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Workshops announced for Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival

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Attendees at this year’s Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival will be treated to a great schedule of musical workshops during the event Friday and Saturday, June 4, say organizers. 

Artists who know the value of passing along the knowledge and joy of traditional music will share their talents with all who want to participate. Workshops will be held in the Dogwood Rooms at the West Plains Civic Center.

The annual festival in downtown West Plains celebrates Ozarks music and culture. Admission to all festival events is free. Festival hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, and music begins at noon.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

Friday

Noon-1 p.m. -  Missouri Fiddle Tunes from Cyril Stinnet’s Repertoire, Thomas Coriell

Like his grandfather and father, Thomas Coriell has developed an intense passion for listening to, and playing old time country music. Growing up around musicians while accompanying his father to countless gigs, Coriell caught the music bug early in life.

Coriell is Charlie Walden's apprentice in the Missouri Folk Arts Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, 2021-2022. Active in jam sessions, contests, teaching and string bands, Coriell, a fiddle scholar, is interested in the history and personalities in fiddling and writes commentaries on his experiences. Coriell’s fiddle repertoire focuses on old-time tunes particularly from Cyril Stinnett, Jake Hockemeyer, Dwight Lamb, Cecil Goforth, Kathy Summers and Walden (all left-handed fiddlers, too). Coriell was a guest instructor at the 2021 Bethel Youth Fiddle Camp. He has competed in various Missouri fiddle contests including the Missouri State Fair fiddle contest several times. In 2021, Coriell competed in the annual Walnut Valley national championships in Winfield, Kansas, and played Stinnett's versions of "Brilliancy," "Shamus O'Brien" and "Waiting For The Robert E. Lee."

 

1-2 p.m. -  Fiddlin’ Q&A, informal questions and answers to you ever wanted to know about the fiddle or fiddling.

The Shortleaf Band is a duet based in the Southern Missouri Ozark’s. Tenley Hansen and Michael Fraser have immersed themselves into the culture and traditional music of the “Scots Irish” who became the first to settle the region.

Fraser is a founding member of the Shortleaf Band, named after the shortleaf pine found in the great southern forests of the Ozark Mountains. He began playing guitar in college and was especially influenced by the new sounds of the Southern Rock Bands, especially The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

Moving to the Ozarks to begin a career in Education, he became immersed in the traditional fiddle music of the Scots/Irish who first settled the Ozarks.

Fraser was awarded a two-year apprenticeship with Master Ozark Square Dance Fiddler Bob Holt through the Missouri Arts Council’s Master/Apprentice Program. It was through this experience that Fraser understood the communication between music and dance. Holt once told Fraser, “You may think you’re a hot fiddler, but if the dancers don’t invite you back, you ain’t a fiddler. You’ve got to give the dancers a place to put their foot.”

Hansen is a former musical stage performer who has moved into the folk music genre. She lived in Kansas City most of her life and has been performing for The Shortleaf Band since 2005. A singer/songwriter with a folksy alto voice; she plays keyboards, guitar, fiddle and mandolin.

2-3 p.m. - Ozark Songs and Ballads

Julie Henigan presents an Ozarks songs and ballads workshop. She will illustrate and discuss songs ranging from narrative ballads to brush arbor hymns, to minstrel era songs. Henigan grew up in Springfield with old-time music on her doorstep. Famed fiddler Art Galbraith lived a block away, the Max Hunter Song Collection was at the nearby library, and music parties were just a short drive away. Other musical influences from the Ozarks have included Almeda Riddle, Glenn Ohrlin and Bob Holt.

Known for her unerring command of the distinct, but related, idioms of Southern American and traditional Irish music, Henigan sings and plays finger-style guitar, clawhammer banjo, mountain dulcimer, and fiddle – instruments she uses for both song accompaniments and solo pieces.

3-4 p.m. - Button Box

Willi Carlisle is a folksinger and storyteller based in Arkansas. With years of collecting folklore, calling square dances, mentoring under old masters and tirelessly touring festivals, honky-tonks and house-concerts, Carlisle is a multi-faceted writer, performer and instrumentalist with a big voice, a banjo, fiddle, guitar, button-box and more.

4-5 p.m. – Dulcimer

Duane Porterfield is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist. In 1997 he entered the Mountain Music Shop in Shawnee, Kan., and was introduced to the mountain dulcimer. He recalled as a young child watching his great grandfather strumming on a similar stringed box with a stick and feather. Porterfield left the music shop that day with his first mountain dulcimer failing to realize the impact this instrument would have on his life. “The mountain dulcimer has been the medicine that relieves my headache, has taken me back to a simpler time, and has introduced me to some of my closest friends,” he says.

Retiring in 2013, Porterfield and wife Cindi moved to their Arkansas home where they volunteer at the many various festivals in the region and at The Ozark Folk Center State Park. Porterfield now spends much of his time as a regular performer and emcee at the Folk Center’s live shows. He also assists with sales, promotions and the creation of McSpadden Dulcimers in Mtn. View.

“I want those attending my workshops to be able to take only what they need from my classes and combine it with what they can use from other instructors and/or resources to develop their own style and uniqueness with the mountain dulcimer,” says Porterfield. “Then share your music. There’s room for us all.” 

5-6 p.m. – Little Dixie Fiddlin’

One of the foremost Missouri old-time fiddlers playing today, John P. Williams has played the fiddle over 30 years. He first caught the “fiddle bug” at age 7 inspired by the “fiddling I heard growing up at the local fiddle contests my family would take me to.” He grew up and still lives in northeast Missouri on his family’s farm located in rural Monroe County. Central and northeast Missouri is home to the distinctive regional old time fiddle style known as Little Dixie; generally characterized by long bow strokes, an emphasis on clear notes and melodies, frequent double stops, and accenting all of which produce a driving quality to the tunes.

From ages 9 through 17, Williams attended Bethel Fiddle Camp held annually and learned from “some of the finest Missouri fiddlers to ever draw a bow”: Pete McMahan, Taylor McBaine, Johnny Bruce, Vesta Johnson, Dwight Lamb, Charlie Walden and Bob Holt, to name only a few. In 1998, then 16, he had “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to apprentice with the legendary Little Dixie and contest fiddler Pete McMahan in Missouri’s Traditional Apprenticeship Program. McMahan was and is a significant influence on Williams. He learned McMahan’s amazing bowing technique and many of his rare and unique tunes. Since then, like all great fiddlers, Williams has developed his own style and picked up many more tunes through the years.

Williams teaches regularly as a master fiddler at the same Bethel Fiddle Camp he once attended. He has been selected four times as a master artist in Missouri’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, one of the youngest masters chosen in the programs over 30 year old history. As John simply and directly puts it, “I want to play and pass on the traditional tunes that have been played in our state for generations.”

Saturday, June 4

Noon-1 p.m. - The Swedish Nyckelharpa, Victoria Johnson

Come learn about this interesting instrument. We will talk about the history of the Swedish national instrument, how it works, and hear some traditional Swedish music. Victoria Johnson hails from Missouri, she has won two championships on the hammer dulcimer, plays in an Irish jam every Monday at a local pub and has recently taken up the Swedish Nyckelharpa. Stringfield, her band, has played many venues, and festivals including the traveling Smithsonian Roots Festival and The Bon Festival in Japan.

1-2 p.m. -  Clawhammer Banjo, Van Colbert

Van Colberwill demonstrate old-time clawhammer style as opposed to the five-string picking popularized by bluegrass music. A bluegrass musician once recalled as he listened to Van’s drop-thumb banjo, “It sounds just like my mother used to play.” Colbert’s family band plays what they have lived, created and shared for generations. He was named a master artist on clawhammer with TAAP-Missouri Folk Arts Program, teaching others to embrace this traditional style.

2-3 p.m. -  Little Dixie Fiddlin’

One of the foremost Missouri old-time fiddlers playing today, John P. Williams has played the fiddle over 30 years. He first caught the “fiddle bug” at age 7 inspired by the “fiddling I heard growing up at the local fiddle contests my family would take me to.” He grew up and still lives in northeast Missouri on his family’s farm located in rural Monroe County. Central and northeast Missouri is home to the distinctive regional old time fiddle style known as Little Dixie; generally characterized by long bow strokes, an emphasis on clear notes and melodies, frequent double stops, and accenting all of which produce a driving quality to the tunes.

From ages 9 through 17, Williams attended Bethel Fiddle Camp held annually and learned from “some of the finest Missouri fiddlers to ever draw a bow”: Pete McMahan, Taylor McBaine, Johnny Bruce, Vesta Johnson, Dwight Lamb, Charlie Walden and Bob Holt, to name only a few. In 1998, then 16, he had “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to apprentice with the legendary Little Dixie and contest fiddler Pete McMahan in Missouri’s Traditional Apprenticeship Program. McMahan was and is a significant influence on Williams. He learned McMahan’s amazing bowing technique and many of his rare and unique tunes. Since then, like all great fiddlers, Williams has developed his own style and picked up many more tunes through the years.

Williams teaches regularly as a master fiddler at the same Bethel Fiddle Camp he once attended. He has been selected four times as a master artist in Missouri’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, one of the youngest masters chosen in the programs over 30 year old history. As John simply and directly puts it, “I want to play and pass on the traditional tunes that have been played in our state for generations.”

3-4 p.m. - Harmonica

Seth Shumate is an Arkansas native whose grandfather and great-grandmother played the harmonica or “french harp” in the Ozarks. Shumate said he acquired the habit in the seventh grade. Since then, he has played and studied the history of old-time harmonica and specializes in the fiddle-tune, country blues and jug band styles of the harmonica masters of the 1920s-30s. He has played at this very festival as a member of the string bands Shout Lulu and The Ozark Highballers.  

Shumate will give a presentation on the old-time harmonica techniques needed to transform a skinny melody into a wall of sound.  

4-5 p.m. – Upright Bass, Eric Paulson of the Roe Family Singers

Experienced bassist Eric Paulson will demonstrate some practical bass playing tips: walking the bass, slap bass, gear, using a metronome, and more. Have your instrument? Bring it along!

5-6 p.m. – Open Jam in the Dogwood Rooms

The Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is the signature event for West Plains. The festival seeks to celebrate, preserve, pass on and nurture an appreciation of the old-time music and folk life traditions distinctive to the Ozark Highlands.

2022 festival partners include the West Plains Council on the Arts, the city of West Plains, the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center, West Plains Civic Center, and Missouri State University-West Plains. Partial funding for this event is provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

For more information on the festival email info@westplainsarts.org, visit the website at www.oldtimemusic.org, or follow @Old.Time.Music.Festival on Facebook.

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