A Folk College favorite, Scott Ainslie is a man who can speak about the Blues with the same compelling passion and authority that drives his musical performances. On stage, he brings the African and American roots, history and soul of the music alive with a mesmerizing mix of story, and what Dirty Linen magazine describes as "fiery picking and slide work and his deep passionate bluesman's growl." Scott is a recent recipient of the National Slide Guitar Festival Living Heritage Award, a paired award he shares with Robert Johnson.
The Stray Birds
Combining their abilities as singers, songwriters, and multi-instrumentalists, The Stray Birds originally consisted of Maya de Vitry and Oliver Craven who create and perform a blend of traditional Appalachian music and original American folk songs. Grounded in the unshakeable groove of bassist Charles Muench, the trio landed their signature sound. Their tight, often haunting vocal harmonies along with intimate musicality and lyrics define their sound as one of captivating honesty and familiarity. Traveling as a street musician, Maya has performed Appalachian fiddle and banjo music throughout North America and Europe, and presently studies at the Berklee College of Music. Oliver has spent the last 4 years sharing his talents on fiddle, guitar, mandolin and voice, including 1 year playing with the Steel Wheel. He has performed for audiences from the Grey Fox Bluegrass and Calgary Folk Festivals, to the Boulder Theatre and the Bluebird Café. Winners of the 2010 Clifftop Neo-Traditional Band Competition, these two have been performing together for little more than a year, yet compliment each other in an undeniably intuitive fashion.
Award-winning duo Atwater-Donnelly performs a unique and thrilling blend of traditional American and Celtic folk music and dance, along with original songs and poetry.The highly praised husband-wife duo blends gorgeous vocals with an astonishing array of instruments including the mountain dulcimer, old-time banjo, tin whistle, guitar, limberjack, mandolin, harmonica, feet and more.
Matt & Shannon Heaton
Boston-based duo Matt and Shannon Heaton offer updated and traditional Irish music on flute, guitar, bouzouki, accordion, and bodhran. Sing Out! Magazine tells us "[Matt and Shannon's] songs are standouts" and the Boston Globe writes "Their playing is masterful and inventive, their arrangements city-smart and spacious. Still, they never forget that Irish music is, at its heart, a neighborly form meant for sharing, not showing off.
Representing Native American music at its best, Spirit Wing features traditional, contemporary, and original music. The group sings songs relating to Indian history, spirituality, and culture, and they perform on Native American flute, percussion, and guitar. Spirit Wing is a two-time finalist in the Native American Music Awards. Spirit Wing consists of Barbara Andrews-Christy, Barry Lee, Chris Hawley and Doug Penglase.
The Barefoot Movement
The Barefoot Movement is a quartet of immensely talented musicians from North & South Carolina and Tennessee whose music successfully melds Americana influences with the invigoration of acoustic modern rock and jazz. Their sound simultaneously captures the rustic beauty of old Southern front porch Bluegrass improvisation while being immediately accessible to the modern era.
The group was initially formed when Noah Wall, singer and fiddler, and Tommy Norris, mandolin player, attended high school together in their home county of Granville, NC and began setting Noah's lyrics to Tommy's chords. Though the band was threatened when the two members left to attend colleges in different states, it was while Noah was a student of the Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Program at Eastern Tennessee State University that she met Quentin Acres, when both were chosen to perform for the Old-Time Pride Band. The three soon united to form The Barefoot Movement. The name evolved from Noah's tendency to remove her shoes during shows, a testament to the relaxed atmosphere and down-home stylings of the group. The trio met bassist Hasee Ciaccio at ETSU when she needed a ride home from Merlefest in 2011, and that ride in the Barefoot Van has continued ever since!
& Bethany Waickman
New Englander's Lissa Schneckenburger and Bethany Waickman bring us fiddle, guitar, and vocals with an emphasis on contradance music. Hailed as a "world class fiddler" by Sing Out Magazine, Lissa has opened for Judy Collins and Richard Thompson, and she has toured the U.S. and Europe with guitarist Bethany Waickman.
Folk College's host band is three women (Linda Littleton, Karen Hirshon & Rachel Hall) playing twelve instruments, with styles that range from old time to Celtic to Klezmer and beyond. Karen Hirshon plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar, 6-string banjo, bowed psaltery, doumbek, and spoons. Linda Littleton plays fiddle, hammered dulcimer, recorders, and bowed psaltery, and she's starting to learn banjo. Rachel Hall is recognized as one of the leading English concertina players in the U.S., and she also performs on piano, accordion, and tabla. Based in State College and Philadelphia PA, Simple Gifts members designed Folk College and work with the Huntingdon County Arts Council to make it a reality. They have a strong philosophy that everyone can play music, that music is best when shared, and that above all, music is about communication, not competition.
Jerry grew up in Mississippi where he learned and played traditional music at an early age. He has a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in music performance (French horn). Jerry was a high school band director for several years, and he is now a professor in counselor education at Penn State. His current musical passions include playing, researching and building clawhammer and old-time banjos.
Henry Koretzky is a mandolinist/ guitarist/singer from Harrisburg, PA, who has performed in a wide variety of styles and groups, from bluegrass with Cornerstone, Sweetwater Reunion, and High Strung, klezmer with The Old World Folk Band, old-time with the duo Rootbound, as well as swing, celtic, contemporary folk, and contradance music. He has taught at Folk College in previous years as part of The Keystone Rebels and as part of a duo with singer/songwriter/ guitarist Kevin Neidig, and has also been a staff regular at Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering.
Gordon Bonnet is multi-talented and multi-faceted: a novel writer and science essayist, a high school teacher of biology and environmental sciences, and a gifted musician. Gordon plays flute and pipes, and can often be seen with the Ithaca area bands Crooked Sixpence and Alizé. His specialties include music from central France, Brittany, the Balkans, and any music with non-standard rhythms.
Bob is a Folk College tradition, making our annual Saturday night contradance truly special. Bob is in demand as a contra and square dance caller who is known for his relaxed teaching style, patience, energy, and ability to make the dance fun!
Debbie Rifkin is an award-winning music theory and sight-singing teacher at Ithaca College in upstate NY. She started out as a classical violinist, earning prizes and prestigious seats in regional orchestras in her youth. Now, she is an avid fiddler. Her main specialty is klezmer music, but she dabbles in French-Canadian, New England, and Scandinavian styles as well. She has played in several klezmer bands, directs the Ithaca College Klezmer Band, and occasionally performs at Scandinavian folk festivals.
Tish & Greg Westman
From Beckley, West Virginia, this duo are amazing bowed psaltery players and builders, as well as mountain dulcimers. Having taught at festivals such as Augusta, Coshocton Dulcimer Days and Concord College, husband and wife duo Tish and Greg Westman are currently the resident instrument builders in residence at the lovely Tamarack Center in West Virginia. Tish is the Mid-East regional Mountain Dulcimer Champion for 2007.