The Workshop schedule is still a work in progress.
Please check back later as we fill in the blanks!
Workshops will be held on Zoom on Saturday, February 12th.
All Times are in Central Standard Time.
The workshops are free, but you will need to register via EventBrite to get access to the Zoom sessions for the workshops.
Click Here to Register for Workshops on EventBrite
After you register, an EventBrite link will be sent to you via email.
The links to the various Zoom workshops will be on the EventBrite page.
If you're participating via a tablet or phone, you will need to have the Zoom app loaded.
Archival recordings will be made of all workshops.
If you don't wish to appear in the recording, please turn off your video. You can also mute your audio.
10:00–10:30 CST, Virtual Cloister Club
Welcome to the 62nd Annual Folk Fest workshops!
If you have questions, want to talk to
a Folklore society member, or want to brush up
on your Zoom skills, we will be available from
10:00–10:45 in the virtual Cloister Club!
Memes and Folktales
10:00–11:00 CST, Virtual Library
Jack Zipes, a world-renowed scholar of fairy tales and
Professor Emeritus of German and comparative literature
at the University of Minnesota, will discuss
fairy tales and their history,
and answer questions.
Mr. Zipes has translated the Brothers Grimm and is the author of
The Irresistible Fairy Tale, Why Fairy Tales Stick,
The Great Fairy Tale Tradition and many others.
Scandinavian Dance & Music
10:30–11:30 CST, Virtual 3rd Floor Theater
Music & dance tour of Scandinavia with Roo Lester, Larry Harding & Chicago Spelmanslag.
Join us as we play, demo and discuss music and dance traditions from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
We'll also give you a close-up looks at the Swedish Nyckelharpa (key-fiddle)
and Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, both with resonant understrings.
Have an instrument or want to dance?
Feel free to play or dance along while we play.
Al-Oud and Andalusia: Bridging the Musical Gap Across Faiths and Folk
10:30–11:30 CST, Virtual Library
The workshop will focus on the advent of the musical instrument, al-oud,
and its travels from Baghdad to Andalusia in the 9th century.
Participants will learn about the evolution of the instrument into the European lute and subsequent instruments.
The workshop will also explore the musical styles, songs,
and theory that developed in Andalusia among the Muslim, Christian,
and Jewish inhabitants, influencing music around the world.
10:30–12:30 CST, Virtual Cloister Club
Chicago shanty singers Kathy Whisler and Mareva Lindo lead this open shanty sing. All are welcome to share a sea shanty or sea song, ideally with a chorus or refrain for everyone to join in on from their respective homes!
Kathy Whisler is a sea shanty singer who has organized
the monthly sea chantey sing at
Chicago’s Atlantic Bar & Grill for over ten years.
Mareva Lindo is an old-time fiddler and lifelong
sea shanty singer who has performed at the
Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival,
Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival,
and the Midwest Sing & Stomp.
Fiddle Styles Workshop
11:30–12:30 CST, Virtual Third Floor Theater
Join the fiddlers from Lone Piñon, Chirps, Fred and Steve, the Kevin Prater Band,
and Kennedy's Kitchen to learn
all about the relationship between these different fiddle traditions!
For the Love of Ella Jenkins
12:00–1:00 CST, Virtual Library
Ella Jenkins, dubbed "The First Lady of the Children's Folk Song" by the
Wisconsin State Journal, has been a leading performer of children's music for over fifty years.
Tim Ferrin has been working on a forthcoming documentary, Ella Jenkins: We'll Sing a Song Together.
Mr. Ferrin, along with Maria McCullough, will discuss the making of the documentary
and what they have learned from Ella Jenkins in the process.
Tim Ferrin is an award-wining independent filmmaker in Chicago specializing in
documentaries, educational and arts programming, and non-profit video.
Maria McCullough, a long-time friend of Ella Jenkins, teaches intergenerational music;
she enjoys helping people find the space to bring out the music that is in all of us.
Kevin Prater Band
1:00–2:00 CST, Virtual Library
Join the Kevin Prater Band to hear their
unique "Coal - Fired, Pure Kentucky Bluegrass" sound.
The band is reminiscent of the bands vocal heroes which includes the original Seldom Scene, Doyle Lawson & Quick Silver, Osborne Brothers, The Stanley Brothers, Boone Estep & The Ramblin Grass and The Country Gentlemen, each having their own unique style of singing.
2:00–4:00 CST, Virtual Library
Please join us for some robust four-part harmony singing from the Sacred Harp.
First composed by itinerant New England singing masters in the 18th century,
then nurtured and developed in the South in the 19th and 20th centuries,
these hymns have been a part of American traditional culture since before the Revolutionary War.
Folk & Blues Harmonica with Skip Landt
12:30–1:30 CST, Virtual Third Floor Theater
Start learning here (with or without a C harmonica*), then see if you can't continue "by ear",
with tips provided for those aspiring to ear-playing.
An easy old-time blues will be taught for beginners.
We'll also start participants on getting clear single notes.
Skip Landt has been teaching at the Old Town School of Folk Music for nearly 4 decades,
and edits Hot Times at Old Town, a newsletter highlighting activities
at the School for the several thousand student community.
Harmonica Note Bending with Skip Landt
1:30–2:30 CST, Virtual Third Floor Theater
The harp's distinctive sounds are produced by drawing in or expelling air over its little metal reeds.
Skip will demonstrate bending, then provide tips on doing it.
Note: bending is an advanced skill, depending upon the ability to produce clear single notes,
so is not manageable by beginners.
2:00–3:00 CST, Virtual Cloister Club
Lone Piñon will demonstrate and discuss some of the tune genres
that make up the fiddle and accordion-driven dance repertoire
that provided the soundtrack for many generations of
bailes de salon, house dances, and fandangos in Northern New Mexico.
They'll provide examples of inditas, taleanes, cunas, chotís (shottishe),
polkas, camila, cutilio, and pasodoble
and discuss the context of each form in New Mexico,
both today and in the generations of the elders they learned them from.
Old-Time Fiddle Music
3:00–4:00 CST, Virtual Cloister Club
In the absence of a Barn Dance this year, Chirps, Fred and Steve will play
and talk about old-time tunes from Illinois and across the country.
3:00–4:00 CST, Virtual 3rd Floor Theater
Join Nadia Pierrehumbert and Jonathan Whitall from Pullman Morris and Sword
as they teach you the dance and tune for Princess Royal,
a solo Morris jig in the Brackley tradition.
Push the furniture out of the way in your living room,
grab a couple of handkerchiefs, and get ready to caper!
No partner or experience needed, just come and have fun.
For musicians, Jonathan will be teaching the tune in a separate breakout session.
We'll all meet up at the end to see how the tune and the dance go together.
Traditional Irish Music: A Living Tradition
1:00–2:00 CST, Virtual Cloister Club
Irish Music with Kennedy's Kitchen.
"We'll sit about and chat and bit and sing and make music as we do when we gather,
as we have now for going on 22 years, informally.
Tunes and songs folded into a conversation."
The tiny island if Ireland is the source of a vast world of music, songs, stories.
It is a vibrant, living, changing tradition.
4:00–5:00 CST, Virtual Library
Cameron Fontenot will discuss the fiddle style of Varise Conner, breaking down a waltz and a two step
Mr. Conner is a native of Lake Arthur, Louisiana;
many people have never heard of him or his fiddling.
Vocal Timbre in Theory and Practice
4:00–5:00 CST, Virtual Cloister Club
In this workshop we will discuss and practice vocal timbre across different folk song styles.
Timbre is the quality that makes a voice distinctive.
Why do chantey singers sound different from Sacred Harp singers or singer-songwriters
at an open mic? We will discuss some basic ideas about timbre,
practice listening, and practice singing in a few different styles.
You will leave with a better sense of how to both hear and produce
particular timbres, as well as an understanding of why people choose
different timbres for different musical styles.
International Folk Dance — Modern Traditional Dances from Many Lands
4:00–5:00 CST, Virtual Third Floor Theater
Mady Newfield will present a variety of dances from various places based on traditional steps and forms, but with more modern music. They will be drawn from folk, ceilidh, and country dance traditions from the British Isles, France, Hungary, the Balkans, Armenia, Africa, and more. All the dances will be appropriate for dancing on your own, in a limited space.
Mady has been teaching traditional dance of various sorts for 5 decades, with much of that in the Chicago suburbs. She is also a longtime dance organizer in the Chicago area, and helps run national and international dance events in-person and now online.