Fall Newsletter 2022 – Coming Next Summer

Dates for the 2023 workshops:

Mando & Banjo Week, June 25-July 1
Fiddle Week, June 25-July 1
Traditional Song Week, July 2-8
Celtic Week, July 9-15
Old-Time Week, July 16-22
Contemporary Folk Week, July 23-29
Guitar Week, July 23-29

We’re pleased to announce that our workshops next summer will again be held in-person, for what we hope will be a permanent return to our usual event, but with precautions in place to keep everyone safe. Once again, we will require that all attendees – students, staff, instructors and children – provide documentation, validated with a photo ID, that they are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19. Those with a medical or other exemption to the vaccine are encouraged to attend another year. Look for more information in our spring catalog.

Depending on the state of the virus next summer we may be able to relax some of the other safety precautions that were necessary this year, but, as always, we will be guided by the recommendations of the CDC, and the Health departments of the state of North Carolina and Buncombe County.

The Swannanoa Gathering is structured around what we call an ‘open format’, which allows students to create their own curriculum and take as many classes as there are periods in the day. We require that students register for specific classes, but allow them to switch after the first day into another, open class if they find they have made an inappropriate choice. After this ‘settling-in’ period, we expect that students will remain in those classes, and we discourage dropping in and out of classes during the week. This structure allows students considerable flexibility, and is an essential element of our program’s character and appeal. Many of our classes may include musical notation or tablature, though in general, we emphasize learning by ear.

Classes usually have a maximum of 15 students. This summer, Covid social distancing protocols may cause a reconsideration of our usual class limits, depending on the size of the classrooms and whether they are located inside or outside. 

Many of our workshops fill up early and we expect that trend to continue as more of our programs approach their limits, and although our schedule of classes is not currently complete, pre-registrations are strongly encouraged. While it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get all the classes you want, pre-registration definitely gives you the best chance at doing so. Folks may register with a tuition deposit of $100 and may reserve housing without a deposit. The deadline for pre-registration is Feb. 6. If your contact info has changed, please send us your updated info. Pre-registrants will be sent a class schedule as soon as it is ready and given priority in class assignments. Full payment is required by May 31 to guarantee a space. After that date, class reservations will be unconfirmed until we receive the balance. If we are holding a space for a student in a class that is full, and their balance is unpaid after May 31, we may release that space to another student.

At present, we are completing our staff selections for next year, but many of our instructors have already confirmed. The online version of this newsletter will be continually updated with the most current staff roster.

Fiddle Week, June 25-July 1, explores such fiddle styles as bluegrass, old-time, progressive, swing, blues/improv, Irish, Scottish, jazz and more and will continue its integration with several features of Mando & Banjo Week. New Coordinator Andrew Finn Magill’s staff currently includes our Master Music Maker and improv wildman Joe Craven, swing fiddler Evan Price, Irish fiddling great Liz Knowles, jazz fiddler Sara Caswell, six-time National Fiddle Champion Katie Glassman, Scottish fiddler Jenna Moynihan, and progressive fiddler Casey Driessen. The program also includes bassist Kevin Kehrberg, and gypsy jazz guitarist Greg Ruby.

Mando & Banjo Week, June 25-July 1, features classes in bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, swing/jazz, newgrass & more, as well as a few classes in guitar accompaniment. The program continues to be integrated with Fiddle Week and there’s a lot of collaboration between the two programs throughout the week. Mike Marshall heads up the mandolin staff, which also includes bluegrass players John Reischman, Casey Campbell and Alan Bibey, progressive mandolinist Matt Flinner, swing mandolinist Don Stiernberg, classical master Caterina Lichtenberg, and guitarist Ed Dodson. The innovative Joe K. Walsh returns after a brief hiatus, as does the multi-genre Radim Zenkl.and Conor Hearn does double duty on Irish mandolin/tenor banjo and guitar. Bill Evans will be instructing the bluegrass banjo players, and old-time pickers Paul Brown and Terri McMurray will teach clawhammer-style banjo. Famed luthier  Lynn Dudenbostel will once again be on hand to offer repair services.

Traditional Song Week, July 2-8, promotes a wide variety of traditional singing styles. For next year, Coordinator Matt Watroba welcomes Irish singer Cathie Ryan, ballad singers Saro Lynch Thomason, Sam Gleaves and National Heritage Award winner Sheila Kay Adams, English folk singers John Roberts and David Jones, American roots artist Kay Justice, maritime and sea shandy specialist Chris Koldeway, multi-talented Appalachian musician Josh Goforth, Native American singer and flute player Wade Fernandez, Americana singer Pamela English and gospel choir leader Shirley Smith.

For Celtic Week, July 9-15, returning staff include fiddlers Liz Carroll, Gerry O’Connor, Brian Conway, Mari Black, Andrew Finn Magill, Alasdair White and, new to Celtic Week, Jenna Moynihan. Other staff include whistle players Sean Gavin and Kathleen Conneely, Chieftains guitarist Will MacMorran, bodhran player Anna Colliton, Irish singers Cathie Ryan and Dave Curley, Irish guitarist and singer John Doyle, Lúnasa’s Cillian Vallely and Kevin Crawford, guitarist Eamon O’Leary, Irish singer and flute player Nuala Kennedy, Celtic Week Host John Skelton, harper/concertina player Gráinne Hambly, harper Billy Jackson, Scottish singer Ed Miller, fret wizard Robin Bullock, storyteller Máirtín de Cógáin and accordionist John Whelan.  Check our website for updates.

Old-Time Music & Dance Week, July 16-22, is one of the Gathering’s original programs and its oldest. For 2023, Coordinator Erynn Marshall has recruited another great group of old-time multi-instrumentalists, featuring Phil Jamison, Ron Pen, Eddie Bond, Beverly Smith, Adam Tanner, Elizabeth LaPrelle, Ellie Grace, Kari Sickenberger, April Verch, Gordy Hinners, Jake Blount, Jane Rothfield, Travis Stuart, Lightnin’ Wells, Ben Nelson, Vollie McKenzie, Cary Moscovitz, Alice Gerrard, Dan Gellert, Hubby Jenkins, Cary Fridley, Becky Hill and Tyler Hughes. Guest Master Artists include Bruce Greene, Jim & Joyce Cauthen, Andy Cahn, Joseph Decosimo, Mack Samples and Mac & Hannah Traynham. Classes will include fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, autoharp, bass, clogging, dance calling, harmony singing, string band, shaped-note singing and more.

Contemporary Folk Week, July 23-29, offers an inspiring week of artist development for all acoustic performers. Classes include songwriting, performance, vocal coaching and more, taught by an outstanding lineup of seasoned professionals passionate about their art and equally passionate about inspiring others to develop their own unique gifts. New to the staff this year is singer/songwriter Dar Williams, and we welcome back Master Music Makers Tom Paxton and Joe Craven, singer/songwriters John Gorka, Nora Jane Struthers, Cliff Eberhardt, Ellis Paul, David Wilcox, Greg Greenway, Vance Gilbert, and that Titan of Twang, Jim Lauderdale. Singers Laurie MacAllister of Red Molly and Moira Smiley of Solas will serve as the vocal coaching staff.

Guitar Week, July 23-29, offers classes in fingerstyle and flatpicking guitar in a wide variety of styles. Coordinator Greg Ruby brings back a number of old friends including Master Music Maker Robin Bullock, multi-genre virtuoso Clive Carroll, flatpicker Grant Gordy, Celtic guitarist Tony McManus, jazz guitarist Sean McGowan, bluegrass player Ed Dodson, blues guitarists Mary Flower and Toby Walker, Cory Seznec, whose influences range from New Orleans to Paris to Ethiopia, percussive player Christie Lenée, multi-instrumentalist Danny Knicely and fingerstylist Jamie Stillway. New this year are gypsy jazz guitarist Lisa Liu, and Brazilian choro player Cesar Garabini. This year’s Luthier’s Exhibit will feature the guitars of master luthiers John Slobod (www.circaguitars.com), Judson Riviere (www.riviereguitars.com/) and more.