style. Chicago has long recognized Erwin Helfer as its own musical treasure. He performs annually at the Chicago Blues Festival and he even has a street named after him. His local gigs and frequent European tours, including an engagement at the Berlin Jazz Festival, have created a strong and loyal following in Chicago and overseas. His recording, I’m Not Hungry But I Like to Eat – Blues! was nominated for a 2002 W.C. Handy Award and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. In addition, he also has the following recordings on The Sirens Records: a duet CD with tenor saxophonist Skinny Williams entitled St. James Infirmary and participation on two historic piano compilations, Heavy Timbre – Chicago Boogie Piano (named one of the top 52 blues albums ever made by the Year of the Blues Foundation) and 8 Hands on 88 Keys – Chicago Blues Piano Masters. Another recording for The Sirens Records, Careless Love, was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air in January 2006. He presented solo at Berlin Jazz Festival. Check him out on Wikipedia!

Blues Piano: Part 1 (Intermediate / Advanced) – Erwin Helfer

Erwin Helfer and Sunpie Barnes will both teach one section of Beginning / Intermediate and Intermediate / Advanced Blues Piano, so participants at both levels will have the opportuntiy to learn from each of these great workshop leaders. Erwin Helfer’s piano workshops will focus on Boogie-Woogie piano, and his Period 1 workshop will be geared toward intermediate / advanced participants. He will cover blues and boogie from the roots on up, tailored to your interests. Some Blues and/or Boogie-Woogie piano experience is necessary for these workshops. Participants do not need to know how to read music. Participants are encouraged to bring a tape recorder, and those who read music may want to bring some blank staff paper to take notes. All participants are required to bring an 88-key keyboard with headphones.

Erwin Helfer

Erwin Helfer is a Chicago boogie woogie innovator and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Born in 1936, Erwin has been playing and performing for over fifty years. The sounds and personalities of past boogie woogie and blues pianists have nurtured Erwin’s musical growth. For many years, Erwin accompanied Mama Yancey, the wife of Chicago blues piano patriarch Jimmy “Papa” Yancey, and later recorded one album with her. He was also mentored and influenced by Billie Pierce, Cripple Clarence Lofton, and Speckled Red. Helfer recorded Pierce and Speckled Red on his own Tone Records in 1957. During the ’60s and ’70s, Erwin released two piano duet albums with his performing and recording partner of ten years, Jimmy Walker. On their first album, Peter J. Welding, one of the preeminent blues historians and scholars of all time, wrote that Helfer had “mastered the rhythmic and melodic subtleties” of the blues piano style. Chicago has long recognized Erwin Helfer as its own musical treasure. He performs annually at the Chicago Blues Festival and he even has a street named after him. His local gigs and frequent European tours, including an engagement at the Berlin Jazz Festival, have created a strong and loyal following in Chicago and overseas. His recording, I’m Not Hungry But I Like to Eat – Blues! was nominated for a 2002 W.C. Handy Award and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. In addition, he also has the following recordings on The Sirens Records: a duet CD with tenor saxophonist Skinny Williams entitled St. James Infirmary and participation on two historic piano compilations, Heavy Timbre – Chicago Boogie Piano (named one of the top 52 blues albums ever made by the Year of the Blues Foundation) and 8 Hands on 88 Keys – Chicago Blues Piano Masters. Another recording for The Sirens Records, Careless Love, was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air in January 2006. He presented solo at Berlin Jazz Festival. Check him out on Wikipedia!

Blues Piano: Part 2 (Intermediate / Advanced) – Sunpie Barnes

Erwin Helfer and Sunpie Barnes will both teach one section of Beginning / Intermediate and Intermediate / Advanced Blues Piano, so participants at both levels will have the opportuntiy to learn from each of these great workshop leaders. For Sunpie’s Intermediate / Advanced workshop, participants should have proficiency playing with both hands and be able to make music by hear. This class will focus on playing blues shuffles, boogie woogie, New Orleans style rumba, and walking bass lines. Some the songs that will be played are “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor,” “C.C. Rider,” “44 Blues,” and “Careless Love.” All participants are required to bring an 88-key keyboard with headphones.

Sunpie Barnes

If a career in music hadn’t panned out, a number of attractive and diverse career paths would have been open to blues harmonica player and zydeco accordionist Bruce Sunpie Barnes. Thanks to his athletic ability that earned him a football scholarship to Henderson State University in Arkansas, he had a brief career in professional football with the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs. He also studied marine biology, a background that could have led to a variety of jobs and which ultimately led Barnes to work for the National Park Service as a naturalist. Acting jobs in commercials and on Hollywood movie sets, too, have come to the musician. The entire time he was working elsewhere, however, music was always a part of Barnes’ life. Even when football provided a handsome paycheck, he chose to play a number of gigs.

Barnes, who can play seven instruments, knew enough about his chosen career in music to realize that it isn’t the most reliable work, especially in terms of a steady paycheck. When he made the leap to become a professional musician, he supported himself with a day job, putting in hours as a ranger in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana, where he also served in the capacity of a naturalist. Evenings found him on stage in New Orleans, working with such artists as bluesman “Boogie” Bill Webb, vocalist Barbara George, and the New Orleans Blues Department Band. He went on to establish a group of his own, drawing from a pool of zydeco musicians based in the city of Lafayette, and he called the outfit Sunpie & the Creole Zydeco Fanners. Along with Harold Ray Brown, former drummer for War, he established another band in late 1991 and dubbed it Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots. Barnes led the band through performances at such venues as Martinique’s 11th International Clarinet Festival, Houston’s Juneteenth Festival, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Blues was a part of Barnes’ life in Benton, AR, during his youth. His dad, who instructed him in the harmonica, was a blues harpist who impressed upon his son the importance of education. Good times like picnics and other family get-togethers revolved around the harmonica playing of the elder Barnes and other regional blues musicians, including Sonny Boy Williamson. In addition to the influence of his father and Williamson, Barnes draws inspiration from Carey Bell and Lee Oskar.

Swing Piano: Part I (Intermediate / Advanced) – Robert Redd

Robert Redd says, “I’m looking forward to working with you during Blues & Swing Week this summer. The following should give you a bit of an understanding of what to expect and how to better prepare for the piano class. Whether advanced or intermediate, you can look forward to a very open, comfortable setting, and I promise a fun learning experience.

“My approach is very hands-on, so plan on playing in this class. We will also have open discussions about swing piano and music in general, so I encourage students to make a list of questions we can address during these discussions. We will focus on some of the basics of jazz/swing piano such as the circle of fifths (dominants), key signatures, music listening, and recognition of common chord progressions (rhythm changes, blues, etc.). We will also focus on understanding chord symbols, including voicing techniques on commonly used chords such as major, minor, and dominant. We’ll discuss solo playing vs. ensemble playing and explore some of the many different approaches to improvising. We will work on tunes that have been selected for Blues & Swing Week as well as other classic standards, but feel free to bring any music or tunes that are of interest to you as well.

“In preparation for class, students should be familiar with the major scales, key signatures and have a basic understanding of major, minor, and dominant chords. Also become familiar with tunes that have been selected for the week as well as other classic standards. Students should bring a portable keyboard with an extension cord and headphones. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (301) 502-8318 or email at robert@robertredd.net. You can also find me on the web at www.robertredd.net.”

All participants are required to bring an 88-key keyboard with headphones.

Robert Redd

Robert Redd is a current member with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, performing throughout the US and abroad. He was a member of the late Keter Betts trio for 13 years and continues to be pianist and leader for the Wolf Trap Jazz Trio, which was started by Betts. From 1995-1998, Robert was pianist and musical director for singer/songwriter Kenny Rankin. He worked frequently as a member of the Charlie Byrd Trio, and appears on Charlie’s last recording, For Louis. Other recent recordings include Bouquet Chorale (Summit Records) featuring Marty Nau and legendary saxophonist Phil Woods, and When Redd is Blue, co-led with his brother, Chuck. Robert is also a QRS recording artist and has recorded two piano rolls for the New York-based company. He performs often with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and is a featured artist every year at the W.C. Handy Music Festival in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Robert also plays with the Brooks Tegler Trio, which performs every Sunday evening at The Irish Inn in Glen Echo, MD, one of the longest running jazz gigs in the DC area. He has also performed with John Pizzarelli, Houston Persons, Melba Moore, James Moody, Oscar Castro-Nevis, Warren Vache, Harry James Band, and Artie Shaw Band.

Swing Piano: Part II (Intermediate / Advanced) – Robert Redd

Robert Redd says, “I’m looking forward to working with you during Blues & Swing Week this summer. The following should give you a bit of an understanding of what to expect and how to better prepare for the piano class. Whether advanced or intermediate, you can look forward to a very open, comfortable setting, and I promise a fun learning experience.

“My approach is very hands-on, so plan on playing in this class. We will also have open discussions about swing piano and music in general, so I encourage students to make a list of questions we can address during these discussions. We will focus on some of the basics of jazz/swing piano such as the circle of fifths (dominants), key signatures, music listening, and recognition of common chord progressions (rhythm changes, blues, etc.). We will also focus on understanding chord symbols, including voicing techniques on commonly used chords such as major, minor, and dominant. We’ll discuss solo playing vs. ensemble playing and explore some of the many different approaches to improvising. We will work on tunes that have been selected for Blues & Swing Week as well as other classic standards, but feel free to bring any music or tunes that are of interest to you as well.

“In preparation for class, students should be familiar with the major scales, key signatures and have a basic understanding of major, minor, and dominant chords. Also become familiar with tunes that have been selected for the week as well as other classic standards. Students should bring a portable keyboard with an extension cord and headphones. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (301) 502-8318 or email at robert@robertredd.net. You can also find me on the web at www.robertredd.net.”

All participants are required to bring an 88-key keyboard with headphones.

Robert Redd

Robert Redd is a current member with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, performing throughout the US and abroad. He was a member of the late Keter Betts trio for 13 years and continues to be pianist and leader for the Wolf Trap Jazz Trio, which was started by Betts. From 1995-1998, Robert was pianist and musical director for singer/songwriter Kenny Rankin. He worked frequently as a member of the Charlie Byrd Trio, and appears on Charlie’s last recording, For Louis. Other recent recordings include Bouquet Chorale (Summit Records) featuring Marty Nau and legendary saxophonist Phil Woods, and When Redd is Blue, co-led with his brother, Chuck. Robert is also a QRS recording artist and has recorded two piano rolls for the New York-based company. He performs often with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and is a featured artist every year at the W.C. Handy Music Festival in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Robert also plays with the Brooks Tegler Trio, which performs every Sunday evening at The Irish Inn in Glen Echo, MD, one of the longest running jazz gigs in the DC area. He has also performed with John Pizzarelli, Houston Persons, Melba Moore, James Moody, Oscar Castro-Nevis, Warren Vache, Harry James Band, and Artie Shaw Band.

Afternoon Piano Session (All Levels) – Sunpie Barnes, Erwin Helfer, Judy LaPrade, & Robert Redd

Afternoon Piano Session (All Levels)

coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Sunpie Barnes

If a career in music hadn’t panned out, a number of attractive and diverse career paths would have been open to blues harmonica player and zydeco accordionist Bruce Sunpie Barnes. Thanks to his athletic ability that earned him a football scholarship to Henderson State University in Arkansas, he had a brief career in professional football with the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs. He also studied marine biology, a background that could have led to a variety of jobs and which ultimately led Barnes to work for the National Park Service as a naturalist. Acting jobs in commercials and on Hollywood movie sets, too, have come to the musician. The entire time he was working elsewhere, however, music was always a part of Barnes’ life. Even when football provided a handsome paycheck, he chose to play a number of gigs.

Barnes, who can play seven instruments, knew enough about his chosen career in music to realize that it isn’t the most reliable work, especially in terms of a steady paycheck. When he made the leap to become a professional musician, he supported himself with a day job, putting in hours as a ranger in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana, where he also served in the capacity of a naturalist. Evenings found him on stage in New Orleans, working with such artists as bluesman “Boogie” Bill Webb, vocalist Barbara George, and the New Orleans Blues Department Band. He went on to establish a group of his own, drawing from a pool of zydeco musicians based in the city of Lafayette, and he called the outfit Sunpie & the Creole Zydeco Fanners. Along with Harold Ray Brown, former drummer for War, he established another band in late 1991 and dubbed it Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots. Barnes led the band through performances at such venues as Martinique’s 11th International Clarinet Festival, Houston’s Juneteenth Festival, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Blues was a part of Barnes’ life in Benton, AR, during his youth. His dad, who instructed him in the harmonica, was a blues harpist who impressed upon his son the importance of education. Good times like picnics and other family get-togethers revolved around the harmonica playing of the elder Barnes and other regional blues musicians, including Sonny Boy Williamson. In addition to the influence of his father and Williamson, Barnes draws inspiration from Carey Bell and Lee Oskar.

Erwin Helfer

Erwin Helfer is a Chicago boogie woogie innovator and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Born in 1936, Erwin has been playing and performing for over fifty years. The sounds and personalities of past boogie woogie and blues pianists have nurtured Erwin’s musical growth. For many years, Erwin accompanied Mama Yancey, the wife of Chicago blues piano patriarch Jimmy “Papa” Yancey, and later recorded one album with her. He was also mentored and influenced by Billie Pierce, Cripple Clarence Lofton, and Speckled Red. Helfer recorded Pierce and Speckled Red on his own Tone Records in 1957. During the ’60s and ’70s, Erwin released two piano duet albums with his performing and recording partner of ten years, Jimmy Walker. On their first album, Peter J. Welding, one of the preeminent blues historians and scholars of all time, wrote that Helfer had “mastered the rhythmic and melodic subtleties” of the blues piano style. Chicago has long recognized Erwin Helfer as its own musical treasure. He performs annually at the Chicago Blues Festival and he even has a street named after him. His local gigs and frequent European tours, including an engagement at the Berlin Jazz Festival, have created a strong and loyal following in Chicago and overseas. His recording, I’m Not Hungry But I Like to Eat – Blues! was nominated for a 2002 W.C. Handy Award and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. In addition, he also has the following recordings on The Sirens Records: a duet CD with tenor saxophonist Skinny Williams entitled St. James Infirmary and participation on two historic piano compilations, Heavy Timbre – Chicago Boogie Piano (named one of the top 52 blues albums ever made by the Year of the Blues Foundation) and 8 Hands on 88 Keys – Chicago Blues Piano Masters. Another recording for The Sirens Records, Careless Love, was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air in January 2006. He presented solo at Berlin Jazz Festival. Check him out on Wikipedia!

Judy LaPrade

Judy LaPrade grew up playing piano at home and in church. She started as a toddler mimicking her older sister and then began classical lessons that left her strong, natural ear in the dust. Augusta’s Blues Week in 1985 began the long road to recovery of that ear with a deep love of traditional Blues. This background makes her a somewhat nervous performer but a wonderful teacher who truly understands the challenge of leaving printed music behind. She has a gift for breaking things down in a systematic yet artistic way that blends the use of the left and right parts of the brain.

Judy has taught Blues piano for ten years in a variety of Blues camps with students who are both raw beginners and trained pianists who yearn for freedom from the printed page. She has a joy for teaching that encourages people to have fun and move past the voice in their heads that says, “This is too hard. I can’t do it.” She found this joy as a member of the Elktones, a group of women musicians from Elkins, West Virginia, known for vocal harmonies and an eclectic repertoire that included African music, blues, rock, and folk. She is a life-long teacher in every aspect of her work, since she directed music programs and the choir at a local state mental hospital in junior high school.

Judy fell in love with the blues, studying piano, accordion, and voice with Maureen DelGrosso, Ann Rabson, Erwin Helfer, and others. It is her mission to keep traditional blues alive and growing by passing this joy on to others.

Robert Redd

Robert Redd is a current member with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, performing throughout the US and abroad. He was a member of the late Keter Betts trio for 13 years and continues to be pianist and leader for the Wolf Trap Jazz Trio, which was started by Betts. From 1995-1998, Robert was pianist and musical director for singer/songwriter Kenny Rankin. He worked frequently as a member of the Charlie Byrd Trio, and appears on Charlie’s last recording, For Louis. Other recent recordings include Bouquet Chorale (Summit Records) featuring Marty Nau and legendary saxophonist Phil Woods, and When Redd is Blue, co-led with his brother, Chuck. Robert is also a QRS recording artist and has recorded two piano rolls for the New York-based company. He performs often with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and is a featured artist every year at the W.C. Handy Music Festival in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Robert also plays with the Brooks Tegler Trio, which performs every Sunday evening at The Irish Inn in Glen Echo, MD, one of the longest running jazz gigs in the DC area. He has also performed with John Pizzarelli, Houston Persons, Melba Moore, James Moody, Oscar Castro-Nevis, Warren Vache, Harry James Band, and Artie Shaw Band.


Ukulele

Ukulele (Beginning) – Tina Dietz

“In my ukulele workshop we will learn a couple three or four chord songs, some simple strumming patterns, and a little ukulele flare.”

Tina Dietz

“I am a soul. A heart. A head of hair and my voice is my guide. Most just call me Tina. Now, I could sit here, list all of the things that ‘make my name valuable’ but then honestly, I don’t want to. If there is one thing I have learned this far, it’s that trying to use traditional means of explaining myself will never tell you a thing. What we can have is a conversation, then you can come up with whatever story you want to believe about me off of that. That being said, I go by many names: Teeny Deets, the one that rolls off the tongue; Christina Marie, when mother is unhappy; Miss Tina when directions are to be followed; Briar when in the garden; Queen as par for the course.

There is not a time in which I can pinpoint ever starting to sing because, quite frankly, I don’t remember starting. I remember singing. There is a time I do remember, a time when I was told that singing wasn’t for me, it was to glorify The Lord. My belief in such a one may be up for scrutiny, as I have since been confused by knowledge of our world. Yet the lesson remains and its implication is that the world does not revolve around any one person.

If you can understand that a voice is an extension of oneself and therefore, just as hard to explain as why we are on this earth in the first place, then I can teach you. If you are willing to understand that though technique is important, finding a way to process emotion—and then relaying that message through song—is even more so, then I can teach you. If you are willing to let go of your fear, to sing without shame no matter how bad you think you sound, I will teach you. It’s not about how you sound. It’s about how you feel, and how that feeling can help bring others into the experience—empathy.”

Ukulele Blues Party (Intermediate / Advanced) – Del Rey

This workshop will include jugband and blues songs orchestrated for the ukulele, with playing and singing parts for several levels of player. We’ll work on getting that old-timey sound on your uke, with the right rhythm, chord positions and where to find the melody. Plus we’ll try and listen to each other and play together. We’ll add parts for basic chords, strumming, picking and singing. Basic level: be comfortable and confident with first position chords and able to keep time while changing between them. Re-entrant (high G) tuning preferred. By ear, no TAB

Del Rey

Del Rey started playing guitar when she was four. She was introduced to the world of traditional acoustic music when she was 13, when she and a friend stumbled into a concert at Folk Arts Rare Records in San Diego. About 20 people were sitting on the floor under the record bins listening to a kid named Tom Waits play his original songs.

Lou Curtiss, proprietor of Folk Arts and artistic director of the San Diego Folk Festival, suggested she quit wasting her time playing “Stairway to Heaven” and listen to some Memphis Minnie. He put her on stage with Sam Chatmon when she was fourteen, and introduced her to Lydia Mendoza and Howard Armstrong. Lou gave her recordings that still influence everything she does on solo acoustic guitar. She soaked up country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie. It was a musical education hanging around the record shop.

Thirty years later, Del Rey became fascinated with the ukulele. She tries to play the same kind of complicated rhythmic blues and ragtime on four strings as on six. She expects a lot out of the little instrument.

She now plays solo concerts worldwide and presents a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women In American Music. She collaborates and tours frequently with Steve James, Suzy Thompson, and Adam Franklin. She has contributed to projects in honor of The Mississippi Sheiks, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Johnny Cash and occasionally writes about music for various publications, including Acoustic Guitar. Her most recent release is just her, singing with uke and guitar; it’s called Solo. Her albums are available from Hobemian Records.

Fingerpicking The Blues on the Ukulele (Advanced) – Del Rey

Many of the great 1920-30s guitar and banjo blues tunes sit beautifully on the ukulele. There are also African American ukesters like Lemon Nash of Louisiana and Rabbit Muse of Virginia, with distinctive styles on traditional and standard jazz material. Using characteristic chord inversions and melody picking, we’ll learn solo finger style arrangements for the uke. Re-entrant (high G) tuning preferred. By ear, no TAB. Level: Be able to keep a 4/4 beat with your thumb while picking a melody with your fingers.

Del Rey

Del Rey started playing guitar when she was four. She was introduced to the world of traditional acoustic music when she was 13, when she and a friend stumbled into a concert at Folk Arts Rare Records in San Diego. About 20 people were sitting on the floor under the record bins listening to a kid named Tom Waits play his original songs.

Lou Curtiss, proprietor of Folk Arts and artistic director of the San Diego Folk Festival, suggested she quit wasting her time playing “Stairway to Heaven” and listen to some Memphis Minnie. He put her on stage with Sam Chatmon when she was fourteen, and introduced her to Lydia Mendoza and Howard Armstrong. Lou gave her recordings that still influence everything she does on solo acoustic guitar. She soaked up country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie. It was a musical education hanging around the record shop.

Thirty years later, Del Rey became fascinated with the ukulele. She tries to play the same kind of complicated rhythmic blues and ragtime on four strings as on six. She expects a lot out of the little instrument.

She now plays solo concerts worldwide and presents a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women In American Music. She collaborates and tours frequently with Steve James, Suzy Thompson, and Adam Franklin. She has contributed to projects in honor of The Mississippi Sheiks, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Johnny Cash and occasionally writes about music for various publications, including Acoustic Guitar. Her most recent release is just her, singing with uke and guitar; it’s called Solo. Her albums are available from Hobemian Records.


Vocals

Blues Vocals (All Levels) – Tina Dietz

From Tina: “In my vocal workshop you will learn a little yoga, a song or three, and you will learn that singing is not for you alone. For in this world, we are simply not alone. Everything has a pulse, a heart (no matter how unorthodox). We have our own built-in rhythm section. Everything around you is vibrating. Literally. Scientifically. Look it up. And that’s not even the best part. The best part is that we have the ability to manipulate that vibration with our voices. I ask you to rifle through your brain, pick a memory that is so strong you can still experience the emotion within it, then… sing. That is all.”

Tina Dietz

“I am a soul. A heart. A head of hair and my voice is my guide. Most just call me Tina. Now, I could sit here, list all of the things that ‘make my name valuable’ but then honestly, I don’t want to. If there is one thing I have learned this far, it’s that trying to use traditional means of explaining myself will never tell you a thing. What we can have is a conversation, then you can come up with whatever story you want to believe about me off of that. That being said, I go by many names: Teeny Deets, the one that rolls off the tongue; Christina Marie, when mother is unhappy; Miss Tina when directions are to be followed; Briar when in the garden; Queen as par for the course.

There is not a time in which I can pinpoint ever starting to sing because, quite frankly, I don’t remember starting. I remember singing. There is a time I do remember, a time when I was told that singing wasn’t for me, it was to glorify The Lord. My belief in such a one may be up for scrutiny, as I have since been confused by knowledge of our world. Yet the lesson remains and its implication is that the world does not revolve around any one person.

If you can understand that a voice is an extension of oneself and therefore, just as hard to explain as why we are on this earth in the first place, then I can teach you. If you are willing to understand that though technique is important, finding a way to process emotion—and then relaying that message through song—is even more so, then I can teach you. If you are willing to let go of your fear, to sing without shame no matter how bad you think you sound, I will teach you. It’s not about how you sound. It’s about how you feel, and how that feeling can help bring others into the experience—empathy.”

Swing Vocal Improvisation & Swing Chorus (All Levels) – Dave Davies

Vocal Improv: Through various informal and fun excercises ranging in styles, the vocal improviser in each participant will be discovered and freed, so that they can apply this new raging talent to all endeavors! Participants should prepare to challenge themselves in a safe and supportive environment with fun excercises using swing, blues, gospel, funk, and totally free grooves.

Swing Chorus: In the second half of each class, the group will learn about swing harmony and work on an arrangement, hopefully for performance. Since the workshop is open to all levels, and requires singing inner lines in tune, participants may find themselves as a ringer holding down a section, or a novice seeking to match pitches closely, all good and valuable experience! The ability to read music is not required, though a written version of the arrangement will be available.

Dave Davies

Dave Davies is a talented multi-instrumentalist, singer, arranger, songwriter, and teacher from Ithaca, NY. His work in a multitude of musical styles has brought him to venues all around the US, Central America, and Europe. At home on the trombone, guitar, and upright and electric bass, you may also find him playing the tuba, ukulele, or drums. He’s been a solid member of the Northeast music scene for 25 years, playing with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Lindy Hop Heaven, Djug Django, The Clayfoot Strutters, Peggy Haine’s Lowdown Alligators, The B Side, The Contradictions, The Gourmet Jug Band, and leading the HotFoot Club. Dave has toured extensively as a swing and contra musician and has been a staff member at Ashokan Fiddle and Dance for over 20 years. He has a BA in music from SUNY Oswego, and studied with Bobby McFerrin at Omega Institute. Dave was director of the CSMA Jazz Ensemble for 4 years and gives classes and workshops in vocal and instrumental improvisation, music theory, and arranging, and leads ensembles of many varieties.

Swing Vocals (Intermediate) – Sue Matthews

In a performance, you’re not just bringing a piece of music for the audience to hear, you’re taking them along on a journey. As singers, the lyrics provide great opportunity to engage with the song and your audience. We’ll cover everything you need to know to prepare for a gig. Here is just a tidbit of where we’ll begin:

In preparing for a performance, first, know your songs. Working with the lyrics is fun and helps you create the story you’re going to tell. Prepare a quick background of your songs, by sharing something about the composer and lyricist, or telling a story about the artist whose recording made the song famous. The audience will enjoy this bit of information and you’ll find they’ll listen more intently with a new appreciation, which creates an appreciation for YOU. Be familiar with how you want your songs to be performed: rhythm, tempo, solo lengths. This will help in deciding the order of your set. Have your lead sheets in set order for your band. When preparing to sing, hydration and warming up are key. The success of your gig is in direct relation to your readiness and preparation. We’ll use various warming up techniques that you can easily use at home or on your way to your gig. You’ll also sing your song(s) of choice with your new and interesting introductions that we’ll work on during the week. You will be performing in this class!

Sue Matthews

Sue Matthews is a superb singer with a silky voice, exquisite phrasing and passion for finding every bit of meaning in a song. Give her a great song, no matter how familiar, and she will find in it fresh nuance and new depth of meaning. As a ‘standards’ jazz vocalist, Sue Matthews, has been delighting audiences for over 30 years. Her recording debut was in 1991, releasing the traditional jazz album Love Dances. Described by Jazz Times as “a bona fide jazz singer, her phrasing is a dream with razor-sharp articulation.” She quickly caught on with audiences when her subsequent album, When You’re Around, achieved “top 20” berths on the Gavin and R & R Jazz Charts. She has released 9 recordings to date, which continue to garner the attention and praise of both national and international critics.

“…Her laid back effortless delivery and smoky voice is something to be savoured and enjoyed… a jazz vocalist deserving more attention on both sides of the Atlantic.” – The South Wales Evening Post.

Her silky smooth croon and infectious vitality have entertained audiences around the world at Calgary Philharmonic, Annapolis Symphony, Tampa Symphony and NYC’s Town Hall. For Sofitel, performances in Amsterdam, Holland and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has been a ‘Fly-On’ Entertainer for the Carnival Cruise Lines and made several T.V. appearances. She has performed at national and international music festivals, including Clifden Artsweek in County Galway, Ireland; the Saluzzo Music Festival in Italy; the Rehoboth Jazz Festival in Rehoboth, DE; the Chestertown Jazz Festival; the Berks Jazz Festival, in Reading, PA; and the W.C. Handy Festival in Florence, Alabama. After several years away, she is very happy to return as a workshop leader for Blues & Swing Week at Augusta.

Swing Vocals: Sittin’ In (Intermediate) – Sue Matthews

How can I be ready when a band asks “do you want to come up for one or two?” Being ready when you’re asked to ‘sit in’ with a band takes preparation. Know your handful of tunes: full titles, keys, lyrics, rhythm, tempo. It’s important to have at least a short list of tunes for the band to choose from, so you and they will be comfortable. Can you present your ballads as up tunes? Your swing tunes with a Latin twist? Can you adjust to a tempo you’re not used to performing in? Can you count the band in?

Sitting in can be a great opportunity to see a song you’ve done a million times in a new light or maybe find a new player you can later hire for future gigs. And, it’s always a great feeling to have the confidence needed for you AND the band to enjoy the experience. We will work on each and all of these aspects to help you improve your confidence and ‘sittin’ in’ readiness.
You will be performing in class. Please bring 2 or 3 songs in your key as lead sheets, charts or sheet music. Include at least 1 ballad and 1 ‘up’ tune. Also bring a list of tunes you know. It doesn’t matter if your list is short or long. If you know your keys, please include them on your list. We can help you to find your key if needed. Whatever your experience, you’ll learn to approach such fun opportunities as joining a band for even one song with confidence and excitement.

Sue Matthews

Sue Matthews is a superb singer with a silky voice, exquisite phrasing and passion for finding every bit of meaning in a song. Give her a great song, no matter how familiar, and she will find in it fresh nuance and new depth of meaning. As a ‘standards’ jazz vocalist, Sue Matthews, has been delighting audiences for over 30 years. Her recording debut was in 1991, releasing the traditional jazz album Love Dances. Described by Jazz Times as “a bona fide jazz singer, her phrasing is a dream with razor-sharp articulation.” She quickly caught on with audiences when her subsequent album, When You’re Around, achieved “top 20” berths on the Gavin and R & R Jazz Charts. She has released 9 recordings to date, which continue to garner the attention and praise of both national and international critics.

“…Her laid back effortless delivery and smoky voice is something to be savoured and enjoyed… a jazz vocalist deserving more attention on both sides of the Atlantic.” – The South Wales Evening Post.

Her silky smooth croon and infectious vitality have entertained audiences around the world at Calgary Philharmonic, Annapolis Symphony, Tampa Symphony and NYC’s Town Hall. For Sofitel, performances in Amsterdam, Holland and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has been a ‘Fly-On’ Entertainer for the Carnival Cruise Lines and made several T.V. appearances. She has performed at national and international music festivals, including Clifden Artsweek in County Galway, Ireland; the Saluzzo Music Festival in Italy; the Rehoboth Jazz Festival in Rehoboth, DE; the Chestertown Jazz Festival; the Berks Jazz Festival, in Reading, PA; and the W.C. Handy Festival in Florence, Alabama. After several years away, she is very happy to return as a workshop leader for Blues & Swing Week at Augusta.

Field Hollers, Work Songs and Spirituals: Part 1 (Intermediate / Advanced) – Resa Gibbs

The class will focus on a selection of field hollers, African-American work songs and spirituals in oral traditions, call/response, rhythms, melody and harmonies, mainly singing in community.

Resa Gibbs

Resa Gibbs, lead vocalist and percussionist for MSG Acoustic Blues Trio (a trio steeped in the Piedmont Blues tradition), is known for her warm, soulful, and heartfelt sound. A sought-after vocal instructor, she feels pleased and honored by the opportunity to instruct vocal workshops at Augusta Heritage Center’s Blues & Swing Week 2019.

In the summer of 2008 and 2009, Resa taught blues singing during Country Blues Week at Centrum in Port Townsend, WA. She has also been an assistant instructor at Augusta’s Blues & Swing Week gospel mini-course. In 2010, she, along with Jackie Merritt, was accepted into the Library of Congress “Americana Women: Roots Musicians – Women’s Tales and Tunes” as part of the MusicBox Project collection, some of which has been catalogued in the American Folklife Center.

Resa has made vocal contributions including backing vocals on several award winning singer / songwriters’ albums. Most notably, she sang background vocals on Gaye Adegbalola’s Bitter Sweet Blues CD, produced by Rory Block and recorded by Alligator Records. On the 2008 CD project by Gaye Adegbalola entitled Gaye Without Shame, Resa sang a featured duet with Gaye and added backing vocals to several tracks. This CD was produced by Blues Music Award winner Bob Margolin. She performed with Gaye, Bob Margolin, Jason Ricci, and other nominated artists at the 2009 BMAs (Blues Music Awards) in Memphis. She also had the pleasure of singing on Roddy Barnes’ ODD album in 2015.

MSG’s 4th CD, The Flood, was released in the spring of 2016 and nominated in the first round for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Traditional Blues Album. It was also selected by the DC Blues Society for submission to the International Blues Challenge in the category of Best Self-Produced Album.

Field Hollers, Work Songs and Spirituals: Part 2 (Intermediate / Advanced) – Resa Gibbs

The class will focus on a selection of field hollers, African-American work songs and spirituals in oral traditions, call/response, rhythms, melody and harmonies, mainly singing in community.

Resa Gibbs

Resa Gibbs, lead vocalist and percussionist for MSG Acoustic Blues Trio (a trio steeped in the Piedmont Blues tradition), is known for her warm, soulful, and heartfelt sound. A sought-after vocal instructor, she feels pleased and honored by the opportunity to instruct vocal workshops at Augusta Heritage Center’s Blues & Swing Week 2019.

In the summer of 2008 and 2009, Resa taught blues singing during Country Blues Week at Centrum in Port Townsend, WA. She has also been an assistant instructor at Augusta’s Blues & Swing Week gospel mini-course. In 2010, she, along with Jackie Merritt, was accepted into the Library of Congress “Americana Women: Roots Musicians – Women’s Tales and Tunes” as part of the MusicBox Project collection, some of which has been catalogued in the American Folklife Center.

Resa has made vocal contributions including backing vocals on several award winning singer / songwriters’ albums. Most notably, she sang background vocals on Gaye Adegbalola’s Bitter Sweet Blues CD, produced by Rory Block and recorded by Alligator Records. On the 2008 CD project by Gaye Adegbalola entitled Gaye Without Shame, Resa sang a featured duet with Gaye and added backing vocals to several tracks. This CD was produced by Blues Music Award winner Bob Margolin. She performed with Gaye, Bob Margolin, Jason Ricci, and other nominated artists at the 2009 BMAs (Blues Music Awards) in Memphis. She also had the pleasure of singing on Roddy Barnes’ ODD album in 2015.

MSG’s 4th CD, The Flood, was released in the spring of 2016 and nominated in the first round for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Traditional Blues Album. It was also selected by the DC Blues Society for submission to the International Blues Challenge in the category of Best Self-Produced Album.

Click here to see additional full day workshops!

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Click here to see the Folk Arts for Kids! workshops offered this week!

Click here to see all  mini courses offered this week!