Our new Board Member Candidates

In the course of the evening, in keeping with CFS By-Laws, we will hold a brief election of those CFS Board members that were appointed by President Dennis Frost during 2009. They are: Bethli Clemens, Elene Clemens, Mark Clemens, Cathey Franklin, and Barbara Ivey, as well as junior board members Carson Hedberg and Avery McGuirt. You can read about these committed and well-qualified individuals below.

Mark & Bethli Clemens
Mark & Bethli Clemens
Elizabeth Miescher-Clemens (Bethli). Growing up in Indiana, my father first brought music into my life, playing piano. Depending on his mood, what he played ranged from classical to Swiss folk songs from his home country. I accompanied him on the cello, but was banned from practicing French horn at home. Indiana University School of Music was nearby and my family enjoyed many diverse performances. On summer visits with Swiss family we attended village festivals. I was impressed not only with the fresh bratwurst, but by live folk music and that everyone of all ages danced. While studying for my doctorate in physiology at Colorado State University my idea of a good time was a night dancing the Texas two-step to a good country band.

As a child of the 70's, music from American folk revival was intriguing. My husband, Mark, strummed his guitar, and courted me with old-time and contemporary folk songs and captured my heart. As our daughters have grown up we encouraged a wide diversity of music. Both our daughters find their musical hearts in Celtic styles with Regina (30) preferring Irish and Elene (18) preferring Scottish.

While I don't play a traditional folk instrument, I feel a passion for traditional music. I look forward to serving on the Charlotte Folk Society Board to promote all varieties of music in our lives.

Elene Clemens
Elene Clemens
Elene Clemens. Elene Clemens is a freshman at Davidson College. She graduated in May from Cannon School, where she received the Presidential Gold Award for outstanding volunteer service. Elene was active in Cannon's Diversity Club, Science Olympiad, and Odyssey of the Mind, as well as being a member of the theater company for four years.

Elene served as a junior member of the CFS Board from August 2008 through July 2009. President Dennis Frost then appointed her to the Board as an adult member.

Elene coordinated and emceed the 2008 and 2009 CFS Young Talent Showcases, as well as enlisting young performers to play at Festival in the Park. In 2008, she organized the Showcase as her Girl Scout Gold Award project. The Gold Award is the highest achievement within Girl Scouting and requires a commitment to community service and action through leadership.

Elene received the Folk Society's 2008 Marilyn Meacham Price Youth Scholarship to the Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops and attended Celtic Week. She has studied and played violin for more than eleven years -- both classical and Celtic. We are delighted that Elene wants to continue serving the Folk Society as a Board member.

Mark & Bethli Clemens
Mark & Bethli Clemens
Mark Clemens. Growing up in St. Louis, instruments and music lessons were a bit beyond our means, but there always seemed to be music in the house. When I was nineteen, I bought a $35 Harmony guitar and a Bob Dylan songbook and proclaimed myself a folksinger. During both undergraduate and graduate school my guitar was my constant companion from coffee houses and bars to backpacking one to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. During that time I played contemporary folk, some blues, some country, some old-time and some things that defy categorization. After graduation, I moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where I had less time for playing, but it was there that I discovered Fiona Ritchie coming from Charlotte through WSHU out of Bridgeport! After six years I moved again to Baltimore where I had the very good fortune to marry Bethli Miescher, but career pressures banished the guitar to the closet. Salvation came after moving to Charlotte. Our daughter Elene started venturing into fiddle tunes in her classical violin lessons about the same time that CFS members Mark and Ellen Ahlstrom moved in across the street from us. Suddenly, playing music was back as an important part of our lives. With two daughters dedicated to Celtic fiddling and in need of an accompanist, I finally ventured in the Celtic genre, but continue to enjoy all forms of traditional music. When I first started learning guitar, it was partly because of the sense of community that sharing music brought. The CFS is now providing us this community of wonderful people sharing music and we are very happy to be able to support this community by serving as CFS board members.
Cathey Franklin
Cathey Franklin
Cathey Franklin. I am a native Charlottean who grew up experiencing every type of music from classical to country. I think I developed a love for bluegrass as a young girl by going with a friend and her dad to his "jams" with his relatives. He was so good on the mandolin that he would put it behind his head and play it. It would be many years before I came to love old time music as much as I do bluegrass. The old time style grew on me over the years, as I attended festivals such as Galax and Fiddler's Grove.

I have always had a passion for rhythm. About 23 years ago, I had the opportunity to take clogging under the late, great Jeff Cloud. He was a tough, demanding instructor who taught me a great deal about basic clogging and buck dance. I also had the priviledge of dancing for several years under the direction of Jean Stephenson, who I consider one of the world's best clogging coaches. Dancing with other clog teams, such as the Wareham Branch Cloggers (under the direction of former CFS president Allen Cooke), brought me great joy. I finally decided I wanted to form a team, and taught a large group from which I formed my first team, the Mallard Creek Cloggers, in 1993. When we decided to compete at Carowinds a few years later, we changed our name to Carolina Classic Cloggers, which is still our team name. We are currently a group of adult ladies ranging in age from 28 to 67. Variety in music and clog dance styles is what we aspire to offer our audiences. We perform for various venues and can always be found on the CFS stage at Festival in the Park each fall.

I was invited by a friend to attend a CFS meeting a number of years ago. I have been a member ever since, and have enjoyed working with the hosting committee for the monthly meetings for the past several years. I am delighted to be a member of the CFS Board so that I can be an integral part of promoting the enjoyment and preservation of the various folk arts in this area. The Charlotte Folk Society has given me so much enjoyment in recent years, and it is a pleasure to be able to give back to the organization in this capacity.

Carson Hedberg
Carson Hedberg
Carson Hedberg. My name is Carson Hedberg and I am fifteen years old. I am a sophomore at Myers Park High School and have lived in Charlotte all of my life. At Myers Park, I enjoy singing in the chorus and playing on the softball team. I started playing the mountain dulcimer when I was about eight years old after I saw the instrument in a quaint dulcimer shop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was instantly in love with the dulcimer and that Christmas, I got my first cardboard dulcimer. I began taking lessons with my teacher, John Renwick, and have been strumming ever since.

I enjoy playing all different styles of music on the dulcimer including folk songs, Celtic, old time, and contemporary music. I have also composed a few songs myself and like to experiment with different playing styles and techniques. As well as just playing the dulcimer, I also enjoy performing at local venues such as Festival in the Park, the Tosco Music Party, and CFS youth showcase events. One of the greatest joys of playing this instrument is learning from and sharing it with others. A few years ago, I won the Marilyn Meacham Price Scholarship from the Charlotte Folk Society to go to Dulcimer Week at the Swannanoa Gathering. I learned so much from the incredible teachers and players there; it was truly an unforgettable experience. I have also been to Western Carolina University Mountain Dulcimer Week twice and had two more inspiring experiences.

After playing for over seven years, I have learned a lot about this great instrument, but I know there is always more to learn. I plan to keep making music for as long as I can, as it is something that is a big part of my life.

Barbara Ivey
Barbara Ivey
Barbara Ivey. I grew up in a family of altos. Mom, Sister, Grandmother, me. We sang while doing the dishes. We sang on car rides. We sang in the choir at church. In college, I was privileged to sing second alto with the Concordia College New York Tour Choir. I studied English literature in the day and evening, and sang sacred music every afternoon. It was there, during rehearsal of an English translation of Bach Cantata 227 -- Jesu, meine Freude -- that I realized my love for poetic words, especially Scripture, set to music.

Over the years I have enjoyed musical words in a number of traditions and in a number of genres. I soon realized that musical performance is not the place for me. This freed me to find my true musical niche. Several years ago, I began volunteering in the offices of festival directors for several large Americana Music festivals across the country, and serving on the advisory board for the Tosco Music Party. These opportunities helped me realized that my niche is creating opportunities for the performance of live music. At the same time, my husband and I began producing the MusicLovers House Concert series. The MusicLovers shows have given me a great deal of joy and fulfillment in bringing distinctive songwriters together with appreciative listeners.

I respect and admire the Charlotte Folk Society and its work bringing unique musical performances to the Piedmont. I also value CFS' support of people developing their musical skills and knowledge. I am passionate about lifelong learning -- and if you have ever made the rounds of the jam sessions at a Friday night Gathering, you have seen it in action. CFS' commitment to live music and lifelong learning are why I am a CFS member, and why I agreed to support this fine organization by serving on the board.

When I am not off listening to or producing live music, I am President of Optimized OfficesSM. We enable leaders of all ages to be their best. We work one-on-one with business and student leaders to create custom time management, electronic records management, task tracking, project tracking, and communication management systems that meet their unique needs, reduce waste, and save time and money.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with the Charlotte Folk Society to keep live music alive in the Piedmont for years to come.

The Whippersnappers
The Whippersnappers
Avery McGuirt. Fifteen-year-old Avery McGuirt has been playing violin since he was five. He began by taking classical lessons which he continues today; but he also began studying bluegrass fiddle with champion fiddler Glen Alexander three years ago. Avery plays fiddle in his family's band, The Whippersnappers, as well as violin in the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Mallard Creek High School Orchestra. This December, he will travel to Limoges, France to play in an international student orchestra. He has received ribbons for his fiddling in competitions at several regional fiddlers' conventions. In addition, he's had the honor of winning Charlotte Folk Society's Marilyn Meacham Price Youth Scholarship to attend Fiddle Week at the Swannanoa Gathering. He has received merit scholarships for private violin study, performed in the North Carolina Western Regional Orchestra, and, most recently, Avery was inducted into Tri-M, the high school music honor society. When he's not playing music, Avery's into academics, collecting songs on his iPod, watching art films, reading, and hanging out with his friends.

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