Blues & Swing Week

Blues & Swing Week

July 22 - 27, 2018

Augusta’s Blues & Swing Week provides participants with the opportunity to work with some of the finest performers and educators in the Blues and Swing worlds. Workshops cover a variety of styles and levels of instruction on guitar, bass, piano, harmonica and voice, as well as the history of both genres. Evening activities include legendary late-night jams, concerts, and dances. All workshops (except 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.

Blues & Swing Week runs concurrently with Old-Time Week; Arts, Crafts, & Folklore Workshops; Folk Arts for Kids; and Evening Mini-Courses. This is the first year of our Old-Time Week and Blues & Swing Week pairing, and we have some exciting plans in store. Participants can take advantage of both weeks by attending special events, swapping tunes and songs in jam sessions, and sharing in the fun!

Welcome to Blues and Swing Week 2018! Our staff includes people who truly love the music and enjoy teaching and sharing it . Our vision is to focus on the roots of these two great musical traditions in a supportive, sharing environment. Workshops, jams, and getting to know people who love the music as much as you do makes Blues & Swing Week the ideal place to come and learn something new or share and grow the skills you already have. We hope you won’t just learn the music, but in the process will better understand its folkways and origins. Our blues dance program puts the music in context. The swing cabaret gives you a chance to perform for your fellow participants in a fun, nightclub atmosphere. Many of our participants come year after year, and we hope that if you haven’t been to Augusta, or to Blues & Swing Week, you will join us this year and make us part of your summer plans every year. –Phil Wiggins and Joan Fenton, Blues & Swing Week Coordinators

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

(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

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

2018 Week at a Glance | 2018 Classes Schedule |  2017 Preliminary Schedule of Events / 2018 Coming Soon! |Register Online

2018 Workshop Leaders and Classes. Click any name below to open more details. Click again to close.

Coordinators

Blues & Swing Week Coordinator – Joan Fenton

Joan Fenton in class

Joan Fenton

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

Blues & Swing Week 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.

 

Band Labs

Band Labs (All Levels) with Kathy Reitz and Marv Reitz

Band Labs (All Levels)

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

Kathy Reitz 

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

Marv Reitz

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

 

Bass

Blues Bass (Beginning / Intermediate) with Ralph Gordon

Blues Bass (Beginning / Intermediate) 

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

Ralph Gordon

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

Swing Bass (Beginning / Intermediate) with Ralph Gordon

Swing Bass (Beginning / Intermediate)

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

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

The workshop will explore and experiment with all of these concepts using swing tunes that employ chord structures common to many other swing songs:

Rhythm Changes (I Got Rhythm chords)

Honeysuckle Rose

Swing/Jazz Blues progressions (only a little different from traditional blues changes!)

Participants will try the tunes above in several different keys so they can get a feel for “what makes the song tick”, thus taking the mystery out of playing without the music in front of them!

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

Ralph Gordon

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

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

Swing Bass: Playing the Changes (Advanced)

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

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

Ralph Gordon will structure the workshop on the “One-A-Day” method:

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

The participants will learn one song per day, examining and playing the chord structure and playing in several different keys. The “song of the day” will be used to show where some of these scales can be applied. The “song of the day” will also give participants a chance to try out some soloing each day as well.

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

Ralph Gordon

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

 

Dance

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

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

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

Junious Brickhouse

Junious “House” Brickhouse is an internationally established educator, choreographer, and cultural preservationist with over 30 years of experience in Urban Dance Culture. Born in Virginia Beach, VA, his dance training began at family gatherings dancing the funk styles of the era. Growing up, he sought out all the learning opportunities available to him, from community centers to parking lots, where young people were teaching each other and building communities around urban dance forms. Early on, he established himself as a leader and mentor in those communities, serving to educate and guide others. At age 18, Junious embarked on an over 21-year career as a Logistics Professional in the U.S. Army and later as a Department of Defense contractor. Throughout his time in various international assignments, Junious developed both a military and dance career, eventually rising to positions of leadership and responsibility in both areas.

As the Founding Executive Director of Urban Artistry Inc. (www.urbanartistry.org), Junious has inspired and created a movement of artists dedicated to the preservation of urban dance culture, specifically within communities of practice. As Urban Artistry’s Executive Director, Junious produces projects such as The International Soul Society Festival, The Preservatory, and the UA Digital Archives to encourage other artists to research and document these tradition bearers and their stories. As a scholar/practitioner, Junious teaches at colleges and universities, using an experiential approach to teaching, Movement of the African American South, Hip Hop, as well as urban dance movement and the cultural context from which it evolves.

As the Co-Director with Next Level, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in association with the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Meridian International Center for Cultural Diplomacy, Junious works tirelessly to promote international cultural exchange in underserved communities, conflict prevention and resolution, and entrepreneurial skill building through hip-hop music and dance. A citizen folklorist, Junious also conducts independent research into those cultural traditions whose influence is reflected in urban dance culture. From ring shouts and acoustic county blues to hip hop, understanding the nature and meaning of these art forms and their influences is what motivates this artist.

Jontavious Willis

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

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

 

House Party Dance – Part 1 & Part 2 (All Levels) with Junious Brickhouse

House Party Dance – Part 1 & Part 2 (All Levels)

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

Junious Brickhouse

Junious “House” Brickhouse is an internationally established educator, choreographer and cultural preservationist with over 30 years of experience in Urban Dance Culture. Born in Virginia Beach, VA, his dance training began at family gatherings dancing the funk styles of the era. Growing up, he sought out all the learning opportunities available to him, from community centers to parking lots, where young people were teaching each other and building communities around urban dance forms. Early on, he established himself as a leader and mentor in those communities, serving to educate and guide others. At age 18, Junious embarked on an over 21-year career as a Logistics Professional in the U.S. Army and later as a Department of Defense contractor. Throughout his time in various international assignments, Junious developed both a military and dance career, eventually rising to positions of leadership and responsibility in both areas. As the Founding Executive Director of Urban Artistry Inc. (www.urbanartistry.org), Junious has inspired and created a movement of artists dedicated to the preservation of urban dance culture, specifically within communities of practice. As Urban Artistry’s Executive Director, Junious produces projects such as The International Soul Society Festival, The Preservatory and the UA Digital Archives to encourage other artists to research and document these tradition bearers and their stories. As a scholar/practitioner, Junious teaches at colleges and universities, using an experiential approach to teaching, Movement of the African American South, Hip Hop as well as urban dance movement and the cultural context from which it evolves.

As the Co-Director with Next Level, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in association with the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Meridian International Center for Cultural Diplomacy, Junious works tirelessly to promote international cultural exchange in underserved communities, conflict prevention and resolution and entrepreneurial skill building through hip-hop music and dance.
A citizen folklorist, Junious also conducts independent research into those cultural traditions whose influence is reflected in urban dance culture. From ring shouts and acoustic county blues to hip hop, understanding the nature and meaning of these art forms and their influences, is what motivates this artist.

 

Guitar

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

Acoustic Blues Guitar Repertoire (Intermediate / Advanced)

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

Lightnin’ Wells

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

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

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

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

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

Blues Guitar (Beginning / Intermediate) with Justin Golden

Blues Guitar (Beginning / Intermediate)

Blues Guitar (Beginning / Intermediate) – 2 sections: In this workshop, participants will learn basic Piedmont Blues Guitar techniques. Participants will practice building finger/thumb independence, basic picking patterns, a few essential Piedmont licks, and develop a foundation for further study.  We will focus on a couple of Piedmont Blues tunes to help reinforce technique.

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

Required skills:  Basic chord knowledge. Required items: Guitar

Justin Golden

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

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

Delta Blues Guitar and Performance (Beginning / Intermediate) with Erin Harpe

Delta Blues Guitar and Performance (Beginning / Intermediate)

In this workshop, Erin guides students through her own arrangements of popular fingerstyle delta blues songs by Mississippi John Hurt, Tommy Johnson, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Willie Brown and Memphis Minnie. Participants will learn how to break a song down and distill it to a simpler form that’s teasier to sing with, and how to develop their own playing and vocal style. It’s all about the feeling! The class will also discuss how to arrange songs for solo performance, with ensembles and bands. This class is for beginning to intermediate fingerstyle guitar players, and would also be great for those that want to work on their vocal delivery – as Erin shares her experience from years of touring, both solo and with her band.  Resources will be provided for students including song notes and lyric sheets. Songs keys covered include C, G, A, drop D and open G.

 I’ll do chauffer or girlish days!

Erin Harpe

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

Blues Guitar: Memphis Minnie Songbook (Intermediate / Advanced) with Del Rey

Blues Guitar: The Blues Styles of Memphis Minnie  (Intermediate / Advanced)

The songs of Memphis Minnie, recorded between 1929 and 1950 are a wonderful guide to the development of blues guitar playing. Learning her songs, chord ideas and positions takes the guitar from complex syncopated fingerpicking to Chicago electric style. This class listens to songs in the keys of G, C, A, and E, and shows how to hear and figure out this musical style by ear. How Memphis Minnie approaches the guitar will also illuminate the music of Bo Carter, Big Bill Broonzy, and other early guitarists. You can take this class as a listening and repertoire resource and/or as a guitar intensive. If you have a favorite Minnie tune bring it and we’ll figure out how she plays it.

Del Rey

Del Rey started playing guitar when she was four years old. At thirteen, she was immersed in the world of folk music, via the San Diego Folk Festival. She has tried to get a whole band onto her solo instrument from the beginning. This gives her music an interesting complexity, especially when applied to the ukulele.

Rags, blues, and tunes of the early 20th century are her specialties, even as she writes new music to add to the tradition. Del Rey also has fashion sense that would make Minnie Pearl smile. Del Rey has taught and played all over the world, and brings her distinctive finger-style approach to guitar and ukulele to her teaching DVDs on Homespun, “Boogie-Woogie Guitar,” ”The Music Of Memphis Minnie,” “Memphis Uke Party,” and “Blue Uke.” Her website is www.delreyplays.com, and her albums can be found at www.hobemianrecords.com.

Blues Guitar Shuffles and Solos (Intermediate / Advanced) with Eric Noden

Blues Guitar Shuffles and Solos (Intermediate / Advanced)

In this workshop, fingerpicking guitar expert Eric Noden will take an in-depth look at one of the most essential blues rhythms. Noden will introduce grooves, turnarounds, and solos using the fingerpicking techniques of the 1920s and ’30s blues guitarists. This workshop will explore ideas that can be used in a large number of songs. Additionally, participants will learn how to build solos that draw from a collection of traditional blues riffs and chord shapes. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Eric’s unique approach to learning and performing acoustic blues guitar.

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.

Country Blues Guitar Fingerpicking (Intermediate / Advanced) with Eleanor Ellis

Country Blues Guitar Fingerpicking (Intermediate / Advanced)

Class description coming soon!

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.

Country Blues Guitar Technique (Beginning) with Valerie Turner

Country Blues Guitar Technique (Beginning)

Country Blues Guitar Technique (Beginning – Period 1) and Country Blues Guitar Repertoire (Beginning – Period 2) will be conducted in daily back-to-back sessions as an opportunity for participants to be immersed in country blues guitar fingerpicking for an entire morning each day.

The first session (Country Blues Guitar Technique, Period 1) will focus on learning basic guitar fingerpicking skills and techniques along with first position chords. This session is ideal for guitar players who are new to fingerpicking, or those who want to brush-up on fingerpicking basics. A new skill will be introduced each day along with new chords, drills, exercises, and lots of time to practice. If time allows, we’ll also get a head start on the country blues arrangement that will be presented in the second session.

The second session (Country Blues Guitar Repertoire, Period 2) is a repertoire based class that picks up where Period 1 leaves off. Participants in the Repertoire workshop should be familiar with basic first position guitar chords and be able to keep time while changing between them. The goal in each session will be to learn a new country blues guitar arrangement, primarily using the skills and techniques being covered during the previous Technique session. Songs will be presented in a variety of keys, structures, and timings.

Participants are welcome to attend one or both sessions with the caveat that Period 2 attendees must be familiar with the skills presented in the corresponding Period 1 session. Both sessions will begin with a brief review of the previous day’s work, move at an easy pace, and will be taught by ear. Each session will conclude with a short summary, and participants are encouraged to bring recording devices to capture this important information.

Valerie Turner

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

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

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

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

Country Blues Guitar Repertoire (Beginning) with Valerie Turner

Country Blues Guitar Repertoire (Beginning)

Country Blues Guitar Technique (Beginning – Period 1) and Country Blues Guitar Repertoire (Beginning – Period 2) will be conducted in daily back-to-back sessions as an opportunity for participants to be immersed in country blues guitar fingerpicking for an entire morning each day.

The first session (Country Blues Guitar Technique, Period 1) will focus on learning basic guitar fingerpicking skills and techniques along with first position chords. This session is ideal for guitar players who are new to fingerpicking, or those who want to brush-up on fingerpicking basics. A new skill will be introduced each day along with new chords, drills, exercises, and lots of time to practice. If time allows, we’ll also get a head start on the country blues arrangement that will be presented in the second session.

The second session (Country Blues Guitar Repertoire, Period 2) is a repertoire based class that picks up where Period 1 leaves off. Participants in the Repertoire workshop should be familiar with basic first position guitar chords and be able to keep time while changing between them. The goal in each session will be to learn a new country blues guitar arrangement, primarily using the skills and techniques being covered during the previous Technique session. Songs will be presented in a variety of keys, structures, and timings.

Participants are welcome to attend one or both sessions with the caveat that Period 2 attendees must be familiar with the skills presented in the corresponding Period 1 session. Both sessions will begin with a brief review of the previous day’s work, move at an easy pace, and will be taught by ear. Each session will conclude with a short summary, and participants are encouraged to bring recording devices to capture this important information.

Valerie Turner

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

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

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

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

Delta Blues Guitar (Intermediate) with Jontavious Willis

Delta Blues Guitar (Intermediate)

Class description coming soon!

Jontavious Willis

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Joan Fenton

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.

Piedmont Blues Guitar (Beginning) with Eleanor Ellis

Piedmont Blues Guitar (Beginning)

Class description coming soon!

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.

Slide Guitar (Intermediate) with Samuel James

Slide Guitar (Intermediate)

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.

Samuel James

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

Swing Guitar: It’s All About the Tunes (Intermediate) with Tom Mitchell

Swing Guitar: It’s All About the Tunes (Intermediate)

In this repertoire workshop, 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 workshop 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 workshop. 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 participants must use a pick. This will be a good workshop 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.

Tom Mitchell

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

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

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

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

Swing Guitar: Three Notes & the Truth (Intermediate)

Have you ever wondered how a Jazz guitar player navigated their way through what seemed to be a chord change every other beat or worse yet every beat? Well, as usual there no substitute for practice and time spent learning how to play your instrument but… Tom Mitchell has something that will be a valuable tool if you aren’t already aware of it. In this workshop he will show you how to use three-note chord shapes to navigate some of the more common chord changes that you will come up against in Jazz.

Three note chords, used by countless swing/jazz guitar players from the late ’20s to the present are a vital part of a guitar player’s arsenal. Participants will start by getting comfortable with moving one simple shape around to play a minor blues, concentrating on swinging together with the whole group. Next, participants will add more shapes and sounds to make it a little more interesting and soon move into a major blues. From there participants will go on to applying their newfound three-note wonders to some jazz standards and turnarounds. Participants will also work on analyzing these shapes and sounds to make the best use of them. At this point, Tom will ask participants not to let a little music theory (very little) send them running. The more you know about how these things work, the more you will be able to utilize them in your playing.

This is an intermediate level workshop: Participants should feel very comfortable with basic guitar chord shapes and keep good, consistent rhythm while making chord changes. This is also a great workshop for people who want to refresh their knowledge of three-note moveable swing chords.

This workshop is designed for intermediate level players, which means:

  1. 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.
  2. Participants should also be able to execute Step 1 while keeping good consistent rhythm using a pick.

Tom Mitchell

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

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

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

Swing Guitar: Riffing Your Way into Improvisation, First Swing Lead (Intermediate) with Cyd Smith

Swing Guitar: Riffing Your Way into Improvisation, First Swing Lead (Intermediate)

You don’t have to wait until you’re “good enough” to start playing leads. In this workshop, we’ll explore the beauty and simplicity of riffs—short, repeated musical phrases that make you sound like you’re composing on the fly. We’ll learn how to use riffs to start soloing over simple chord changes. And most importantly, we’ll work with your “deer-in-headlights” syndrome: you’ll get plenty of playing time to get comfortable in the spotlight role of lead player. We’ll especially focus on the importance of locking into an authentic swing feel. Riffs are a great way to hone your swing sensibility, either as a lead or rhythm player.

Requirements: This is an intermediate level workshop. Participants should feel very comfortable with basic guitar chord shapes and keep good, consistent rhythm while making chord changes. We’ll switch off playing rhythm and lead during the workshop, so it would be very helpful to have some experience playing swing rhythm.

Cyd Smith

Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Cyd Smith is a bit of a musical chameleon. She began studying classical guitar in her early teens and majored in music at Stanford University. While living in the Bay Area, she was introduced to the rich treasury of American folk music, especially bluegrass and vintage country music. From there it was a smooth transition into ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s swing music, and she has delved deeply since into the guitarists, vocalists, and songwriters of that era. All of these influences feed into her own genre-blending/bending songwriting.

Over the years, she has performed with many luminaries of the national acoustic music scene, including Mary Flower, Laurie Lewis, Bob Brozman, Russ Barenberg, and Rebecca Kilgore. She has been a cornerstone of many Northwest bands in a wide range of styles from Swing to Americana to Classic Rock.

A passion for swing and zeal for passing on the swing torch has made Cyd a favorite teacher at music camps throughout the US. The long list of camps she has taught at include Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, California Coast Music Camp, WinterSongs West, Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop, Augusta Blues & Swing Week, Colorado Roots Music Camp, and Acoustic Alaska Guitar Camp.

Swing Guitar Chord Inversions: The Next Step (Intermediate / Advanced) with Cyd Smith

Swing Guitar Chord Inversions: The Next Step (Intermediate / Advanced)

This workshop is for folks who are already comfortable with basic moveable swing chords and are ready to introduce more variety to their chord choices through the magic of chord inversions. Inversions not only help you make smoother transitions between chord changes as a rhythm player; they also open up the world of chord melody. We’ll learn some 4-note shapes for basic swing chords in different inversions and spend a lot time playing them until we get the shapes hard-wired into our fingers. Along the way, we’ll try them out in different swing standards. If all goes well, the end-of-the-week bonus will be to see how we can modify these chords to make them work in chord melodies. Warning: There will be judicious tidbits of chord theory that need to be ingested during the course of this workshop!

Requirements: This is an intermediate to advanced level workshop. Participants should feel comfortable with moveable swing chord shapes and keeping good, consistent rhythm while making chord changes.

Cyd Smith

Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Cyd Smith is a bit of a musical chameleon. She began studying classical guitar in her early teens and majored in music at Stanford University. While living in the Bay Area, she was introduced to the rich treasury of American folk music, especially bluegrass and vintage country music. From there it was a smooth transition into ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s swing music, and she has delved deeply since into the guitarists, vocalists, and songwriters of that era. All of these influences feed into her own genre-blending/bending songwriting.

Over the years, she has performed with many luminaries of the national acoustic music scene, including Mary Flower, Laurie Lewis, Bob Brozman, Russ Barenberg, and Rebecca Kilgore. She has been a cornerstone of many Northwest bands in a wide range of styles from Swing to Americana to Classic Rock.

on for swing and zeal for passing on the swing torch has made Cyd a favorite teacher at music camps throughout the US. The long list of camps she has taught at include Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, California Coast Music Camp, WinterSongs West, Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop, Augusta Blues & Swing Week, Colorado Roots Music Camp, and Acoustic Alaska Guitar Camp.

Women of Acoustic Blues (Intermediate) with Erin Harpe

Women of Acoustic Blues (Intermediate)

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

Erin Harpe

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

 

Harmonica

Blues Harmonica – Part 1 & Part 2 (Beginning) with Stingy Brim

Blues Harmonica – Part 1 & Part 2 (Beginning)

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

Stingy Brim

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 (Intermediate / Advanced) with Joe Filisko

Blues Harmonica (Intermediate / Advanced)

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

Joe Filisko

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

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

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

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

Blues Harmonica Performance Mini-Course (All Levels) with Joe Filisko

Blues Harmonica Performance Mini-Course (All Levels)

Participants will learn how to take what they have musically and make it as performance-friendly as possible. All levels are welcome. Joe Filisko explains, “Thinking in terms of food, just because you can cook up a meal doesn’t mean that you will be able to create a memorable dining experience for your guests.” Even participants who can’t play through a piece of music will find it most enlightening to see how others are helped and critiqued on their performances. There will likely be some backup musicians available for accompaniment. Get your songs ready!”

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.

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

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

Joe Filisko

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

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

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

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

 

Eric Noden

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Alli

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

Introduction to Blues Harmonica (Beginning) with Andrew Alli

Introduction to Blues Harmonica (Beginning)

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

Andrew Alli

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

 

Horns

Horns: How to Play Nice with Vocalists & Strings (Intermediate / Advanced) with Marv Reitz

Horns: How to Play Nice with Vocalists & Strings (Intermediate / Advanced)

This workshop is for horn players who wish to fit in with ensembles that feature vocalists and string players. It is easy for horns to overpower the other members, so we will concentrate on how to make the group sound better using fills, riffs, organ tones, and other techniques and how to come up with them either on the fly or by preplanning. We will also work on soloing and some basic ensemble work. Bring music stands and a recording device if you wish. Most of all, we’ll have some fun.

Marv Reitz

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

Riffing & Fun with Horns (Intermediate / Advanced) with Dave Davies

Riffing & Fun with Horns (Intermediate / Advanced)

This workshop 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 workshop. It is expected that the group will perform at some point during the week, and 1 or 2 arrangements will be prepared.

Dave Davies

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

 

Piano

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

Blues Piano – Part 1 (Beginning / Intermediate)

Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Sunpie Barnes

Bio coming soon!

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

Blues Piano – Part 2 (Intermediate / Advanced)

Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Sunpie Barnes

Bio coming soon!

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

Blues Piano – Part 1 (Intermediate / Advanced)

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

Erwin Helfer

Erwin Helfer is a Chicago boogie woogie innovator and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Born in 1936, Erwin has been playing and performing for over fifty years. The sounds and personalities of past boogie woogie and blues pianists have nurtured Erwin’s musical growth. For many years, Erwin accompanied Mama Yancey, the wife of Chicago blues piano patriarch Jimmy “Papa” Yancey, and later recorded one album with her. He was also mentored and influenced by Billie Pierce, Cripple Clarence Lofton, and Speckled Red. Helfer recorded Pierce and Speckled Red on his own Tone Records in 1957.

During the ’60s and ’70s, Erwin released two piano duet albums with his performing and recording partner of ten years, Jimmy Walker. On their first album, Peter J. Welding, one of the preeminent blues historians and scholars of all time, wrote that Helfer had “mastered the rhythmic and melodic subtleties” of the blues piano style.

Chicago has long recognized Erwin Helfer as its own musical treasure. He performs annually at the Chicago Blues Festival and he even has a street named after him. His local gigs and frequent European tours, including an engagement at the Berlin Jazz Festival, have created a strong and loyal following in Chicago and overseas.

His recording, I’m Not Hungry But I Like to Eat – Blues! was nominated for a 2002 W.C. Handy Award and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. In addition, he also has the following recordings on The Sirens Records: a duet CD with tenor saxophonist Skinny Williams entitled St. James Infirmary and participation on two historic piano compilations, Heavy Timbre – Chicago Boogie Piano (named one of the top 52 blues albums ever made by the Year of the Blues Foundation) and 8 Hands on 88 Keys – Chicago Blues Piano Masters. Another recording for The Sirens Records, Careless Love, was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air in January 2006. He presented solo at Berlin Jazz Festival. Check him out on Wikipedia!

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

Blues Piano – Part 2 (Beginning / Intermediate)

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

Erwin Helfer

Erwin Helfer is a Chicago boogie woogie innovator and master. Born in 1936, Erwin has been playing and performing for over fifty years. The sounds and personalities of past boogie woogie and blues pianists have nurtured Erwin’s musical growth. For many years, Erwin accompanied Mama Yancey, the wife of Chicago blues piano patriarch Jimmy “Papa” Yancey, and later recorded one album with her. He was also mentored and influenced by Billie Pierce, Cripple Clarence Lofton, and Speckled Red. Helfer recorded Pierce and Speckled Red on his own Tone Records in 1957.

During the ’60s and ’70s, Erwin released two piano duet albums with his performing and recording partner of ten years, Jimmy Walker. On their first album, Peter J. Welding, one of the preeminent blues historians and scholars of all time, wrote that Helfer had “mastered the rhythmic and melodic subtleties” of the blues piano style.

Chicago has long recognized Erwin Helfer as its own musical treasure. He performs annually at the Chicago Blues Festival and he even has a street named after him. His local gigs and frequent European tours, including an engagement at the Berlin Jazz Festival, have created a strong and loyal following in Chicago and overseas.

His recording, I’m Not Hungry But I Like to Eat – Blues! was nominated for a 2002 W.C. Handy Award and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. In addition, he also has the following recordings on The Sirens Records: a duet CD with tenor saxophonist Skinny Williams entitled St. James Infirmary and participation on two historic piano compilations, Heavy Timbre – Chicago Boogie Piano (named one of the top 52 blues albums ever made by the Year of the Blues Foundation) and 8 Hands on 88 Keys – Chicago Blues Piano Masters. Another recording for The Sirens Records, Careless Love, was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air in January 2006.

Blues Piano – Part 1 & Part 2 (Beginning) with Judy LaPrade

Blues Piano – Part 1 & Part 2 (Beginning)

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

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

Judy LaPrade

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

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

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

Swing Piano – Part 1 & Part 2 (Intermediate / Advanced) with Michael Arrington

Michael Arrington – Swing Piano – Part 1 & Part 2 (Intermediate / Advanced)

Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Michael Arrington

Michael Arrington was born in Washington, DC, and started playing piano at the age of seven, trumpet at age eleven, and composing at around the same time. Michael holds a degree in music from The Catholic University. His teachers there included Dr. David Flowers (trumpet), Dr. Walter Pate (piano), Martin Piecuch (jazz and woodwinds), and Dr. Robert Garafalo and Frederick Fennell (conducting).

Upon graduation from Catholic University, Michael began a career as a conductor for the New Music Orchestra in Washington, DC. The ensemble specialized in world and national premieres and works of local composers. He also served as choral director and organist for several denominations and congregations throughout the District of Columbia and Maryland, and he continues his career today as a church musician, conductor, and jazz musician.

Due to his versatility, Michael has been a member of many professional and amateur ensembles. Notable experiences include performing piano with the Potomac Trio, playing a 19th century cornet with Heritage Americana, serving as musical director for cable television shows, conducting 150 voice choirs at National Presbyterian Church, performing on piano and keyboard with the Olney Big Band, and happily, the occasional cocktail piano/piano bar gigs around the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

Michael is a member of the Rockville Concert Band, playing both trumpet and cornet, and also has distinguished himself as a guest conductor of that ensemble.

 

Percussion

Pizza Box Percussion (From Scratch / Beginning) with Wes Crawford

Pizza Box Percussion (From Scratch / Beginning)

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

You may not see drummers often playing them on the Grammies, but pizza boxes are a fun and educational means to learning to play the drums and to jam with others at Augusta! And, it’s a LOT easier than lugging around a drumset! Who knows, maybe YOU will earn the first Grammy on a pizza box!

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/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, and now 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.

Wes settled in the Washington DC/Baltimore region in 1992. He 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 trained for drum circle facilitation with internationally known facilitator, Christine Stevens.

Wes considers musical education to be his most important legacy to the future. He 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, educational music media through his company, Music and Games 4 U (www.MusicAndGames4U.com).

From 2005-2014 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).

 

Songwriting

Songwriting (All Levels) with Roddy Barnes

Songwriting (All Levels)

This workshop is open to all levels of songwriters. It will be limited to 15 participants who can come with a prepared song, unfinished works, or simply song ideas. An emphasis will be placed on lyrics and intervals to help convey a writer’s desired effect. It will be taught in a master-class setting as this allows two benefits for the participant: varied insights from other people about their own creation, and the opportunity to glean information from other’s works. An atmosphere of encouragement and respect will be stressed within the workshop – both for others and oneself.

Roddy Barnes

From being anointed as a child with gospel music from his church to becoming replete with music academia, Roddy Barnes earned a B.A. in classical performance from Missouri Western State University and a scholarship to Berklee School of Music in Boston. He has traveled to Boston, New Orleans, and Austin playing blues music. His songs have been recorded by Gaye Adegbalola and Ann Rabson. Roddy has also composed music and lyrics commissioned for plays and television commercials. He wrote the intro and music for the PBS show Cultivating Life. He worked with the Charlottesville Ballet, which performed a piece to his “Nocturne for Harmonica.” His singing and piano playing in his solo performances are equally superb.

Songwriting (All Levels) with Samuel James

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.

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.

 

String Band / Jug Band

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

String Band / Jug Band Repertoire (All Levels)

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

Ben Hunter

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

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

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

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

Joe Seamons

Joe Seamons was raised in the backwoods of Northwestern Oregon in a house built by his parents. There, he was exposed to the 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 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 study 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 he 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.

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.

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

String Band / Jug Band Performance (All Levels)

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

Ben Hunter

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

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

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

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

Joe Seamons

Joe Seamons was raised in the backwoods of Northwestern Oregon in a house built by his parents. There, he was exposed to the 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 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 study 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 he 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.

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.

 

Swing Jams

Swing Jam (All Levels) with Kathy Reitz and Marv Reitz

Swing Jam (All Levels)

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

As in past years, we will have a slow jam open to all students and to all levels. We will concentrate on 3-4 songs per session and will write the chords on a whiteboard for all to see. The chords will be simplified somewhat. Each person wanting to take a solo will do so, but soloing is not mandatory. Tempos will tend to be on the sedate side. This is a good opportunity for the beginner/intermediate player to learn new tunes, song structure, useful chords, and soloing.

Kathy Reitz 

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

Marv Reitz

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

 

Theory

Blues Theory 101: Playing with the Blues (All Instruments & Vocalists, All Levels) with Judy LaPrade

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

Playing with the Blues (All Instruments & Vocalists, All Levels): This workshop 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 workshop 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.

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.

 

Ukulele

Ukulele (Beginning) with Tina Dietz

Ukulele (Beginning)

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

Tina Dietz

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

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

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

Ukulele (Intermediate / Advanced) with Del Rey

Ukulele Blues Party (Intermediate / Advanced)

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

Del Rey

Del Rey started playing guitar when she was four years old. At thirteen, she was immersed in the world of folk music, via the San Diego Folk Festival. She has tried to get a whole band onto her solo instrument from the beginning. This gives her music an interesting complexity, especially when applied to the ukulele.

Rags, blues, and tunes of the early 20th century are her specialties, even as she writes new music to add to the tradition. Del Rey also has fashion sense that would make Minnie Pearl smile. Del Rey has taught and played all over the world, and brings her distinctive finger-style approach to guitar and ukulele to her teaching DVDs on Homespun, “Boogie-Woogie Guitar,” ”The Music Of Memphis Minnie,” “Memphis Uke Party,” and “Blue Uke.” Her website is www.delreyplays.com, and her albums can be found at www.hobemianrecords.com.

Ukulele (Intermediate / Advanced) with Lightnin’ Wells

Ukulele (Intermediate / Advanced) 

Ukulele (Intermediate / Advanced): tunes in the mainland style for the standard (soprano) ukulele. Vintage tunes from the 1920s, when the uke reigned supreme in America, will be enjoyed and explored. During this workshop we will learn several old uke tunes using copies of the original vintage sheet music with appropriate chord diagrams. Several strumming techniques will also be examined including the basic and triplet strum. 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). The workshop level will be intermediate/advanced. It would help to be familiar with the ukulele and know your basic chords. A most recommended book that can help you with this is Treasury of Ukulele Chords by Roy Sakuma.

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

 

Vocals

Blues Vocals (All Levels) with Tina Dietz

Blues Vocals (All Levels)

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

Tina Dietz

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

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

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

Blues Vocal Technique & Performance – Part 1 & Part 2 (Intermediate / Advanced) with Resa Gibbs and Roddy Barnes

Blues Vocal Technique & Performance – Part 1 & Part 2 (Intermediate / Advanced)

This is a workshop 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 12 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. This year the workshop will take place over periods 2 and 3 to allow plenty of time for each singer. Please plan to attend both to take full advantage of this workshop. Please send music for accompaniment (if / as needed) by June 5th, either sheet music (preferred) or CD of songs to: Roddy Barnes. 4308 Austin Ave., Richmond VA 23222.

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 pleased and honored by the opportunity to instruct vocal performance classes at Augusta Heritage Center’s Blues & Swing Week 2018.

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 & Swing Week gospel mini-course. In 2010, she, along with Jackie Merritt, was accepted into the Library of Congress “Americana Women: Roots Musicians – Women’s Tales and Tunes” as part of the MusicBox Project collection, some of which has been catalogued in the American Folklife Center.

Resa has made vocal contributions including backing vocals on several award winning singer / songwriters’ albums / 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.

She also had the pleasure of singing on Roddy Barnes’ ODD album in 2015. 

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.

Roddy Barnes

From being anointed as a child with gospel music from his church to becoming replete with music academia, Roddy Barnes earned a B.A. in classical performance from Missouri Western State University and a scholarship to Berklee School of Music in Boston. He has traveled to Boston, New Orleans, and Austin playing blues music. His songs have been recorded by Gaye Adegbalola and Ann Rabson. Roddy has also composed music and lyrics commissioned for plays and television commercials. He wrote the intro and music for the PBS show Cultivating Life. He worked with the Charlottesville Ballet, which performed a piece to his “Nocturne for Harmonica.” His singing and piano playing in his solo performances are equally superb.

 

Swing Band Singing (Intermediate / Advanced) with Miss Tess

Swing Band Singing (Intermediate / Advanced)

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.

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 Improvisation & Swing Chorus (All Levels) with Dave Davies

Swing Vocal Improvisation & Swing Chorus (All Levels)

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

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

Dave Davies

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

Swing Vocal Repertoire (Beginning / Intermediate) with Miss Tess

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.

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.

 

Liaison

Donna Diehl, Liaison

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

 

Click here to see the Dance workshops offered this week!

 

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

 

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

 

Click here to see all  mini courses offered this week!