Cajun & Creole Week

Cajun & Creole Week

July 7 - 12, 2019

CAJUNOur staff of Cajun and Creole workshop leaders keeps participants buzzing with excitement in the classroom and pulsing with energy on the pavilion dance floor! Each day starts with a fresh cup of Cajun coffee and a jam session. Workshops meet 10-11:45 a.m. and 2:30-3:45 p.m. After lunch, everyone gathers for special presentations on Cajun and Creole music and culture. With mini-courses, jam sessions, concerts, dances and a gumbo party, it’s a gala week of nonstop music and dancing.

Cajun & Creole Week runs concurrently with Classic Country Week; Arts, Crafts, & Folklore Workshops; Folk Arts for Kids; and Evening Mini-Courses. The two weeks have been paired together since Classic Country Week began in 2010, and the combination creates wonderful opportunities for participants to interact through cross-theme cultural sessions, special evening events, swapping tunes and songs in jam sessions, and sharing in the fun!

“Cajun & Creole Week is shaping up to be one of the best ever! Cream-of-the-crop musicians are just waiting to give their participants focused instruction rarely available outside of Louisiana. This is a unique opportunity for participants to immerse themselves in the music and culture of southwest Louisiana while concentrating intently on their instrument. In addition to workshops, there will be plenty of time for dancing and jamming with old friends and new.” – Lynne Terr, Coordinator

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

(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

Registration will open on March 1, 2019. 

Register Here!

2019 Workshop Leaders and Classes COMING SOON. Click any name below to open more details. Click again to close.

Coordinator

Cajun & Creole Week Coordinator – Lynne Terr

Lynne Terr

Lynne has been the coordinator of Cajun & Creole Week for over fifteen years. She first became enamored with Cajun music in the early 1970s. Her husband Charlie had been to Louisiana and met the Balfa brothers, whom she later met at a Fais-Do-Do on a farm in northern Illinois. Soon she and her husband Charlie began to travel to Louisiana and to host Cajun musicians who were performing in Chicago and surrounding areas, their first guests being the legendary Nathan Abshire and Rodney Balfa. This tradition has continued over the years and has led to great friendships with musicians who have been willing to share their knowledge about their music and culture. For many years Lynne and Charlie ran monthly dances in Chicago featuring a local band as well as musicians from Louisiana such as Dewey Balfa, Steve Riley, and D.L. Menard. Lynne has been the consultant for many venues for Cajun events in the Midwest including the Field Museum of Natural History, the University of Chicago Folk Festival and Folklore Village in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. In 2011 Lynne decided to retire from her longtime day job as a jeweler to devote more time to the arts. She is now the Executive Director of the McCord Gallery & Cultural Center in Palos Park, Illinois. Lynne has used her skills as a music events planner to bring together memorable gatherings of exemplary Cajun musicians at Augusta.

Master Artist – Walter Mouton

Master Artist – Walter Mouton

Walter Mouton, Jr., is a legendary Cajun musician whose reputation rests almost solely on his live performances at Cajun dances. His band recorded “The Scott Playboys Special” as a single in 1970, and his music is also heard on the sound track to the film J’ai êté au bal, but he is best known for his Saturday night performances at Breaux Bridge’s La Poussière Club. He started playing there many years ago, beginning his weekly gig in the mid-1980s, and retiring in 2008.

Mouton, who was born in 1938, put together the first version of the Scott Playboys in 1952 when he was 13. Original members were Rodney Miller, John Allen Guillot, and Leeman Prejean. According to the biography compiled by the Cajun French Music Association, which named him to the CFMA Hall of Fame, the Scott Playboys performed at such establishments as the Colonial Club in Estherwood, the Reno Club in Kaplan, T-Maurice in Bosco, the China Ball Club in Bristol, the Triangle Club in Scott, Jolly Rogers in St. Martinville, and Happy Landing in Arnaudville.

The band kept going by changing with the times, adding country and western as well as rock and roll songs to their repertoire to try to meet dance hall requests. But with the revival of Cajun music, the band has for a long time been able to play only the music that they love: Cajun songs with a beat designed for dancing. As Mouton told Dominck Cross in an article in the Baton Rouge Advocate, highlighting the dedication of the 1998 Festivals Acadiens in his honor, “I consider myself a dance band as (opposed) to an authentic Cajun band.”

Accordion (Beginning) – John Vidrine

Those participants who have a desire to learn the accordion as it is played in the “Evangeline Country” of Louisiana, and that are new to the instrument should consider this Beginning Accordion workshop. The workshop will follow “play-by-ear” format, and we will map out how to use the instrument by learning some popular “Vieux Temps” French Louisiana tunes. “Come get you some!”

John Vidrine

John Vidrine is an old style melodic Cajun accordion player whose danceable playing is very soulful and genuine. John started playing as a teenager in his hometown of Mamou, Louisiana, where influences for the young player were to be found around every corner. His style is reminiscent of those accordion players he respected and sought to understand such as Nathan Abshire, Bois Sec Ardoin, Cyprien Landreneau, Roy Fuselier, Hadley Fontenot, Allie Young, and Marc Savoy, all well-known players in the region. John always had a deep affection for the fiddle sound, and his style is further influenced by the fiddlers Cheese Read, Lionel Leleux, Dewey and Will Balfa, Norris BoBoy Fontenot, Doc Guidry Eric Chapman, David Greely, and Dennis McGee, who he admires and has on occasion accompanied on accordion or guitar. John has never really played the circuit and dance clubs; he preferred to play for his own enjoyment and for his friends. Family gatherings, weddings, and small events have been the venues John performed most often, accompanied by Jane Vidrine on guitar or fiddle and son Jo on guitar or bass. John is best known for his leadership in the Mamou Mardi Gras band, having been tapped in when he was 16 years old and served for the last 13 years or so as the ‘Capitaine’ (leader) of that group of musicians who provide the music for the infamous Courire De Mardi Gras annual run in Mamou.

Accordion (Intermediate) – Chris Miller

Participants should already know how to hold the instrument and the basic scale push-pull patterns. In addition, participants should already have some experience playing simple songs in proper rhythmic timing. This course will focus on what kind of playing techniques make the instrument produce uniquely Cajun sounds such as octaves (and when and how to use them), grace notes, other button combinations (chords), and trills. The workshop will cover accenting the rhythm with the right hand, and how to accent the rhythmic feel with the left hand bellow pressure. Participants will learn how to begin to use the bass accompaniment buttons in proper rhythm while also playing the right hand melody. Participants will compare old time waltz rhythm vs. a more modern feel. Participants can familiarize themselves with Chris’ layered teaching approach by searching for “Chris Miller, Love Bridge Waltz” lessons on YouTube. Chris has many other examples and lessons on YouTube as well. Those who preview the lessons will most likely get the most out of the week by laying some groundwork in advance. Chris will poll the participants to find the most useable tune and the most common tune to all current camp goers. He will break that tune down for instruction in layers and then reassemble it adding the various elements. There will be time for question and answer sessions as well as tune requests. Participants are encouraged to bring recording devices to aid their study.

Chris Miller

Chris Miller was interested in music from the time he was born. His parents recall that he made a habit of waking early so that he could hear the “French Music” on KLFY’s morning show “Passe Partout.” Chris was also fond of singing and dancing around his home to his father’s self-styled guitar playing. In fact, there always seemed to be music in the neighborhood. Most of Chris’s aunts, uncles, and grandparents lived within three miles or so. Many family members played guitar; Uncle Nolan Miller played accordion, fiddle, guitar, and few licks on the piano. After noting his early interests in music, his parents purchased a piano and Chris began lessons. This continued for a while until he decided that he could play boogie, swamp pop, and country without taking any further lessons. Chris composed a few songs in middle school and won a few talent contests with his original piano works. As Chris approached his teens, he began to devote himself more and more to Cajun music and to teach himself Cajun accordion, guitar, and later fiddle.

There were many other local influences besides his closely-knit extended family. Raul and Reoul LeBlanc played the old style of Cajun accordion that Chris grew to love. Harris Leger, a family friend and accordionist who was never recorded, also provided hours of inspiration at family gatherings and camping trips. The Vanicors of Lacassine and Welsh provided Chris with many opportunities to play and to learn from veterans of Cajun music’s early years.

In 1999 Chris helped to form Louisiana’s Kingfish which has had great success playing throughout Louisiana, Texas, and at the 2001 Montreal Jazz Festival. In 2000 Kingfish released the CD Life in a One-Horse Town, which continues to sell well and influence Louisiana music. For this CD Chris provided interesting and innovative arrangements, vocals, and accordion, fiddle, and guitar tracks. Chris has also played throughout the Eastern and Midwestern US and France with Hadley Castille. He also played at the Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio with Rodney LeJeune and the Texas Cajun Playboys. Chris has won many accordion-playing contests throughout South Louisiana and Southeast Texas. He is in demand as a studio musician for projects that require that special “Cajun sound”. He has taught accordion to many young participants including Sean Vidrine and Kaleb Trahan. Chris earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music Education from McNeese State University and is Choral Director at Barbe High School and First Presbyterian Church in Lake Charles.

Accordion (Advanced) – Jesse Lége & Blake Miller

Class description coming soon!

Jesse Lége

Jesse Lége is the real deal. Growing up in a rural, pre-electricity home in Gueydan, Louisiana, Jesse spoke Cajun French and learned music from relatives, neighbors and the family’s much-loved battery-powered radio. Today he is one of the most admired Cajun accordionists and vocalists in the world. He has won numerous CFMA (Cajun French Music Association) awards: Traditional Band of the Year, Accordion Player of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Band of the Year and Song of the Year. In 1998 he was inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame.

Blake Miller

Grandson of well-known accordion builder Larry Miller, Blake Miller has been surrounded by Cajun music and culture his entire life. Hailing from the small town of Iota, Louisiana, Blake is a fluent French speaker and songwriter. He acquired a degree in Francophone studies from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was a founding member of the popular young Cajun band, The Pine Leaf Boys, and became a member of the premiere Louisiana roots band The Red Stick Ramblers. He has also served stints in just about every other Cajun/Creole band of note including Balfa Toujours, Les Malfecteurs and Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole. He now plays accordion and fiddle with The Revelers who were nominated for a GRAMMY in 2016.

Bass (All Levels) – Jo Vidrine

Bass is by far the coolest instrument anyone could possibly choose to play. A solid bass line can be the fine line between a band that grooves and one that doesn’t. In this “Bassically Bass” workshop, we will cover Cajun and Zydeco bass styles that have developed over the years. We will listen to “hero” backline ensembles that have had their clear mark on the music. This workshop will be accessible to all skill levels and instrument types, including upright and electric bass, and rhythm guitar players who would like to explore bass runs on their instrument. This workshop will help you further your jam-ability.

Jo Vidrine

Having grown up in Southwest Louisiana, Jo Vidrine has been immersed in Cajun music and traditions since birth. From this early exposure and hard work, Jo has assumed the role of “Freelance Cajun,” a title which encompasses photography, food, music, and cultural experiences. He is passionate about both Lafayette and Cajun culture, and seeks to share them with other communities. Photography, food, and music lend themselves easily to this line of work, enabling him to live and document contemporary Cajun lifestyles. Through his travels, art, and work he intends to nurture and explore the world and share a little taste of his home with those who wish to come along for the ride.

Cajun Cooking (All Levels) – Jackie Miller, assisted by Michelle Brown & Judie Smith

Learn the secrets of the Cajun kitchen, from roux to sauce piquante and étoufée, the typical home-style cooking which is an essential part of the culture of southwestern Louisiana. Judie Smith will assist.

Jackie Miller

Jackie Miller from Iota, Louisiana, is a prizewinning cook and the author of two Cajun cookbooks. She teaches the secrets of authentic home-style Cajun cooking. She will be assisted by Judie Smith and Michelle Brown.

Photo coming soon!

Michelle Brown, Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Judie Smith, Assistant

Judie Smith has been assisting with the Cajun Cooking class at Augusta for many years. A resident of Elkins and a faculty member of Davis & Elkins College, Judie fell in love with Cajun cooking at Augusta. She has made numerous visits to Louisiana and has connected with Cajun culture through Augusta and her friends there.

Fiddle from Scratch – Michelle Kaminsky

This is a workshop for folks who have always wanted to play fiddle but don’t know where to start. It is also for fiddlers who want to go back to the beginning and set things right with a patient teacher in a supportive atmosphere. You’ll learn the basics, such as how to hold the bow, how to get a good sound, where to put your fingers, and how to tune. One of the nice things about starting off with Cajun fiddling is learning how to play along in a jam by using a very simple rhythm backup. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to keep right on playing after Augusta! Bring a fiddle and bow, a tuner if you have one, some rosin if you have it and come prepared to have fun! A recording device with batteries is strongly recommended and it’s always good to try it out ahead of time.

Age requirement: 16 years old and up.

Michelle Kaminsky

Michelle Kaminsky has been an Augusta regular since 1980, first as a participant and then as a workshop leader, giving her the opportunity to learn from many Cajun and Creole musicians including Dewey Balfa, Canray Fontenot, Danny and Ed Poullard, Mitch Reed, Al Berard, and many others. Her high-energy fiddling has powered the Cajun band Magnolia in the northeast since 1991. Michelle especially enjoys working with novices, inspiring them to move beyond scratch!

Fiddle (Beginning) – Jason Frey

Jason Frey loves to teach beginners so that he can set them on the right path with good habits right from the start. This class will focus on the basics of Cajun fiddle, the rhythm and the tunes.

Jason Frey

Jason Frey’s accordion playing takes listeners back to the old style of front porch music. One of Dewey Balfa’s favorite accordion players, Jason played many festivals with him. In 2000 his band, Lagniappe, released a CD, à la vieille manière, which received the Cajun French Music Association’s Le Cajun Award as Best First Recording of the Year and Jason was nominated for the Best Accordionist of the Year. In 2011 Jason and Courtney Granger recorded a CD on which they performed both old favorites and newer songs that they wrote themselves. Since then Jason has teamed up with Al Berard, Charlie Terr and Joel Savoy for another CD of standards and originals.

Fiddle (Intermediate) – Gina Forsyth

Class description coming soon!

Gina Forsyth

Bio coming soon!

Fiddle (Advanced) – Mitch Reed & Kevin Wimmer

Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Mitch Reed

Bio coming soon!

Kevin Wimmer

Growing up with Juilliard-educated professional classical musician parents, it wasn’t a surprise that Kevin Wimmer grew up to be a musician, but the route he took was certainly unexpected. After finding himself in the math class of old-time music connoisseur Ray Alden at New York’s Stuyvesant High, Kevin was hipped to Tommy Jarrell, as well as up-and-coming old-time revival bands like the Highwoods Stringband. The bluegrass bug caught him in college (where he also played in the Gamelan orchestra and studied Ghanaian drumming), but it wasn’t until he first heard Dewey Balfa perform at the Escoheag Cajun and Bluegrass Festival that he caught a glimpse of his musical home. After heading to Davis and Elkins and taking Dewey’s first Cajun Fiddle class at Augusta, he knew he’d found his true calling, and eventually, Kevin made his way to Louisiana to live in Dewey’s outdoor kitchen shed and study his fiddle playing up close. Kevin broadened his understanding of the genre’s deep roots by studying with a variety of Creole and Cajun fiddle legends like Canray Fontenot, Dennis McGee, and Carlton Frank. He went on to found traditional Cajun music band Balfa Toujours with Dewey’s daughters, Christine and Nelda, and Dirk Powell. Over the years, he also played and recorded with Queen Ida and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band, the Red Stick Ramblers, Bois-Sec Ardoin, and Racines, with whom he received a Grammy nomination. Headquartered in Lafayette, Kevin is currently the fiddler for Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys and plays regularly with Preston Frank. He is also an active teacher, working both with private students and as an instructor in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s traditional music program. He’s also a frequent face as a staff instructor at music camps around the country, including Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, GrassRoots Culture Camp, the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week, and Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. He’s taught at Augusta many times before, but this will be his first trip in over a decade and he couldn’t be more excited to come back to the place where he first studied Cajun fiddle in depth.

Cajun Vocals (All Levels) – Christine Balfa & Courtney Granger

Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Christine Balfa

Bio coming soon!

Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger is an old soul at only 37. He’s Cajun through and through, with all the depth of emotion and experience that one life can hold so young. Born in Eunice, Louisiana, Courtney hails from the Balfa family lineage. He is a master Balfa-influenced fiddler and singer of his native Cajun music, and he can sing a country song that will burn your heart and have you crying for more. Students have written: “He broke my heart every day and I loved it.” “His class worked. It worked because he truly listened to his students and was very generous.” “Courtney has wonderful insight into the music – and can articulate those thoughts.” Whenever Courtney sings at a Country or Cajun dance, dancers stop and get lost in his deep commitment to the music, so deep that he sweeps the listener right up into it with him. You feel like, “He’s singing my life”.

Courtney’s endless repertoire of both Cajun and classic country tunes, as well his impeccable, thoughtful fiddling and soulful singing, has made him one of the most sought-after Cajun fiddlers in the world, playing with legends Jason Frey, Dirk Powell and Horace Trahan. Courtney produced his own solo CD in the mid-’90s, which brought him praise from the Cajun music scene and several CFMA awards. In 1999, he joined Balfa Toujours on bass and fiddle, playing alongside the great Kevin Wimmer. Courtney has been a member of The Pine Leaf Boys since 2008. In 2016, he released his long-awaited solo country album, gathering amazing backup and harmony musicians to record on the Valcour Record label. Beneath Still Waters has already received acclaim from several notable publications. It’s real Country music – what we’ve come to expect from Courtney Granger.

Evening Mini-Course: Balfa Traditions (All Levels) – Christine Balfa

Evening Mini-Course: Balfa Traditions (All Levels)
Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Christine Balfa

Bio coming soon!

Evening Mini-Course: Ballads & Story Songs (All Levels) – Jane Vidrine

Evening Mini-Course: Ballads & Story Songs (All Levels)
Class description coming soon!

Jane Vidrine

Jane Vidrine is a musician and music educator from Lafayette, Louisiana. She is a founding member of the GRAMMY-nominated Magnolia Sisters Cajun Band. She also plays in the family Cajun band with her husband, John Vidrine, and son, Jo. Jane also stays musically in touch with her Missouri old-time music roots playing square dances and early country concerts around home. Jane says, “Teaching adults who are interested in delving deep into the traditional music I love is a true privilege that brings me so much joy.” She has taught guitar, fiddle, and vocals several times for Cajun & Creole Week at the Augusta Heritage Center. This year, she will teach Cajun guitar styles. She is also a teacher in her everyday life; she created an award-winning classroom guitar program for the Arts Academy in Lafayette and has been teaching about 100 students a day for over a decade.

Evening Mini-Course: Cajun Men Cook (All Levels) – Johnny Navarre & Eric Miller

Evening Mini-Course: Cajun Men Cook (All Levels)
Jambalaya? Red beans and rice? These are just a sampling of what will be on the menu when Johnny Navarre & Eric Miller show their class how Cajun men cook. Anyone is welcome to participate, not just men!

Materials fee: $40, payable to workshop leader.

Eric Miller

Bio coming soon!

Johnny Navarre

Firefighters have a reputation for being good cooks and Johnny Navarre is no exception. He started to learn to cook from “the old folks” and has finely tuned his skills at the fire station. His impromptu cooking sessions at Augusta inevitably led to this class.

Evening Mini-Course: Focus on Dennis McGee (Intermediate / Advanced) – Mitch Reed

Evening Mini-Course: Focus on Dennis McGee (Intermediate / Advanced)
Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Mitch Reed

Bio coming soon!

Evening Mini-Course: Seconding on Fiddle (All Levels) – Blake Miller

Evening Mini-Course: Seconding on Fiddle (All Levels)
Everyone wants to learn tunes, which is wonderful, but without the knowledge of chords and the basic rhythm and groove of the songs, all they have are notes. This mini-course will take its time to cover the basic chords on the fiddle, easy transitions between chords, and most importantly, the rhythm. All of this can be incorporated in every tune participants play, and they will be able to sit in on any jam session and back up any accordion or fiddle player. Blake will teach participants what the backbone of Cajun music is.

Blake Miller

Grandson of well-known accordion builder Larry Miller, Blake Miller has been surrounded by Cajun music and culture his entire life. Hailing from the small town of Iota, Louisiana, Blake is a fluent French speaker and songwriter. He acquired a degree in Francophone studies from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was a founding member of the popular young Cajun band, The Pine Leaf Boys, and became a member of the premiere Louisiana roots band The Red Stick Ramblers. He has also served stints in just about every other Cajun/Creole band of note including Balfa Toujours, Les Malfecteurs and Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole. He now plays accordion and fiddle with The Revelers who were nominated for a GRAMMY in 2016.

Jimmy Breaux – Musician

Jimmy Breaux

Jimmy Breaux is acknowledged to be one of the best Cajun accordionists of the modern era. The accordion player for the Grammy Award-winning group Beausoleil for over 25 years, he is in the fourth generation of his family to play Cajun music. His great-grandfather was Auguste Breaux and his great aunt, Cléoma Falcon Breaux, sang and played on the first Cajun recording, “Allons à Lafayette.” His grandfather, Amédée Breaux, made the first recording of “Jolie Blonde.” Jimmy’s first solo album, Un ‘Tit Peu Plus Cajun, was recorded in 1991 and is mainly a collection of traditional tunes. His second, Le Chemin Que T’as Pris, was chosen as the best album of 1997 by the Cajun French Music Association. Jimmy Breaux and Friends: Live at Festivals Acadiens was released in 2008. Since retiring from Beausoleil he has enjoyed playing around home with a variety of great musicians.

Charlie Terr – Musician

Charlie Terr

Charlie Terr has played with some of the masters of Cajun and Creole music including the Balfa Brothers, Nathan Abshire, Marc Savoy, the Sundown Playboys, D.L. Menard, Lionel LeLeux, and Bois Sec Ardoin. Charlie plays accordion with The Chicago Cajun Aces.

Betsy Fuller – Assistant Liaison

Betsy Fuller

Betsy Terr Fuller has been playing Cajun music for 20 years, since her first Augusta experience in 1998. Betsy has performed with some of the masters of Louisiana music including Jesse Legé, Ray Abshire, Willis Prudhomme, Dexter Ardoin, and Paul Daigle. She currently plays guitar and sings with C’est Bon, an all-female group from the Northeast (who met, became friends, and started the band at Augusta). Betsy and her brothers also play together as the Terr Family Band.

Click here to see the Dance workshops offered this week!

Click here to see Arts, Craft & Folklore workshops offered this week!

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

Click here to see all  mini courses offered this week!