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Stephen Foster Old-TIme Music Weekend, Spetember 8-10, 2017

Posted by ChuckJo on Thursday, August 17, 2017

This year’s Stephen Foster Old-Time Music Weekend, September 8-10, 2017 in White Springs, Florida is fast approaching. We have a terrific faculty of Paul Brown, Terri McMurray, Beverly Smith, Trevor McKenzie, Ann Whitley, and Chuck Levy.

Camping: A select number of campsites has been reserved for pre-registered Old Time Music participants. The deadline to reserve one of these campsites is August 18.  Please call 877-635-3655 to register and receive your exclusive camping code!

Instructor Bios: Paul Brown spent years learning music directly from some of the last fiddle, banjo, and guitar players to emerge before the age of radio and recordings, including banjoist and fiddler Tommy Jarrell, banjoist Gilmer Woodruff, guitarists and singers Paul Sutphin and Fields Ward, fiddlers Robert Sykes and Luther Davis, and mandolinist Verlen Clifton. He has played since 1978 with fiddler Benton Flippen, and he has been a member of numerous ensembles, including the Bent Mountain Band with Andy Cahan and Mike Seeger, Benton Flippen & the Smokey Valley Boys, Robert Sykes & the Surry County Boys, and the Toast String Stretchers.  Paul has been on the staff at music camps across the country since the early 1970s – from the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Washington, to Pinewoods in Massachusetts. His most recent CD appearances are “Way Down In North Carolina” with Mike Seeger, “Benton Flippen: Old Time, New Times” and “Blue Ridge Mountain Holiday: The Breaking Up Christmas Story.”

Terri McMurray studied banjo intensively with the legendary “Round Peak” player Tommy Jarrell. She’s played with many other great banjoists including Earnest East, Benton Flippen, Fields Ward, Dix Freeman and Kyle Creed. She co-founded the Old Hollow Sting Band (with Riley Baugus and Kirk Sutphin) and currently plays with the Mostly Mountain Boys. She excels as a string band banjo player, and has taught at camps from Pinewoods in Massachusetts to FOATMAD in England.

One of the most respected guitar players in old time music today, Beverly Smith is also in demand as a singer, dance caller, and fiddler. Besides her highly praised recordings of duets with mandolinist Carl Jones, country legend Alice Gerrard and multi-instrumentalist John Grimm,  her guitar playing has been featured on recordings of fiddlers Bruce Molsky, Rafe Stefanini, Tara Nevins and Brad Leftwich, and her singing with Mick Moloney, John Doyle, Laurie Lewis and others.  Along with June Drucker, Rose Sinclair and Tara Nevins, she was a founding member of The Heartbeats Rhythm Quartet.   She has taught guitar, fiddle and dance at music camps including Ashokan Southern Week, Augusta Heritage, Swannanoa Gathering, Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes and Summer Acoustic Music Week as well as Sore Fingers UK; Haapavesi, Finland; and La Fuente del Musica in Spain.  She has been a featured guest on A Prairie Home Companion, ETown, Mountain Stage and Voice of America, has toured extensively in both the US and the UK, and has played concert halls and festivals all over Europe, Canada and the US. Her guitar playing was featured in the October 2000 issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine. 


Trevor McKenzie is a multi-instrumentalist and singer originally from southwest Virginia. The progeny of cattle farmers, he first gravitated to old-time music through an early interest in regional history and a keen desire to avoid doing manual labor. Though only mildly successful in the latter ambition, he gathered a respect for the communities, historical events, and stories which continue to build the canon of traditional music. Encouraged initially by family and church music, his formal musical training began at Jim Lloyd’s Barbershop in Rural Retreat, Virginia. In recent years he has continued to learn from and be humbled by skilled musicians from along the Appalachians and around the world. Trevor currently lives in western North Carolina where he performs as a sideman with several regional acts including the Elkville String Band and the Laurel Creek String Band. On weekdays, he puts his historical knowledge and dusting skills to work in the archives of the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection at Appalachian State University.


Tommy Bledsoe is a musician, actor, writer, director, and educator. He grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, where he learned the value of passing along cultural wisdom through dance, songs, and stories. He toured the U.S. and abroad from 1980-1998 as a member of Roadside Theater Company, a division of Appalshop, Inc., a multimedia arts center based in Whitesburg, KY. Tommy recorded on and produced audio and video productions for June Appal Recordings, Mountain Empire Community College Home Craft Days Festival, Tour St. Augustine, and Kentucky Educational Television programs Old Music for New Ears, Telling Tales, and Winter- Season of Darkness and Light, which he co-wrote with his wife, Joy D’Elia. .He continues to perform traditional music and dance calling on various instruments, including guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass, harmonica and banjo, on which he won titles of Florida Old-Time Banjo Champion in 1999 and 2011.


Raised in the Piedmont of North Carolina, Ann Whitleywas privileged to learn violin in public school music, playing from fourth grade all the way through high school.  The violin went into the closet after high school, but at age 35 she found herself in the world of country dancing in Atlanta, where most of the bands at the time played old-time music.  The violin came out of the closet and she worked hard to keep the best of what she’d learned from her schooling while transforming her bowing to make the instrument become a fiddle.  Ann took many old-time fiddle classes at Augusta Heritage Workshops in West Virginia and the Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina, has attended the Appalachian String Band Festival (Clifftop) since its beginning in 1990, as well as numerous other old-time festivals, and she spent years playing fiddle and singing with the Peavine Creek String Band, the Atlanta Swamp Opera Cajun Band, and now Whistlin’ Rufus and The Rosin Sisters.  A retired public school educator, she is Curriculum Director and a fiddle teacher for the Georgia Pick & Bow Traditional Music School, an after-school program teaching Appalachian Music to 4th graders through high schoolers in Dahlonega, Georgia, where she lives and also teaches private lessons to youngsters and adults.  Ann has also taught for several years at the Alabama Folk School and at various workshops in the Atlanta area.  For twelve years now she has co-directed the Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week at Mars Hill University in North Carolina.


Chuck Levy has earned the titles of Florida's Old-Time Banjo Champion, and Old-Time Fiddle Champion. He is equally at home on 5 and 6 string banjos (five strings plus a short string), whether fretted or fretless, playing clawhammer, two or three-finger up-picking, and minstrel styles. Chuck is also a respected banjo scholar who has visited Senegal and Gambia to investigate the African roots of the banjo. He learned to play the akonting, a 3-string banjo ancestor, with Jola master musicians Remi Diatta, and Ekona Diatta. Chuck has been honored with both the Thelma Boltin and the Ed Fleming Awards for his contributions to old-time music in Florida. Chuck has taught banjo and fiddle at the Stephen Foster Old-Time Music Weekend, the Suwannee Banjo Camp, Mars Hill College Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week, the Midwest Banjo Camp. Chuck teaches fiddle and banjo in Gainesville.


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