Come learn about traditional instruments during the annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival in West Plains, Mo.  The Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, June 2 and 3. Musical workshops will be held in Dogwood 1 at the West Plains Civic Center both days.

This year’s Festival footprint is expanded, encompassing vendors and activities from the east lawn of the Civic Center, down Trish Knight Blvd., including events on Washington Avenue, on Trish Knight St., and up to the Commons on the Missouri State University-West Plains campus at Haas-Darr Hall. Admission to all festival events is free.

Workshop topics, presenters, and times are listed to help your planning for the two-day event.

Ozark Traditions of Old-Time Fiddling – Shortleaf Band – Friday, noon

The Shortleaf Band is a duet based in the Southern Missouri Ozark’s. Michael and Tenley Fraser have immersed themselves into the culture, and traditional music of the “Scots Irish” who became the first to settle the region.

Michael, an original member of the Shortleaf Band was instrumental in the founding of the “Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.” He served as an apprentice to the late Bob Holt of Ava learning how to

perform Ozark Square Dance Music on the fiddle. He is also the author of the CD titled “Fiddles and Forests” that was produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation, as well as musical director on the CD “Voices of the Hills” also produced by MDC.

Tenley is a former musical stage performer who has moved into the folk music genre. She lived in Kansas City most of her life and has been performing for The Shortleaf Band since 2005. A singer/songwriter with a folksy alto voice; she plays keyboards, guitar, fiddle, and mandolin.

They will be joined by bassist Lonnie Jones and will be performing on a variety of stringed instruments including fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and others as they weave a musical tapestry showcasing traditional and contemporary music from the Ozarks.

Musical Saw – Duane Porterfield – Friday, 1PM

Eerie, weird, beautiful, horrible; Just a few of the words used to describe the “music” of the saw.  Duane Porterfield has been playing the musical saw for several years now and has recently added a teaching class to his workshop schedule.

So, what do you need to get the most out of this class?  First of all you need a saw. Duane learned on a Stanley. Most of those you find in a hardware store these days are short with plastic handles. Duane recommends you search antique stores or flea markets that offer the older style saws with longer blades, preferably 26-28”.  Musical saws are available and are much more expensive. The difference is that a musical saw’s teeth are straight rather than staggered and the blades are typically longer for a greater note range.  So if you invest in a good flexible carpenter saw, to learn on, and later discover that the music of the saw is not in your future, well, you still have a saw to build a dog house with.

Next you need a bow. Again, look for a cheap fiddle, cello or bass bow.  Even a child size bow will work. The workshop will have a limited number available.  Rosin will be provided for the class.  The main focus of the workshop will be dedicated to learning the technique used to produce musical notes on the saw.  Arranging those notes into a tune depends largely on the musical ear of the player.  If you can hum a tune, you should be able to play a tune with a little practice.  So come join the fun.  Every band needs a saw player, kinda..

Ozark Ballads – Julie Henigan – Friday, 2PM

Julie Henigan presents an Ozarks songs and ballads workshop. She will illustrate and discuss songs ranging from narrative ballads to brush arbor hymns, to minstrel era songs. Julie Henigan grew up in Springfield, Mo., with old-time music on her doorstep.  Famed fiddler Art Galbraith lived a block away, the Max Hunter Song Collection was at the nearby library, and music parties were just a short drive away.  Other musical influences from the Ozarks have included Almeda Riddle, Glenn Ohrlin and Bob Holt.

Known for her unerring command of the distinct, but related, idioms of Southern American and traditional Irish music, Julie sings and plays finger-style guitar, clawhammer banjo, mountain dulcimer, and fiddle – instruments she uses for both song accompaniments and solo pieces.

Folk Rhythms – Keith Symanowitz – Friday, 3PM

Learn how to play the spoons, jig dance and more at this year’s Old Time Music & Heritage Festival! Keith Symanowitz is an accomplished jig dancer, award-winning singer, musician, and folk percussionist. Keith plays percussion for The Creek Rocks and works as a Park Interpreter at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas where he often teaches folk dance and percussion for all ages and ability levels.

Harmonica – Seth Shumate – Friday, 4PM

Seth Shumate is an Arkansas native whose grandfather and great-grandmother played the harmonica or “french harp” in the Ozarks.  Shumate said he acquired the habit in the seventh grade.  Since then, he has played and studied the history of old-time harmonica and specializes in the fiddle-tune, country blues, and jug band styles of the harmonica masters of the 1920s-30s.  He has played at this very festival as a member of the string bands Shout Lulu and The Ozark Highballers. 

Seth will give a presentation on the old-time harmonica techniques needed to transform a skinny melody into a wall of sound.   

Beginning Dulcimer – Cleo Cockrum and Naomi Saunders – Saturday, 11:30AM

Cockrum and her daughter Naomi Saunders will share tips on learning the dulcimer. Twenty-five beginner instruments have been purchased by West Plains Council on the Arts for this purpose and will be available to the first who claim them.

Cockrum bought her first dulcimer in Ohio in the 90s because her young daughter, Naomi, was introduced to it and learned to play a song at a festival booth. They played together for several years.

Dulcimer playing had taken a back seat for other life ventures, but now they have started again, including Naomi’s daughter, Kay. “Now we have 3 generations that sit around and have fun with our at-home jam sessions. The other grand kids (as young as 4) enjoy strumming along with us,” says Cleo.

Mountain Dulcimer – Duane Porterfield – Saturday, noon

Duane Porterfield is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist. In 1997 he entered the Mountain Music Shop in Shawnee, Kansas and was introduced to the mountain dulcimer.  He recalled as a young child watching his great grandfather strumming on a similar stringed box with a stick and feather.  Duane left the music shop that day with his first mountain dulcimer failing to realize the impact this instrument would have on his life.  “The mountain dulcimer has been the medicine that relieves my headache, has taken me back to a simpler time, and has introduced me to some of my closest friends,” he says.

Retiring in 2013, Cindi and Duane moved to their Arkansas home where they volunteer at the many various festivals in the region and at The Ozark Folk Center State Park.  Duane now spends much of his time as a regular performer and emcee at the Folk Center’s live shows.  He also assists with sales, promotions, and the creation of McSpadden Dulcimers in Mountain View.

“I want those attending my workshops to be able to take only what they need from my classes and combine it with what they can use from other instructors and/or resources to develop their own style and uniqueness with the mountain dulcimer.  Then share your music.  There’s room for us all.”  Duane Porterfield  

Little Dixie Fiddlin’ –John P. Williams – Saturday, 1PM

One of the foremost Missouri old-time fiddlers playing today, John P. Williams has played the fiddle over 30 years. He first caught the “fiddle bug” at age seven inspired by the “fiddling I heard growing up at the local fiddle contests my family would take me to.” He grew up and still lives in northeast Missouri on his family’s farm located in rural Monroe County. Central and northeast Missouri is home to the distinctive regional old time fiddle style known as Little Dixie; generally characterized by long bow strokes, an emphasis on clear notes and melodies, frequent double stops, and accenting all of which produce a driving quality to the tunes.

From ages 9-17, John attended Bethel Fiddle Camp held annually in Bethel, MO and learned from “some of the finest Missouri fiddlers to ever draw a bow;” Pete McMahan, Taylor McBaine, Johnny Bruce, Vesta Johnson, Dwight Lamb, Charlie Walden and Bob Holt to name only a few. In 1998, then sixteen, he had “a once in lifetime opportunity” to apprentice with the legendary Little Dixie and contest fiddler Pete McMahan in Missouri’s Traditional Apprenticeship Program. Pete was and is a significant influence on John. John learned Pete’s amazing bowing technique and many of his rare and unique tunes. Since then, like all great fiddlers, John has developed his own style and picked up many more tunes through the years.

John teaches regularly as a master fiddler at the same Bethel Fiddle Camp he once attended. He has been selected four times as a master artist in Missouri’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, one of the youngest masters chosen in the programs over 30-year-old history. As John simply and directly puts it, “I want to play and pass on the traditional tunes that have been played in our state for generations.”

Clawhammer Banjo – Van Colbert – Saturday, 2PM

Van Colbert – Old-time music has been a family tradition for generations for Colbert Brothers Leon, Van, and Vernon, all of whom hail from Willow Springs, Mo. “Mom and Dad instilled in us the love of their music, and to this day we play, sing and remember,” said Van, who is known for his unique “two-finger” roll style on banjo.

TColbert’s father, Joseph Truett, who was named for a famous turn-of-the-century minister, taught himself to play a banjo he built by stretching a groundhog skin over the hoop for a head. He taught Van’s older brothers to chord the guitar and enjoyed playing along once they could carry a tune.

Folk Rhythms – Keith Symanowitz – Saturday, 3PM

Learn how to play the spoons, jig dance and more at this year’s Old Time Music & Heritage Festival! Keith Symanowitz is an accomplished jig dancer, award-winning singer, musician, and folk percussionist. Keith plays percussion for The Creek Rocks and works as a Park Interpreter at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas where he often teaches folk dance and percussion for all ages and ability levels.

Verified by MonsterInsights