Vocal Week

Vocal Week

August 6 – 11, 2017

Vocal Week

vocalpage

Singing can connect us to many wonderful cultures and the act of singing is itself one of humanity’s oldest and most powerful traditions. Vocal Week offers a wealth of opportunities to join in. Students will learn songs from a range of traditional cultures and contemporary styles, taught by nationally and internationally known instructors. Taking good care of your voice will also be emphasized, along with classes in voice technique and vocal warm-ups. Those at the beginning level can learn to create simple harmonies, while more experienced singers can get a challenging workout. Take week-long classes during three periods each day, sample single-day “one shot” sessions during one period of each afternoon, and sing in a large group during afternoon cultural sessions in the chapel. You can also enjoy evening song circles, concerts and dances.

All Old-Time & Vocal Week Arts/Craft/Folklore students  are admitted free to all concerts, dances, and Augusta Festival events (including the Augusta Festival Concert.

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

(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

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

Vocal Week Coordinator & Ad-Hoc Harmonies– Flawn Williams

Flawn Williams

Bio

Flawn started singing with his parents and sister around their South Carolina home and on road trips in their ’54 Ford. Other influences included church choirs, doowop records, and the “Folk Revival” of the 1960s. He’s led workshops in shape note singing and other topics from his eclectic repertoire. Since 1997, Flawn has coordinated Augusta’s Vocal Week. He performs in many Washington Revels productions. Flawn’s credits include harmony vocals on CDs by Bryan Bowers, John McCutcheon, Ginny Hawker & Kay Justice, Ann Porcella, and others. He also produced Cathy Fink’s album The Leading Role, and Ginny Hawker & Kay Justice’s Signs and Wonders.

Ad-Hoc Harmonies

In this class participants will sing closely with one another, listen closely to one another, and feel what it’s like to improvise while harmonizing. The class won’t be covering whole songs, nor will participants be learning parts individually to build up harmony. Participants will do a series of games and exercises, sometimes using songs or song fragments, to explore pitch matching, tone matching and percussive qualities of vocalizing. Ad Hoc Harmonies borrows textures and patterns from a wide range of music, from Gregorian chant to doo-wop, and draws on the traditions, styles, and techniques from other Vocal Week classes as well. Some of the harmony moments will be simple, satisfying, and utterly predictable, but some will strain the bounds of decency. This is a time to be open to experimentation and exploration. Get silly with some nonsense songs and wallow in rich drawn-out chords and near-interminable drones. Some notes and phrases will get repeated to push participants to the threshold of boredom, because it’s right at that precipice that creativity will chime in to provide relief.

Appalachian Songs (All Levels) – Sam Gleaves

Bio

Born and raised in Wythe County in southwest Virginia, Sam Gleaves performs innovative mountain music with a sense of history. Under the direction of local teacher and barber Jim Lloyd, Sam took up stringband instruments as a teenager, including the banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp, and dulcimer. Working with his mentor, ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams, Sam found his voice and fell in love with the mountain love songs, which he carries into his generation with pride. Sam’s performances combine traditional Appalachian ballads, dance tunes, original songs, and the stories that surround the music. Sam earned a degree in Folklore from Berea College and performed for four years with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, directed by Al White. With that band and as a solo artist, Sam has toured extensively, performing abroad in Ireland, England, Canada, and Japan, and at US venues such as the Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour. He was featured in the 2015 Augusta Festival concert that was broadcast nationally on “Mountain Stage.” Sam also writes new songs in the Appalachian tradition, telling stories about love, the home place, working people, and present social issues in the mountains. Sam’s music has been featured on National Public Radio, Kentucky Educational Television, West Virginia Public Radio, Appalshop’s WMMT FM, KEXP, Exclaim!, The Windy City Times, The Bitter Southerner and Still Journal. Sam’s debut record of original songs, Ain’t We Brothers, was produced by former Vocal Week leader Cathy Fink and was released in November of 2015. Peggy Seeger called Ain’t We Brothers “a stunning first album,” saying, “I keep very few albums that I am given. This one’s a keeper.”

Appalachian Songs

Experience the wealth of stories-in-song from the Appalachian traditions, exploring longform ballads, old-time hymns, light-hearted songs, and verses to dance tunes. This class will focus on unaccompanied singing and applying the different ornamentation and styles used by traditional singers. Techniques for memorizing songs and ways to shape the songs for one’s own voice and purposes will be discussed. Stories about the source singers and their home communities in Central Appalachia will provide context for the music with the majority of class time used for singing.

Approaching Irish Songs (All Levels) & Singing Narrative Songs Well (All Levels) – Peter Brice

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Bio

Peter Brice sings old songs in a traditional style, and plays Irish traditional music on the button accordion. A native of Annapolis, Maryland, and an exponent of Baltimore’s Irish traditional music community, Peter blends singing and musicianship with musicology and history, humor and colorful design, and a vision for traditional culture as a foundation for an intellectual life.

His playing reflects his admiration for Galway accordion styles, into which he was initiated by Brooklyn-born accordionist, National Heritage Fellow, and long-time Augusta instructor Billy McComiskey. A lifelong singer, Peter marries a repertoire of American historical songs with a wide-ranging English-language style that he gleaned from his teachers Dónal Maguire and the late Louis Killen.

Peter is the executive director of the New Century American Irish-Arts Company, which he founded in 2011 to produce traditional arts projects in Maryland. He is a former vice-chair of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann’s O’Neill-Malcom Branch in Washington, DC, and a past co-coordinator of the Washington Folk Festival. In 2007, he founded the Baltimore Singers Club with singers Andy O’Brien and Pat Egan to promote traditional singing in Maryland.

In 2014, Peter and his mentor, Billy McComiskey, were recognized by the Maryland State Arts Council as a traditional arts master-apprentice pair. He has independently written over $18,000 in awarded grants for Maryland’s Irish traditional music community. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory Preparatory program, Peter also holds a BA in Irish Traditional Music and Dance from the University of Limerick, where he wrote his senior thesis on the ballad singer Thomas Moran of Drumrahill, County Leitrim.

Peter describes his philosophy of teaching traditional music in this way: “I believe, in light of my experience as a student, teacher, singer and musician, that the main goal of music education should be to equip students to teach themselves. I think that is especially important in music, because music practice demands such a large investment of the student’s time over the course of years. For me, traditional music is a negotiation between the classicism of tradition and the uniqueness of an individual’s experience. I love to hear a song from someone who is thoroughly versed in a musical tradition, who nevertheless has their own way of putting it across. I am strongly in favor of forging master/apprentice relationships to teach traditional music. I took this approach with three teachers, and it has immensely benefitted my musicianship.”

Approaching Irish Songs & Singing Narrative Songs Well

Approaching Irish Songs – All Levels: This class will address the singing of Irish songs, mostly drawn from English-language traditions extant in the 18th and 19th centuries. Using songs from the repertoires of several traditional singers as case studies, the class will examine styles from around the country, and unpack some of the Irish tradition’s unique vernacular, allusions, and forms.

This class will attempt to balance repertoire, analysis, and technique. One class period will be spent on each song / source-singer, though the class will re-evaluate this during the week if the timetable is too rapid. Over the course of the week, participants will also discuss collections of Irish traditional music in the context of their respective revivals, and the many ways in which revival colors our perception of style and repertoire in the present.

This class will be tailored to the interests of the students who enroll. The workshop leader is wed only to helping students build their own competency; the components of that curriculum are malleable as far as he is concerned. If there are particular songs that students would like to study or learn, he encourages them to write him at peterbrice@newcenturyirisharts.com, and he will work them to find a good version or setting for Vocal Week.

Singing Narrative Songs Well – All Levels: This class will challenge participants to turn out great performances of narrative and topical songs, and will offer several songs that are substantiated by the historical record. The workshop leader will suggest several songs from his repertoire on the first day, and from these, participants may select the songs they wish to learn and analyze over the course of the week. The class will decide whether to work together on one song at a time, or whether participants will each work on the song(s) of their choice, and share their work with the class. Alternatively, a participant may bring to class a narrative song from his or her own repertoire (or that she / he is learning) if they would prefer to probe Peter Brice’s method for learning a song that is new to him — that is, he is not opposed to being the subject of the experiment!

Peter Brice says, “I think that singing narrative songs is a soloist’s practice, and I love to see each singer put across a song in a way that is unique to him or her. I intend for each participant to come away from the week with something that is uniquely his or her own, rather than an interpretation that has been squared by group repetition. I will not expect students to sing songs exactly as I sing them, but I will give students the tools to approach songs as I do so that they can make their own choices for performance.
“I want students to have complete command of a song as they unfold its narrative, so in class we will develop (or enhance) a declamatory style of singing that is enabled by good placement, projection, diction, and breath support. Building on this, we will work together to develop phrasing that simultaneously emulates speech patterns and complements the melody. Finally, as a class, we will research the history and vocabulary of the songs we’ve chosen so that we ingrain in ourselves a context for the narrative, and the means to make it a permanent part of our respective memories.”
This class will be tailored to both newcomers and experienced singers.

Contemporary Appalachian Songs (All Levels) & Songwriting (All Levels) – Kate Long

Bio

Kate Long’s moving songs and stories spring from a lifetime of teaching and grassroots organizing. A West Virginia native, she is an award-winning songwriter and an inspiring teacher / singer / storyteller / journalist. Her song, “Who Will Watch the Homeplace” took the International Bluegrass Music Association’s “Song of the Year” title and has been a favorite in Augusta singing circles. She has created four CDs of well-loved songs. Rooted in Appalachian traditional music, she is also at home with swing, blues, and jazz. Her singing voice – which Rambles Magazine called “a rich, deep force” – is instantly recognizable, full of emotion and humor.

Kate’s songs create insightful glimpses of ordinary people dealing with life’s dilemmas. She aims to help listeners see the extraordinary in the ordinary: to make people laugh, make them cry, make them care, stir them spiritually. A West Virginia native, she has developed a musical following all over the country. Her songs have been recorded on four continents. Her gentle teaching manner for singers and songwriters has drawn rave reviews from students at Augusta and other venues. As one student wrote, “I do not believe there is a writing instructor in the US who can top Kate’s ability to bring out the best in students of all levels.”

Kate Long has used song as a way to move people in grassroots organizing, disaster recovery, environmental protest, and other situations all over West Virginia. She now directs Try This West Virginia, a statewide healthy-community network.

Contemporary Appalachian Songs & Songwriting

Songwriting – All Levels: With three decades as a writing coach, Kate Long is one of the most effective songwriting teachers around, according to her students. Participants will leave her class with serious new writing tools that will help them grow in their ability to write songs that move people to laughter, tears, action, or deeper understanding. Participants will explore the writing process and experiment with writing tools that help them write sharp, effective lyrics. Adept with specific, helpful, suggestions, Kate creates a warm, encouraging atmosphere that makes it easy to experiment. She uses songs from many songwriters as examples, including her own moving songs, to help participants find their way to their own songs. As one former student wrote, “Kate has an incredible gift for providing tools to a class of writers and for meeting each student’s individual needs. In ten hours I learned more about unblocking my writing than I had in many previous years of trying.”

Contemporary Appalachian Songs – All Levels: This will be a relaxing class with plenty of singing, taught by an inspirational Appalachian songwriter and activist. Participants will expand their repertoire of Appalachian songs of daily life and struggle, from the 1920s to the present, while they explore the history and culture that created the songs. Teacher Kate Long is powerfully influenced by a remarkable group of Appalachian songswriters who produced a memorable stream of songs that helped ignite Appalachian civil rights, environmental, and economic justice struggles. Participants will sing and talk about songs like Hazel Dickens’ “Mannington Mines,” Florence Reese’s “Which Side Are You On?,” and Blind Alfred Reed’s “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?” that sprang directly out of painful realities. At the same time, the class will sing funny songs, sad songs, railroad songs, and songs by upcoming new songwriters. Participants will enjoy a flow of moving songs about daily life, love, and longing. Through it all, participants will get a sense of the chain of tradition and deep humanity that links them all. This class is a great companion to Sam Gleaves’ class on traditional Appalachian songs and singing.

Duet Singing (All Levels) – Kay Justice & Sam Gleaves

Photo Coming Soon!

Bio

Kay Justice grew up in the small town of English, WV, located in the southernmost county of the state. At an early age, she began singing in school plays and in church. While in nursing school, she discovered the music of popular folk singers such as Joan Baez; Peter, Paul, and Mary; Pete Seeger; Ian and Sylvia; and others. Drawn to the music, she began playing the guitar and singing many of the songs she heard and loved. Further exploration led her to seek out the music of Appalachia, her home. In the early 1970s she was once again a student, now at Clinch Valley College in Wise, Virginia. There she met Helen Lewis, a pioneer in Appalachian Studies. Helen and Rich Kirby presented a semester-long seminar in Appalachian music; it was there Kay heard songs from Kate Peters Sturgill, George Tucker, Nimrod Workman, Ralph Stanley, Addie Graham, Guy and Candie Carawan, and a host of other traditional musicians. Her quest to learn materials from the region was begun and continues today. She met Ginny Hawker at an early Augusta Vocal Week and the two of them began singing, touring, teaching, and recording. As Kay’s career as a nurse anesthetist became more demanding, she made the painful decision to stop touring, but continued being active at a more local level. Now retired, she performs solo or as a member of the Herald Angel Band, an all women string band with Alice Gerrard and Gail Gillespie. Kay and Ginny have also done some reunion concerts in recent years. Kay has taught at Augusta, Ashokan Fiddle and Dance camp, Blue Ridge Mountain Music Gathering at Mars Hill College, and with the JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) program in Galax, VA. Kay and Ginny recorded four albums, and Kay has appeared on four albums with Alice Gerrard. She recently recorded her debut solo album, Hickory Wind.

Born and raised in Wythe County in southwest Virginia, Sam Gleaves performs innovative mountain music with a sense of history. Under the direction of local teacher and barber Jim Lloyd, Sam took up stringband instruments as a teenager, including the banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp, and dulcimer. Working with his mentor, ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams, Sam found his voice and fell in love with the mountain love songs, which he carries into his generation with pride. Sam’s performances combine traditional Appalachian ballads, dance tunes, original songs, and the stories that surround the music. Sam earned a degree in Folklore from Berea College and performed for four years with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, directed by Al White. With that band and as a solo artist, Sam has toured extensively, performing abroad in Ireland, England, Canada, and Japan, and at US venues such as the Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour. He was featured in the 2015 Augusta Festival concert that was broadcast nationally on “Mountain Stage.” Sam also writes new songs in the Appalachian tradition, telling stories about love, the home place, working people, and present social issues in the mountains. Sam’s music has been featured on National Public Radio, Kentucky Educational Television, West Virginia Public Radio, Appalshop’s WMMT FM, KEXP, Exclaim!, The Windy City Times, The Bitter Southerner and Still Journal. Sam’s debut record of original songs, Ain’t We Brothers, was produced by former Vocal Week leader Cathy Fink and was released in November of 2015. Peggy Seeger called Ain’t We Brothers “a stunning first album,” saying, “I keep very few albums that I am given. This one’s a keeper.”

Duet Singing

Hone your harmony singing skills and study the varied duet singing styles from the American South. Add old-time country standards, sacred songs, and traditional ballads to your repertoire while building rich harmonies with different singing partners. Singers in this class will learn to create unique harmony lines, match phrasing with their singing partner, and apply ornamentation used in Southern singing styles. Kay and Sam will share techniques for accompanying duet singing with guitar and banjo and offer advice on unaccompanied singing.

Finding Your Voice – Charles Williams

Bio

Charles Williams is a singer, actor, narrator, and voice instructor. He has taught Vocal Week classes for many years. He also can slap a mean hambone rhythm! He performed in the Metropolitan Opera’s 50th anniversary production of “Porgy and Bess,” and has toured the world singing Broadway tunes, spirituals, German lieder, and field hollers. Most recently, he toured worldwide with Philip Glass’ opera “Einstein on the Beach”. Williams also has served as vocal consultant for the vocal group Sweet Honey in the Rock and is a master teacher / artist in voice at the Levine School of Music in Washington, DC.

Finding Your Voice

Whether you like to sing traditional folk songs, gospel, opera, pop, or blues, your instrument is your voice — coming from your body, your intelligence, and your soul. Learn how to produce a free and effortless tone to bring out the music that is unique in you. And get a feel for how to sustain that tone with a minimum of stress. This is a group class but includes a lot of individual instruction. Many past students have reported that they get as much out of listening to what Charles does with other individuals in the class as they do from experiencing what he does with them. It’s intense but supportive, focused but fun. Ages 16 & up.

Georgian Harmonies (All Levels) & Honky Tonkin’ (All Levels) – Emily Miller

Bio

The first song Emily Miller remembers learning is the Louvin Brothers’ hit, “When I Stop Dreaming,” around age 8, which she sang as a duet with her older brother Ethan. After performing with many different groups in her teenage years (most notably Northern Harmony, with whom she toured all over the US and Europe), Emily formed the honky-tonk country band The Sweetback Sisters in 2006 with fellow singer Zara Bode. They have recorded three full-length records and have performed their renegade retro style of country music in barrooms, festival stages, and concert halls around the world, including appearances on A Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage. Emily and her husband Jesse Milnes also perform as a duo, singing country and old-time music in close harmony. Emily is musical director for the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble string band in Elkins, WV, which recruits talented old-time instrumentalists and percussive dancers from around the country for a high-level student performance ensemble. She and Jesse make their home in Valley Bend, WV.

Georgian Harmonies & Honky Tonkin’

Georgian Harmonies – All Levels: The country of Georgia, located in the Caucasus Mountains on the east coast of the Black Sea, is home to a vibrant and varied singing tradition. This class will give participants an introduction to several of the regional singing styles that make up this tradition. The class will learn jolly riding songs from Guria, ornamented love songs from Kakheti, and strident mourning songs from Svaneti, to name a few. All Georgian songs are traditionally sung in three parts, so there will be plenty of beautiful and striking harmonies to feed the soul.

Honky Tonkin’ – All Levels: Done right, a honky-tonk song can make you cry, yell, order another one, and then jump up on the dance floor to forget your troubles. In this class, participants will learn how to deliver a song to get that kind of reaction. The class will cover some great music from the masters of American country music — Kitty Wells, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell — as well as lesser-known gems from almost-forgotten honky-tonkers and contemporary songwriters who are doing the tradition proud. Participants will have a chance to demonstrate their newfound performance chops at the honky-tonk Session later in the week. There will be an all-star band there to back participants up as they croon their favorite honky-tonk tune for an appreciative audience.

Singing for the Confidence Impaired (All Levels) – Kay Justice

Photo Coming Soon!

Bio

Kay Justice grew up in the small town of English, WV, located in the southernmost county of the state. At an early age, she began singing in school plays and in church. While in nursing school, she discovered the music of popular folk singers such as Joan Baez; Peter, Paul, and Mary; Pete Seeger; Ian and Sylvia; and others. Drawn to the music, she began playing the guitar and singing many of the songs she heard and loved. Further exploration led her to seek out the music of Appalachia, her home. In the early 1970s she was once again a student, now at Clinch Valley College in Wise, Virginia. There she met Helen Lewis, a pioneer in Appalachian Studies. Helen and Rich Kirby presented a semester-long seminar in Appalachian music; it was there Kay heard songs from Kate Peters Sturgill, George Tucker, Nimrod Workman, Ralph Stanley, Addie Graham, Guy and Candie Carawan, and a host of other traditional musicians. Her quest to learn materials from the region was begun and continues today. She met Ginny Hawker at an early Augusta Vocal Week and the two of them began singing, touring, teaching, and recording. As Kay’s career as a nurse anesthetist became more demanding, she made the painful decision to stop touring, but continued being active at a more local level. Now retired, she performs solo or as a member of the Herald Angel Band, an all women string band with Alice Gerrard and Gail Gillespie. Kay and Ginny have also done some reunion concerts in recent years. Kay has taught at Augusta, Ashokan Fiddle and Dance camp, Blue Ridge Mountain Music Gathering at Mars Hill College, and with the JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) program in Galax, VA. Kay and Ginny recorded four albums, and Kay has appeared on four albums with Alice Gerrard. She recently recorded her debut solo album, Hickory Wind.

Singing for the Confidence Impaired

Singing for the Confidence Impaired grew from recognition that many folks who love to sing question their ability. This class is designed to help those who are shy or insecure about their singing voices have an opportunity in a non-threatening, supportive environment to develop a level of comfort in singing with others or alone. As the week progresses, students will be given an opportunity to try out their voices. Attention will be directed to breathing techniques, finding the correct pitch, extending the vocal range and learning to feel relaxed while singing. Always a fun and productive class, this provides a safe place for the budding vocalist.

Singing in the African American Tradition (All Levels) – Ysaÿe Barnwell

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Bio

Dr. Ysaÿe M. Barnwell is highly sought after as a master teacher and choral clinician in African American cultural performance. Her workshop “Building a Vocal Community®: Singing in the African American Tradition” has been conducted all over the United States, in Canada, Great Britain, Singapore, and Australia, making her work in the field a significant source of inspiration and learning for both singers and non-singers, and a model of exceptional pedagogy for educators, cultural activists, and historians.

From 1979 until 2013, Dr. Barnwell was a member of the world renowned a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey In The Rock®. In her first year as a singer in the ensemble, Barnwell (who had trained as a Sign Language interpreter) facilitated the practice of including a Sign Language interpreter as part of the ensemble. Dr. Barnwell has appeared as a singer (and occasionally as an instrumentalist) on more than thirty recordings with Sweet Honey In The Rock, and other artists. As an artist-in-residence at the Levine School of Music in Washington, DC, Ysaÿe Barnwell leads a popular ongoing series of open Community Sing sessions.

Dr. Barnwell has also been a commissioned composer on numerous choral, film, video, dance, and theatrical projects including Sesame Street, Dance Alloy of Pittsburgh, David Rousseve’s Reality Dance Company, The New Spirituals Project, GALA Festival Choruses, MUSE: Cincinnati’s Women’s Chorus, and The Steel Festival: Art of an Industry (Bethlehem, PA).

In 2006 Dr. Barnwell was commissioned by the Waterbury Symphony (Connecticut) to compose the music for Marilyn Nelson’s epic poem Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem for a premiere performance in 2009. In 2012 The Fortune’s Bones Project®, including public discussions and two performances of the Cantata, was produced by The Clarice at the University of Maryland.

In addition to these endeavors, Dr. Barnwell is an actress whose credits include voice-over narration for film, videos, and radio, including the NPR documentary W.C. Handy’s Blues, appearances in the film Beloved, and in the TV show A Man Called Hawk. Barnwell has written two children’s books published by Harcourt, No Mirrors In My Nana’s House, illustrated by Synthia Saint James and We Are One illustrated by Brian Pinckney.

Four axioms have proven significant in Barnwell’s life: To whom much is given, much is required.? As one door closes, another door opens. Everything matters. Say Yes!

Bio

There is an awesome power in the human voice. And when uncommon voices are blended for the common good, they become a ‘vocal community’ at its best.

Masterfully led by Dr. Ysaÿe M. Barnwell, singers and non-singers alike will share the common experience of learning in the oral tradition and singing rhythms, chants, traditional songs from Africa and the Diaspora, and a variety of songs from African American culture including spirituals, ring shouts, hymns, gospels, and songs from the Civil Rights movement. Helpful historical, social, and political context will be provided as an introduction to the songs.

Throughout this experience, the group will explore from an African American world view, the values embedded in the music, the role of cultural and spiritual traditions and rituals, ways in which leadership emerges and can be shared by and among community members, the nature of cultural responses to and influences on political and social struggle, and finally the significance of a shared communal experience in one’s personal life. All that is required is a willingness to sing.

Part 1: Music from an African World View – Why Do We Make Music? (9:10-10:20am each day): An exploration of world view increases our understanding of the significance of function, rhythm, polyrhythms, call and response, orality, improvisation, and community as elements of African and African-American music. Each element will be discussed, and participants will explore musical examples of each.

Part 2: Building a Vocal Community – Performing Forms of African / African American Music (10:40-11:50am each day): Given the background of musical elements discussed in Part 1, the class will practice examples of poly-rhythms, chants, spirituals, hymns, gospels, and songs of the Civil Rights movement. All are welcome.

Participants may sign up for both periods, or just Part 1, or just Part 2. The content of the two parts each day will be related, but each will not require the other.

Amazing Sing-Along Sessions (All Levels) & Songs of the Northeast (All Levels) – Jeff Warner

Bio

Jeff Warner is among the nation’s foremost performers / interpreters of traditional music. His songs from the lumber camps, fishing villages, and mountain tops of America connect 21st century audiences with the everyday lives—and artistry—of 19th century Americans. “Providing more than just rich entertainment, Jeff will leave you with a deeper appreciation of the land you live in” (Caffé Lena, Saratoga, NY). His songs, rich in local history and a sense of place, bring us the latest news from the distant past.

Jeff grew up listening to the songs and stories of his father Frank Warner and the traditional singers his parents met during their folksong collecting trips through rural America. He accompanied his parents on their later field trips and is the editor of his mother’s book, Traditional American Folk Songs: From the Anne and Frank Warner Collection. He is producer of the two-CD set, Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still, the Warners’ recordings of rural singers, many of them born in Victorian times. “The scion of one of the nation’s most eminent families of folksong collectors, he represents a tradition that is fundamentally unbroken since preindustrial times” (Stuart Frank, Senior Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum).
Jeff has performed widely, from large festivals in the UK, to clubs, festivals, and schools across America. He plays concertina, banjo, guitar, and several “pocket” instruments, including bones and spoons. And “he inhabits a song in a way which few singers can do” (Royal Oak Folk Club, Lewes, UK).

A native of New York City, Jeff has lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, since the late 1990s. He is an artist for the New Hampshire Council on the Arts, a speaker for the New Hampshire Humanities Council and was a 2007 State Arts Council Fellow. He has toured nationally for the Smithsonian Institution, taught at Pinewoods, Ashokan, and Swannanoa summer music programs, and recorded for Flying Fish / Rounder, National Geographic, and other labels. His 1995 recording Two Little Boys received a Parents’ Choice Award.

Jeff is past president of the Country Dance and Song Society, a founding officer of the Folk Alliance, a producer of the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, and a graduate of Duke University.

Amazing Sing-Along Sessions & Songs of the Northeast

Amazing Sing-Along Sessions – All Levels: Drinking songs, love songs, shanties, gospel songs, silly songs, laments—all with fine choruses: we’ll explore repertoire that has invited group participation for generations—on both sides of the Atlantic. We will learn repertoire, have fun singing together, and perhaps look at song-leading and presentation skills. Find new favorites to introduce to your local sing-around.

Songs of The Northeast – All Levels: Sea shanties and fo’c’s’le songs, old and new world ballads, repertoire from the north woods lumbercamps, Tin-Pan Alley songs that went into tradition—all will be explored in this session. We’ll meet John Galusha and Lena Bourne Fish, who were key singers from the Anne and Frank Warner collection, and we’ll also examine northern singing styles.

Afternoon One-Shot Workshops Title/Topic TBA – Elizabeth Laprelle

Bio

Elizabeth LaPrelle has been performing Appalachian ballads and old-time songs since she was eleven. Her magnificent voice, her respect for the songs, and her authentic mountain sound and style brought her to the attention of first Ginny Hawker and then Sheila Kay Adams. Raised in Rural Retreat, Virginia, Elizabeth attended old-time fiddlers’ conventions and sang harmonies with her family, who taught her traditional singing styles and encouraged her to sing their own favorite American folk music. She received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary with a major in Southern Appalachian Traditional Performance, and now tours the US regularly both performing and teaching, on her own and in a celebrated duo with Anna Roberts-Gevalt. They’ll be at Augusta together this summer, sharing their ‘crankies’ and other musical delights!

Liaisons- Penny Anderson & Tom Druckenmiller


Bio

Penny Anderson is a life-long singer of both choral music and traditional folksong. Those two interests dovetailed perfectly when she was introduced to the shape-note singing revival in the 1980s. In 2011 her shape-note-influenced choral composition “Cat Jeoffry” had its world premiere at Augusta Heritage Center’s Vocal Week.
Penny is classically trained in music theory, voice, and piano, but not enough to ruin her singing. She has a repertoire of several hundred traditional folk songs from the American, British Isles, and French traditions. In the last decade she has written dozens of original songs and a number of choral pieces. Penny’s musical obsessions at the moment are organizing the Pittsburgh monthly shape-note sing, teaching choral singing at her local community center, singing a grab-bag of music from many eras as part of the trio Monongahela Harmony, composing choral pieces as well as solo songs, and learning to play the concertina. She would rather sing, preferably with a group, than do anything else.

Tom has been influenced by the West Virginia banjo master Dwight Diller and has studied guitar with Norman and Nancy Blake.

Staff Musician – Don Friedman

Bio

Don Friedman hails from the old-time and bluegrass mecca of Brooklyn, NY, where he sings, harmonizes, and plays and teaches guitar. He’s currently in three trios in the New York area: Triboro, Just Left Town, and a group with Trip Henderson and frequent Augusta staffer Emily Eagen. Don also co-teaches old-time and folk harmony singing with Emily at Brooklyn’s Jalopy Theater and School of Music. He has led jams and sing-alongs for decades at a variety of venues, including many years at Augusta. By day, he is an attorney with a New York-based anti-poverty agency.

Arts, Crafts & Folklore Workshops

Felting: Traditional to Today (Beg./Int.) – Enrica McMillon

Bio

Enrica McMillon grew up in the tiny Swiss village of Helvetia and has worked with many different forms of fiber arts since her childhood. As a felter and a spinner, Enrica has developed a deep knowledge of wool and other types of fiber. She is an active member of the Mountain Weavers’ Guild and other fiber arts organizations. Her three-dimensional felted sculptures have won awards at various art shows. A natural teacher, Enrica loves to share her knowledge and skills with anyone who is eager to learn.

Wet felting was one of humankind’s earliest crafts. Its discovery allowed people to better clothe and shelter themselves, and through the ages it has been used to make items that were not only useful but beautiful. Needle felting is a dry method that came about in modern times. It is a wonderful medium for creating 3-dimensional sculptural works of art. With only a minimal investment in tools and materials you will learn the skills to create felted objects in a very short time. Bring scissors, a small pair of needle-nosed pliers, a 12″ x 12″ x 2″ (approximately) piece of foam, and join in the fun!

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $30 or more, depending on student projects, payable to workshop leader.

Letterpress Printing & Wood Engraving (All Levels) – Jim Horton, assisted by Sarah Brown

Bio

Born in El Reno, Oklahoma, Jim Horton moved with his government family to the small town of Milan Michigan in the early 1950s. He attended Eastern Michigan University and studied studio art and earned a certificate in education. He worked for a sign company while in college, and was thus given vocational education certification as well as a BAE, and after military service, an MAE.

In the military, Jim was drafted and saved in Saigon, Vietnam, as an illustrator. He was also assigned to Nakom Phnom, Thailand, at the end of the Vietnam conflict. Upon returning to civilian life, he began teaching in the Wayne-Westland Schools. He taught at all levels, and in the last years of teaching, he taught vocational graphic design. He was selected as a WDIV Newsweek Magazine “Teacher of the Year” in 1994. He had dinner with Catherine Graham of Newsweek fame. Upon retirement, he began teaching in a private setting at Greenhills School of Ann Arbor. Altogether, Jim taught for 42 years.

During his regular teaching career, Jim continued his interest as an artist. He has always loved drawing, and this led to studying printmaking and particularly wood engraving and letterpress printing. To this day, Jim continues to teach workshops in this area of specialty. He also maintains a printing business, a private press, and a small activity as an antique dealer.

Jim regularly teaches at John C. Campbell Folk School. Most recently, he has taught classes at Signal-Return in Detroit; Wood Engravers’ Network workshops in Asheville, NC; College Station, TX; Frogman’s Print & Paper (USD, Vermilion); and at West Virginia University with the late Professor Clifford Harvey. He has taught too many workshops to list entirely, but the favorite workshop has been teaching for some 23 years at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College, in Elkins, WV. Jim also has an interest in traditional music and many areas of folklife, and has attended Augusta as a participant as well.

Jim’s interest in wood engraving began by studying with David Sander, an author and artist in the Chicago area. The Sander Company was the last commercial wood engraving business in the US. Jim was able to work with David Sander, and in latter days, help him with teaching. Jim was also able to obtain many remnants of the engraving studios, and to this day he considers himself a working museum of this niche in the world of art.

Jim lives in rural Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is married to Rowena Villarias, a nurse practitioner in the field of women’s health care. They practice yoga and have one cat.

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Questionable Press is printer and artist Sarah Brown, and a 1948 Heidelberg Windmill named Double D. Sarah saved D and another literal ton of letterpress equipment from the scrap yards of Phillipi, West Virginia. She was a real letterpress novice, but she combined the skills she had learned in printmaking classes at West Virginia University with hours of research and perseverance until she and D came to know each other well. With the right set up, D can pick up and print cardboard to tissue paper, and everything in between.

Sarah uses antiquated, classical methods of image production like wood engraving, wood cuts, and linoleum cuts. Basically, its like making big, very detailed stamps. She then combines these blocks with hand set letterpress type and prints them on D.

Letterpress Printing & Wood Engraving (all levels)

Letterpress printing (using metal and wood hand-set type) has its roots in centuries-old traditions yet remains viable in contemporary art and graphic design. University programs and private presses are popping up everywhere. Perhaps people are seeking deeper experiences in art than the digital world has to offer. This class will cover the basics of letterpress typography and typesetting while offering wood engraving as an illustration medium. Letterpress is the use of hand-set type that essentially dates back to Gutenberg. Wood engraving is a highly detailed process using tools called gravers that cut into hard, end-grain wood. It is unmatched for clarity and offers a great way to make multiple copies of a drawing. Putting these learned skills to work, the class will design, set, illustrate and print a limited edition broadside using a vintage printing press. The broadside might be for personal expression of perhaps a song or a poem, or it might advertise an actual event. The creative process will result in a rewarding experience and a valued edition of hand-printed material. We will cover the basics of drawing, mocking-up, using a composing stick, engraving on end-grain wood and actual editioning and signing the prints. No previous experience is necessary.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $25, payable to workshop leader.

White Oak Basketry (All Levels) – Alan Miller

Bio

Alan Miller is a retired West Virginia state forester and forest entomologist. He was inducted into the WV Agriculture & Forestry Hall of Fame in 2000. Since his retirement, Miller has continued to go to the woods for his craft and has been making white oak baskets for fifteen years. He also repairs chairs, weaves chair bottoms with hickory bark splits and hand carves wooden cooking utensils (treenware). In addition to teaching basketry at Augusta, he demonstrates regularly at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center.

He has taught plant identification, entomology and other classes for over 50 years, including classes for the WV Wildflower Pilgrimage each spring at Blackwater Falls State Park and the Webster Springs Garden Club at Camp Caesar. He teaches at and directs the Ted Harriman Forest Industries Camp at Camp Mahonegon. He is also President of the Treasure Mountain Festival Association, organizing an annual festival in Franklin, WV, that attracts over 30,000 people each September.

The class covers tree selection, log splitting and the making of stakes, splits and handles for white oak baskets. New students will learn to make a small Williamsburg and a shopper style basket. Returning or advanced students will have new projects. No previous basket making experience is necessary. The process requires some physical strength. All supplies will be provided.

Dance Workshop

Mountain Dance: Calling & Figures (All Levels & All Ages) – T-Claw

Bio

T-Claw grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, playing punk, jazz, and metal. Spurred by his hometown grizzle grazzlin’ fiddle friends, Tee moved to the Pacific Northwest and fell into a vibrant old-time music community, first banging up old banjos, scratchin’ down fiddle tunes, and dancin’ a fury. Calling came intuitively after years of playing and community organizing. T-Claw is frequently witnessed motivating all variety of folks to have a grand ol’ time where one may least expect it. Over the years, T.C. Law & Associates has steadfastly toured the United States to play and call dances, the goal being to stimulate interest in towns that no longer have old school community style square dancin’. It is an attempt to recreate rural community dances in an urban setting and salvage fading American folk traditions. Aside from calling at most of the country’s currently active dances, he’s called at festivals including Dare to Be Square, Morehead, Clifftop, Augusta, Urbana Folk Fest, Seattle Folklife, Portland Gathering, and The Black Fly Ball. T-Claw calls for beginners and well-seasoned dancers. His calling strives to keep the moves accessible for a mixed crowd and to entertain with a ferocious fervor. He focuses on traditional mountain styles but has many unorthodox tricks to employ.

This workshop will focus on Appalachian dance traditions, working with master West Virginia callers to learn the basics of square dance calling. A major facet of community dance is inclusion, therefore no prior experience is necessary, and all ages 8 and above are welcome. This week-long immersion is well suited to dancers, musicians, callers, and especially future callers. T-Claw will be joined throughout the week by regional experts who will share dance figures unique to West Virginia. Through daily hands-on activities, participants will practice the basics of square dance calling, choreography, effective teaching methods, working with kids, rhythm, and rhyming patter. By the end of the week participants will have all the tools needed to organize and call dances in their own communities. Participants will also have the opportunity to take a flatfooting class in the afternoon along with other Old-Time Week offerings.

Folk Arts for Kids Workshop

Exploring Art Through Time (Grades k-5) – Kylie Proudfoot-Payne

Bio

Kylie Proudfoot-Payne lives in Barbour County and graduated from Davis & Elkins College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology / human services and art education. She currently teaches with ArtsBank, an artist in residence program in the Randolph County schools with a focus on STEAM education. She is an award winning landscape painter and dabbles in a variety of different art mediums.

Folk Arts for Kids participants will explore visual art and heritage crafts through the creation of a variety of art projects. Students will delve deeper into their interests in the arts while creating a solid foundation for taking a project from start to finish. Students will get an opportunity to present their work and reflect on the progress through critiques. Students will paint, print, weave, bind, mold, sew, experiment, and more as they learn about how the heritage crafts are connected to the world today. They will have the opportunity to experience the wider Augusta program through coordination with other Augusta instructors.

Old-Time and Vocal Week Mini-Courses

Flatfooting Basics (From Scratch) – Rina Rossie

Photo Coming Soon

Bio

Rina Rossi grew up playing bass in orchestra and meanwhile listening to traditional music on Michigan public radio with her parents who met folk dancing in the 1970s. She left Michigan to attend college in Minnesota, met some members of the St. Paul-based Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, and started dancing with the group shortly after graduating in 2005. Rina broke her shoes in dancing with the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, a precision clogging team founded in 1979 when a midwest tour by the Green Grass Cloggers inspired some dancers in St. Paul, Minnesota, to get their own clogging group going. About the same time, she started learning fiddle from a local old-time fiddler, took up the bass again, and learned to call square dances from great callers coming through Minnesota such as Phil Jamison, Dot Kent, Bob Dalsemer, Sue Hulsether, and many more. Currently Rina fiddles with the Cloggers, calls regularly at the Monday Night Square Dance in Minneapolis, and plays bass with the Bootlicker Stringband.

Flatfooting Basics (From Scratch)

Tired of simply tapping your toes? Ready to take it to the next level? Join Rina for an introduction to basic flatfooting steps and get some tips on how to put them together into interesting rhythms that compliment your favorite old-time tunes. Participants will learn steps like the Tennessee walking step, practice dancing on and off of the beat, and practice putting rhythms together in their own way. Next time you hear a hot band, you’ll be ready to bust down!

Fingerstyle Banjo (All Levels) – Clarke Wyatt

Photo Coming Soon

Bio

Clarke Wyatt plays two- and three-finger old-time banjo. His deep musical knowledge helps empower students with fretboard comprehension and melodic expression. Clarke says, “Music is a fundamental path to understanding – through practice, contemplation, and play, sharing music with everyone is the thing that makes life fun and easy.”

This course will focus on two and three finger up-stroke techniques. Participants will learn thumb lead and index lead two finger styles, and then practice switching fluidly between the two. After learning some tunes in two finger, participants will begin using the third finger and discover what a wonderful rhythmic ‘get out of jail card’ it can be. This is a melody-centric workshop for anybody that plays the banjo in any style. It would be great if participants already know a few fiddle tunes, but all levels are welcome.
Coming Soon

Folk Songs & Ballads of West Virginia (All Levels) – Gerry Milnes

Bio

Gerry Milnes has collected old-time music in West Virginia for the last 45 years. He also plays old-time music, and has for the last sixty years. He accompanied and presented some of West Virginia’s best known old-time musicians, like Melvin Wine and Ernie Carpenter, to music events throughout the country. He performed with the old-time stringband, Gandydancer, and recorded two CDs with the group. His most recent recording, Cherry River Line, is with his son Jesse and daughter-in-law, Emily Miller. While folk arts coordinator at the Augusta Heritage Center he produced 20 recordings of old-time music on the Augusta label. As a filmmaker, he produced 16 films concerning West Virginia folklife, including Signs, Cures and Witchery, which earned him the title of West Virginia Filmmaker of the Year in 2007. Other more recent music awards include the Robert C. Byrd Fiddling Award, The Footbridge Award, the Worley Gardner Award, the West Virginia Governor’s Arts Award and the Vandalia Award (West Virginia’s top folklife honor). His musicianship has brought him top honors on fiddle and banjo at the West Virginia State Folk Festival, the Ed Haley Festival, the Vandalia Gathering, Mountaineer Week at West Virginia University, and at the Appalachian Stringband Music Festival at Clifftop.

Before retiring from Augusta after 25 years, Gerry instigated the Mountain Dance Trail which is still coordinated by the Augusta Heritage Center. He oversaw the West Virginia Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program for 22 years. His roughly 12,000 still images, 700 audio field recordings, and 400 digital video tapes are housed in the Augusta Collection, the Center’s archive that Gerry set up in 1995. He currently serves on the Board of the West Virginia Humanities Council and helped with the formation of the Mountain Music Trail of which Augusta is a member. Gerry’s writing about West Virginia music and folklife has appeared in Goldenseal magazine, the Old-Time Herald, West Virginia History, and Appalachian Journal. His books are published by Alfred Knopf, August House, University Press of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee Press.

Still an active musician, having performed widely across the country, he currently fiddles for square dances throughout the state. His repertoire of regional fiddle and banjo tunes is extensive, and West Virginia folksongs and ballads have been a long-standing interest. Other current interests are in regional folk architecture, obscure railroad songs and tunes, and another writing project dealing with the folk music, folk artists and folk culture of the state.

Folk Songs & Ballads of West Virginia (All Levels)

This class will present numerous old-time songs from Gerry Milnes, gathered from traditional singers in West Virginia. To give the songs context and meaning, Gerry will exhibit photographs and field recordings of singers from whom he has learned. From children’s ditties to Child ballads, railroad songs to humorous folksongs, the class will be an overview of traditional song in the Mountain State with many examples made available to participants to learn and sing.

Yodeling for Everyone: An Introduction to the Lost Art of Yodeling (All levels) – John Lilly

Bio

John Lilly is an award-winning songwriter and performer from Charleston, West Virginia. Formerly a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, a member of the Green Grass Cloggers dance team, and a member of the band Ralph Blizard and the New Southern Ramblers, John served as editor of West Virginia’s GOLDENSEAL magazine for 18 years. He recently retired in order to pursue music fulltime. John plays across the country with the acclaimed Blue Yonder band and also performs solo. He recently completed an ambitious recording of original state songs.

Class Description Coming Soon