Sunday, July 25, 2010

Swanannoa Gathering 2010

Wow! We just returned from a SUPER gig The Swanannoa Gathering held annually at Warren Wilson College near Asheville NC. Our daughter Hanna went with us and assisted in beginning level banjo class as well as playing for a flatfooting class. She made lots of new friends and started to get recognition for her fiery clawhammer banjo style. For just two years of learning and playing around her current homebase of Harrisonburg Va., Hanna is a dynamic force and has helped start up a couple of regular jams in the area. Of course, we love to play the old mountain tunes with ourselves on fiddle and guitar with her on banjo. We have already made it to you-tube. We hope to be active with her when we can but we just aren't next door so its tough.

Shay Garriock also had never been to Swanannoa Gathering before and had the duty of teaching two levels of old-time fiddle. He impressed many people with his style of fiddling rooted in Southwest Virginia. We had a great concert experience although only a 10 minute set before the 300 or so participants. It was good practice for our next super gig as a trio at the MBOTMA festival in Minnesota in a couple of more weeks. I will write about it when we get back so check back!

Swanannoa was a great getaway for us as we had been working so hard in our other professional lives of gardening and cabinet making.
We got to reconnect with and know better several old-time musicians of our generation many of whom we go back with to the 70's and 80's when we were Hanna's age (mid 20's). Jenny and I had a great duet singing class with 20 participants. We taught several songs including some that we have wanted to perform but never had quite worked up to that point.
I had a great level 3 banjo class with players who were quick and even in their playing ability. I was able to challenge them with some great tunes and tunings from the mountain traditions I so dearly love. Jenny was challenged as a teacher with an afternoon Level 1 guitar class with a wide range of abilities. I helped her out as she taught the students how to make simple transiton runs as one keeps time and changes chords in the course of backing up a song or tune. It was tough but we felt
like we made good progress. What one makes of these courses at a music camp is up to them. Recording devices are vital and developing a love for the music of old masters is essential.

The evenings were filled with concerts by all the instructors, square dances, and late night jamming. There was an open mike for anyone who wanted to perform a song in the honky-tonk style backed by a live honky tonk band.
All in all it was a great work party. We should be fully recovered soon.