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September 10: Steve Kaufman

The Charlotte Folk Society is excited to bring to you the only 3-time winner of the National Flatpicking Championships, Steve Kaufman, at 7:30 PM on Friday, September 10th, in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue. As usual, this second-Friday event is free, family-friendly, and open to the public. Donations, which support the series, in part, are greatly appreciated. The hour-long concert will be followed by refreshments, a song circle, and slow, fast, and Celtic jams. Visitors are also invited to play with the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club. All activities are open; listeners are welcomed.

The front doors of the Stella Center will open at 7 PM. Handicapped access is available through the ground-floor door on the right side of the building. Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly, open to the public, and free. Donations, which support the series in part, are greatly appreciated. The hour-long concert will be followed by refreshments, a song circle, slow and fast jams, and a Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club meeting. Free surface parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center, as well as in a parking deck nearby. Exit the deck freely after 8 PM.

Steve Kaufman was born into a musical family in 1957. His father was a jazz piano player and his mother was a classically trained pianist. Music was always around. At four Steve started plinking at the piano and did so for several years. He then moved on to the electric guitar at 10 for a few years and put it away. Next came the cello in 5th grade for a few years. After this Steve picked up the acoustic guitar again and blazed right through a "Folk Guitar" method book. When finished he thought if this is as hard as it gets it's not for him. Then his younger brother, Will, started playing the banjo and his instructor told him he needed a rhythm guitar player to help with his timing. So Steve then picked up his guitar again and got into the bluegrass rhythm. One day Will brought home a Flatt and Scruggs LP, which featured Doc Watson on guitar, and Steve was hooked on flatpicking.

Steve practiced hard with his newfound love of music, sometimes up to 8 hours a day. At age 18 he entered the National Flatpicking Championships in Winfield, KS and made the top 10. The following year was a wash. In 1977, Steve took 2nd place to Mark O'Connor and in 1978, at 21 years old, he returned to win the championship. Then after being barred for 5 years he returned on the 6th year to win the 1984 championships again. Winfield bars the winner for 5 years and they can come back on the 6th year but in 1986 they decided to open up the contest to everyone and not bar the past years champs. Steve returned to win his goal. He became the winner and the first and, at this writing, the only Three Time Winner of the National Flatpicking Championships. He is also noted to have 3 consecutive wins in the Nationals because he was barred all the years he did not enter.

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Steve continues to work hard in the world of music. He began producing books and videos in 1989 after teaching private lessons for close to 20 years. His catalog of instructional materials is close to 100 items. His listening CDs and Videos number over 19. Steve began touring the world conducting seminars, workshops, clinics and concerts in 1990 and after 5 years he and his wife, Donna, began "Steve Kaufman's Flatpicking Camp." Every other year they have added more camps into their agenda and now under the title "Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamps" they host a Fingerpicking Kamp, Old Time Banjo, Bluegrass Banjo and Mandolin Kamp as well. They have grown into the largest Kamps of their kind in the world with students traveling from around the world to Maryville, Tennessee. Since 2002, Steve Kaufman received the Gold Award from a readers' poll in Acoustic Guitar Magazine for running the "Best Workshops, Seminars and Camps." Since 1990 Steve has developed the reputation of being the "World's Guitar Instructor."

Steve stays busy being a husband and father, running his Kamps, tour schedule, writing books and recording videos and CDs as well as owning and operating The Palace Theater in downtown Maryville, the area's premier acoustic venue as well as an espresso bar. Website for The Palace Theater is here.

Charlotte Folk Society 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.