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The Charlotte Folk Society wraps up its 32nd Gathering season on Friday, June 13th, with a Members’ Showcase Concert in the beautiful listening room of the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in the edge of Uptown Charlotte. This free concert highlights both the variety and depth of talent among our member musicians. They perform in a range of genres, but they have in common a passion and joy for the music they play.
Come at 7 PM to enjoy a thirty-minute performance by the Community Singers of Charlotte, a non-auditioned intergenerational folk chorus whose goal is to build community and promote peace through music. Founded by Carol Raedy, the choir will be led on this occasion by Dale Brock. Visit the website at http://communitysongleaders.org for more information, if you would be interested in joining Community Singers.
We appreciate all these performers giving their time to make this concert possible.
Matthew Alexander began playing guitar at the age of eight, and started writing songs at fifteen. He was active in the Cambridge and New York folk music scenes in the ‘60s and ‘70s, where he opened for Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen. His songs have aired on commercial and non-commercial radio, as well as public television in the United States and Canada. He has released five critically acclaimed CDs of original songs on his label, Caravan Records. A sixth, Three Minute Movie, will be released later this year. Visit his website at www.alexandertunes.com.
Alan Davis was born in Houston in 1946 and lived mostly in East Texas until moving to Oklahoma in 1970. His musical interests were stimulated at an early age by an aunt who gave him a subscription to musical recordings. His first instrument was a harmonica, which he would play while walking to grade school. He had a year of accordion lessons, prior to a brief career in little league baseball and model airplanes. In high school he learned guitar and was enthralled by the music of Joan Baez and others in the folk revival. Alan built a banjo and learned from Pete Seeger's book on the banjo. He played with several informal groups through adulthood, and joined the Falderal String Band while living in Oklahoma City. This group was part of a Touring Artist Program sponsored by the State Arts Council, and performed throughout the state, and at cultural events and music festivals in other states and countries, including once to Mexico and twice to folk festivals in Australia. Alan moved to Charlotte in 2005 and has been an active Folk Society member ever since. He leads the Old-Time Slow Jam at CFS Gatherings, as well as the Slow Celtic Jam on second Sundays at Aldersgate.
David Fee is probably best known in CFS circles as the father of junior board member Davy Fee. David Senior has accompanied his son at many CFS events such as the Youth Showcase, Members’ Showcase, Festival In The Park, and our Folk Jubilee at the Evening Muse. For this year’s Members’ Showcase, David steps out on his own for a solo Celtic piece on octave mandolin. (He’s understandably excited about the appearance of Celtic hero Andy Irvine the following night at the Wedgewood Church.) David typically divides his time between the mandolin and standup bass on a variety of (mostly instrumental) musical styles from down-to-grits to highfalutin’. He is the 2013 winner of the CFS Spencer-Bryant Swannanoa Gathering adult scholarship for which he attended Mandolin Week. A social worker by training, David works by day in child protective services and by night in domestic violence prevention.
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 Lemonds Family Band has been playing bluegrass together since 2009. Sarah is the youngest at fourteen and has played the fiddle since 2004. She has competed in fiddlers’ conventions in the summer and won several blue ribbons for her fiddling talents. This past weekend, Sarah captured the title of Junior Fiddling Champion at Fiddler’s Grove! Vance is sixteen and has played the mandolin since 2003. He has also won competitions and broken countless strings. Clint is nineteen and plays the banjo and guitar, as well as singing. Sarah, Vance, and Clint are backed up by their mother, Christi, on guitar and vocals, and their dad, Gerald, on upright bass and vocals. The band has released a CD, The Lemonds Family Debut.
Melissa Mummert and Greg Clarke perform original material as well as other material. Melissa may be best known as founder of Second Helping, a local restaurant and catering company that creates jobs for women with criminal records. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and long-time advocate for the incarcerated and their families, Melissa picked up a guitar for the first time about ten years ago. She then discovered a passion for song writing and aspires to write songs that capture the raw, real beauty and humor that is our human experience. In 2013, Melissa celebrated the release of her first CD, Ready, produced by Si Kahn.
Greg Clarke met Melissa at a songwriter’s workshop about a year ago and helped her assemble a band after her CD release party at The Evening Muse. He plays keyboard and bass in the band. He is also involved with Second Helping. Greg played folk, bluegrass, and rock music in high school back in the ‘60s. An Alison Krauss performance on PBS re-awakened his interest in bluegrass. He played mandolin in the bluegrass group Blue Ridge Xpress for two years and currently plays guitar in a bluegrass gospel group, Gray Grass Band, at the First Baptist Church of Matthews. Greg worked in manufacturing and Information Technology for 30 years and taught Computer Science for ten years at Myers Park High School, until he retired last year. He founded the Myers Park Blue Grass Club and continues as sponsor of the group.
New Morning Sky features a mix of original, contemporary, and traditional songs by singer-songwriters Ed Stokes (guitar and banjo) and Rosanna Stokes (fiddle). Ed and Rosanna are both native Charlotteans, and they have been playing and singing bluegrass and acoustic music for many years. One of their first bands, Morning Sky, frequently performed around Charlotte in the 1980s. After day jobs took them to New York, they formed the bluegrass band Heartwood, a fixture on the upstate coffeehouse and festival circuit in the 1990s. Since returning to Charlotte a few years ago, Ed and Rosanna are currently enjoying working up new songs, as well as playing and singing with friends old and new.
John Renwick and Mark Willingham are both accomplished Appalachian dulcimer players. They have performed together at several festivals and other events. John is a co-founder of the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club. He’s a regular at area fiddler’s conventions and dulcimer festivals and has won competitions at Mount Airy, Galax, and Fiddler’s Grove, and he was the North Carolina State Champion in 2000. You can find him playing for “anyone who will listen.” John gives private dulcimer lessons and plays in both a bluegrass band and an old-time band.
Mark has been coordinator of the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club for several years, performing with the club at Festival in the Park, nursing homes, Christmas shows, and various other community events. He first heard the dulcimer in elementary school. In college, he took a class in building and playing dulcimers. He has done both ever since, recently completing his 62nd dulcimer. In addition to the dulcimer, Mark plays the mandolin. He frequently plays at his church. An engineer, Mark lives in Charlotte with his wife and teenage twins.
Cindy Thomson, a native Charlottean, has loved to sing all of her life. In 2010, her first album was released, The Sweet Things in Life. She included some of her favorite jazz standards guaranteed to lift your spirits. Cindy is happily retired and continues to sing every chance she gets.
The Dog Walkers is an amateur band that comes together to play ‘60s folk and 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. Active members of the group are Alan Davis (accordion, fiddle) Dennis Frost (guitar, vocals)), Tom Covington (electric bass, vocals), Jack Hopkins (mandolin, guitar), Jennifer Stanton (banjo, vocals), Zach Thomas (guitar, vocals), Ken Widis (guitar, vocals), and Larry Tramer (lead guitar, vocals).
The Work Release String Band, comprised of Mike Kowalski (fiddle), Angela Watts (banjo/vocals), John Watts (guitar/vocals), and Julie McConnell (bass), plays Appalachian style mountain music. They have performed together for more than ten years at fiddler’s conventions, local farmers markets, Historic Rural Hill Farm, pig pickings, wedding receptions, and Festival in the Park and other Charlotte Folk Society events, Mike has played fiddle for more than 25 years and says that he started as a rebellion fiddler to embarrass his parents. Julie flirted with the fiddle before settling on the upright bass and the penny whistle. Angela discovered clawhammer style banjo 30 years ago at a CFS festival and immediately abandoned the guitar. John has played guitar since high school. He is a founding member of the Charlotte Folk Society and was a member of the Mallard Creek String Band, which played at the first CFS meeting. The band can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
Monthly second-Friday Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to holding Gatherings in the Great Aunt Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, a slow old-time music jam, other open jam sessions, and the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club follow the hour-long concert; visitors are welcome to join in or simply listen.
Elizabeth Avenue is now open to local traffic, but only from the Kings Drive intersection. Free parking is available in the Mecklenburg County parking deck on 4th Street, between Kings Drive and McDowell Street. Enter the deck either directly from 4th Street or from the Great Aunt Stella Center parking lot. Exit from back of deck on foot to the Stella Center. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the building. Drivers with passengers needing accessible entry may park temporarily in reserved spaces near the ground floor door; a volunteer will assist their passengers into the building.
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.