2018 Workshops

These events are all FREE!

Thursday, October 18 – Community Center for the Arts

8:00pm – 9:00pm – Banjo Workshop, with Stephen Wade
To help open this year’s festival, Stephen Wade leads an hour-long, banjo exploration at C4A. Wade, a recent Grammy nominee and director of the American Roots Music Program at Colorado’s Rocky Ridge Music Center, draws on his first-hand contact with traditional musicians, many of whom had been born in the last years of the nineteenth century. Over the course of this interactive session, we explore a variety of playing styles that these earlier generation players have bequeathed us. Players are urged to bring their instruments, applying for themselves these lessons from tradition.

Friday, October 19 – Sousa Archives and Center for American Music (Sponsored by the Sousa Center: 1103 South Sixth Street, Champaign)

12:00pm – 1:30pm – Beautiful Music Around Us: Exploring America’s Rich Banjo Heritage, with Stephen Wade
America’s early banjo heritage is firmly rooted in the rich music traditions of the people who were brought forcefully to this country from West Africa during the eighteenth century. However, this fact and the evolution of banjo performance practice in late nineteenth century America becomes lost among the countless images of minstrel banjoists crudely portraying slap-stick characters using stylized dialects while wearing oversize shoes and exaggerated clothing. Over the past century the grinning black-faced banjo player has been embedded deeply into America’s consciousness, and this racially charged imagery and its associated music continues to reflect the social and cultural tensions that exist in America today. Stephen Wade – one of country’s finest banjo performers, recording artist, and a leading scholar of American folklife and culture – will provide a special performance lecture on America’s rich banjo heritage to reveal the evolution of its diverse artistic traditions and performance practices over time.

Saturday, October 20 – First United Methodist Church

10:00am – 12:00pm, main floor – Harmonica Workshop (Beginning), with Dave Witzany
It’s easy to begin to play the harmonica! Dave will lead the group using key of C diatonic 10 hole harmonicas. Learn about the instrument and begin playing melodies. If you have a C diatonic harmonica, please bring it. There will be a limited number of free harmonicas available.

11:00am – 12:15pm, lower level – Folkin’ Yoga, with Maggie Taylor 
Good for what ails your hard-folkin’ bones. Mats provided if you don’t have your own.

11:30am – 12:30pm, classroom (2nd floor) – Beyond the Three-Chord Progression: Old-time Fiddle Workshop, with Billy Matthews 
Workshop students will learn a set of old-time dances: polka, schottische, a rag and a waltz. Bring your recording device and your instrument!

12:45pm – 1:45pm, classroom (2nd floor) – New Compositions for Clawhammer Banjo, with Tom Turino and Shannon Arnold 
How does a banjo composer think about goals and structures when composing? How do influences work their way in? Why is composing original tunes important for a musician? Tom Turino will describe how he composes banjo tunes, playing some through with Shannon Arnold. Come and learn about the composing process and hear some tunes!

2:45pm – 3:45pm, classroom (2nd floor) – What Not to Play in a Country Band, with Redd Volkaert 
Country music guitar legend Redd Volkaert will walk all the pickers and grinners through the secrets of being a good guitar swinger in a traveling band.

4:00pm – 5:00pm, classroom (2nd floor) – The Blues Through the Ages, with Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton 
Jerron Paxton will play some of his favorite tunes, comparing styles from across the ages.

Saturday, October 20 – Urbana Free Library Lewis Auditorium (lower level)

10:00am – 10:45am – Learn About and How to Play the Mountain Dulcimer, with Hilary Valentine 
No experience necessary! Come and check out some mountain dulcimers and have some fun learning about different tunings and drone notes.

10:45am – 11:45am – Learn to Play the Ukulele, with Martha Tyner
Join the Ukulele fun currently sweeping the nation. Here’s your chance to learn the basics; it’s easy. Loaner ukes will be available.

2:45pm – 3:45pm – Murder Ballad Narrative Strategies, with Robbie Fulks 
Should you tell the story from the perspective of Tom Dula, Laura Foster, or someone else? Come hear Robbie Folks’ take on how to write a masterful murder ballad.

4:00pm – 5:00pm – Make ‘N Take Instrument Building Workshop, with the Deep Fried Pickle Project 
Fun for the whole family!

Saturday, October 20 – Urbana Free Library Conference Room (lower level)

11:30am – 12:30pm – The Roots of Roots, with Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey, Archeophone Records 
Since 1998, the Grammy-winning reissue label Archeophone Records — located in Champaign, Illinois — has been preserving, restoring, and publishing recordings from the acoustic era of sound (i.e., the years from 1890 through 1925 when records were made into the acoustic horn without electricity). Archeophone has produced 72 reissues to date, with material ranging from spoken word and comedy to spirituals, ragtime, pop and early jazz and dance bands. Come learn about the fascinating musical heritage that the label is preserving!

4:00pm – 5:00pm – Storytelling Workshop, with Dan Keding
Ballads and Balladeers: Learn the ways to present a ballad whether using an instrument or not. Explore the cultural aspects of this widespread song form.