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Our next Charlotte Folk Society Gathering offers a chance to appreciate how very many talented musicians choose to be CFS members. The 2012 Members' Showcase takes place on Friday, May 11th, at 7:30 PM, in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in downtown Charlotte. Sixteen acts will perform a ninety-minute concert drawn from both the roots and branches of traditional music. Performers include professional musicians, music instructors, recording artists, and both teenaged and adult Folk Society scholarship winners.
Doors open at 7 PM. Free surface and deck parking are available adjacent to the Stella Center. Accessible entry and an elevator to the performance venue are available through a ground-level entrance. In an effort to better accommodate accessible entry, we are now reserving drop-off parking spaces next to the ground-level entrance. A CFS volunteer will be there to provide assistance.
Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free. Donations are appreciated and essential to presenting the concert series in the Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, and jam sessions follow the concert; visitors are welcome to join in or simply listen. Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club members offer loaner instruments to those wishing to try their hand at playing.
Visitors are invited to enjoy a performance by Community Singers in the sanctuary from 7 PM to 7:30 PM. Community Singers is a non-auditioned community chorus whose purpose is to promote peace through music. The main focus of the group is on the process of building community through music. Their founder and director, Carol Raedy, says, "We have fun singing together and broadening our musical horizons with songs from many styles and cultures. We welcome new members and guests. See our website at charlottecommunitysingers.org/."
Concert performances will take place in the following order.
Sally Higgins and Ray Owens have developed a reputation among Folk Society music lovers for hosting house concerts by compelling performers. On this occasion, they will share their talents with us on guitars and vocals, as they perform songs from the Americana genre. Their musical interests range widely, from Patti Griffin to Ralph Stanley. Ray, a charter member of CFS, has a CD to his credit, Over the Waterfall, recorded with long-time friend Marc Rudow.
Leland Haywood began playing guitar and singing when he was ten and sang live on the radio in a gospel quartet in the '50s. His musical career was delayed, when he detoured through UNC-Chapel Hill and into accounting for 40 years. After he retired as an executive of a Fortune 500 company, he took up playing the autoharp. Edna Helms taught him to play and she also introduced him to the Folk Society. Leland says, "I would like to say that I'm back in entertainment by popular demand, but the truth is that my wife wants me out of the house." Expect to have fun with Leland's humorous songs!
Boys of the Bog, a Celtic duo consisting of Henry Royal (guitar/vocals) and Philip Weisenhorn (fiddle/mandolin), have been performing locally since 2009. The pair met while playing in the Celtic Session hosted by the Charlotte Folk Society. "We hit it off immediately," says Weisenhorn. "We both have families and careers, but also a real passion for Celtic music." Besides the occasional workshop or lesson, the two are mostly self-taught on their respective instruments. The pair has performed in restaurants. pubs, private parties, and art galleries. They recently took the stage at the First Annual Canaan Music Festival in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in April.
Marilyn Price and Rick Bouley will share two of their favorite folk songs, Paradise, by John Prine, and Aragon Mill, by Si Kahn. Playing fiddle with them will be Jon Singleton, who teaches old-time and bluegrass music at The Violin Shoppe. Rick, a seasoned musician, performed in the popular duo Hot Shandy with Jim Magill, now director of the Swannanoa Gathering, for a decade in the '70s and '80s. They toured all over the country on the college and festival circuits, including the Walnut Valley Festival in Kansas. Later on, Rick captained fishing boats in Key West for years, playing as a house band musician at Sloppy Joe's in the winters. He and his wife, Jo Stephens, returned to the Charlotte area a few years ago. Marilyn Price was trained in classical piano, but fell in love with stringband music as a teen in Charlotte. She founded the then Charlotte Folk Music Society in 1982 and taught the Old-Time Music Jam Class at CPCC for fourteen years. Rick and Marilyn met up again after many years, began singing together, and decided they liked the sound. Both Jon and Marilyn are Charlotte Folk Society Heritage Award recipients.
As a solo artist, Susan Sherlock nurtures a calling that includes performing, composing, songwriting, and teaching. Since the late '90s, Susan has been invited to teach and perform hammered dulcimer at numerous music camps and festivals, including the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, the Cork Dulcimer Festival in Cork City, Ireland, and many others. She has published instructional articles for the hammered dulcimer on the Mel Bay webzine www.DulcimerSessions.com, including an article on composing last month. Susan released her third recording, A New Way Home, in April 2010, making her debut as a singer/songwriter. A former member of the CFS Board of Directors, she founded and directed the Yorkville Music Weekend in York, South Carolina. With an ever-expanding musical appetite, Susan has spent the last few years studying traditional Appalachian ballads and stories. She is also learning old-time fiddle and banjo. Visit her website at www.SusanSherlock.com.
The Dog Walkers is an amateur band that comes together to play honky-tonk music dating from about 1940 through 1970. About once a week, the group meets informally to swap songs, talk about different performers and styles, and enjoy music. Current members of the group are Tricia Campbell (keyboards), Tom Covington (electric bass, vocals), Steve Mullis (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Jennifer Stanton (banjo, vocals), Zach Thomas (guitar, vocals), Larry Tramer (lead guitar, vocals) and Ken Widis (guitar, vocals).
Mark Larson describes his day job as a therapist and therapist teacher as "very enjoyable work, but kind of serious." Playing music allows him to get in touch with a different part of himself. Some people talk about an inner child. Mark says that music helps him connect with his "inner ham." He started college as a music major and has practiced various instruments over the years, as part of his own therapy of composing and arranging band music in his brain. He and his wife have two daughters. Their older daughter, Marie, has wowed Folk Society audiences with her vocals on several occasions. For this showcase, Mark will be singing a couple of '70s folk anthems by Bill Staines and Joni Mitchell and accompanying himself on fingerstyle guitar.
Too Wet to Plow is an old-time stringband that plays music steeped in the history of the southern Appalachians, dating back to the time of the Civil War. It is comprised of Josh Campbell on banjo, Pam Englebert on guitar, Michael Plumley on upright bass, and Chris Sekerak on fiddle. Josh Campbell is winner of the 2012 CFS Spencer-Bryant Adult Scholarship to the Swannanoa Gathering. The band has been playing together for three years and performs every Wednesday at 7 PM at The Philosophers Stone Tavern, 1958 East 7th Street, in Charlotte, as well as other venues. Sample their performances at http://www.reverbnation.com/toowettoplow!
Hem and Haw is the duo of Tom Phlegar, on banjo and washtub bass, and Ken Hutchins, on guitar. They perform free concerts of old-time, gospel, and patriotic songs at churches and community events, such as Festival in the Park. Hem and Haw can be heard on radio station KORN every Saturday morning from 6:45 to a quarter of seven. Expect to laugh with Hem and Haw!
The Blue Ridge Xpress is a bluegrass group that evolved from the Queen City Beginner Bluegrass Jam that meets twice a month at the Asbury Care Center at Aldersgate. Members include Damon Postle - banjo, Greg Clarke - mandolin, Bill Hughes - guitar, and Scott VanHatten - bass. Greg and Damon had been jamming together at Asbury and at the Catawba River Bluegrass Association for about a year. Scott and Bill showed up at Asbury in January and the four decided to form a band. They play some traditional bluegrass music, newgrass favorites, and a few covers of rock tunes. The band is quite busy building their repertoire, playing open mics, private parties, and are booking a few clubs around town. They say, "We'll play for anybody who will give us a listen." The group continues to support and attend the jam groups at Asbury and Catawba.
Carol Raedy grew up in southwest Virginia where she sang with her mother and sisters and in the church choir. She played drums and xylophone in her high school band and found the hammered dulcimer to be a perfect fit, because she could drum and play a melody at the same time. She enjoys playing songs with pretty melodies and fun rhythms. Carol teaches music lessons and classes in singing, fiddle, hammered dulcimer, and ukulele. She is a past winner of the Spencer-Bryant Scholarship to the Swannanoa Gathering. Visit her website: www.carolraedy.com.
The Cloers are John and Cate Cloer, an award winning, husband and wife acoustic duo. Influenced by folk, rock, pop, and country, their songs display an engaging blend of strong pop melodies and tight harmonies, supported by Cate's crystalline country-rock vocals and John's percussive acoustic guitar style. Known for their pensive lyrics and well-crafted songs, The Cloers continue to excite their listeners by combining passion for writing with enthusiasm for storytelling and live performance. They are recipients of an Arts & Science Council Regional Artist Project Grant, were named Charlotte Music Awards Best Singer-Songwriter, and, recently, they have been selected as featured performing songwriters in the NC Arts Council's Touring Artist Directory for 2012-2014. Cate and John will soon be entering the studio to record their debut CD, to be released in late 2012. Visit their website and sample their music at www.thecloers.com.
Forrest Lee Arnold is a multi-instrumentalist whose musical excursions range from playing fiddle at the Carolina Renaissance Festival to occasionally busking in uptown Charlotte. Lee has been categorized as a singer-songwriter. He warns us not to be fooled - he's not really a singer; his avocation is songwriting. Lee has been composing songs and accompanying himself on his guitar since the mid 1970s. His writing style is in the tradition of the poet Anonymous. Unrecognized within his lifetime, Lee remains undaunted in his quest for fame and fortune. Lee instructs us to not clap along, trying to help him keep time while he performs, as it will only prove frustrating and unsatisfying. You are, on the other hand, encouraged to sing along with the lyrical refrains. Really, no kidding - it'll be fun!
Folk Society fathers and sons David and Avery McGuirt and David and Davy Fee will be joined by friend (and new CFS member) Scot Wise for a pair of Gypsy Jazz instrumentals in the style of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli. Both young men are past winners of the Marilyn Meacham Price Scholarship to the Swannanoa Gathering and both serve as CFS Junior Board members. David McGuirt is a past winner of the Spencer-Bryant Scholarship. Enjoy the authentic Hot Club of France lineup featuring three Gypsy guitars, violin, and upright bass in a musical genre rarely heard at CFS Gatherings. D'accord!
Eddie Ferrell has been a member of Carolina Pro Musica since 1979. The ensemble specializes in the performance of chamber music from the Baroque period of music history, usually dated from around 1600 to 1750. They often perform music from the Medieval and Renaissance periods, also. With this group, Eddie usually plays recorder and baroque flute, and, occasionally, guitar and mandolin. A few years ago, Carolina Pro Musica did a concert of 18th century music from England and Scotland that included some arrangements of songs by Robert Burns. These songs made a deep impression on Eddie and he has since performed many of them in my own arrangements for voice and guitar. He will play two of these songs for the Members' Showcase. One will be Auld Lang Syne, set to the tune that originally accompanied it when first published by Robert Burns. This tune was recently heard in the movie version of Sex And The City. Learn more about Eddie Ferrell and Carolina Pro Musica at www.carolinapromusica.org.
CFS 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.