Traditional Song Week Classes – July 4-9 2021

COMMUNITY SINGING: FOR THE SAKE OF THE SONG (Matt Watroba)
This class will be all about the singing and the song. This will be an opportunity for you to learn what you need to know to unleash the power of song in your community. Matt will share his experience as a song leader and community performer by teaching and leading a wide variety of songs in a wide variety of styles. Participants will be encouraged to bring in songs and try out their song-leading talents on the class. You will sing everyday and leave on Friday inspired to take what you’ve learned back into your community.

CHOICES: HOW TO GET THE MOST
OUT OF PERFORMING YOUR SONGS 
(Matt Watroba)
Bringing traditional songs alive is all about choices. In this interactive class, Matt Watroba will show you the choices great singers make to get the most out of a song. Participants will then be encouraged to apply what they’ve learned to the songs they choose to sing. This workshop promises to be a safe, friendly place where beginners and professionals alike will benefit from the wisdom of the instructor and the group. Phrasing, style and performance techniques are just a few of the areas this class will explore on the way to wowing any audience with the power of traditional music.

TECHNIQUE WITH AN IRISH TENOR (Karl Scully)
Our focus will be on proper breathing and body alignment, and overcoming tongue and neck tension which is paramount for free and easy singing. Bring music you’d like to work on.

INTERPRETATION & PERFORMANCE WITH AN IRISH TENOR (Karl Scully)
We’ll be spending the week helping each other be better musical storytellers. With very simple interpretation tools and text exploration we can feel more confident in what we are communicating, and with calm acceptance of our fears and mistakes we can become genuine performers! Please bring pieces you’re passionate about to work on. (Class limit: 12)

SONGS OF HOPE & FREEDOM (Reggie Harris)
Songs that build community and inspire action and courage have been the backbone of movements for freedom and justice here in the U.S. and around the world. From the spirituals and shouts of the Underground Railroad to the freedom songs of the Modern Civil Rights Movement, this legacy of giving voice, conveying information, inviting collaboration, and encouraging personal transformation remains one of the most effective vehicles for inspiring awareness, action and change. This class, with Reggie Harris leading the way, will explore the depth of this tradition from its roots in the African-American slave experience to its relationship with the issues of our present day.

AIN’T YOU GOT A RIGHT TO THE TREE OF LIFE? (Reggie Harris)
In the tradition of Jean Ritchie, Pete Seeger, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Woody Guthrie and others who have used traditional song frames to express personal and global concerns, this course will provide participants with a framework for writing from the old to the new. We will spend each day examining some aspect of traditional song and applying it to modern day situations, both personal and global. We will use what we know from the collective power of song to reflect on and address the events of our communities and our lives. Open to writers and non-writers alike, come prepared to discover new insights of creativity and connection.

CHILD BALLADS (Cathy Jordan)
In this class we will take a look at the wonderful collection of songs known as the Child Ballads. In the late 19th century, Francis James Child put together this collection of 305 ballads from England and Scotland, as well as some of their American versions. These ballads are generally darker and spookier in content than other ballads, dealing with subjects such as obsession, jealousy, forbidden love, insanity, hallucination, supernatural deeds, lust, death, historical events, fate, deception, treachery, revenge, violence, omens… oh, and romance. Songs like “Barbara Allen”, “The Elfin Knight”, “Lord Randall” and “The Cruel Mother” are all part of this collection, with some songs dating as far back as 1600. Intrigued? Well join me in this class for a macabre journey of discovery into the world of the the Child Ballads.

GET THE MOST FROM YOUR SONGS (Cathy Jordan)
In this class we will take a look at the mechanics of the voice, how it all works, and how we can use it to its fullest when we sing. We will explore, sound, resonance, pitch, volume, tone, breath control and expression through a series of vocal excercises, scales, games, fun and, of course, lots of singing. Bring along a song you would like to sing or improve on.

CARTER FAMILY SONGS (Tim May)
The Carter family is one the most influential groups in music history. In this class we’ll learn the melodies of songs that have become standards in folk, old-time, country and bluegrass, and will learn a few that you may not have heard. We’ll also look at the unique way that Maybelle and A.P. Carter treated harmony and will learn their parts.

BLUEGRASS HARMONY (Tim May)
Harmonies in bluegrass are rooted in the gospel music that Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and others grew up with. Bluegrass sounds earthy, with a touch of old-time, but the harmonies are very tight with very little unison or notes that are not in perfect harmony. We’ll look at how harmonies are created in bluegrass and how great bluegrass harmony singers use simple chord extensions to create interest. Some basic theory offered, but we will spend most of our time finding harmony parts and singing standard bluegrass classics.

JIMMIE RODGERS’ ROUGH & ROWDY WAYS (Mark Weems)
We will learn several songs from Mississippi bard Jimmie Rodgers, so expressive of the changing social milieu in which he lived. Often called the “Father of Country Music”, his huge but short lived career (1927-1933), blended the sounds of blues, balladry and jazz into a new genre that would pave the way for honky-tonk, classic country, and bluegrass music. He helped popularize not only the guitar as the bedrock of folk and country music , but also the ‘blue yodel’, making them mainstays of the American music scene. Bring your guitars or other rhythm instruments. Yodeling skills not required!

HARMONY SINGING (Mark Weems & Julee Glaub Weems)
Learn some of the specific techniques and nuances of harmony singing. We will work at choosing keys, finding parts, exploring different types of harmony, building harmony mathematically, blending voices, feeling and phrasing, learning to sing with different partners and developing listening skills. We will learn how to adapt harmonies to different songs and various genres such as Appalachian, Irish, gospel, and country. The initial classes will focus on singing with instruments, to hear the chord structures of the harmonies, consider how they affect the overall harmonic sound, and discuss the creation of tasteful arrangements. As the week progresses, we will work towards freedom from chordal structure in order to encourage experimentation with more diverse kinds of harmony. It is not necessary to read music, as we will be learning by ear. Students should come to this class with some experience in singing melody.

APPALACHIAN BALLADS (Sheila Kay Adams)
I grew up in a small community in western North Carolina where unaccompanied singing was as natural as breathing. My older relatives, Dellie Chandler Norton, Berzilla Wallin, Cas Wallin, Inez Chandler, Dillard Chandler and Evelyn Ramsey called the songs they sang ‘love songs’ even though they often ended in tragedy – Barbary Allen, Little Margaret, Young Hunting and Black is the Color, to name a few. I’ll provide the words to many songs the way I learned them and we’ll work on the ornamentation – the way my family members bent and held notes and this little ‘sigh’ they put on the last word at the end of certain lines. I would like to offer you the words, tunes, conversation and some of the ‘flavor’ of learning these ballads in much the same way I learned. Bring your recorder and a notepad. If you got questions you can visit my website at www.sheilakayadams.com and send me a message – I would love to hear from you.

OLD MEETING-HOUSE SONGS (Sheila Kay Adams)
These are the songs I grew up singing in the many different Baptist churches in Sodom, North Carolina. You’ll recognize many of them – “I’ll Fly Away”, “Build Me a Cabin”, “Where the Soul Never Dies”, “Farther Along” and “Palms of Victory” are but a few. This class will ROCK! You can sing melody or find a harmony. I’ll provide the words and music but we’ll sing them without accompaniment. That’s how I learned them because we couldn’t afford a piano. Come to this class ready to sing and sing some more! I love teaching this class! If you need to get in touch with me please visit my website at www.sheilakayadams.com and send me an email.

SONGS OF THE COWBOY (Ranger Doug)
We’ll learn western songs from folk songs to singing cowboy movie-era songs. A song will be learned each day; instruments are welcome but not necessary.

SWING WHILE YOU SING (Ranger Doug)
Learn to accompany yourself on swing songs with rhythm guitar. This is a guitar-oriented course, but other instruments, and even no instruments, are welcome to those who want to sing some western swing. A song will be learned each day, and rhythm guitar techniques and chords will be revealed.

SCOTTISH SONG JOURNEYS (Fiona Ritchie)
Join me for a journey through some of the song traditions of Scotland, old and new. We will warm-up with easy-to-learn verses then sing our way through some old ballads, songs from working communities, Burns songs and recent compositions. We will explore the work of song collectors and discover what connects songs on both sides of the Atlantic. Lyric sheets are provided but we will learn by ear and sing together unaccompanied.

THE WOMEN GATHER (Kathy Bullock)
2020 marked the 100th Anniversary of women achieving the right to vote in the U.S. In commemoration, this class will sing songs and learn stories from the women’s suffrage movement, and songs about women’s ongoing struggle for civil and human rights, both here in the U.S and in other parts of the world. Join us as we listen to, celebrate and sing about these powerful and inspiring journeys, as we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before, and sing with gratitude and hope about the past, present and future.

GOSPEL CHOIR (Kathy Bullock)
Come Share the Joy! Join us as we sing gospel and spirituals in the African American tradition. From nineteenth century folk spirituals through twentieth and twenty-first century traditional and contemporary gospel songs, we will celebrate music of the African American sacred tradition. This experience is a joyful, inspiring, celebration of life, spirit and community.

MASTER CLASS IN ARTISTRY (Janis Ian)
This will be a traditional Master Class, normally offered on the university level and to colleagues in the arts, focusing on the role of and history of the artist through the ages and up to the modern world. We will be covering history – from the Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal to the ancient Greeks and those ugly Romans, the Dark Ages, the medieval troubadours and their role in spreading the news, the Renaissance, and why syphilis gave rise to the “artist as lunatic” perception. We’ll pay attention to fear and its effect on us as creative persons, the poetry and consciousness of wood, what to do when the well runs dry, the importance of both craft and talent, and the impossibility of living up to your ideals. There will be quotes and song illustrations as well. Students will be asked to read 3-4 short stories about artists before class begins. If you haven’t received the short stories three weeks before classes begin, please email me at janis@janisian.com for copies of these. (No class limit)

THE IRISH FOLK BOOM OF THE ’60s & ’70s (Dáithí Sproule)
This era really was a popular revolution in song in Ireland and brought forth a wide range of songs which lived on the lips of the general public and often entered the Irish hit parade. Many are still popular with Irish ballad groups, while some other great songs have been forgotten. We’ll sing a variety of wonderful songs and learn something of the history of the great bands and other acts who made it a legendary period.

ARRANGING TRADITIONAL SONGS FOR GUITAR (Dáithí Sproule)
This class will be devoted to the challenge of finding sensitive and appropriate guitar accompaniments for traditional songs, which, of course, originally developed in the absence of any accompaniment. Dáithí will present options and a variety of approaches to a range of beautiful songs and will welcome a collaborative approach. Although one of the original developers of DADGAD guitar tuning, Dáithí will look at other tunings too.

OLD-TIME SONG SATCHEL (Carl Jones)
In this class we will delve into the songs of brothers, mothers,and unrequited lovers. We will sing some of my favorites from E.C. Ball (VA), Hazel Dickens (WV), The Dixon Brothers (SC), Charlie Poole (NC) and others.

FROM A SPARK TO A FLAME (Carl Jones)
We’ll nurture the songwriter in us all by exploring creativity and ways of taking our first glimmer of inspiration, encouraging our muse, and how to turn that into an expressive and finished song.

 

 

OTHER EVENTS

DAILY EVENING SESSIONS
Each evening, various staff members will lead a virtual ‘session’, where students can gather in an online community to socialize and swap tunes and songs.