Instructional Workshops

All Instrument Workshops will now be located on the Front Porch of the Farmhouse.

Dance Workshops in the Dance Tent.

Fiddle with Erynn Marshall, Friday 5pm

photo by Susi Lawson

We’re so grateful to Erynn for jumping in at the last minute to fill this spot! Taking a detour from NC to WV, she will be teaching WV Fiddling: The Life and Music of Melvin Wine. Melvin was born April 20, 1909, in Stout’s Run, Braxton County, West Virginia to a long line of fiddlers and ballad singers. He received National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, and played fiddle well into his 90’s. Melvin was a mentor to Erynn, and she learned much about music and life from years of visits. In this class we will share stories and Erynn will play some of Melvin’s tunes including ones from his family, the Civil War, minstrelsy, and African-American traditions. Erynn will teach Cold Frosty Morning – one of his signature fiddle tunes (with bowing and ornaments) that was passed down in Melvin’s family and is the only known source of this unusual version.

Erynn Marshall is an old-time fiddler who lives in Galax, Virginia and is known internationally for her traditional music. Erynn learned the nuances of Appalachian old-time fiddling from rare recordings and visiting 80-95 year-old southern fiddlers. Still she puts her own spin on the traditional music she plays – sounding authentic, archaic and transportive while playing in a smooth and effortless way. Erynn performs at festivals, teaches at music camps around the globe, and tours with her husband, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Carl Jones. Her tunes are becoming common repertoire in fiddle circles. She was the first woman to ever win 1st place fiddle at Clifftop,  has recorded six albums and appeared in five films, and is the coordinator for Swannanoa Old-Time Week.

Mandolin with Tony Williamson, Friday 6pm

2018 North Carolina Heritage Award recipient Tony Williamson is a visionary musician, composer, musical instrument expert, teacher and mentor.  Born and raised right here in the rural Piedmont, he has been playing mandolin, and other stringed instruments, for six decades, and has been receiving awards and honors for his music for nearly 50 of those years.

The latest recordings by Tony include his solo “Lloyd Loar Mandolins,” and with his brother Gary and an all-star band, the Williamson Brothers’ “Bluegrass!” His touring has taken him to almost every state in the union, as well as countries around the world playing with greats like Alison Krauss, Chris Thile, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Bobby Hicks, Tony Rice, Vassar Clements and David Grisman, to name but a few. “Quite simply, what Tony Williamson doesn’t know about mandolin is probably not worth knowing. As a player, collector, dealer, historian and mandolin community activist, Williamson has helped keep the mandolin’s great American legacy alive while uplifting and encouraging generations of modern players. From bluegrass, to classical, pop and other forms, Tony Williamson is a national treasure.” (–David Ryoko of the Chicago Tribune)

Bring your mandolin to this special workshop and learn from a master musician!

Fiddle with Joe Thrift, Saturday 4pm

Our 2018 featured Master Musician, Joe Thrift, does not usually teach fiddle playing workshops, generally reserving his tutelage for the art of violin making, so we are very excited that he will be doing so at Hoppin’ John this year. Joe studied violin making at the Newark School of Violin Making in Newark-On-Trent, England. After graduating in the 1970s, he moved back home to the Winston-Salem area and opened a fiddle shop. As he became more interested in playing the instrument, he made regular visits to Tommy Jarrell’s house near Mount Airy, learning a host of tunes from Jarrell, as well as an approach to playing.
“I play the notes they way they sound to me,” he says. “I like driving fiddle with hard-driving but simple guitar playing.” With four decades of experience playing and composing original fiddle tunes, we are honored to offer this rare workshop… bring your fiddle and learn a Joseph Thrift original tune from Joe, himself.

Banjo with Frank Lee & Allie Burbrink Lee,

Saturday 1pm

Bring your 5-string banjo for clawhammer instruction with Frank and Allie Lee! Beginners and intermediate folks will join Allie for an introduction to tuning, the basic strum, playing along in a jam, easy “licks and tricks”, and a tune or three, too. Intermediate and advanced players will join Frank for techniques including drop thumb, using the 5th string melodically, alternate string pull-offs, and playing up the neck. Tunes using these and other techniques will be taught. If time and interest allows, Frank and Allie can also demonstrate arranging and playing a piece for two banjos.

Harmony with the South Carolina Broadcasters, Saturday 11:30am

Stars of the Lowe Vintage Radio Show, and masters of primitive bluegrass, The South Carolina Broadcasters’ razor sharp harmonies and exceptional multi-instrumentation keep listeners riveted to their seats. This unique trio has put their own spin on the music of the foothills.  Their recent release “Tell Me Truly” features a broad and mature mix of sounds ranging from Surry County bluegrass to Carter Family country and even the Cajun sounds of Lafayette.

In this workshop, they will draw a song or two from the traditional repertoire, e.g., Carter Family and old hymnal, and examine and explain how to find and hear harmony lines in different styles of songs. This program is suited for all levels of singers.

Flatfooting Dance Workshop, Friday 4:30pm

20160707_111326Come ready for fun and exercise! Flatfooting is a percussive dance form – your feet beat the drum. In this workshop, we will explore freestyle flatfooting to old time music, practice finding the rhythm of a tune, learns some simple flatfooting steps and practice “playing the tune” with those steps. Jan Gittelman leads this instructional workshop to live music. Wear smooth soled shoes if you can, and bring a towel and water bottle, because we are going to sweat! Located in the Dance Tent.

Clogging with The Green Grass Cloggers, Saturday 11:45am

Inspired by traditional mountain-style clogging teams, but more influenced by older flatfoot29827851680_c76c521375_q
and buck dancers, North Carolina’s premier clogging group has been kicking up their collective heels for over forty years, and together have developed an original, eclectic style. Unlike the traditional “big-set” mountain square dance figures, they use choreography based on four-couple western square dance figures in short energetic routines. Stop by and learn some basic clogging steps and more advanced moves, as well.  Located in the Dance Tent.

Kids’ Clogging Workshop, Friday 6pm

_sajf_august_21__2009_376Jen Hughes has been kicking up her heels as a traditional clogger for over 37 years, having learned from her third grade teacher at Carrboro Elementary School. In 2003, she joined the Apple Chill Cloggers and has enjoyed dancing for audiences locally and abroad. When she’s not dancing, she’s teaching 6-9 year olds at Willow Oak Montessori School. In this workshop you will learn several clogging steps including the basic, single, chug and lifts, and if there’s enough time, we can put some steps together for an easy routine, which you can show off in the Kids Dance Contest later in the afternoon!