Evening Mini-Courses

Evening Mini-Courses

July 23 – August 9, 2018











Augusta Mini-Courses add to students’ daily learning experiences and allow busy local residents to be part of the Augusta experience. You DO NOT need to be enrolled as a full-time Augusta student to sign up for Mini-Courses. (You DO need to be a full-time student to stay on-campus.) Check out the wide array of subjects, listed by week, from which to choose! A real bargain, Mini-Courses cost only $60 for four evenings of instruction by world-class artists. Some Mini-Courses may require a small materials fee (which is paid to the instructor in the first class).

All summer Evening Mini-Courses meet Monday–Thursday evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:15 pm unless otherwise noted. Participants register for one mini-course per week. Each session builds upon information presented the previous day.

We have many wonderful mini-courses on our schedule this summer, all taught by amazing artists and musicians who are most importantly great teachers. Mini-courses are a great way to learn a new skill or craft. Whether starting from scratch or broadening your knowledge on a craft or instrument you already practice, the mini courses are a great option for learning.– Beth King, Augusta Heritage Center Director

Tuition Guide:

Evening Mini Courses 2018 FlyerRegister Here!

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


Blues & Swing Week and Old-Time Week Mini-Courses

July 22 – 27, 2018

Barbecue Cooking Mini Course (All Levels) with Derrick Helzer

Barbecue Cooking Mini Course (All Levels) with Derrick Helzer

Class description coming soon!

Ages 12 & up. Materials: $25, payable to Augusta upon registration.

Derrick Helzer

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

Black and Native American Old-Time Music (All Levels) with Jake Blount

Black and Native American Old-Time Music (All Levels) 

This course will focus on string band music from Black and Native American musicians recorded during the 20th Century.  It will provide an opportunity for students to learn rare tunes and explore the significance of these musical traditions throughout history.  We’ll listen to rare field recordings and discover more about the fiddlers and banjo players included on them.  Musicians covered will include, but not be limited to: John Lusk, Manco Sneed, Cuje Bertram, Osey Helton, Will Adam, and Junaluska.

The class is open to all string instruments and skill levels.  I will teach the tunes on the fiddle, but am able and willing to accommodate other musicians who feel comfortable learning melodies from a fiddler.

Jake Blount

Jake Blount is a fiddler, banjo player and scholar based in Ithaca, New York. He has studied with modern masters of old-time music, including Bruce Molsky, Judy Hyman (of the Horse Flies), and Rhiannon Giddens and Hubby Jenkins (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops). He centers and venerates his racial and ethnic heritage through his approach to music and its history. In 2016, Blount became the first Black person to make the finals at the prestigious Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, WV, and the first to win in the traditional band category. In the following year, he received his B.A. in Ethnomusicology from Hamilton College and released his debut EP, “Reparations,” with award-winning fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves. He has since shared his music and research at the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA and numerous other museums, colleges and universities. He recently released a CD and toured internationally with the Moose Whisperers, a decorated old-time string band. Learn more about Jake at http://www.jakeblount.com.

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.

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

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

Lindy Hop is a 1920s / 1930s style of swing dance that is as joyful, exuberant, and expressive as the hot jazz music that inspired it. In this course, you will learn the Whats, Hows, and Whys of partnered Lindy Hop. You’ll learn how the history of jazz and early swing music inspired a new dance. We’ll connect Lindy Hop movements to their creative musical counterparts, and we’ll practice expressing our own joys through the dance. This mini-course will be geared towards learning the fundamentals of Lindy Hop, and is open to dancers and non-dancers of all levels.

Amy Loomis & David Loomis

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

Listen up! How to Use Your Ears to Make More Enjoyable Music (All Levels) with Rich Hartness

Listen up!  How to Use Your Ears to Make More Enjoyable Music (All Levels) 

By paying closer attention to what you hear, and by responding accordingly, you can improve your musical satisfaction.  We will discuss steps for reviving the lost art of tuning by ear.  We’ll explore how to get your own instrument in tune from a reference note, as well as how to get many players better in tune with each other for ensemble playing.  We will also discuss the impact that seating arrangement, room selection and positioning, and even camp site setup, all have on musical satisfaction.

Ironic so much energy is put into learning to play the old songs and tunes the old way, but for some reason, tuning is usually overlooked.  Ear tuning is a skill you can cultivate if you try.  There was a whole lot of beautiful music made before electronic tuners ever arrived.  Tuners are very accurate but they are not smart.  Trust yourself.  It’s time to wise up, pay closer attention and act more discriminately on what you can already hear.  Becoming a better listener only requires a different focus, not better hearing.

Rich Hartness

Rich Hartness grew up in a musical family in Rocky Mount, NC, began acoustic guitar and trumpet early, and fancied black and white traditional music in his teens. Infectious and irresistible banjo and fiddle sounds at folk festivals and fiddlers’ conventions in the ’70s inspired him to play. He draws his bluesy country rag fingerstyle guitar from Piedmont blues players, and his distinctive old-time fiddling style directly from visits with elder North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia fiddlers. Rich enjoys fiddling today with the able banjo pickin’ of his daughter, Joanna.

In the mid ’70s and ’80s, Rich learned from Mount Airy North Carolina and soutwest Virginia area musicians Tommy Jarrell, Ernest East, Luther Davis, fretless banjo picker Dix Freeman, and guitar finger picker Chester McMillian. Visits to Glenville and Pocahontas County, WV, in the ’80s facilitated formative relationships with old masters Wilson Douglas, Melvin Wine, and the Hammons Family. He has drawn from Piedmont, NC, elders – two-finger banjo picker and fiddler Marvin Gaster and fiddler Lauchlin Shaw. Rich has devoted much energy collecting and absorbing recordings of traditional music of the Southeast. Playing tunes with contemporaries has always figured prominently in his routine, particularly with mandolinist Brian Schmiel.

Rich’s fiddling style represents a synthesis of many old-time fiddlers. He gains much power and emphasis by upping his bow on the down beat, which he largely attributes the drive and personality of his fiddling.

Rich’s fingerstyle guitar comes from a core thumb bass rhythm, with filler fingered fine strings, punctuated by connecting thumb and index bass runs. His style works as accompaniment to fiddle tunes, “Carterish” lead melody for duets, and treble melody over thumb bass rhythm for a complete solo sound.

Rich loves applying his fingerstyle guitar to the quirky progressions and rhythms of fiddled rags. Living in Greensboro, NC, he spent much of the last 20 years fine tuning his guitar style to Tolly Tollefson’s fiddled rags and waltzes. Formative and inspiring relationships with Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose of the old 78s helped him make the connection between old string band rags and early jazz, setting him up for a fun guitar role today in the Swampies, an early jazz quartet rooted in the Swamp Cats.

Playing fiddle and guitar are important avocations that gives life melody and color for Rich, offsetting the toils of his information technology profession. He treasures the fellowship, necessary discipline, and resulting joy of making music, and the new friendships it spawns.

Old-Time Harmony Singing Mini Course (From Scratch) with Val Mindel

Old-Time Harmony Singing Mini Course (From Scratch)

Old-Time Harmony Singing (From Scratch): We’ll tackle the basics of singing American old-time country harmony, looking at some of the strategies that make this music so compelling – the parallel buzz, crossing harmonies, crunchy notes, and more. In the process we’ll learn some great songs in the old-time genre, good for jams. Expect to sing a lot!

Val Mindel

Val Mindel is a longtime musician, teacher, and workshop leader, known for bringing out the best in singers, whatever their level. Her specialty is the close, buzzy harmony that makes American old-time, bluegrass, and country harmony so compelling. She has taught at numerous music camps – here in the US at Augusta Vocal Week, Ashokan Southern Week, Voice Works, Allegheny Echoes, and others; and in the UK at Sore Fingers fall and spring camps. In addition to her solo work, Val teaches and performs in various combinations, including with California-based Any Old Time, with singer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Newberry and with daughter and old-time country musician Emily Miller and her husband Jesse Milnes (they have two CDs together: In the Valley and Close to Home), and has just published a book, So You Want to Sing Folk Music, part of the “So You Want To Sing” series for Rowman & Littlefield and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Val teaches classes across the country and abroad as well as regular workshops at Brooklyn’s growing old-time music school, Jalopy. She lives in Elkins, West Virginia.

Swing Fiddle / Jazz Violin (Intermediate) Mini Course with Aaron Jonah Lewis

Swing Fiddle / Jazz Violin  (Intermediate) Mini Course

This mini-course is suitable for anyone who can play at least a dozen tunes on the fiddle. We will work in some flat keys, but we will go over scales and fingering as we go, so no prior knowledge is needed. Jazz fiddle is more technically involved than old-time, so we will spend some time on basic technique. This mini-course is as much of an intro to jazz fiddling as it is an opportunity to make friends with some flat keys. We will learn melodies of early jazz standards and learn how to internalize harmonic structure using arpeggios and basic music theory. We will also cover rhythm,  improvisation, and elements of performance as well as practice strategies and recommended listening.

Aaron Jonah Lewis

Champion fiddler Aaron Jonah Lewis has been elbow-deep in old time music since his first fiddle lessons at the age of five with Kentucky native Robert Oppelt. He has won awards at Clifftop and at Galax and is also noted for his mastery of multiple banjo styles. Aaron spends most of his time on the road, touring with the Corn Potato String Band, Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Kings, and other projects. He teaches fiddle and banjo styles in group and individual lessons in person and online.


Cajun & Creole Week and Classic Country Week Mini-Courses

July 29 – August 3, 2018

Accordion Repair (All Levels) / Evening Mini-Course with Jesse Lége

Accordion Repair (All Levels) / Mini-Course

This mini-course will fascinate anyone who plays button accordion or who wants to repair or build accordions. Jesse will focus on emergency / quick fix repairs, and some tuning fixes as well. The class will cover common maintenance and repairs, mainly for diatonic instruments, although other accordion types are also possible. Other topics may inclued how to replace buttons, bellows and gaskets; rebuild fingerboard and bass box; change springs and replace and tune reeds. Routine maintenance includes checking for leaks, readjusting flappers and cleaning and re-waxing reeds.

Jesse Lége

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

Accordion from Scratch Mini Course (Beginning) with Drew Simon

Accordion from Scratch (Beginning)

Hello, I’m Drew. Welcome to my “Accordion from Scratch” mini-course. In this workshop, we will go over the basic fundamentals and techniques to play the Cajun accordion. We will cover what to do and more importantly, what NOT to do, when starting to play. We will discuss the basics, including the proper way to hold the accordion, the C major scale, chords, octaves (doubles), and by the end of the week, hopefully, play one Cajun waltz and one Cajun two-step. Please only bring diatonic Cajun accordions in the key of C. Thanks!

Drew Simon

Drew Simon was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, and developed an interest in Cajun music in his late teens. At 20, he began playing the accordion and started learning the words to many of the songs in his huge Cajun music repertoire. For more than 15 years, Drew has been regarded as one of the best of the “new generation” of dance hall musicians being heavily influenced by legends Belton Richard, Aldus Roger, Phillip Alleman, Walter Mouton, Jesse Lege’, and Lawrence Walker. With bands The Pine Leaf Boys (4x GRAMMY-nominated) and T’Monde, he has brought Cajun music and Cajun culture to 24 countries and 47 states.

Balfa Style Fiddle (Intermediate / Advanced) Mini Course with Kevin Wimmer

This mini-course will focus on the fiddle style of the Balfa Brothers. Bearing elements of both the ornamental traditional style of fiddlers like Dennis McGee and the powerful, lilting sound that has driven the Cajun dancehall musical style since the 1960s, Balfa-style fiddling is rhythmic, bluesy, and above all, soulful. Playing with our fiddles tuned down a full step, we will cover various stylistic techniques like rhythmic seconding, bowing patterns, slides, double stops, unisons, and rolls, with a focus on both good fundamental technique and stylistic mastery.

Kevin Wimmer

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

Cajun Men Cook (All Levels) Mini Course with Johnny Navarre

Class description coming soon!

Photo coming soon!

Johnny Navarre

Bio coming soon!

Creole Accordion Mini Course (Intermediate / Advanced) with Jeffery Broussard

Creole Accordion (Intermediate / Advanced)

Class description coming soon!

Jeffery Broussard

Jeffery Broussard was a leading member of Zydeco Force, an influential band at the forefront of the nouveau zydeco movement. His accordion and vocals defined this new style of Creole music, incorporating the soulful sounds of R&B into contemporary zydeco music and dance. The son of esteemed accordionist Delton Broussard, young Jeffery began his musical journey on the drums in his father’s legendary band, the Lawtell Playboys. The Lawtell Playboys were themselves innovators, adding some R&B and a funkiness to this traditional roots music. During this time, Jeffery was exposed to some of the great Creole fiddle players, including the king of the zydeco fiddle, Calvin Carrière. He has retained those precious melodies and songs he heard at home, at social gatherings, and on the bandstand. With the creation of the Creole Cowboys, and as one of Louisiana’s newest Creole fiddle players, he captures the essence of this rich musical heritage.

Dance Party: South Louisiana Style Mini Course (All Levels) with Jim Phillips

Dance Party: South Louisiana Style Mini Course

Look’n for some fun? Come to the dance party mini-course with Christy Leichty and Jim Phillips, who have come all the way from Opelousas, LA, to dance on one of their favorite dance floors – the Augusta dance pavilion. Their approach to getting you to feel comfortable with Cajun and Creole two-stepping and waltzing is to create a social context for dance fun.

Christy Leichty and Jim Phillips

Christy Leichty and Jim Phillips are artists and educators who love to dance to Cajun and Creole music. They loved it so much that even before they moved to Louisiana to help rebuild and work in education after the 2005 hurricanes, they bought an old Texaco distribution center, moved it to a secret location, and created the South’s premiere underground dancehall and honky-tonk called The Whirlybird. There, legendary dance parties and music events erupt spontaneously. They have thrown dance parties and showcased Lousiana dance joie de vivre at Augusta, Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, Louisiana Folk Roots Dewey Balfa Camp, and Festivals Acadians et Creole.

Early Days of Country Music on TV Mini Course (All Levels) with Mary Battiata

Early Days of Country Music on TV Mini Course (All Levels)

Long before CMT and cable, there was early country music television, beaming from carved wood TV consoles into the living rooms of mid-century America. This four-night mini-course will survey the history of country music on network television using iconic and obscure film clips from the shows that defined an era. After dinner each night, participants will settle into their virtual armchairs to watch performances chosen from classic early country TV, starting with the earliest shows such as Wanda Jackson and Webb Pierce on the Ozark Jubilee, through the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s. Shows will include Norma Jean and Dolly Parton on the Porter Wagoner show, The Buck Owens Ranch Show, Ralph Emery’s Pop! Goes the Country and Nashville Now shows. Others will include The Johnny Cash Show, Hee Haw, the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and even the Jimmy Dean Show, which originated in Washington, DC. And finally, we will consider The George Jones Show, which aired on cable in the late 1990s. As we watch, we will share our own recollections and reactions to these broadcasts, as well as learn about backstage lore and legend. The course will consider the ways in which, according to country music historians, these shows shaped the music, and Americans’ perceptions of it. At the end of the course, participants will be provided with a list of links to the clips shown in the class, as well as a playlist of the shows, songs, and artists discussed.

Mary Battiata

Mary Battiata is a songwriter and bandleader. Her new record, The Heart, Regardless, debuted at #7 on the Freeform American Roots Chart and has won high praise from music critics in the US and Europe. “Nothing less than a jewel of modern Country” – ROOTSTIME.BE. “She has made an unabashed Country album, and a great one at that” – The Hill Rag (Washington, DC). Mary tours nationally from her home base in Arlington, VA, outside of Washington, DC, and regularly plays from New York City to Austin, TX, to Oklahoma City (at the iconic Blue Door), and the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, AL. This summer, she will make her first appearance at Woody Fest in Okemah, OK. When she is not playing music, Mary teaches visual art and creative writing to children with learning differences in Washington, DC. This will be her fourth summer at Augusta. For more information about Mary and her band Little Pink, visit her website at www.littlepinktheband.com, or say hello on Facebook (marybattiata.littlepink), Twitter (marybattiata1) or Instagram (mary_battiata_so_noted).

Harmony Singing 101 Mini Course (From Scratch) with Debbi Kauffmann and Arty Hill

Harmony Singing 101 Mini Course (From Scratch)

If you can carry a tune and would like to learn Southern harmony singing, this mini-course is for you. No knowledge of music theory is needed. We’ll discuss basic harmony theory and guide you in learning, by ear, to sing both two-part and three-part harmony. We’ll find the close harmonies of great early country, classic bluegrass, and gospel songs, creating the sound that touches our hearts and souls.

Debbi Kauffmann

Debbi Kauffmann was lucky to be born into a musical family outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She began singing and playing guitar as a teen and was introduced to both Irish and country music in her early adult years. After moving to the Baltimore area, Debbi had the opportunity to sing and play with great bluegrass musicians at the Sandpiper Inn and Arcadia Bluegrass festival. Later, she began singing with old-time musicians in York County, Pennsylvania, and at many festivals in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Debbi has attended Irish, Old-Time, Vocal, and Classic Country weeks at Augusta. She has studied harmony singing with Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz, and has attended several other harmony workshops. Debbi has also greatly benefited from individual vocal instruction with Dede Wyland. In 2001 she began singing professionally with mandolinist Henry Koretzky in the duo Rootbound, recording in 2004. Debbi has also had the honor of joining Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz for several performances. She has been a member of two all-female string bands and two bluegrass bands, singing lead and harmony, playing guitar and bass. Southern harmony is what drew Debbi to this music and has always been at the heart of her love for the music.

Arty Hill

“One of the best country singers going right now is not from Texas or from Tennessee — he’s from Baltimore and his name is Arty Hill. He’s also is a first-class songwriter…” – San Antonio Express. Arty Hill has been a bandleader since he was 13 years old, and currently leads The Long Gone Daddys (bandmember Lynn Kasdorf is teaching pedal steel guitar at Augusta this year). Arty has recorded 7 CDs in the last 15 years, his songs have been in television shows and movies, and he is a co-founder and instructor at the Hank Williams Songwriting Workshop at the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, AL, now in its fifth year.

Arty has jammed frequently at Augusta and he knows how to help a jam session be fun: to help everyone involved bring something good to the table, get a chance to participate, play and sing their best, and make a real pretty sound. Arty knows hundreds of classic country songs and his enthusiasm for the music will make you glad you came to Augusta

Seconding on Fiddle Mini Course (All Levels) with Blake Miller

Seconding on Fiddle Mini Course (All Levels) 

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

Blake Miller

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

Theory for Fiddlers Mini Course (All Levels) with Joel Savoy

Theory for Fiddlers Mini Course (All Levels)

The words “music theory” often send fiddlers running. In this mini-course every afternoon we’ll talk about demystifying chords, “double-stops,” melody and harmony, “learning by ear,” and possibly even more advanced things like substitutions, passing chords, and improvisation. The goal is to get you playing with intent. We’ll start with the basics about how the violin strings work together and what we can learn from their relationship, then we’ll use what we have learned to build common chords and understand those that we already know before moving on to more complex chords and ideas like harmony. Every afternoon we’ll have a special guest join us to give us new perspectives on the instrument, style, and improvisation.

Joel Savoy

Joel Savoy is a GRAMMY-winning engineer and record producer as well as a ten-time GRAMMY nominee. He is a two-time winner of the CFMA’s “Fiddler of the Year” award and he’s played with just about every Cajun band in south Louisiana. Recently appointed Artistic Director of the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA, Joel is a versatile fiddler and guitarist. He has played and taught music around the world for the last 20 years.


Bluegrass Week  and Vocal Week Mini-Courses

August 5 – 10, 2018

The History of Appalachia through Story and Song Mini Course (All Levels) with Michael & Carrie Kline

The History of Appalachia through Story and Song Mini Course (All Levels) 

West Virginia residents and devotees Michael and Carrie Kline, with a Ph.D. in Folklore and an M.A. in American Studies, respectively, guide participants into the history and culture of Appalachia through stories, songs, and memories that the Klines recorded with the older generation. Beginning with Cherokee history, photos, and songs from Michael’s years in North Carolina, the journey takes us to the music, labor, and lifeways of the early European settlers, followed by the bloody Civil War fought in the hills around Elkins. Participants then experience the intensive drive for natural resource extraction through the ensuing musical and cultural shifts. Listen to crackly voices of Appalachian rememberers. Join in the chorus of an old song. Delve into the role of traditional wit and wisdom in local survival. Feel the tensions at play. Celebrate the tenacity of local tradition.

Michael & Carrie Kline

Michael and Carrie have performed in Italy, Germany, and the United States. They bring their tight mountain harmonies to living rooms, conference centers, and concert halls from Maine to Kentucky, New York City, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, California, and Europe.

Michael and Carrie Kline present their music both as entertainment and social history, with engaging ease and hard-hitting passion. They have spent years recording music and spoken narrative in Cherokee, North Carolina, and the Appalachian coalfields and mountainside farms from Kentucky to New England. The Klines’ high mountain harmony vocals meld with their intertwining bass lines on two guitars, with Michael Kline’s melodic flat-picking guitar playing and Carrie’s dynamic backup.

“Carrie and Michael live and breathe Appalachian culture and music. Their voices carry the songs with truth and authenticity, without a hint of pretense or affectation, and their guitar accompaniments are excellent, just what the songs call for. With their vast knowledge of West Virginia history and culture, and their deep roots in the mountains, you can be assured their concerts are not only a treat for the ear, but a journey into the depth and breadth of the real Appalachia and beyond.” — Magpie, Bringing the People’s History Alive Through Music

“Michael and Carrie Kline have a long-respected tradition in the folklore and music worlds. Their top-notch research comes out on stage, captivating the audience and stirring the emotions.” — Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, Modern Day American Folk and Blues Legends

“When Carrie and Michael Kline make music, you will know that they believe deeply – in the power of the songs they sing, in each other. Two souls united, two hearts as one.” — Joe Herrmann, Critton Hollow String Band


Introduction to Foraging Mini Course (All Levels) with Maureen Farrell


Introduction to Foraging Mini Course (All Levels)

Come and participate in an introductory course on foraging wild foods with Maureen Farrell (guest starring Ivan and Griffin Farrell). The Farrells are local homesteaders who reside on Cheat Mountain south of Beverly, WV. They are self-educated naturalists who teach survival skills affiliated with the Mountain SOL School in Morgantown, WV. Maureen is an herbalist and doula who loves to teach knowledge that helps people gain skills in self-reliance and self-care. This mini-course will go over the basics of identification for plants and mushrooms and apply them to a handful of easy-to-recognize local species.

Participants will then go out onto campus to forage available wild foods and will fully explore how to harvest and use these plants and mushrooms. The goal in this course is not to have participants memorize information, but to instead provide a fundamental framework for learning about wild foods so that they may continue to grow their knowledge on their own after the week ends. In this course, participants will be encouraged to share their existing knowledge with their workshop leaders and fellow participants. This mini-course is open to people of all experience levels and backgrounds so long as they have a willingness to learn. Kids are welcome!

Maureen Farrell

Maureen Farrell is a West Virginia transplant living in the mountains outside Beverly. She has been putting down roots and expanding her knowledge of the local ecosystem while growing food and making herbal preparations that can be found at the Elkins Farmer’s Market. Maureen is always continuing her education while simultaneously passing on her knowledge through frequent classes given at her mountain home with her partner, Ivan Farrell. She has been and will continue to study herbalism with Herbal Medics University and through a horizontal passing of knowledge from other herbalists in her life.

Mountain Dance: Calling, Feet and Figures Mini Course (From Scratch) with T-Claw and Becky Hill

Mountain Dance: Calling, Feet and Figures Mini Course (From Scratch)

This mini-course focuses on Appalachian dance traditions. Since a major facet of community dance is inclusion, no prior experience is necessary and all ages are welcome. T-Claw and Becky Hill present the basics of square dance calling, choreography, patter and teaching. Becky will cover the fundamentals of flatfooting and clogging. Look forward to the Tennessee Walking Step and creating your own steps through improvisation.

Becky Hill

T-Claw (Tyler Crawford)

Becky Hill

Becky Hill grew up in Michigan, spent extensive time in West Virginia, and now calls Nashville, Tennessee, home. She started dancing at age three and has worked with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Rhythm in Shoes, and Good Foot Dance Company, and has studied with an array of percussive dance luminaries: Eileen Carson, Sharon Leahy, Sandy Silva, Ira Bernstein, and many more. She has been awarded two West Virginia Division of Culture & History Professional Development Grants, choreographed two pieces in celebration of Wheatland Music Festival’s 40th Anniversary for the Carry it On Project, has organized Dare to be Square Helvetia, West Virginia, for the past five years, serves part-time as the Events Coordinator for Augusta Heritage Center, coordinates the Mountain Dance Trail Project through Augusta, and now teaches movement at the Linden Waldorf School in Nashville, TN. You can find her calling square dances, performing with the T-Mart Rounders, and two-stepping the nights away. She directed her first evening-length music and dance show, Shift, inspired by Appalachia, in November 2017 and is excited to continue to work on it. www.rebeccahill.org


T-Claw grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, playing punk, jazz, and metal. Tee moved to the Pacific Northwest and fell into a vibrant old-time music revival community, first banging up old banjos, scratchin’ down fiddle tunes, and dancin’ a fury. Calling came intuitively after years of playing and community organizing. T-Claw motivates all variety of folks to hold hands and have a grand ol’ time, often where one least expects it.  From 2005-2007 Tee taught a weekly old time music class at the Olympia, Washington Free School. That class morphed into the Grizzle Grazzle Tune Snugglers community band, featuring members ages 4 to 64. Then, instigated the Oly Old Time Festival, recently presenting their 10th annual and sold out Oly Fest. T.C. Law & Associates have steadfastly toured the Lower 48 and as far off as New Zealand, stimulating interest in towns where old school community music and dance events have faded. Aside from calling for many of the country’s traditional square dance communities, he’s called at festivals including Dare to Be Square, Clifftop, Augusta, Seattle Folklife, Portland Gathering, and Yarra Junction in Australia. T-Claw’s goal in organizing Dare to Be Square and similar events is to incorporate equal parts music, dance, food, and other fun, providing something for everyone.


October Old-Time Week Mini-Courses

October 21 – 26, 2018

Sing Like the Old Ones: From Ancient Ballads to West Virginia Songs of Work and Freedom Mini-Course (All Levels) with Michael & Carrie Kline

Sing Like the Old Ones: From Ancient Ballads to West Virginia Songs of Work and Freedom Mini-Course (All Levels)

From Ancient Ballads to West Virginia Songs of Work and Freedom (All Levels): Prepare to immerse in rich imagery and melodically haunting songs, making deep connections with the culture, landscapes, and history of Appalachia, and connecting with singers from generations past. Who were these singers, and how did these songs come to dwell in them? What are the hidden powers of the oral tradition in these Allegheny Highlands? How and why does it persist into our own times?

Participants finish this course with a new tote sack full of traditional and contemporary Appalachian songs learned by heart and taught with feeling by this duo of folklorist-music makers. The Klines are known for teaching songs so that students own them. From passionate coal mining laments to ancient ballads Michael learned from local singers, we will learn to sing with  precision and gusto.

Michael & Carrie Kline

Michael and Carrie have performed in Italy, Germany, and the United States. They bring their tight mountain harmonies to living rooms, conference centers, and concert halls from Maine to Kentucky, New York City, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, California, and Europe.

Michael and Carrie Kline present their music both as entertainment and social history, with engaging ease and hard-hitting passion. They have spent years recording music and spoken narrative in Cherokee, North Carolina, and the Appalachian coalfields and mountainside farms from Kentucky to New England. The Klines’ high mountain harmony vocals meld with their intertwining bass lines on two guitars, with Michael Kline’s melodic flat-picking guitar playing and Carrie’s dynamic backup.

“Carrie and Michael live and breathe Appalachian culture and music. Their voices carry the songs with truth and authenticity, without a hint of pretense or affectation, and their guitar accompaniments are excellent, just what the songs call for. With their vast knowledge of West Virginia history and culture, and their deep roots in the mountains, you can be assured their concerts are not only a treat for the ear, but a journey into the depth and breadth of the real Appalachia and beyond.” — Magpie, Bringing the People’s History Alive Through Music

“Michael and Carrie Kline have a long-respected tradition in the folklore and music worlds. Their top-notch research comes out on stage, captivating the audience and stirring the emotions.” — Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, Modern Day American Folk and Blues Legends

“When Carrie and Michael Kline make music, you will know that they believe deeply – in the power of the songs they sing, in each other. Two souls united, two hearts as one.” — Joe Herrmann, Critton Hollow String Band