Blues & Swing Week

Blues & Swing Week

July 16 - 21, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Augusta’s Blues & Swing Week provides students with the opportunity to work with some of the finest performers and educators in the Blues and Swing worlds. Classes 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 classes (except History of the Blues and Beginning Vocals) 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.

Tuition Guide:
$475/week if paid before June 1. $515/week if paid after June 1.

(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

Week at a Glance | Register Online

Click any name/class below to open more details. Click again to close.

Coordinator & Moveable Chords: Playing Blues Guitar Up the Neck – Beg./Int. – Joan Fenton

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.

Moveable Chords: Playing Blues Guitar Up the Neck (Beg./Int.)

Unlock the mysteries of playing up the neck. Most guitarists just play chords in first position or with a capo. Participants in this class 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. Students should know how to play basic first position chords A, B, C, D, E, F, and B7, and be able to switch chords easily.

Coordinator – Phil Wiggins

Phil Wiggins

Phil Wiggins has been playing the harmonica since he was a boy. He joined up with John Cephas in the late 1970s and the duo, Cephas and Wiggins, performed together for over 30 years, becoming America’s premier blues duo. As ambassadors of the Piedmont blues, Cephas and Wiggins took their music all over America as well as all over the world. He says, “John and I have performed on every continent except Antarctica.” Some venues of note include Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, and the White House. Phil has appeared in numerous films and has taught at camps and workshops all over the US.

Master Artist – John Dee Holeman

Photo Coming Soon

John Dee Holeman

Bio Coming Soon

Swing Piano 1: Chord Voicings & Progressions (Int./Adv.) & Swing Piano 2: Playing in a Rhythm Section, Improvisation & Repertoire (Int./Adv.)- Robert Redd

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 1: Chord Voicings & Progressions (Int./Adv.)

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 diatonic harmony and how it applies to jazz and popular music. We’ll experiment with different approaches to improvising (for instance, using chord scales and playing by ear or transcription). 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 know major scales, key signatures and 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.”

Swing Piano 2: Playing in a Rhythm Section, Improvisation & Repertoire (Int./Adv.)

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 diatonic harmony and how it applies to jazz and popular music. We’ll experiment with different approaches to improvising (for instance, using chord scales and playing by ear or transcription). 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 know major scales, key signatures and 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.”

Swing Vocal Repertoire (Beg./Int.) & Swing Band Singing (Int./Adv.) – Miss Tess

Miss Tess

Miss Tess has been leading her own band, performing, and touring professionally for the last decade. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, making a living as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and bassist. Tess specializes in writing and playing American roots music including styles of country, blues, and swing.

Swing Vocal Repertoire (Beg./Int.)

Swing Vocal Repertoire – Beginning / Intermediate: You can sing swing tunes! This class will familiarize participants with a handful of classic songs, styles, and singers from the 1920s-1950s, as well as give them a few tips for expanding their repertoire on their own. The class will discuss what makes a tune “swing”, and see examples of how this feel has been applied to other genres, including crossovers into the blues. Participants will sing songs that are accessible and fun that can easily be played with others in a jam situation, and talk about how people compose arrangements on the fly and play nice with others. This class is for singers who are looking to branch out to the swing style, or those already familiar with the genre who want to expand their repertoire.

Swing Band Singing (Int./Adv.)

So you have learned some tunes, now what? This class will further discuss how participants can find their own voices within the swing context. This includes finding the right singing key, and figuring out a personal style, technique, and vibe. The participants will gain an understanding of basic structure and song form, so the song doesn’t fall apart live when you are singing with a band. The singer is the leader, and it is important that you know where you are! The class will also discuss improvising on the melody, experimenting with vocal phrasing, and learning from other instrumentalists. The class will make sure songs “swing” and will be aware of where participants are singing in relation to the beat. Most importantly, the class will have fun doing it! This class is catered to those who already have some swing tunes in their repertoire and would like to focus more on style and technique.

Swing Guitar: It’s All About the Tunes (Int./Adv.) & Swing Guitar: Three Notes & the Truth (Int.) – 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.

Swing Guitar: It’s All About the Tunes (Int./Adv.)

In this repertoire class, participants will listen to and learn the melodies and chords of at least two of Tom Mitchell’s favorite swing / jazz compositions per day. Time permitting, participants will all get a chance to solo over the changes and discuss to gain a better understanding of how the tunes work. Participants will leave this class familiar with some new tunes, and will have a deeper understanding of tunes they already know. What Tom really wants is to have some fun with them! This is an intermediate to advanced class. Participants should be able to read and play melodies from music, tablature (which will be provided), or to learn quickly by ear. All participants must be able to read a chord chart and be solidly familiar with basic swing rhythm and the use of closed chord shapes. Finally, all students must use a pick. This will be a good class for participants who are looking to add to their repertoire or just looking to get a better handle on some of the tunes they already know.

Swing Guitar: Three Notes & the Truth – Intermediate:

Have you ever wondered how a jazz guitar player navigated his or her way through what seemed to be a chord change every other beat or worse yet every beat?

Well, as usual, there is no substitute for practice and time spent learning how to play the instrument, but Tom Mitchell has something that will be a valuable tool for those who aren’t already aware of it. In this class participants will learn how to use three note chord shapes to navigate some of the more common chord changes 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. The class will start by getting comfortable with moving one simple shape around to play a minor blues, concentrating on getting the whole class to swing together. Next, participants will add some more shapes and sounds to make it a little more interesting, and soon they will move into a major blues. From there participants will continue applying their newfound three note wonders to jazz standards and turn arounds. The class will also work on analyzing these shapes and sounds in order to make the best use of them. Tom will ask participants you not to let a little music theory (very little) send them running! The more participants know about how these things work, the more they will be able to utilize them in their playing.

This class is designed for intermediate level players, which means:
Participants should be comfortable playing some swing / jazz standards using closed chord shapes. Examples include: a 12 bar blues, Sweet Georgia Brown, I Got Rhythm, Honeysuckle Rose, and Lady Be Good.
Participants should also be able to execute Step 1 while keeping good consistent rhythm using a pick.

Swing Rhythm Guitar (Int.) & Swing Guitar (Adv.) – Baron Tymas

Baron Tymas

Baron Tymas is a native of the Washington, DC, area. Growing up in a family with rich and eclectic musical tastes, he started playing guitar at 14 years old. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Carlos Santana were early favorites. He took music theory and jazz improvisation courses in high school, where he learned to read and write music and fell in love with the work of Charlie Parker, Chick Corea, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, and many others.

After several years of technical writing, copy editing, and high school English teaching jobs during and after college, he had virtually exhausted options for career satisfaction outside music; so in 1990, he returned to school for graduate study in jazz performance and arranging. He had been playing with bands in the DC area by this time, especially the reggae group Black Sheep and the jazz fusion quartet Cross Currents. Black Sheep won many awards and played about 1,000 performances during his six years with them. They opened concerts for nearly all the major reggae acts of the time.

In 1994, Baron and his wife moved to Richmond, VA, where he taught at the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. He performed often, especially with the electric jazz quintet FRENS. This group featured several standout players, including vocalist Rudy Faulkner and drummer Nate Smith.

In 2001, Baron began teaching at NC Central University, where he is an associate professor and former music department chair. Since landing at NCCU, he has played with many more great musicians and groups, including Branford Marsalis, René Marie, and the NC Symphony Orchestra. He has also won composer awards, written music for television, and traveled the US and abroad to perform, lecture, and teach.

Baron has released three CDs as a leader. Montréal (2017), contains all original material, most of which he composed in that beautiful city during his Fulbright Research Fellowship at Concordia University in 2015. The project features some of Canada’s most outstanding jazz musicians: vocalist Jeri Brown, trumpeter Charles Ellison, pianist Josh Rager, bassist Sage Reynolds, and drummer Jim Doxas. Baron’s other two CDs are Insight at Midnight (2009) and Blues for the Tribe (2006).

Baron has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Music from Howard University. He also studied at Vassar College and Berklee College of Music.

Swing Rhythm Guitar (Int.)

This Swing Rhythm Guitar class will teach participants to play several rhythm guitar roles in the styles of past and present greats. Participants will learn straight four playing in the style or Freddie Green and Django Reinhardt, as well as techniques for broken comping and rhythmic fills. To do so, they will practice root position and inverted chords, and several strategies to solidify and improve their time and feel. In addition, the class will apply these skills to standard songs in the swing repertoire.

Swing Guitar (Adv.)

Advanced swing guitar will teach advanced melodic, improvisational, rhythmic, and harmonic techniques to those who want to be more complete players. Attention will be focused on developing excellent time, walking bass lines, inverted and extended chords, chord sequences, arpeggios, interpreting melody, and some essential scales. All the material will be applied to rhythm and solo playing on standard songs.

Swing Bass (Beg./Int.), Swing Bass: Playing the Changes (Adv.), & Blues Bass – (All Levels) -Ralph Gordon

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 (Beg./Int.)

This class 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 classes so that participants can get a real rhythm section experience!

On the left hand, the class will play through and talk about some basic scales and Ralph will show participants 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 class 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 class. Some handouts will be made available in advance in PDF form. Contact augusta@augustaheritagecenter.org to request the files via email.

Swing Bass: Playing the Changes (Adv.)

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 class will talk about 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 class on the “One-A-Day” method:

The class will look at some of the more “exotic” scales (minor, harmonic minor, augmented, etc). The “One-A-Day” method should keep participants’ heads from exploding!
The class will cover 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 class. 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.

Blues Bass (All Levels)

Back by popular demand, this afternoon blues bass workshop is open to all acoustic and electric bass players. This is a multi-level class, and beginners are welcome. The class content will be tailored to the group’s interests.

Riffing & Fun with Horns (Int. / Adv.), & Swing Vocal Improvisation & Swing Chorus (All Levels) – Dave Davies

Davie 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.

Riffing & Fun with Horns (Int. / Adv.)

This class is for horn players that want to improve their stage creativity while playing swing and blues. There will be soloing, learning repertoire from the Great American Songbook, and fun exercises in improvising horn sections. Reading is very helpful, though not essential for this class. It is expected that the group will perform at some point during the week, and 1 or 2 arrangements will be prepared.

Swing Vocal Improvisation & Swing Chorus (All Levels)

Through various informal and fun exercises 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 exercises using swing, blues, gospel, funk, and totally free grooves.

In the second half of each class, the group will learn about swing harmony and work on an arrangement, hopefully for performance. Since the class 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.

Horns: How to Play Nice with Vocalists & Strings (Int./Adv.) – Marv Reitz

Marv Reitz

Marv Reitz was warned by his music teacher father not to be a master of all trades and a jack of none. But Marv decided he’d rather not be a jack of one either. He plays saxophone, clarinet, guitar, and sings. Last year marked 25 years at Augusta, 20 on the faculty. A molecular biologist 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 and a 17-piece basement big band. 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.

Horns: How to Play Nice with Vocalists & Strings (Int./Adv.)

Horn players are probably aware of a substantial advantage they have over vocalists and strings when playing in mixed combos. Although sometimes useful, it can also present difficulties. This class will explore ways to play effectively in small ensembles that include vocalists and strings. This will cover the use of fills, riffs, and organ chords, as either single or multiple horns. The goal is to provide support to make the vocalist / ensemble sound better, and to not overpower them. The class will also consider aspects of improvisation that will enable the participant to more easily play fills and solos. Participants will play and examine some charts that have ensemble parts behind solos, such as Jack Purvis’ “Dismal Dan” and Bennie Moten’s “New Tulsa Blues”. Participants should have some ability to read music and should bring stands. Recorders may be useful. Participants will be exposed to music theory lite.

Ukulele Blues Party: Blues, Novelty Tunes, & Jug Band Classics for Ukulele Ensemble (Beg./Int.) & Blues Guitar: Memphis Minnie Songbook (Int.) – Del Rey

Del Rey

Del Rey started playing guitar when she was four and 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.

Ukulele Blues Party: Blues, Novelty Tunes & Jug Band Classics for Ukulele Ensemble (Beg./Int.)

This ukulele band class will incorporate blues licks, rhythmic effects, and characteristic chord changes. Working in variety of keys, participants will learn a song a day with parts of varying difficulty, giving the old jug band and blues songs a whole new twist on the ukulele. Listening to others and playing together are part of making this music sound good. The class will be taught by ear, no paper.
Participants should be familiar with basic chords and be able to keep time while changing them.

Blues Guitar: Memphis Minnie Songbook (Int.)

Participants will learn the guitar vocabulary they need to figure out most any Memphis Minnie song that they might want to learn. Since her style is such a big influence on early 20th century guitar blues, participants will be able to apply this vocabulary to other musicians like Big Bill Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson, Bumble Bee Slim, etc. This class is organized by keys: G, C, E, and D. The class will listen to a selection of Memphis Minnie originals in each key and learn how to figure them out. Those who are already a fan of Memphis Minnie are encouraged to bring the song they want to figure out to class. The class will also look at ways to make duet guitar parts work on solo guitar (Minnie often worked with a partner). Recorders are encouraged.
Participants should be able to maintain an alternating bass with their thumb and be comfortable with first position chords.

Piedmont-Style Blues Guitar (Int.) & Mainland Ukulele Songs & Techniques (Int./Adv.) – Michael ‘Lightnin’ Wells

Mike “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

Piedmont-Style Blues Guitar (Int.)

Lightnin’ Wells will teach Piedmont style blues guitar featuring the finger-picking style. The class will explore blues tunes in the keys of C, G, A, D, and drop D. The class will cover tunes from Piedmont blues pioneers from the past such as Blind Boy Fuller, Gary Davis, Sylvester Weaver, Elizabeth Cotten, and William Moore. Participants will listen to copies of original recordings of these artists for reference and then delve into these tunes to see what makes them tick. Participants should have some familiarity with finger-picking guitar techniques.

Mainland Ukulele Songs & Techniques (Int./Adv.)

Lightnin’ Wells will teach the mainland style for the standard (soprano) ukulele. A whole new batch of vintage tunes from the 1910s and 1920s, when the uke reigned supreme in America, will be explored this year. Intros and endings in several keys for this small but mighty instrument as well as strumming techniques (including a new triplet stroke Lightnin’ is beginning to master) will also be taught. Copies of many of the songs will be available, presented from vintage sheet music from the era with chord diagrams. All songs will be presented in the now widely accepted C tuning for the ukulele, G-C-E-A, which is possible on a soprano, concert, or tenor sized uke (baritone ukulele is tuned D-G-B-E and uses different chord positions, so it will not work in this case). It would help for participants to be familiar with the ukulele and know their basic chords. A new book Lightnin’ discovered in the past year, which he thinks is a real winner, is Treasury of Ukulele Chords by Roy Sakuma. Participants should try to pick up a copy if they don’t already own this useful book. Lightnin’ says, “Bring along your ukes and let’s have some fun!”

Acoustic Blues Guitar Repertoire (Int./Adv.) & Intro to Fingerstyle Blues Guitar (Beg.) – Eleanor Ellis

Eleanor Ellis

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.

Acoustic Blues Guitar Repertoire (Int./Adv.)

Country blues is not all the same song, and the songs are not always the same tune. No matter what the song, or who the musician, you can almost always find something unique or peculiar going on, whether in the subject matter, the structure of the song,  the guitar accompaniment, the style of the singer, or a combination of the above. We’ll 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. Recording devices are encouraged.

Intro to Fingerstyle Blues Guitar (Beg.)

This workshop is an overview of basic finger-style blues guitar. It is best suited for people who have some familiarity with the instrument and can easily make and change chords on the first 3 or 4 frets, but are not so familiar with playing blues. We’ll explore several blues forms, rhythms, and styles, working with songs in different keys that can then be used as models for other songs. Over the week we’ll work on 8- and 12-bar blues using different rhythmic patterns such as a shuffle (like Jimmy Reed), and Piedmont alternating bass (like John Jackson, John Cephas, John Hurt). We’ll learn some useful “bluesy” chords, intros, turnarounds, and endings; talk about fun ways to practice; and sometimes, for those who are so inclined, we might even sing. There will be handouts, but recording devices are encouraged.

Dance: Walkarounds, Cakewalks & Cyphers: Emancipation Ceremonies? (All Levels) & House Party Dance (Part 1 & 2 – (All Levels) – Junious Brickhouse, accompanied by Jontavious Willis

Junious “House” Brickhouse

Junious “House” Brickhouse is an internationally established educator, choreographer, and cultural preservationist with over 30 years of experience in urban dance culture. At age 18, he embarked on an over 20-year career as a Logistics Professional in the US Army and later as a Department of Defense contractor. Throughout this time in various international assignments, Junious developed both a military and dance career, eventually rising to positions of leadership and responsibility in both areas. The logistics skills and leadership acumen Junious honed in his military work provide a solid and unique foundation as a leader and facilitator in the dance world. As Founder and Executive Director of Urban Artistry, Inc. (www.urbanartistry.org), Junious has inspired and created a movement of artists dedicated to the authentic preservation of urban dance culture, specifically within communities of practice. While constantly engaged in research about urban dance culture and the communities from which it evolved, Junious created projects such as The Preservatory and the UA Digital Archives to encourage other artists to research and document these tradition bearers and their stories.

Dance: Walkarounds, Cakewalks & Cyphers: Emancipation Ceremonies? (All Levels)

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.

House Party Dance Part 1 & 2 (All Levels)

Guided by Junious Brickhouse, the House Party Dance class will meet periods 3 and 4 and will dovetail with the String Jug Band /Jug Band classes. Learn to respond to the rich genres of string band and jug band music with dance, informed by tradition and open to innovation.

Country Blues Vocal & Guitar Repertoire (All Levels) – Jontavious Willis

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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.

Country Blues Vocal & Guitar Repertoire

This class will focus on vocals and the importance it plays in blues. Participants don’t have to be able to sing “well,” all they need is a story to tell. The class will also work on building a concrete song list. All that is needed for this course is a great attitude and a guitar.

Ragtime & Blues Guitar Instrumentals (Int./Adv.) – Eric Noden

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.

Ragtime & Blues Guitar Instrumentals (Int./Adv.)

Ragtime & Blues Guitar Instrumentals – Intermediate / Advanced: 1920s and ’30s blues guitar players were known for including exciting ragtime and blues instrumentals in their repertoire. These fingerpicking instrumentals showcased the virtuosity of the guitar and kept the party going all night long. In this class, Eric Noden will break down instrumentals by Rev. Gary Davis and Big Bill Broonzy along with some of his own compositions that are in the tradition. Guitar tablature will be provided for each tune. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Eric’s unique approach to learning and performing fingerpicking blues guitar.

Grooves for Blues Guitar & Harmonica (All Levels) – Joe Filisko & Eric Noden

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.

Grooves for Blues Guitar & Harmonica (All Levels)

Internationally known acoustic blues duo Joe Filisko and Eric Noden will break down their approach to performing and arranging blues and American roots music. Participants will learn how to get the most out of their instruments in a duo situation. Groove, dynamics, song selection, and communication will be explained through the learning of these songs. www.rootsduo.com

Blues Harmonica (Int./Adv.) – Joe Filisko

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.

Blues Harmonica (Int./Adv.)

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 class will explore tongue blocking, dirty notes, chords, and chordal effects and bending, including how to best execute it.

Slide Guitar (Beg.) & Songwriting (All Levels) – Samuel James

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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.

Slide Guitar (Beg.)

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.

Songwriting (All Levels)

Classwork will include studying songs picked by the participants and instructor to decipher what makes them work. There will also be general discussions on rhyme, meter, rhythm, chord progressions, keys, and instrumentation. Throughout the class, participants will work individually, in groups, and as an entire class. The class will also perform various writing exercises. Participants should expect a safe, creative, positive environment designed to help them build ideas. Also, there will be a lot of laughter, so expect that, too. Participants are free to bring in self-penned songs for the class to discuss, but it is not required.

Country Blues Guitar Basics (Beg.) & Country Blues Guitar Fingerpicking (Int.) – Valerie Turner

Valerie Turner

Valerie Turner is a native New Yorker with southern roots in Virginia and Georgia. She is the co-founder of the “Piedmont Bluz Acoustic Duo,” which is dedicated to the preservation of Country Blues and the Piedmont style. Her mission is to help keep this rural, East Coast tradition alive by educating audiences about this unique aspect of African American culture through musical entertainment.

Valerie plays finger style country blues guitar, which is a broad genre that includes blues, fiddle tunes, ballads, country and popular songs, ragtime, and gospel. She also dabbles with washboard and banjo. Valerie’s eclectic repertoire has been greatly influenced by her studies with both John Cephas and Woody Mann. Her specialty is the Piedmont style which is a fingerpicking style easily recognized by its alternating bass. Valerie’s earliest influences were John Hurt and Elizabeth Cotten, and her guitar playing is reminiscent of these traditional blues greats.

Valerie has performed both nationally and internationally and has been a featured guest on various radio and cable television stations. In addition to Blues & Swing Week at Augusta, she has also taught at the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop in Washington, and conducted workshops at the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation in Maryland.

Country Blues Basics (Beg.)

This is a beginning level class designed for participants that are fairly new to guitar and don’t feel quite ready for intermediate level material. The class will begin with a review of how to tune, proper fretting technique, and how to form basic first position chords. Participants will be learning by ear, and the class will move at a slow, easy pace. One new, easy country blues song will be presented each day, and in the context of these songs, participants will practice the I-IV-V blues progression in a variety of keys. In addition, the concept of an alternating bass and Piedmont-style fingerpicking will be slowly introduced. Collaboration with harmonica students will be encouraged and fostered for performance purposes. Participants are encouraged to make audio recordings of these lessons, with the caveat that such recordings are made for their personal use and do not appear on social media such as YouTube. Tablature for the songs studied will be made available at the conclusion of the workshop. A capo and an electronic tuner are recommended but not required.

Country Blues Guitar Fingerpicking (Int.)

This is an intermediate level class geared toward guitar participants that feel comfortable switching between basic first position chords. Songs from the country blues tradition will be taught in the Piedmont style of fingerpicking. Different keys will be explored and it is possible that song selections will include something in an open tuning. All songs will be taught by ear, and one new song will be presented each day. All songs will be broken down into manageable pieces and slowly reassembled so that no participant is left behind. Collaboration with harmonica students will be encouraged and fostered for performance purposes. Participants are encouraged to make audio recordings of these lessons, with the caveat that such recordings are made for their personal use and do not appear on social media such as YouTube. Tablature for the songs studied will be made available at the conclusion of the workshop. A capo and an electronic tuner are recommended but not required.

Blues Guitar – Slide Style: How to Make it Wiggle (Beg.) – Josh Small

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Josh Small

Josh Small is a thirty six year old singer songwriter, guitarist, and teacher based out of Richmond, VA. Josh grew up in a musical household steeped in rural and Americana traditions. He began playing drums at age six and moved on to guitar and banjo by his teenage years. His lifelong love of the blues was codified with the purchase of a metal bodied single cone resophonic guitar at the age of eighteen and he has been infatuated with slide sounds and playing ever since. Josh is a staple of Richmond’s diverse musical scene, having shared the stage with the likes of Tim Barry, Justin Townes Earl, Matthew E. White, Keb Mo, Lucero, Chuck Ragan, and Andrew Alli. Josh performs as a solo artist, with his own band, and in a blues duo with Andrew Alli. He has toured extensively around the United States as well as multiple tours in Europe and Australia. He loves to share his passion for acoustic music and the community and therapy that it provides.

Blues Guitar – Slide Style: How to Make it Wiggle (Beg.)

Glass, steel, knife and bone: slide sounds are a vital and vibrant part of blues and Americana music. Most guitar playing, old-time music fans have a slide or two banging around in their cases but are often too intimidated to give it a try. Slide style will be the first step towards getting the slide out of the case and onto the participant’s finger. The class will start by simply exploring with the timbre created while using a slide. Participants will practice pitch matching as they slide into and out of notes and discuss guitar setup. The class will have an overview of the different orientations (lap style, neck style, resophonic), and experiment with finger picks and muting techniques. Instruction will begin with licks in standard tuning and move on to open tunings as participants progress. Eventually participants will employ their slide styles by incorporating them into traditional slide songs. Attention to diverse artists and songs will bring out the similarities and differences in the techniques. The class will listen to Son House’s “Death letter,” Tampa Red’s “Tight Like That,” the traditional “John Henry,” and Taj Mahal’s more modern “She Caught the Katy.” Finally the class will discuss abstract and cultural questions about slide playing. Participants will look at the slide’s powerful lyrical ability to sing, haunt, and imitate the world around us. The class will also consider slide in a second order sense, deconstructing the slide as cinematic tool, soundtrack staple, and major player in advertising. Once participants have picked up a few tricks and lost their slide anxiety, they will be ready to join in the tradition of slide finger dancing and… “Make it wiggle.”

Blues Vocal Repertoire (All Levels) & Blues Vocal Technique & Performance (Int./Adv.) Resa Gibbs, accompanied by Ian Walters

Resa Gibbs

Resa Gibbs, lead vocalist and percussionist for M.S.G. 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 honored, again, by the opportunity to instruct vocal repertoire and performance classes at Augusta Heritage Center’s Blues Week 2017. She is delighted to have Ian Walters joining her in instruction and accompaniment.

In the summer of 2008 and 2009, Resa taught Blues Singing during Country Blues Week at Centrum, Port Townsend, WA. She has also been an assistant instructor at Augusta’s “Blues Week” gospel mini-class (Elkins, WV). 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/songwriter’s albums/CDs. Most notable, 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. M.S.G.’s 4th CD, THE FLOOD, released in the spring of 2016, was 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.

Excerpt from an article in Acoustic, Folk and Country Blues posted June 18, 2015:  The lead singer Resa Gibbs is not just one of the best singers in the Piedmont region, but in the blues today, period. Part church gospel, spiritual, blues and soul, she has the voice that enthralls so powerfully it would take a heart of stone not to be moved. On this set again, Gibbs sang like an angel, uplifting the audience and fellow musicians alike.  – Frank Matheis

Ian Walters

Ian B. Walters plays spirited, updated blues and standards as well as contemporary tunes. Known for his unique piano sound, dripping with soul vocals, and all-around good vibes, Ian’s inventive interpretations of great old songs make them new again. After studying classical piano for 13 years, he found his musical voice in vintage blues, R&B, American standards, and early rock-n-roll. One of the most sought after performers in the Washington, DC, area, he can often be found playing blues festivals and clubs solo or with numerous bands. He teaches classes and has private students in blues piano, combining classical western musical methods with the music of early 20th Century America extending to rock-n-roll and early R&B. He uses various styles, including boogie-woogie, honky-tonk, and New Orleans stride and ragtime to demonstrate a historical approach to the development of American popular music.

Blues Vocal Repertoire (All Levels)

This class invites participants to enjoy finding and sharing the spirit of their voices. This class aims to open participants to convey emotions within the songs and to develop a collection of works / blues gems true to one’s experience. The class will explore songs, from traditional to a bit contemporary, such as “Careless Love” (traditional), “Midnight Special” (Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter), “What’s The Matter With The Mill” (Memphis Minnie), “Wee Midnight Hours” (Blind Willie McTell and Curley Weaver), “Come On Over To My House” (Geeshie Wiley / Elvie Thomas), “Blues Is In The House” (Gaye Adegbalola), “I’m Tore Down” (Sonny Thompson), “I’ll Fly Away” (Albert E. Brumley), “Moanin’ and Screamin'” (Diamond Joe), “Let The Good Times Roll” (Louis Jordan), and more! Vocalists of all levels (enthusiasts to professionals) are welcome.

Blues Vocal Technique & Performance (Int./Adv.)

This is a class for more advanced singers (either working solo, with a band, or planning to do performance in the future) who want to develop their blues vocal technique, style, and improvisation. It will be limited to 10 participants who will come prepared with two different songs. It will be taught in a master class format with participants collaborating in offering suggestions and insight. Please send music for accompaniment (if / as needed) by June 5th, either sheet music (preferred) or CD of songs to: Ian Walters, 4801 48th Avenue, Hyattsville, MD 20781.

Blues Piano Pt. 1 & Pt. 2 (Int./Adv.) – Arthur Migliazza

Arthur Migliazza

Award winning blues and boogie-woogie pianist Arthur Migliazza began playing the piano professionally at the age of 13. It was through his love of blues music and his dedication to the piano that he came under the wing of such mentors and teachers as Henry Butler, Ann Rabson, and Mr. B.

No stranger to Augusta Blues & Swing Week, Arthur began attending piano classes with Ann Rabson and Maureen Delgrosso in 1991 when he was 11 years old. Year after year he returned, eventually becoming Ann’s teaching assistant at age 17, and given his own class at age 18. Arthur has returned as a teacher off and on since then and still attributes much of his musical education to the incredible experiences he had at Augusta.

Arthur has been inducted into the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, was a finalist at the 2010 and 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, and in his 20+ years of performing has been privileged to play on some of the world’s greatest stages, including Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow as part of the sold out Kings of Boogie Tour, the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and on National Public Radio in the US.

In 2014 he received the Best of the Blues Award for Best Keyboardist in Washington State. His latest album, Laying It Down, resided at #1 on the Roots Music Report charts for Washington State for the summer of 2014, and reached #20 on the national chart. Laying It Down also appeared on the GRAMMY Entry List for the 2015 Grammy award nominations.

As a star of the critically acclaimed Off Broadway show Boogie Stomp!, Arthur performed at the Elektra Theater in Times Square, NYC, for three months in 2015. His first instructional book, considered by many to be a benchmark in blues and boogie-woogie piano instruction, is entitled How to Play Boogie-Woogie Piano and is now available for purchase worldwide through publisher Hal Leonard.

Arthur currently resides in New York City.

Blues Piano Pt. 1 & Pt. 2 (Int./Adv.)

Blues Piano – Part 1 & 2 – Intermediate / Advanced: Participants will learn several left hand bass patterns in the boogie, blues, and New Orleans piano styles, as well as a method for achieving left and right hand independence. Arthur Migliazza will also present three or four right hand licks (depending on the pace of the class) and demonstrate how to construct turnarounds, intros, and endings. He will also teach a beginning approach to improvisation and the class will learn what subtleties are necessary to play boogie and blues music “correctly”. The class will be a shortened version of the method contained in Arthur’s book How To Play Boogie Woogie Piano. Participants should have a basic knowledge and familiarity with piano playing (in any style), and it will be helpful if students already have some experience playing blues or boogie woogie on the piano. Please bring something to take notes on (pad and pencil) and something to make audio or video recordings.

Blues Piano – Part 1 & 2 (Beg.) & Blues Theory 101: Playing with the Blues – All Instruments & Vocalists (All Levels) –
Judy LaPrade

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 & 2 (Beg.)

This class will be a piano program on acoustic traditional blues songs, including those not in the usual 12-bar form. The class is 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 course, 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.

Blues Theory 101: Playing with the Blues – All Instruments & Vocalists (All Levels):

This class will tear down the blues in both the familiar 12-bar and 8-bar progressions. Participants will use their ears and voices to play with the many variations often overlooked in traditional blues songs. The class will cover some favorite acoustic blues standards by ear, building single notes and chords into solid bass lines that support blues melodies and improvisation. Participants will play, not work, the 1-4-5 and deep rhythms in each songs until it is rooted, a solid base to let improvisation come from a freer place. To build confidence, participants will practice close listening to find where a variation on the form is going next. Participants will use their bodies, voices, and instruments to mess around and create new and improved interpretations of the music.

Blues Harmonica – Pt. 1 & Pt. 2 (Beg.) – Geoffrey ‘Stingy Brim’ Seals

Geoffrey ‘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 – Pt. 1 & Pt. 2 (Beg.)

The focus of the class is teaching participants to play 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. The class 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. The class will also cover bending notes, hand effects, blues riffs, call and response, supporting the groove, rhythmic playing, and accompanying others. Students will need at least one harmonica. To participate in the class, 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.

Harmonica: Playing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd position in Acoustic Blues Tunes (Int./Adv.) & Introduction to Blues Harmonica (Beg.) –
Andrew Alli

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. He 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.

Andrew 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 3 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 will contributed songs to commemorate the great Big Walter! He is also planning a full length debut album to be released this year. AndrewAlliRva.com

Harmonica: Playing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd position in Acoustic Blues Tunes (Int./Adv.)

This class 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 class. Participants should bring a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in the key of A and a note pad.

Introduction to Blues Harmonica (Beg.)

This class will focus on the harmonica fundamentals. Participants will focus on proper holding technique and embouchure. In addition, the class 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 class will also cover how to read simple harmonica tabs and will listen to a variety of harmonica recordings to begin working on developing participants’ musical ears. Participants should bring a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C and a note pad.

Piedmont Guitar (Beg.) – Justin Golden

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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 26 years old, Golden calls Richmond, VA, his home base. He tours regionally, and as far north as Montreal.

Piedmont Guitar (Beg.)

Participants will learn basic Piedmont blues guitar techniques. They will practice building finger / thumb independence, basic picking patterns, a few essential Piedmont licks, and develop a foundation for further study. On the left hand, partcipants will feel very familiar. The class will learn picking patterns using mainly open chords.

On the right hand, the class 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 come to class with basic chord knowledge and their guitars.

String Band/Jug Band Repertoire (All Levels) – Joe Seamons & Ben Hunter

Joe Seamons

Joe Seamons was raised in the backwoods of Northwestern Oregon in a house built by his parents. There, 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 parents 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 perfectly prepared Joe to relate to the outsider perspective of the great early blues artists, whose music he discovered after taking up guitar at age 16 and while exploring the influences of his local folk heroes.

After graduating from Rainier High School in 2003, Joe moved to Portland where he studied music and English at Lewis & Clark College. In 2006, the College’s abroad program allowed him to travel to London, where he spent four months pursuing an independent study of British folk song and its influences on American balladry during the day, and busking on train platforms at night. In 2007 Joe graduated from Lewis & Clark with a major in English poetry and a minor in music. The following year Joe 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 studying lyrics 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 more 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, an acoustic quartet that performs Northwest ballads.

As he studied banjo with Hobe, Joe also began to spend time with Hobe’s longtime musical partner, Dave Berge. Dave is a former logger and fisherman who wrote very fine songs about his work in the Northwest. Joe learned Dave’s songs and brought him into the studio to play autoharp and sing on Timberbound’s self-titled album in 2014. While doing this work as a folklorist, Joe teaches guitar parttime and tours nationally with Renegade Stringband, a new-timey bluegrass band he founded in 2010. As his bandmates began choosing life off the road, Joe deepened his commitment to American folk and blues traditions in 2012, when he began performing as a duo with his stringband-mate, Ben Hunter.

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 the 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 serve 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.

String Band/Jug Band Repertoire (All Levels)

String Band / Jug Band Repertoire – All Levels: This class 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 catalyst to our endeavor. Roles in background, foreground, and arrangements will be discussed.

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

Joe Seamons, Ben Hunter, & Phil Wiggins

See “String Band/Jug Band Repertoire” for Joe Seamons and Ben Hunter bios.

Phil Wiggins

Phil Wiggins has been playing the harmonica since he was a boy. He joined up with John Cephas in the late 1970s and the duo, Cephas and Wiggins, performed together for over 30 years, becoming America’s premier blues duo. As ambassadors of the Piedmont blues, Cephas and Wiggins took their music all over America as well as all over the world. He says, “John and I have performed on every continent except Antarctica.” Some venues of note include Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, and the White House. Phil has appeared in numerous films and has taught at camps and workshops all over the US.

String Band Performance (All Levels)

This class 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 our dances and celebrations. Songs 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. The class can probably accommodate you.

Pizza Box Percussion (Beg./Int.) – Wes Crawford

Wes Crawford

After graduating from Virginia Tech in Psychology with some work towards an MBA in 1979/80, Wes toured North America and the Caribbean for eleven years with jazz and 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 & Swing Week since 2014. Wes also presents drumset clinics and workshops at schools and universities and for drumming groups. He writes and conducts interviews for DrumPro Magazine (www.Drum.com) and for Percussive Notes. Since 1999 Wes has offered unique, interactive, and educational music media through his company, Music And Games 4 U (www.MusicAndGames4U.com).
SFrom 2005-2013 Wes served as first 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).

Pizza Box Percussion

Pizza Box Percussion – Beginning / Intermediate: This class provides a hands-on approach to percussion via the ubiquitous Pizza Box (The Official Augusta Blues & Swing Week Pizza Box will be available for $2 or you can BYO). We will learn various brush styles used for an assortment of Blues and Swing styles and play along with classic audio renditions. One great aspect will be that class attendees may take their pizza box and play it at the jam sessions around camp! This is a beginner level class. No experience or drums necessary! Brushes will be supplied to students for $26/pair, or bring your own.

Staff Musicians & Band Labs (All Levels) – Kathy & Marv Reitz

Kathy & Marv Reitz

Kathy Reitz 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 partner and life partner, Marv Reitz. These include the Buffalo Nickel Band, Paramount Jazz Orchestra, Sunshine Skiffle Band, and The (er) Hot Buttered Nuggets. Besides playing with Marv, Kathy’s favorite people to play with are her friends from Augusta.

Marv Reitz was warned by his music teacher father not to be a master of all trades and a jack of none. But Marv decided he’d rather not be a jack of one either. He plays saxophone, clarinet, guitar, and sings. Last year marked 25 years at Augusta, 20 on the faculty. A molecular biologist 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 and a 17-piece basement big band. 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.

Liaison – Donna Diehl

Donna Diehl

Donna Diehl has been a veteran of Augusta Blues & Swing Week for over 20 years. From guitar student to liaison, she has worked with many aspects of the camp. Her two sons were greatly influenced at an early age to become musicians because of Blues Week, cementing her devotion to the program. Donna and her husband, Jeff, are most recognized for their pottery. www.lockbridgepottery.com

Arts, Crafts & Folklore Workshops

Instrument Repair II (All levels) – Bob Smakula, assisted by Dorse Gillum

Bob Smakula

Bob Smakula of Montrose, WV, has been building and restoring fretted instruments for more than 40 years. He has encountered almost every type of instrument repair situation and buys, sells, and restores vintage stringed instruments through his internationally known business, Smakula Fretted Instruments. Bob, an award-winning fiddler and banjo player, is also a contributing editor for Old-Time Herald magazine and writes a regular column on instrument repair.

Instrument Repair II (All levels)

Participants will learn how to make nuts and saddles, do fret jobs, re-set necks, make intonation adjustments, repair cracks, touch-up finishes, and more. Participants should bring their own instruments in need of repair. It is strongly recommended that participants be familiar with woodworking tools such as a band saw, belt sander, and drill press. Participants may sign up for either or both weeks. When registering, please specify Week 1 and/or Week 2. Bob will be taking the year off from teaching in 2018, so don’t miss your chance to learn from this master repairman!

Ages 18 & up. Materials: Approx. $15, depending on student projects, payable to workshop leader.

Re-purposed Leatherwork (Int.) – Kimberly Joy Trathen

Kimberly Joy Trathen

Kimberly Joy Trathen runs a one-woman textile design studio born out of a love of sewing, recycling, reclaiming, and repurposing. Her work examines the social lifecycle of our textiles and garments–from their death to rebirth–weaving together the stories of discarded materials into new works and new narratives.

Originally from Okemos, Michigan, Kimberly Joy Trathen has lived in many parts of the country and travelled to different corners of the world. She studied music and anthropology at Michigan State University, and went on to get her master’s in cultural and development studies at the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven in Belgium.

Her bags and two-dimensional works are inspired by vintage and classical designs, particularly mid-century and abstract art motifs, as well as non-traditional quilt patterns, especially those of Gees Bend. She uses geometric and abstract patterns, and stark color combinations to create original works of art regardless of their form.

In 2015, Kimberly was awarded a professional development grant for artists through the WV Division of Culture and History. She is also a recipient of the Rural to Urban Markets program through the Tamarack Foundation for the Arts. She exhibits and sells her bags, accessories, and two-dimensional works both nationally and internationally.

Kimberly splits her time between the bustling capital of Europe, Brussels, Belgium, and Thomas, WV, a small mountain town in the heart of Appalachia. While in Brussels, she works with a master accessories designer and leather worker learning his skills and craft, and extends this knowledge and experience into her own designs and creations while in Thomas.

Re-purposed Leatherwork

This beginning leather working class will focus on the upcycling and transformation of second hand leather garments into new bags and accessories. As working and sewing with leather requires different techniques than sewing fabric, students will acquire the skills to create and sew different types bags from recycled leather. Areas of focus will be pattern making for leather bags; deconstructing leather garments; leather tools and techniques; and assembling, stitching, and finishing a leather bag on a home sewing machine.

Pattern-making for Leather Bags: Students will learn basic pattern making skills for the creation of a couple different types of leather bags and accessories. They will learn to use appropriate materials to make different bag patterns of their choice to use with leather. Cardboard for the patterns will be supplied by the instructor. Students will need to bring their own rulers, pencils, and pens.
Deconstructing Leather Garments: Students will learn the basics of choosing quality used leather garments to create durable bags and accessories. They will learn how to appropriately deconstruct these garments to minimize waste and maximize material. Second hand leather garments will be provided by the instructor.

Leather Tools and Techniques: Students will gain knowledge of certain tools and techniques for working with upcycled leather to create well-made bags with a finished look. Techniques include how to add snaps and rivets, choosing appropriate bag closures, and creating a finished look. A limited supply of snaps and rivets will be provided by the instructor. Note: Tooling or leather stamping will not be covered in this course.

Assembling and Stitching your Bag: After all the above techniques are mastered, students will learn how to assemble their bag and stitch it on their home machine. Specific leather assembling techniques will be taught as well as stitching techniques for sewing leather. The instructor will provide leather needles for each student. Students will be responsible for bringing their own working sewing machine. Teflon or plastic sewing feet for sewing leather are also recommended but not required. Students will need an intermediate level of previous sewing experience to take part in this course.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $50, payable to workshop leader.

Stained Glass & Glass Fusing (All Levels) – David Houser & Mary Stewart

David Houser & Mary Stewart

Since 1981, Dave Houser has been a full-time stained glass artisan, working out of his home in the woods of southern Preston County, WV. From there he designs and executes leaded stained glass panels, ornaments, and kaleidoscopes. His leaded panels tend to be either geometric or abstract in design, commanding a high degree of precision and appropriate use of color. For the past 15 years he has been an instructor as well, teaching week-long stained glass classes at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, WV, and at Augusta. You can visit Dave on the web at: www.houserglass.com

Mary Stewart’s work in stained glass, warm glass, and copper enameling has roots within the rich rubric of traditional Appal-Irish culture—both in process and in design. Each piece that she creates by hand is inspired by a story, and she wants the work she presents to the public to tell that story. As a teacher of these crafts, she tries to help students convey similar messages. She is a juried Tamarack Artisan and has been creating and teaching for many years.

Stained Glass & Glass Fusing (All Levels)

Learn hot and cold glass techniques in this combined class. Open to glass enthusiasts of all levels. The class will begin with basics of glass cutting, safety, and materials.

With stained glass, you will cut, solder and assemble beautiful panels with glass from both domestic and European sources using leaded and copper foil techniques. Students can bring their own designs or use in-house patterns.

Understand the science of fusing and work in free forming fused pieces, screening and/or sifting glass enamel to apply design, fritography, hot mosaic and slumping as time permits. Your creativity is only limited by the space in the kiln and the time we have to work together.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: approx. $50, payable to workshop leader.

Upcycled Aluminum Can Jewelry (Beg./Int.) – Merideth Young

Merideth Young

While walking through the grocery store, Merideth Young had an ah-ha moment in aisle 7, the beverage aisle. She noticed all the colors and patterns on beverage cans. She thought to herself, “I wonder what I can make out of that?” Making a purchase of beautiful turquoise and pink iced tea cans, she consumed them and thus began making her first piece of UPcycled aluminum can jewelry. More than a dozen prototypes later, she finally had a pattern she deemed worthy enough to put out into the world. That’s how the “Uncanny Collection” was born in October 2011. The collection has grown since and now includes wall pieces and more. It can be found in over 100 shops and galleries across the country.

Saving the planet was her main focus for creating things out of aluminum cans. There are so many good things tossed aside every day that could be put to some use. Finding a way to repurpose some of it is Merideth’s way to help the environment. She creates beautiful, lightweight, fun, and funky jewelry by UPcycling aluminum cans. She uses no electricity for this process, which is another plus for the environment. Cans come to her from the local recycle center, restaurants, friends, family, and anyone who she notices that throws out a cool, colorful can. It’s repurposed for art’s sake!

Merideth is a jeweler, painter, and art maker. She is inspired by shapes, colors, and her surroundings. She begins with the abstract, the big picture. She’ll sketch boldly until the details unfold and come into focus, kind of like the way she lives her life. She has always been an art maker, even as a kid. It wasn’t something she tried to do, she just did it. She always knew she was going to be an artist. She was fortunate to grow up in Southern New Hampshire during a decade that appreciated art in schools. That’s where she discovered jewelry making. She made an enameled broach and was hooked.

When she graduated from high school, Merideth applied to only one college, Maine College of Art in Portland. After she graduated with a BFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design in 1995, she moved to West Virginia. Tamarack, The Best of West Virginia, was the first shop to sell her sterling silver jewelry. During this time she also painted murals in homes and offices all over West Virginia. What a juggling act! She was a whirlwind of creativity. Her spirit was getting restless and she moved several times, living in Vail, CO; Charlottesville, VA; and Corolla, NC, in the Outer Banks, before she made the journey back to West Virginia. Once again she is part of the Tamarack family, exhibiting the “Uncanny Collection,” and painting murals across the state. www.meridethyoung.com

Upcycled Aluminum Can Jewelry (Beg./Int.)

This beginner level class is perfect for anyone who wants to learn the basics of jewelry making with a twist. Using simple tools like paper punches, nail files, and pliers, participants will transform ordinary pop cans into an array of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets for any occasion. All materials will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own favorite cans, rinsed please. Participants will learn how to cut a can safely, punch shapes, and select the best tools. Embossing techniques, layering techniques, and sanding edges so all jewelry is smooth to the touch will be covered. Participants can add eyelets and rhinestones, and finish with findings to complete at least two pairs of earrings, three necklaces, and two bracelets throughout the week-long class. If time permits, additional jewelry can be made for a nominal fee for findings and chains.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $30, payable to workshop leader.

Folk Arts for Kids Workshop

Folk Arts for Kids: Art with Soul (Grades k-5)- Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson, a native West Virginian, holds an art education degree from West Liberty State College. She has taught art in the public schools in Barbour County, given private art lessons for over 20 years, and has taught at many art camps throughout the state. She is an ArtsBank artist and teaches art classes at Randolph County Community Arts Center (RCCAC). Her artwork has been exhibited at the Mountain State Forest Festival, Strawberry Festival, Barbour County Fair, Stonewall Jackson Jubilee, and at RCCAC.

Folk Arts for Kids: Art with Soul (Grades k-5)

This session of Folk Arts for Kids will be an action packed week of creativity, arts and crafts, music, movement, and adventure. The participants will learn about the essence of Blues & Swing week at Augusta through a variety of experiences.
Participants will create mini memory quilts, based on the book Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold. They will make their own instruments to go along with the story Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney. Other activities based on various children’s literature include shadow puppet theather, saxophone watercolor paintings, and printmaking.
Other artistic experiences of the week include creating collages based on the artwork of Romare Bearden, and making sock snakes, which the students will then be able to play with. The class will be doing some dancing, hiking, and outdoor activities, so participants should wear appropriate clothing for the weather as well as comfortable shoes for walking. All class supplies are provided by Augusta, as well as a daily snack. Participants are welcome to bring a water bottle to class if they wish.

Blues & Swing Week Evening Mini-Courses

Barbecue Cooking (All Levels – 5-7 p.m.) – Derrick Helzer

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Derrick Helzer

Chef Derrick Helzer has been in Elkins since 2004, but his love and passion for cooking started as a young boy who was always in the kitchen with his mother. After working at numerous resorts and restaurants, his skills were polished as a Chef at The Greenbrier, working and studying under CMC Peter Timmons. He has been catering, teaching culinary classes as an adjunct faculty member at Davis and Elkins College, and promoting his barbecue business for the past several years. He was honored to be included in the Top Chefs of West Virginia cookbook, and is always excited to teach culinary classes from any genre or region.

Barbecue Cooking (All levels – 5-7 p.m.)

This barbecue class will prepare participants for summer and fall cookouts and parties. Chef Derrick will teach participants how to plan for an event, how to purchase the food, knife skills, dressing up the table, and numerous barbecue cooking techniques ranging from the charcoal grill to the gas grill. Throughout the week participants will be cooking and tasting grilled items ranging from appetizers to desserts, all from the barbecue. Some previous cooking skills experiences is recommended but not required. Chef Derrick will be happy to teach to all levels.

Ages 12 & up. Materials: $35, payable to Augusta at time of registration.

Blues Harmonica Performance (All Levels) – Joe Filisko

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.

Blues Harmonica Performance (All Levels)

Class description coming soon!

Fundamental Lindy Hop- Expressing Swing Music through Movement (From Scratch) David & Amy Loomis

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David & Amy Loomis

Amy and David discovered their passion for swing dancing in Southern California in the early 2000s, Amy under the tutelage of Erin Stevens of Pasadena, and David under the Bobbysox Brigade of Fullerton. Now based in Morgantown, WV, they teach community classes in Lindy Hop, Charleston, Collegiate Shag, Balboa, and Blues through the WVU Swing Dance Club and Morgantown Swing. Their teaching style emphasizes connecting with the music, developing comfortable partnerships, and communicating clearly as the foundation for every good social dance.

Fundamental Lindy Hop – Expressing Swing Music through Movement (from Scratch)

Amy and David will walk and dance participants through the fundamentals of partnered Lindy Hop, a joyful swing era dance that emerged from American dance halls during the Great Depression. Lindy Hop is a testament to the high-spirited enthusiasm of swing and blues music lovers; the dance form comes from the music, and if you’re not smiling while you do it, you may just be doing it wrong. In this mini-series, Amy and David will help participants connect with the music and their partners, and show them how to invent new moves just as the jazz musician invents new riffs. This series will be accessible to beginner dancers as well as the experienced, and will focus on drawing inspiration from the music and from each other. Courses similar to these have received high praise from dancers from Amy and David’s home scene, so be prepared to have a good time!

Variations on the 12 Bar Blues Form – All Instruments (All Levels) – Thomas Bryan Eaton

Thomas Bryan Eaton

Thomas Bryan Eaton is the most fun, patient, organized yet relaxed teacher you will ever come across. He currently lives in the Nashville area where he is in demand as a studio musician. He writes and performs his own songs in solo performances and tours with Miss Tess and The Talkbacks. You may have heard the old saying that someone is “eat up with music”? Well, that is Thomas. He can stay up all night playing steel guitar, slide guitar, and singing whatever the jam or performance calls for. He knows all the old classic country songs and sings them with feeling that belies his young years. A young student wrote last year, “This man is a phenomenal musician, teacher, and human. He made the hardest instrument there seem not so daunting.” Believe it.

Variations on the 12 Bar Blues Form -All Instruments (All Levels)

This class will seek to bridge blues and swing music using the 12-bar blues form as a vehicle. The class will be mostly dealing with chords and will start with some basic theory to help participants through. Beginning with the simplest 12-bar blues, participants will then start adding / changing chords to the progression and discussing why these different chords work. Listening to and playing examples along the way, participants will discover jazz and swing chord progressions popping up in the 12-bar blues all over the place! If time permits, the class will get into more advanced concepts of reharmonization. There’s so much that can be done!