Appalachian Family Folk Gathering

The 42nd annual Gathering will take place June 3-6, 2019. 

Hindman Settlement School’s Appalachian Family Folk Gathering provides an opportunity for members of our community and guests from all around the world to share in a week of traditional Appalachian music, dance, crafts, storytelling, instrument playing, and special children’s activities. Our goal is to promote awareness of the region’s rich cultural heritage and to pass along these treasured, traditional skills to younger generations.

Registration & Fees

Registration & Fees

Registration Fee: $275 per adult, $150 per child
Includes all workshops, concerts, and dances (additional fees may apply for woodworking session); three nights lodging; and all meals beginning with dinner on Monday through breakfast on Thursday (except for dinner on Tuesday which is on-your-own at the Market).

The Settlement offers dormitory and cottage-style housing. Two, and occasionally more, people will share a room. All meals are on campus at the Settlement. Our kitchen accommodates vegetarian diets. For more information on accommodations, click the “About Campus” tab.

Click here to register today!

Tentative Schedule

Tentative Schedule

Monday, June 3
3:00pm Registration/Check-In Gathering Place
6:00pm Dinner Mullins Center-Dining Hall
7:00pm Welcome & Introductions Mullins Center-Great Hall
8:00pm Folk Dance Mullins Center-Great Hall
Tuesday, June 4
7:15am Coffee Available Mullins Center- Dining Hall
7:30am Ron-Chi (tai-chi) with Ron Pen McLain Chapel
8:00am Breakfast Mullins Center-Dining Hall
8:45am Writing In Place, Part 1: Anticipation (Wildsmith) TBD
9:30am Morning Sing with the Ritchies Mullins Center- Great Hall
10:30am Concurrent Session I
Appalachian Foodways: Cornbread Circle
Appalachian Dancing & Play Party Games
Various Locations
12:00pm Lunch / Celebration of Lee & Opal Sexton Mullins Center-Dining Hall
1:30pm Concurrent Session II
String Band Jam* (Gleaves & Dansereau)
Wedge & Edge Woodworking (Ratliff)
Salty Dog Rag/Other Dances (Bischoff)*
Campus Tour*
Various Locations
3:00pm Concurrent Session III
Traditional Games (Bledsoe & D’Elia)
Shape Note Singing (Pen)
Various Locations
4:00pm Tuesdays on Troublesome
Farmer’s market, traditional music and song from Folk Gathering musicians, and dinner (on-your-own) from vendors
Young Outdoor Classroom
4:00pm Writing In Place, Part II: Realization (Wildsmith) TBD
7:00pm Evening Concert:
Tribute to the Ritchie Family
Mullins Center-Great Hall
8:00pm Folk Dance Mullins Center- Great Hall
Wednesday, June 5
7:15am Coffee Available Mullins Center- Dining Hall
7:30am Ron-Chi (tai-chi) with Ron Pen McLain Chapel
8:00am Breakfast Mullins Center-Dining Hall
8:45am Writing In Place, Part III: Reflection (Wildsmith) TBD
9:30am Morning Sing with the Ritchies Mullins Center- Great Hall
10:30am Concurrent Session I
Appalachian Foodways: Farm Tour
Appalachian Dancing & Play Party Games
Various Locations
12:00pm Lunch Mullins Center-Dining Hall
1:30pm Concurrent Session II
String Band Jam* (Gleaves & Dansereau)
Wedge & Edge Woodworking (Ratliff)
Salty Dog Rag/Other Dances (Bischoff)*
Various Locations
2:30pm Writing In Place, Part IV: Epilogue (Wildsmith) TBD
3:00pm Concurrent Session III
Traditional Games (Bledsoe & D’Elia)
Shape Note Singing (Pen)
Various Locations
4:30pm Traditional Singing with Rich Kirby & Cari Norris Mullins Center-Great Hall
5:30pm Dinner Mullins Center-
Dining Hall
7:00pm Evening Concert:
Folk Gathering Participants
Mullins Center- Great Hall
8:00pm Folk Dance Mullins Center- Great Hall
Thursday, June 6
8:00am Breakfast Mullins Center- Dining Hall
9:30am Folk Week 2020 Group Discussion Mullins Center- Great Hall
12:00pm Check-Out (unless staying for Seedtime)

Housing is available for an additional costs for participants wishing to take part in Seedtime on the Cumberland.

Sessions

Sessions

Appalachian Dancing and Play Party Games (Randy Wilson and Olivia Ford)

Come take part in the rich traditions of old time singing games, square dances and running sets from eastern Kentucky. All are welcome to participate and no previous experience is required.

Writing in Place (Dana Wildsmith)

This is a four-part extended writing prompt which will guide experienced as well as novice writers to more fully connect with the world of the Family Folk Gathering, the world of the Settlement School, and the world of eastern Kentucky. Each session will require only 20-30 minutes, but participants will come away from the gathering with the bones of a longer piece to be fully realized at home.

Traditional Games and Activities for all ages (Tommy Bledsoe and Joy D’Elia)

Back in the days before television, cell phones, and other electronic devices, people used what was around them for entertainment to pass the hours. Storytelling, play party games, string figures, finger plays, and rock painting are some of the timeless activities that people have engaged in over the years. No previous experience required, just a willingness to return to a time when folks created their own fun and art using the simple tool of imagination.

String Band Jam (Gabriel Dansereau and Sam Gleaves)

Musicians of all ages and levels of experience are welcome to join in this jam. We will play fiddle and banjo tunes from the Appalachian string band tradition and songs that we can all enjoy together. Bring any instrument that you play and hop in with us.

Shape-Note Singing (Ron Pen)

We will engage in musical and social harmony through the recreation of a rural 19th-century singing school. Singing from the Sacred Harp tune book (1991 edition), which features intoxicating harmonizations written in a unique four-shape notation of triangles, squares, circles, and diamonds makes learning to read music easy and enjoyable. The class will also weave in background historical and social context. The class will accommodate both total beginners and veteran singers. Books will be available to borrow for class use.

Wedge and Edge Carved from the Woods (Terry Ratliff)

Participants will carve items of folk art to enrich their creative confidence and serve for years. Forms to carve may consist of; trenware-spatula, spoon, spreader or a hiking staff, perhaps a gavel as intro to joinery. Roughed out stock will be carved to smooth finished art forms.

Traditional Singing (Rich Kirby & Cari Norris)

This all-too-short session will center on the many aspects of the mountain singing tradition—think gospel, ballads, Carter Family, mining songs, and more. The emphasis will be on songs people can sing together.

Salty Dog Rag & Other Old-Time Dances (Chris Bischoff)

We will enjoy learning the Salty Dog Rag, a dance for two, and other old-time dances.  All experience levels welcome! Everything will be taught.

Appalachian Foodways: Cornbread Circle (Jason Brashear)

We will share stories about cornbread and special family recipes, then step in the kitchen and make pones of cornbread together.

Morning Sing

Folk Gathering participants come together for fellowship and singing coordinated by the Ritchie nieces, who are carrying on the traditions of the Singing Family of the Cumberlands: Judy Hudson, Joy Powers, Susie Ritchie, and Patty Tarter.

Staff

Staff

Ron Pen is a performer and scholar of the music of the Appalachian region. A founding member of the Appalachian Association of Sacred Harp Singers, with whom he performed on A Prairie Home Companion, Ron is now Professor and Director Emeritus of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of I Wonder As I Wander, a biography of folk icon John Jacob Niles. Ron began fiddling forty-five years ago in Rockbridge County, VA and has since participated in various workshops and festivals across the region including Hindman Settlement School’s Folk Week, Augusta’s Old-Time and Singing weeks, Berea’s Christmas Dance School, and many times at Swannanoa. He has also performed music across the globe with the Red State Ramblers and recently shared shape note singing with Sufi chant in Lancashire, England.

https://youtu.be/V5AselxDauM

Chris Bischoff began to participate in folk activities such as storytelling, music, and dance, after beginning to study his family history and learning how to make moonshine whisky during high school. Since 1985, he has been involved with all types of American, English, and Scottish folk dance, with a primary focus on clogging, contras, morris and squares. His involvement has included dancing, organizing, performing, teaching and calling. Chris has called at dances, weekends and weeks throughout the U.S. and in Canada, Denmark, and Norway. He learned to play banjo with Lee Sexton while working as a professional storyteller at Blackacre Nature Preserve. Since 1986, he has performed as a free-lance storyteller/banjo-picker. He has a Bachelors Degree in Outdoor Recreation and a Masters Degree in Library Science.

Gabriel Dansereau is a jazz guitarist, composer/arranger, folk musician, and educator whom currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina. Gabriel grew up in the rich old-time/folk music tradition of the Appalachian Mountains where he learned to play the fiddle by rote at the age of 8. Using these skills, he began studying jazz at the age of 15. As a folk musician, Gabriel has performed at many events/camps in Kentucky including the Seedtime on the Cumberland music festival, Cowan Creek Mountain Music School, and Hindman Settlement School’s Family Folk Week. He has also performed for lecture classes with a focus in Appalachian Studies at the University of Kentucky, Davidson College and Centre College. Gabriel has a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

As a jazz musician, he has been a frequent performer at many venues. As an educator, Gabriel taught private guitar lessons through the organization Community Arts Collaborative (CAC) for 2 years. He has also taught guitar classes through CAC for after school programs dedicated to getting kids involved in the arts. In addition to this, Gabriel has worked with several local high school and middle school ensembles.

https://www.gwdansereaumusic.com/

The Ritchie Nieces are Judy Hudson, Joy Powers, Patty Tarter and Susie Ritchie, members of the Singing Family of the Cumberlands, who enjoy singing traditional  family songs and the songs written by their aunt, Jean Ritchie.

https://youtu.be/0gC3lg112FE

Dana Wildsmith’s poetry and prose are literally grounded in her place in the natural world. The poems of One Light, Wildsmith’s newest book, are set mostly on her family’s acreage in north Georgia during the time of her mother’s long dying from dementia. Wildsmith’s environmental memoir, Back to Abnormal, deals more specifically with living on an old farm within the ever-encroaching Atlanta region, and was Finalist for Georgia Author of the Year and \also won Wildsmith a stint as Artist-in-Residence for Grand Canyon National Park. Her novel, Jumping, explores the changing demographics of the U.S. southern border. Wildsmith has also worked as Artist-in-Residence for Devils Tower National Monument and Everglades National Park. She is a Hambidge Fellow and a Fellow of the South Carolina Academy of Poets.

http://www.danawildsmith.com/

Rich Kirby has been soaked in mountain music for longer than he cares to mention. It began in the lap of his grandmother Addie Graham, an outstanding Kentucky traditional singer. That started a lifelong involvement with the music—learning, performing, collecting, recording and teaching. Rich is a virtuosic fiddler, banjo player, and mandolinist who has served as news director for WMMT, Appalshop’s radio station. Rich has played and recorded with a number of bands including Wry Straw and Rich and Poor Folks, and has produced many albums for the June Appal label including a release of his grandmother’s music, Addie Graham: Been a Long Time Travelling. Rich is a founding member of the celebrated East Kentucky old time string band, Rich and the Po’ Folks, playing the full range of traditional mountain music– fiddle tunes, ballads, coal mining songs, Carter Family pieces, and contemporary mountain songs. The band’s repertoire comes from the members’ home territory of eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia, hot spots for one of America’s great musical traditions. They recorded the album When the Whistle Blew on the June Appal label in 2010. Rich lives in Dungannon, Virginia, across the hill from the homeplace of Fiddlin’ Cowan Powers.

https://youtu.be/Y0F0vaT3oN4

Cari Norris has been a student, teacher and performer of old-time music for 30 years. As a young child she was rocked and sung to by her maternal grandmother Lily May Ledford over many extended bedtime rituals. These precious memories instilled in her a deep and abiding love of mountain music very much connected to the love she had for her grandmother. Old-time music stirs her soul deeply and connects her with a sense of her ancestors reaching back into time. She has made it her work to share and teach this music both with children and adults and in many different settings from schools, festivals, concerts, nursing homes, and anywhere she is invited. It is an great honor to be in a lineage so rich with musical love. Cari sings in a direct high lonesome voice and plays banjo, dulcimer, and guitar.  She also frequently performs with her father, songwriter, musician and author, Mike Norris and finds much joy in this musical collaboration. Together they perform both old-time music and original songs.

For nearly four decades B. Terry Ratliff has produced folk art forms with primarily hand tools from the forest surrounding his home in Eastern Kentucky. For the most part self-taught, Terry (turry in local dialect) was inspired by log home builder Jake Messer. Work on hewn log homes was a start of green wood work. Jake introduced Irvine Messer, chair maker. Irvine made chairs, baskets, beds in many forms near his home at the head of Conley Fork of Ball in Knott county. Buck Justice who lived nearby helped with skills of gathering hickory bark for chair seats. Kentucky Crafted the Market, a Kentucky State sponsored marketing venture gained exposure to national collectors and supporters of folk art crafts. Over the years B. Terry Ratliff’s work has been in national exhibits and galleries. Participation in Art and Craft exhibitions from Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and his home state of Kentucky has chairs and works distributed throughout the country. A set of oak dining chairs is in Germany. Currently the Frazier Museum in Louisville has a piece on exhibit through March 2019.

https://www.humansofcentralappalachia.org/stories/2016/1/22/b-terry-ratliff

Tommy Bledsoe is a native of the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, where he learned the power of the spoken word, music and memory. Joy D’Elia grew up in Connecticut in a family with strong musical talents. They met, married and live in St. Augustine, FL. Joy and Tommy have performed together as Skin & Bonz since 1989. They are featured on Kentucky Educational Television’s “Telling Tales” and “Old Music for New Ears” series and they wrote, produced and performed in a one-hour KET holiday special, “Winter—Season of Darkness and Light,” which explored winter traditions in different cultures. The duet offers storytelling, strong vocal harmonies and solid old-time and bluegrass instrumentation, along with dance calling.

https://youtu.be/04bUTINwZno?t=3372

Sam Gleaves was born and raised in Wytheville, Virginia where he began playing music as a teenager with the help of local mentor Jim Lloyd, a multi-instrumentalist, storyteller and barber. Lloyd introduced Gleaves to nationally recognized ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams who shared with Gleaves the old “love songs” of her community tradition. Rooted in Appalachian sounds, Gleaves’ songwriting sings of contemporary rural life and social issues. While earning a degree in Folklore at Berea College, Gleaves performed with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble directed by Al White. In 2015, Gleaves collaborated with Grammy-winning producer Cathy Fink and released a debut record of original songs, titled “Ain’t We Brothers,” which has been featured by The Guardian, National Public Radio, and No Depression. Gleaves tours extensively in the U.S. and he has performed in Ireland, England, Canada, Japan and Italy. In 2017, Gleaves released a duo recording with Tyler Hughes which received glowing reviews from Fatea, Rock n Reel, fROOTS, and others. In 2018, Gleaves collaborated with Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer on a trio recording, “Shout & Shine,” which Justin Hiltner of the Bluegrass Situation called, “viscerally powerful . . . a perfect illustration of cross-generational mind melds and musical melds.”  Gleaves now makes his home in Hindman, Kentucky where he currently serves as the Traditional Arts Director at the Hindman Settlement School. A passionate teaching artist, Gleaves has shared Appalachian traditions at numerous music camps, colleges, universities, and public schools.

http://www.samgleaves.com/

Randy Wilson has 35 years experience with folk arts in eastern Kentucky- fiddle tunes, songs, banjo styles, folk stories, dance calling, children’s games. Of special interest is his work on a variety of period banjos from Africa to Appalachia. Representing Appalachia in a multitude of festival Mr. Wilson has played at the Smithsonian festival on the national mall, the University of Rome, Italy and cultural exchanges in San Antonio, TX, Anchorage AK, and the Bronx NY.​ Retired from service at Hindman Settlement School, the man is cut loose upon the world to do his own variety of original blues and children songs.

https://www.rwilsonbanjo.com/

Olivia Ford began attending Hindman Settlement School’s Family Folk week when she was 14. She credits the supportive, intergenerational community she found there with inspiring her to pursue her developing interests in old-time music and dance. She plays fiddle, dulcimer, and banjo. Olivia attends Oberlin College in northern Ohio, where she is majoring in Environmental Studies, focusing on food justice and agriculture.

About Campus

About Campus

In order to maximize their experience at the Workshop, it is recommended that participants stay in campus housing.

The campus is hilly, and there will be some walking during the week. So, bring comfortable shoes. Please detail any mobility issues or concerns during the registration process and we will make every effort to accommodate your needs.

Rooms are simple but comfortable. Bed linens and pillows are provided, but you will need to bring your own towels, wash cloths, and toiletries. Our facilities utilize shared bathrooms. Consequently, you may wish to bring a robe. There are no telephones or TVs. A small, shared refrigerator is available.

Wireless Internet is available in the Mullins Center, May Stone Gathering Place, and Stucky buildings. The Knott County Public Library, located adjacent to campus, has public computers available with Internet access.

Depending on you service provider, cell phone coverage is spotty to good. You can leave the main office number (606-785-5475) as an emergency contact number. It is staffed during business hours. After hours, in the event of an emergency, a staff member may be reached at 606-438-5455.

All buildings are air-conditioned and smoke-free.

Pets, firearms, and alcohol are prohibited on School property.

Dress is casual, but shirt and shoes are required.

Our dining hall offers traditional and vegetarian meal options. Please indicate your dietary preference during the registration process. We have a filtered water system at the Dining Hall and public water is supplied from the Carr Fork Reservoir. The tap water is drinkable, but some prefer to bring their own drinking water. Bottled water is also available for purchase on campus.

A Dollar General, a Rite-Aid, and an IGA grocery store are located a few miles down the road. A small convenience store is located within walking distance of campus. A Wal-Mart and other major stores are located in Hazard, which is about 20 minutes away.