Doors open 11:30 a.m.
Accordions, Banjos & Fiddles, Oh My!
Round Robin w/ Brad Smedley, Mark Olitsky & Lissa Schneckenburger
Mark Olitsky plays clawhammer banjo and has recorded with various string-bands, including jimmyjohnnyjoe with fiddler Joe Thrift, Bad Dog, and Killer Grits with Freighthoppers' fiddler David Bass.
Lissa Schneckenburger, fiddler and singer with Low Lily, grew up in Maine as an active member of the folk community where she learned to play at the feet of some of the most venerable musicians in New England, and now she is one of the most well-respected versatile fiddlers in the northeast today.
Brad Smedley has played music most of his life, starting with piano at age five years and moving to saxophone in junior high. After discovering Bob Dylan, he took up the guitar and focused on folk, bluegrass and country music. At the Kent State Folk Festival in 1981, he was inspired by the legendary Balfa Brothers to explore Cajun music. He bought an accordion, learned how to play the music and over the years formed bands such as Stand by You, the Zydeco Dependents and most recently Acadian Driftwood. Smedley is also a founding member of Hot Djang! which performs gypsy-jazz classics and original songs.
Mark Olitsky, Lissa Schneckenburger and Brad Smedley
All About the Bass
w/ bass virtuosi Corey DiMario & Bryan Thomas
Corey DiMario, double-bassist with Low Lily is one of the most sought after accompanists in the acoustic music scene. He has performed at major festivals and concert venues across North America, Europe and Australia.
Bryan Thomas, bassist with Hey Mavis is a versatile and nationally well-respected musician. He studied Cuban music in Havana with Carlos Del Puerto, served as Ohio Arts Council guest artist-in-residence and toured as bassist with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Bryan Thomas and Corey DiMario
w/ Joanne Laessig and Matt Watroba
This workshop will give you the opportunity to experience the power of song and community singing as well as give you the tools to start a singing tradition in your community. Song choice, song leading, and best practices will be modeled for the purpose of reminding us that singing is way too important to be left just to the professionals! The community sing will be led by Joanne Laessig of Folknet.org and Matt Watroba who is also emceeing and performing on the Blue Sky stage today.
Joanne Laessig and Matt Watroba
Hammered Dulcimer Heaven
w/ Barb Partington and Dennis Bowers
Barb Partington and Dennis Bowers will talk about and demonstrate their approaches to playing the hammered dulcimer. Bring your ears and your curiosity!
Barb Partington has been playing hammered dulcimer for a very long time. She cut her teeth playing in a contra dance band and she and her husband Dave, along with other great musicians made up the band, Barb and Uncle Dave’s Pure Quill, playing music of Appalachia, New England and the British Isles at venues across Ohio. She lives in Geauga County where she looks at birds and works on protecting the natural resources of the county through community activism with the organization Protect Geauga Parks. She frequently regrets, while tuning and carrying the hammered dulcimer, that she did not take up the ukelele.
A trained musician, Dennis Bowers started playing dulcimer seven years ago as a way to combine his affection for woodworking and music. Dennis was a second-place winner at the 2014 Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival competition in Winfield, Kansas. With his wife Kaja, Dennis is part of the duo Denja, a popular folk duo in Northeast Ohio who specializes in Celtic and American traditional tunes.
Barb Partington and Dennis Bowers
w/ Mark Eckman, John Henderson, Brian Noda, and Walter Beyer
The Cleveland East Suburbanaires are a chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society chartered in 1951 in Euclid, Ohio. The society perpetuates and celebrates harmony in the barbershop style. This workshop led by Mark Eckman, John Henderson, Brian Noda, and Walter Beyer is for aspiring singers and interested persons who are looking for singing techniques and tips. Pitch and harmony will be demonstrated. The songs are entertaining and fun.
Blues Guitar Workshop
w/ Bob Frank
Cleveland native Bob Frank spent 18 years as the leader of the Hotfoot Quartet, touring throughout North America and recording several albums. As a sideman he has worked with Robert Lockwood, Wallace Coleman, fiddler Howard Armstrong, the Falls City Ramblers, and British bluesman Long John Baldry. During the day Bob works through Young Audiences, performing traditional American music assembly programs for children. He has done over 3,000 of these programs in schools throughout the United States. Bob is also one of the founders of the Cleveland Blues Society.
Old-Time Banjo Workshop
w/ Mark Olitsky
Mark Olitsky plays clawhammer banjo and has recorded with various string-bands, including jimmyjohnnyjoe with fiddler Joe Thrift, Bad Dog, and Killer Grits with Freighthoppers' fiddler David Bass. Mark has taught banjo workshops at festivals in Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia. He was also selected to represent old-time banjo in the "First Voice" film project showcasing Ohio roots musicians. Here he is playing with GA Railroad in 2013. More info at “The Banjo Wizard of Cleveland."
Ukulele for All
w/ Sheela Das
Sheela Das will lead the group and make 12 ukuleles available to those who wish to borrow one for the workshop. All are welcome to learn and jam. This is a chance for anyone, young or old to enjoy what the ukulele has to offer. They will learn 10 songs! The workshop will start at the beginning but quickly progress to a cool assortment of blues, gospel, old-time and Hawaiian songs.
w/ Flynn Cohen
Acoustic guitarist and mandolinist Flynn Cohen of Low Lily has performed all over the world with many notable acts in traditional and contemporary acoustic music. In addition to performing with Low Lily, he can be seen on concert and festival stages with legendary Irish Accordion player John Whelan, modern bluegrass band Tony Watt & Southeast Expressway, and in his own solo project.
w/ Liz Simmons
Liz Simmons of Low Lily grew up listening to her mother sing traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland, England and America, as well as the New Orleans brass music her father plays. Since then, she has developed a unique vocal and guitar style that draws from her musical history in folk and ballad traditions as well as the sounds of contemporary folk music, and she has also become a respected songwriter.
Songs for Kids
w/ Bob Frank
Bob Frank works through Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, performing traditional American music assembly programs for children. He has done over 3000 of these programs in schools throughout the United States. Bob’s musical specialties include Americana and the Blues, among others. He has toured both nationally and internationally as a member of the Hotfoot Quartet and now with his band Blue Lunch.
Daddy and The Chickenhawks
w/ Nate and Karen McDonald
Daddy and The Chickenhawks is a family affair. Nate McDonald and his wife Karen have been singing to and with their three children since they were born. Daddy and The Chickenhawks play guitar, banjo, drums, and other objects and instruments and sing (mostly) American folk songs that appeal to children in fun, interesting, and sometimes surprising ways. Some of the songs – like "This Land Is Your Land" – will be familiar sing-along-songs to all; others may be more obscure. Nate and the kids are looking forward to the chance to play and sing a few songs together, and with you, at the Blue Sky Folk Fest.
Hootenanny for Kids
w/ Sheela Das
Bring your instrument or bring yourself! Kids in grades K-8 can enjoy music from our early roots (old-time, Cajun, blues, Irish) and play along with multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Sheela Das of Creative Concepts in Music. Kids can join the old-time music playing washboards, ukuleles, kazoos, spoons or their own instruments. Kids keep the kazoos. And a parade may break out to some Irish whistle!
Magical Music Making
w/ Hal Walker
Learn to play the banakula, learn the ancient hand whistle, create amazing layers of sound with tone chimes, and explore the possibilities of music all around us. As a teaching artist, Hal Walker enjoys ongoing collaborations with Ohio arts organizations. Also, for over 20 years, Hal has been the music director of the Unitarian-Universalist church of Kent.
The Art of Improvising
w/ Ed Caner
Eddie Caner of Hey Mavis will lead this workshop. After a brief discussion on various approaches to improvising, participants will have an opportunity to improvise. A lot. Eddie (violin and viola profunda) spent a dozen years performing as a sideman in national touring bands and orchestras, including Page & Plant, Luciano Pavarotti, Smokey Robinson, and Natalie Cole. Eddie always amazes the audience with his Hendrix-like tone and precision.
Building a Harp Guitar
w/ Pat Podpadec of Liam Guitars
The trials and tribulations of the elusive harp guitar designs. Pat Podpadec, owner of Liam Guitars, builds guitars and other stringed instruments at his shop in Madison, Ohio. He has been repairing stringed instruments since 1982, when he apprenticed with Luthier Rod Fitts. At his shop Pat custom handcrafts guitars, ukuleles, harp guitars and more in addition to providing instrument repair and repair lessons.
w/ Mr. Haney & Friends
Mr. Haney plays traditional Appalachian music the way it’s meant to be played – on fiddles, banjo, guitar and bass. With its roots in England, Scotland, Ireland and Africa, southern old-time tunes are guaranteed to get toes tapping and feet dancing, with occasional songs painting pictures of days gone by. The band is from Northeast Ohio and is comprised of Ken Roby on fiddle, banjo and mandolin; Laura Lewis on fiddle and feet; Jim Eisenberg on claw hammer banjo and hambone; Jim Richards on guitar; and Nancy Tozer on bass. You can also catch Mr Haney at the Troy Contra Dance on the first Saturday of each month.
w/ Paul Kovac
Jam with Paul Kovac, a multi-instrumentalist who performs with the finest roots musicians in the county and has performed with Bill Monroe, Hazel Dickens and Roy Clark. Paul is a busy working musician in NW Ohio and beyond. Today he also joins Thor Platter on stage.
w/ Mary Ann Beach
Join Mary Ann Beach as she leads a traditional seisiun. Bring your instrument and play along, offer your favorite set of tunes, or sit back and enjoy listening to a great mix of Irish tunes including some rollicking reels and lively jigs! When not playing with the Celtic folk band Ballinloch, Mary Ann Beach leads the area’s longest existing seisiun, located at the Hibernian Club in Akron. She takes great joy in teaching the tunes and sharing with musicians who want to explore their Irish roots.