Swannanoa Gathering offers 7 diverse public concerts

Special to The Black Mountain News

The campus of Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa serves as the home for the college’s program in continuing education, the Swannanoa Gathering, a series of week-long workshops in the folk arts, which draws students from as far away as Japan, Australia, France and Hong Kong for classes in everything from fiddle to clogging to storytelling. Some of its programs feature public concerts by staff members in the College’s Kittredge Theatre.

All shows begin at 7:30 pm in the college’s Kittredge Theatre. Tickets are $22 per concert (during Old-Time Week, ticket price includes dances following concerts). Children under 12 are $11. Limited tickets are available in Black Mountain at Song of the Wood, at the Warren Wilson College bookstore, in Asheville at Malaprops Bookstore and at the door. Check or cash only. For concert info, call 828-771-3761.

Traditional Song Week’s Concert I on Monday, July 10, features Ciarán Sheehan, who played the leading role in Boadway’s Phantom of the Opera; Cathy Jordan, lead singer with the Irish supergroup, Dervish; folk balladeer Matt Watroba; noted Madison Co. musician Josh Goforth; blues scholar Rev. Robert Jones; and Nashville fiddlers and vocalists Brian and Nicole Christianson.

Traditional Song Week’s Concert II on Wednesday, July 12, will feature Irish singer and storyteller Len Graham; National Heritage Award winner Sheila Kay Adams; Reggie Harris, presenting freedom songs from the Afro-American tradition; Broadway singer Karl Skully; Grand Ole Opry stalwart Tim May; gospel singer Kathy Bullock; week coordinator Julee Glaub Weems; and old-time country musician Mark Weems. The emcee for both concerts will be Fiona Ritchie, the host of NPR’s “The Thistle & Shamrock.”

Old-Time Week Concert I, Monday, July 24 is the first of two concerts featuring some of the best old-time musicians around, many of whom are familiar faces around Western North Carolina. The first concert features fiddlers Kirk Sutphin and Kenny Jackson, week coordinator Erynn Marshall, singer and storyteller Sheila Kay Adams, the New Southern Ramblers, legendary singer Greg and Jere Canote, Carl Jones, Joe Newberry, dulcimer master Don Pedi, James and Vivian Leva and clogger Rodney Sutton.

Old-Time Week Concert II, on Wednesday, July 20 will feature fiddlers Dan Gellert, Earl White and Rafe and Clelia Stefanini, autoharpist John Hollandsworth, dancers Ellie Grace and Thomas Maupin (accompanied by his grandson Daniel Rockwell), singer Kari Sickenberger, Ron Pen, Dave Keenan, Ben Nelson and Susie Goehring.

Fiddle/Mando & Banjo Weeks Concert I on Monday, Aug. 1 is the first of three concerts combining the staffs of Fiddle Week with Mando & Banjo Week, featuring some of the world’s finest fiddle, mandolin and banjo players covering a variety of ethnic traditions. The first show will feature the wide-ranging music of mandolin virtuoso Mike Marshall, banjo legends Tony Trischka and Country Gazette’s Alan Munde, old-time fiddler Kilby Spenser, classical music from mandolinist Caterina Lichtenberg, Celtic fiddlers Laura Risk and Liz Knowles, blues mandolinist Rich DelGrosso, bluegrass fiddler Matt Combs, and the innovative music of mandolinists John Reischman and Matt Flinner.

The Fiddle/Mando & Banjo Weeks Concert II on Tuesday, Aug. 2 features Beausoleil’s Grammy-winning fiddler Michael Doucet, the dazzling and eclectic multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven, old-time duo Paul Brown and Terri McMurray, guitar/mandolin player David Surette, Québécois fiddler Pascal Gemme; swing greats Don Stiernberg and Greg Ruby, bassist Kevin Kehrberg, contradance fiddler Laura Lengnick and Fiddle Week coordinator Julia Weatherford.

The series concludes on Wednesday, Aug. 3, when Fiddle/Mando & Banjo Weeks Concert III will highlight a lineup of great players featuring jazz fiddle great Christian Howes, bluegrass mandolinists Alan Bibey and Mike Compton, “world music” fiddler Eden MacAdam-Somer, banjo innovator Bill Evans, old-time fiddler Emily Schaad, eclectic cellist Malcolm Parson, bluegrass-and-more fiddler Alex Hargreaves, Mexican fiddler Paul Anastasio and bluegrass guitarist Ed Dodson.

The Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops run from July 9-Aug. 12 at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa. Tuition is $540 per week. Housing and meals are available for $425 per week. Registration for each week is limited. For more and a free catalog, call The Swannanoa Gathering at (828) 298-3434, or 771-3761. Or visit the gathering’s website at swangathering.com.