This year the Summer Folk Music Workshop will be held at the Davis Art Center the weekend of Aug. 21 to 23 beginning at 3 p.m. The three-day event, organized by Christine Grunn and Angela Kost, is expanding its venue by relocating to a different facility and adding new instruments to the instructional lineup.
This will be the first year that the workshop is having bass and saw classes, which will be taught by bassist Djordje Stijepovic and saw player Ursula Knudsen – both members of the Fishtank Ensemble.
“They wanted our group to play for the workshop concert and myself to teach the saw,” Knudsen said. “The saw is an odd, experimental instrument — it’s not complicated but can be difficult to play.“
The workshops will include beginning, intermediate and advanced skill levels and are open to musicians of all ages. It will be sectioned into instrumental workshops for the fiddle, guitar, upright bass and musical saw, followed by a folk concert each night of the three-day event.
“The workshops encompass a mixture of students from all types of musical backgrounds,“ Kost said, event organizer and strings teacher at the Davis Waldorf School. “There are kids who come because they want to take a break from classical music and there are some adults in the community who have long let their guitars or fiddles collect dust in the closet and want to simply get back into it.“
Brought to Davis three years back by the current organizers, and even decades before by Diane Wagstaff, a local fiddle teacher, the workshop has grown popular within the community.
“This is my second year coming back to the workshops,” said guitar student Nick Byrd, who attended last year’s Summer Folk Music Workshop. “You get a close connection with the instructor that really makes for a special experience.“
At the workshops, students will experience a variety of styles and learn tunes taught by ear – the way traditional folk music is passed on from generation to generation.
“The thing about folk music is that some notes can change when the tune is passed from one person to the next, and by the time the tune has reached the tenth person, the song can have several variations,” Kost said.
Grammy award winner William Coulter and Friends, Richard Greene, Bill Monroe and many other big name performers hope to attract people to the stylistic freedom of folk music.
Though musical background is encouraged, anyone is welcome to attend these workshops. Registration fees are $135, which includes three days of workshops and admission to the evening concerts. Register at davisartcenter.org.
KAREN SONG can be reached at email@example.com.