Festival Workshop Descriptions

Main Stage

Banjo Styles

Bill Destler and Laurence Sugarman will display their clawhammer banjo styles. Get inspired here and return to learn the style at a September 19 participatory workshop. Sign up on the website.

Sing Me a Story

Low Lily, Amy Collins, and Maria Gillard will give examples of some songs they sing that feature stories.

Guitar Styles

Stuart Fuchs with Gypsy jazz and Brazilian fingerstyle, Flynn Cohen on Irish guitar, and Greg Greenway on C9 tuning will give us a varied taste of what guitars can do.

Raising the Bar: Songs of Social Conscience

Songs of Social Conscience is one of the recurring threads of folk music, be it in support of the labor movement, civil rights, women’s rights, or beyond. Brother Sun will discuss and demonstrate.

Country and Bluegrass

The Cadleys, Ruth and Dana Fine, and Jim Schleich will sing the relationship between Grand Ole Opry country and Bill Monroe bluegrass.

Organ Recital

No kidneying! Liver up a bit and listen to songs with heart (and other organs.) Bob “Spleen” Zentz, Dean “Gallstone” Santos, and Beth Ely “Lymph” Sleboda will share unforgettable songs.

Mando Mashup

Perry Cleaveland, Flynn Cohen, and Joe Jencks will show us what 24 strings can produce.

Squeezebox Extravaganza

Button accordion, concertina, squeezebox—whatever you call it Bob Zentz, Allen Hopkins, and Kathleen Cappon will play a variety of music suited to this instrument.

Gospel Sing

Songs of many faiths will lift our hearts on Sunday. Led by Brother Sun.

Songs of Ol’ Timers and Ol’ Rhymers

Who were your musical mentors and inspirations? Bob Zentz, Bill Destler, and Di Morgan will tell you about theirs.



Playing the Pennywhistle

Bring a D pennywhistle and learn how to blow it with Ralph Minervino.

Instrumental Slow Jam

Bring your instruments and join Dawn Jenkins and Ralph Minervino on New England and Irish tunes. All instruments are welcome.

Mandolin Workshop

Perry Cleaveland will discuss and show mandolin techniques for supporting songwriters, duos, and full bands and how to add interest to complement the tone of the song. Suitable for all levels.

New England Style Fiddling

Lissa Schneckenburger will give a brief overview of New England fiddling, its stylistic elements, and history. She will then teach one or two tunes by ear. Open to all levels. Bring a recording device!

Ukulele 101

This workshop is for ukulele enthusiasts of ALL LEVELS. Stuart Fuchs will lead a group jam on songs from a treasury of fun and easy tunes – many with just two or three chords! 

Songwriting: The Music of Language, The Language of Music

This is a participatory look at the process of creating a song from an idea - with an emphasis on breaking old habits and challenging yourself. Greg Greenway will provide exercises to aid you in every step of the process.

Slide Guitar

Pat Wictor will teach basic techniques and principles for blues-based bottleneck and lap slide guitar. Add new flavors to your guitar playing. Open tunings, left and right-hand techniques, and special equipment.

Golden Link Sing-Around

Bring your instrument and a song to share, ideally one that is well known or has a chorus. Song circle led by Christina Stewart.

Ukulele Jam: Rockabilly, Roots, and Beyond

Stuart Fuchs will focus on the music of rockabilly, Johnny Cash, and other roots styles. Lots of fun and easy three chord tunes that will leave things open for others to join in with their guitars, fiddles, etc. All instruments are welcome.

Flatpicking Guitar

John and Cathy Cadley will demonstrate basic flatpicking techniques on some fiddle tunes, and discuss equipment, how to practice to get the results you want, and who to listen to and how to learn from them.

Rhythm Fiddle

In addition to playing the melody, the fiddle can provide a great rhythmic base to a tune. Lissa Schneckenburger will demonstrate and teach methods of doing this.


Rec Building

Setting Poetry to Music

Bring a poem or pick one from provided favorites. Bob Zentz will share how to let the poetry or poet "tell" us when to use original tunes or traditional tunes, and how to adapt texts of regular and irregular meters.

Harmony Singing

John and Cathy Cadley will demonstrate how different intervals produce different emotion, and how to build your own harmonies, with a special look at how the “high lonesome” sound of bluegrass is created.

Traditional Songs of the British Isles

Liz Simmons, Debra Chesman, and Bill Thomas will bring songs of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland to life. 

English Country Dance

Dance like you are in a Jane Austen movie. Dancers pair up and form lines of couples. You dance with the couple next in the line, then progress to dance with the next couple. Dance mistress Lisa Brown will teach and prompt these elegant dances as Molly Janes Wilson plays the beautiful dance tunes on the violin.

Community Contra Dance

These cousins to English dance are less formal and often more energetic. Margaret Mathews knows just how to make them fun for new dancers and all ages. Fiddler Kathy Vandemortel will provide lively music.

International Dance

Alene Boyar and Sarada George bring us dances from around the world:  Sweden, Greece, Israel, Serbia, Wales, and more. In many of these, individuals are in lines that move around the floor; a few are couple dances.

Waltz Workshop

Alene Boyar and Sarada George will teach a very basic waltz step, then progress to a few easy waltz-based dances available once most of the participants are feeling comfortable with the basics.


John Cadley will discuss how he writes his songs, who his influences are, and how to approach the craft.

New Songs in the Tradition

How does one write a traditional song? Low Lily will show us how they bring a traditional sensibility to new songs.

Making the Most of Your Voice

Joe Jencks leads a supportive, “hands-on” singing workshop. We will start with basic breathing techniques and vocal warm-ups, and move into learning how to sing more effectively in a variety of settings. Learn more about your own voice, your power-range, and how to work with your own instrument to sing as well as you can.

Singing the Blues

Pat Wictor and Ernie Lawrence will have us singing the blues as the festival draws to an end.