Member Showcase at November 13 Gathering
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Maddie Shuler
Maddie Shuler
Work Release
Work Release

Our next Charlotte Folk Society Gathering on Friday, November 13th, features a Members' Showcase Concert. Folk Society membership includes both players and listeners. This concert highlights a sampling of our talented performing members and gets underway at 7:30 PM in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue. Doors open at 7 PM.

Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly, open to the public, and free. Donations, which support the series in part, are greatly appreciated. Free surface parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center. A nearby parking deck is also available with no charge to those who exit after 8 PM.

Amissville. In 2005, singer/songwriters Meredith Laney and David Holtzclaw met at a Darrell Scott show in Charlotte. They hit it off immediately, both personally and musically. Before long, they formed Amissville (pronounced "ey-mes-ville" and named for a small town in their home state of Virginia). Ever since, Meredith and David have been writing and playing together in venues throughout the Carolinas, including special shows opening for the John Cowan Band and Ellis Paul. Amissville shows consist of a blend of intimate original songs and creative covers. Look for their first CD, Out of Town, to be released later this fall. Sample their music here.

The Charlotte Waites. Waites were town bands in England from the 1300s to the 1800s, with counterparts in much of Europe. They welcomed important visitors to the city, led processions, woke the townsfolk on dark winter days, and provided music for the benefit and enjoyment of all, as well as performing night watch duties. The Charlotte Waites aspire to do the same in Charlotte today. They perform Renaissance and Medieval music on period instruments, with Don Boekelheide on cornetto, Susan Burns on alto dulcian, John Trexler on tenor shawm, and John Burns on bass dulcian.

Don Boekelheide studied music at UC Santa Barbara, but "discovered" the recorder at an adult education class taught in a garage. He has been very involved in the Charlotte early music scene. Susan and John Burns both studied bassoon performance at Oberlin Conservatory, where they now wish they had discovered early music, well, earlier. They are active in the Charlotte music scene, including the CPCC Early Music Consort, Harpers Four, and the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra. John Trexler is an accomplished performer on many instruments, and can be heard regularly at the Renaissance Festival and at Ri Ra's Irish pub. In addition to performing, John serves on the faculty of the Mountain Collegium Early Music Workshop held each year in Cullowhee, NC. Check out the Waites' Facebook page here.

The Cloers. Cate and John Cloer founded a band, co-wrote their first song, and fell in love at age fifteen. They've been musical and life partners ever since. Cate sings lead for the duo, while John plays acoustic guitar and sings harmony on many of the songs. Sometimes these roles are reversed, and you will hear John singing while Cate backs him on piano, concertina, or with vocal harmony. They've spent the past couple of years researching and educating themselves about the independent music business, mapping out a career path, and writing and refining songs. This year they created a blog to share with readers the journey they're taking to become full-time independent music artists. Cate and John are beginning to perform their own music, and expect to record their debut CD in early 2010. Read their blog and learn more here.

Mike Corrigan. Mike Corrigan has played guitar most of his life and also plays mandolin. He has been a songwriter, played in rock bands, and plays bluegrass as well. He is a local sign language interpreter, and father to two wonderful young ladies. Daughter Abby has performed at the CFS youth showcase and on the CFS Festival in the Park stage. Daughter Emma can be seen in the CAST production of Grinch this December.

Peter McCranie. Peter McCranie, Jr., after playing guitar for 20+ years, fell in love with the sound of the resonator guitar, commonly referred to as the Dobro. In 2008 he placed second in dobro competitions in Mt. Airy and Union Grove. He has played with the bluegrass groups The Briarhoppers and The Stony Lonesome Boys; singer/songwriter David Holtzclaw, and bluesman Derrick Stamey. He is a regular with the Brown Liquor Pickers, Clover Feed & Seed, and The Cowtones bluegrass and old-time bands. He also enjoys writing music in collaboration with various other musicians and in all types of musical genres. In 2008, Peter composed four songs and arranged the score for the Carolinas Actors' Studio Theatre production of Foxfire. He and other members of the Stony Lonesome Boys won Metrolina Theatre Award for Best Performance and Element in a Drama (one of eight awarded to Foxfire).

John Renwick & Mark Willingham. John and Mark are both accomplished Appalachian dulcimer players. John is a co-founder of the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club. Since its founding, he has gone on to win first place in dulcimer competitions at many fiddler's conventions, including Mount Airy, Galax, Fiddler's Grove, and the North Carolina State Fair. John is a regular on the Folk Society Stage at Festival in the Park and he gives private dulcimer lessons. Mark is coordinator of the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club, with whom he has performed at Festival in the Park and various other community events. He enjoys introducing new people to the dulcimer and was the 2009 recipient of the Alexandra Stratland Teacher's Scholarship to Dulcimer Week at Western Carolina University. In addition playing the dulcimer and mandolin, Mark builds dulcimers. To date, he has completed some 50 instruments.

Susan Sherlock & P. J. Brunson. Susan Sherlock's father, a mandolin player with a rich family history of traditional music, instilled in her a deep love for the old hymns and songs, and the nuances of old-time harmonies. It seems inevitable that she become the hammered dulcimer player/teacher, songwriter, recording artist, and event creator/promoter she is today. Susan has taught and performed at numerous music camps and festivals, including the Cork Dulcimer Festival (Cork City, Ireland), the Swannanoa Gathering (Swannanoa, North Carolina), and the Cranberry Dulcimer Gathering (Binghamton, New York). Her third recording is due to be released early next year. With this CD, Susan will debut as a singer/songwriter and will be joined by James Leva, P. J. Brunson, Jon Singleton, Wes Chappell, and others. Visit Susan's website here.

P. J. Brunson is an award-winning songwriter who has placed in national and regional competitions. Her compositions cross multiple genres, but most fall into the category of country/folk/Americana. She is a classically trained guitarist with a unique finger picking style, as well as being an accomplished pianist. P. J.'s debut CD, Come Hell or High Water, has received airplay from various radio stations across the United States and Europe. Visit P.J.'s website here.

Maddie Shuler. Maddie Shuler is a fourteen-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist. She picked up her first guitar when she was five and has been playing ever since! She is a freshman at Providence High School and a student of John Tosco. Maddie has performed at the Tosco Music Party, the Folk Society's Young Talent Showcase, Cottonfest, Festival in the Park on the CFS Folk Stage and the Youth Talent Stage, Femmefest, and several other venues. Maddie's music/lyrics come from her deep belief in God and the hope that her music might make a difference to someone. Her first full CD, produced by Jim Brock, will be out by the end of this year.

3/8 Pentatonics. Performing nearly every Wednesday night for their supper, curious neighbors crouched in the bushes, skulking teens, and howling Francy the dog, the 3/8ths Pentatonics are a fluid and flexible ensemble that can expand to as many as eight players or contract to just two. The 3/8ths Pentatonics band includes Jennifer Stanton, the first CFS Spencer-Bryant Adult Scholarship winner, on banjo and vocals; Tom Covington, rhythm guitar player and heavenly choral singer; and dancing percussionist Peter Conn (alias McGuy). Careening, veering and swerving back again from old-time, country, honky tonk, gospel, rockabilly, Civil War tunes, and children's ditties to the occasional reggae version of Americana folk classics, they say they don't know what flavor the audience will be in for on the 13th.

Work Release String Band. Mike Kowalski has played fiddle for 20 years. He is a rebellion fiddler, learning to play the fiddle to embarrass his parents. John Watts has been playing guitar since high school. He is a founding member of the Charlotte Folk Society and has played with the Mallard Creek String Band and Stone Ground String Band. He hopes to soon learn the fourth chord. Angela Watts has been playing the banjo for 25 years, ever since arriving in Charlotte and discovering the clawhammer style. She has also played with the Stone Ground String Band. Julie McConnell recently started playing the upright bass. Before this, she played the penny whistle. Between shortness of breath and way too many notes, she switched to the bass so that she can play any song with the band.

The concert will be followed by refreshments, a song circle, and slow and fast jams. Visitors are also invited to the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club meeting afterwards. A Songwriters' Round featuring Bill Draper, Paul Finnican, and Scott Parry will take place after the concert in the Great Aunt Stella Center Cafe on the ground floor.

Born into a New York show business family, Bill Draper grew up surrounding by singing and performing. He found his own musical niche when he heard the '50s folk music of Burl Ives, Oscar Brand, and Woody Guthrie. Bill began playing with folk groups in college and continued performing in New York and New Jersey in the late '60s. Though slowed down by raising a family, he writes and sings original material -- a brand of folk/blues/country. Smooth vocal styling and an occasional comic twist have made him a hit with many of his underground and Internet fans.

Paul Finnican was born and raised on Long Island, New York. An economics and English major, he wrote poetry and short stories in college under the name of P. C. James. He started and sold several small businesses before moving to Charlotte in 1992. Since 1994 he's been in banking, working as a small business lender. Paul began taking guitar lessons in 1998, first with Mars Music and then with John Tosco. He purchased The Sylvia Theater in York, South Carolina, in October 2001 and began a mission to revise it, while studying songwriting and finding a passion in words and music. Paul is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).

Scott Parry is an accomplished songwriter who recently moved to Belmont from Connecticut. He started playing piano at age five and then took up guitar at eighteen. He wrote his first composition at age seven and has been writing original songs ever since. Scott's songs have been recorded by Grammy-winning artists Eric Kupper and Gerald Isaac. His original blues song Delivery Man was included on a CD released by R&B artist GoffeNess Brown in 2005, and two of his songs, The Only and Foggy Night, were included on a CD released in 2007 by The Give. He is currently working on his second CD of original songs, which should be out in the spring.

The Members' Showcase Concert will be an awesome reminder of how much genuine and varied talent there is among our members. Don't miss it!

Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

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