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Virtual Spring Folk Music Weekend, May 28 - 30

The cost for the whole weekend is $20 per person or family. Sign up in Eventbrite. You can sign up to sing in the Camper Concerts by getting a ticket (free with paid admission to the weekend). Note: you must sign up in advance. There will be 15 spots for each of the Sat and Sun camper concerts - first come, first served.
Of course, tax-deductible donations are always encouraged.

Staff * Workshop Leaders * Schedule * Workshop Descriptions * Tickets (Eventbrite) * Pocket Program


Jeff Davis
Jeff's website
Jeff Davis
Jeff is one of those musicians who makes everything look easy. He plays old-time fiddle, is a master of the clawhammer banjo and just as good on guitar or mandocello, without ever striving too hard for showy licks or empty virtuosity. His singing, based on long immersion in the styles of the old singers is truly timeless, conjuring vividly the world of the cowboy or Civil War soldier." (Harbourtown Records) "When Jeff Davis sings the repertoire of the Appalachian Mountains," said the Chronicle-Herald of Nova Scotia, "he cuts through decades and across borders, sitting us right down in the dirt in front of a weather-beater shack, at the feet of a hillbilly singer-he combines authenticity and art in a rare way." Jeff has an unusual repertoire that includes songs and music from New England and the American West, as well as Southern mountain ballads, New York fiddle tunes, and African-American-style banjo picking.
Jeff worked for many years with Jeff Warner in a partnership described by the American magazine Dirty Linen as "one of the best old-time duos to be found in this whole country." His solo CD, Some Fabulous Yonder, attracted very enthusiastic reviews. Jeff and Brian Peters have recently released a CD, Sharp's Appalachian Harvest, material collected by Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles in the years 1916-18. He has worked with friend Dave Ruch in the duo The New Boys of Old New York, playing traditional music from the Empire State.
Jeff has played major folk festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival in Nova Scotia (where he is a fixture on the bill), and US events such as Old Songs, the New Bedford Folk Festival, and Mystic Seaport Festival. In England he has appeared at The National Folk Festival, Towersey, Whitby, Fylde, Bromyard, and Chippenham. He has also toured Norway with his friend, Jeff Wasserman's band Jeffrey's Reverie.
"One of the outstanding performers of the American folk revival…. Jeff has as lovely lived-in voice and he ranges widely through the many strands that make up the American tradition whilst providing exquisite accompaniments on banjo, mandocello, and guitar…. One of the finest old-time fiddle players. -— fRoots
Since Jeff is currently living in New Zealand, he can't, because of the time difference, join us in person, but we will be showing videos of his workshops.
Elizabeth Laprelle and Brian Dolphin
Elizabeth's website
Brian's website
Elizabeth LaPrelle and Brian Dolphin
Elizabeth is a scholar and performer of Appalachian ballads, as well as a visual artist and banjo-player. Brian is a choir-leader, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and student of music-making traditions from all over the world. They live together in Rural Retreat, VA with their son, Noah.
Elizabeth has been performing and studying Appalachian ballads and old-time songs since she was eleven. Raised in Rural Retreat, Virginia, Elizabeth attended old time fiddlers’ conventions and sang harmonies with her family, who encouraged her to sing their own favorite American folk music. As a teen Elizabeth learned the ‘mountain’ style of singing from mentors Ginny Hawker and Sheila Kay Adams, which led her to explore archives and field recordings for ancient and little-known songs. She received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary with a major in Southern Appalachian Traditional Performance, and in 2011 formed performance duo “Anna & Elizabeth” with Anna Roberts-Gevalt. She now tours the US regularly both performing and teaching.
Brian is a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, Fulbright recipient, and doctoral student of Ethnomusicology at the CUNY Graduate Center. He has studied folk music, lived with indigenous musicians, and performed all over the world. In addition to being a scholar, he leads an active life as a songwriter, performer, and songleader of both Ukrainian and American folk musics, uniting diverse communities through both the Ukrainian Village Voices choir and the Dolphin & You Community Sing. Since 2019, Brian has been channeling his musical energies through the Dolphin & You Patreon, where every month, he releases his own music and that of other up-and-coming singer-songwriters who would otherwise go unrecorded and unheard.
Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen
Their website
Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen
Since their 1981 Greenwich Village coffeehouse encounter this duo has built a folk reputation throughout the U.S.A. and Canada, even appearing on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion show. With two albums together on the Flying Fish label, they each have other recordings and musical adventures.
Frets magazine says Sally's voice is "clear as the queen's diamonds", and the Washington Post brands her instrumental work "sterling". Her second album was voted "Best Folk Album of the Year" by the National Association of Independent Record Distributors. Pete Seeger said she "has a beautiful voice and has written many extraordinarily good songs that are going to reach out and touch large numbers of people. They sure are great songs!" Sally was official 1997 Connecticut State Troubadour, and is a Master Teaching Artist for the Connecticut Commission on the Arts as well as a K-4 music teacher and adjunct professor at Lesley University. She wrote music for 4 Mennonite folk operas. Thrushwood Kids, her recording label, houses her 5 award-winning recordings for young people. She has songs in Quaker and Unitarian hymnals and two major national music textbooks and also has had a children's picture book published.
Howie is known for his warm baritone voice, devilish sense of humor, red-hot banjo wizardry and inventive guitar arrangements. Chicago Magazine said of him, "stunning guitar arrangements...easily one of the finest banjo players ever heard." Feature articles in Banjo Newsletter and Frets followed the release of Howie's first solo album on Folk Legacy Records. His song "Small Business Blues" is included in Seeger's book, Carry It On. Howie holds a Cornell Ph.D. in Philosophy. A professor-turned-grape grower, he makes wine at Sharpe Hill Vineyards in Pomfret, CT. His last album "Banjo Mannikin," highlighting his banjo pyrotechnics, received national airplay.

Workshop Leaders

Leslie Berman Leslie Berman
Leslie was brought up in a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish family, and studied Jewish music in her Orthodox synagogue’s Hebrew school. After discovering the folk music scene, she wondered why there were no Jewish music equivalents. Addressing that lack, she co-produced the first Jewish Ethnic Music Festival at New York’s Hebrew Union College in 1984, showcasing Jewish culture and performance from around the globe. She reprised that role a few years later, creating the first Jewish Arts Festival of Long Island, which was held at Usdan, the music and arts summer school, and included theater and dance as well as music.

Joining Leslie will be special guests Robin Greenstein, Daniel Malater & Alison Kelley, and David Wall.

Robin Greenstein Robin Greenstein began her involvement with Jewish music during her Hebrew school education, where she learned many traditional Israeli songs. Her grandparents spoke Yiddish so she generally learned Hebrew and Yiddish songs. In 1980 she received a Federal grant to research, learn and perform Sephardic Jewish music from the elderly Sephardic population in New York City. She developed a wide repertoire of Ladino songs which she performs along with Hebrew and Yiddish to create a well rounded Jewish music program. Robin's website

Dan Malater grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He attended Brooklyn College, and it was through a student activist group there that he met first Alison Kelley, who was in the same group at a different college. Intrigued by the prospect of trying out a collective lifestyle at a kibbutz in Israel, Dan left the US to travel there, and lived on a few different kibbutzim while studying Hebrew. After some years, he returned to New York City. Along the line, he reconnected and is still with Alison Kelley, who is a member of The Johnson Girls. During a song night with mutual friends, Alison sang a song in Ladino she'd learned. Dan glanced over at the lyrics and realized he could just about make out what the words meant. Thus began the idea to try to study Ladino to know the meaning of the songs in the language they were written in. Thanks to online Ladino now available, Dan Malater and Alison Kelley are both studying the Ladino language and songs. They are happy to present a song or two for you in Ladino today.

David WallDavid Wall is a composer and singer who has had a long and varied career in the music business. He has written hit songs, sung in various bands and composed many scores for film and television. He was lead vocalist with the Canadian group Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, and has performed Yiddish songs for many years. He resides in Toronto with his wife Kyo and their two sons, Yoshi and Mika, and is Leslie Berman's second cousin. David's website

Clarice Kjerulff Clarice Kjerulff
As well as being the current president of the Society, Clarice is a fine singer, with a soprano voice that has been featured in many Christmas Revels. Of Danish extraction, she knows many of the traditional ballads of that country, as well as having an amazing reportoire of doo-wop songs (proven in many late-night weekend sessions). Clarice is also an avid photographer.
Heather Wood
Heather's website
Heather Wood
Heather is a veteran singer from the English revival for some 50+ years, dating from her days with The Young Tradition. She has a great repertoire of ballads, historical songs, love and agricultural songs, and a lot from the humorous side. In addition to the old songs, she has written some dynamite new ones. Over the years, Heather has also acted as agent for other artists, run folk clubs, organized weekends and other events, and written about folk music for an assortment of publications.


Workshops are 45 minutes each.

Friday May 28
7:30 PM Intro to Staff - Staff introduce their workshops and do a number or two.
8:30 PM approx General chat and sing

Saturday May 29
10:00 AM Spoken not Sung (Heather Wood)
11:00 AM Songs of Jean Ritchie (Sally & Howie) Participatory.
12:00 noon Fiddle Tunes from Long Island (Jeff Davis)
1:00 PM Lunch and general chat
2:00 PM Ballads, Ballads, Ballads. (Sally, Howie, and friends).
3:00 PM Jewish in Any Language (Leslie Berman) Participatory.
4:00 PM What a Way To Go!(Jeff Davis)
5:00 PM Camper Concert I: Anyone can sign up for a spot
6:00 PM Dinner and general chat
7:30 PM Concert: Jeff Davis, Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Brian Dolphin
9:00 PM approx General chat & sing

Sunday May 30
10:00 AM Songs of the Spirit (hosted by Clarice Kjerulff)
11:00 AM Lullabies (Elizabeth and Brian) Participatory
12:00 noon Folk Duets and Harmonies for the Home Pod (Elizabeth and Brian) Participatory
1:00 PM Camper Concert II, chat, and Farewell

Workshop Descriptions

Saturday May 29

10:00 AM: Spoken not Sung (Heather) Stories, poems, and monologs, read or recited. Definitely participatory. Anything (legal!) goes.

11:00 AM: Songs of Jean Ritchie (Sally and Howie) Participatory. Jean was a wonderful tradition-bearing singer who also wrote great songs. She welcomed the Society to her Port Washington home for may enjoyable summer gatherings.

12:00 noon Fiddle Tunes from Long Island (Jeff Davis) Old Long Island was a hotbed of tunes, and there are at least two collections to prove it: William Sidney Mount (1807-1868), the famous painter of The Banjo Player and The Bones Player, was also a fiddler; his collection spans music from English marches, Irish jigs, to tunes learned from the minstrel stage and from black fiddlers. The collection of Bellport’s Captain Isaac Homan (1816-1901)— recently uncovered by Dave Ruch —also contains a huge variety of tunes—reels, hornpipes, cotillions, waltzes, and much more. Both reflect the intense swirl of influences upon fiddlers living near the growing vortex of New York City in the mid-Nineteenth century

2:00 PM: Ballads, Ballads, Ballads (Sally, Howie, and friends). Tales of yore, tales of gore, true love, murder, mayhem — and more!.

3:00 PM: Jewish in Any Language (Leslie Berman) Participatory. Songs of the Jewish experience from the cradle of Jewish civilization to familiar places of the diaspora, in English, Hebrew, Ladino, Yiddish, and any other language you might know a Jewish song to sing.

4:00 PM: What a Way To Go! (Jeff Davis) Some deaths in folk songs. Tally up the body count.

5:00 PM: Camper Concert Anyone can sign up for a spot. Sing, play, recite, tap dance — whatever you choose.

7:30 PM: Concert Jeff Davis, Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Brian Dolphin

Sunday May 30

10:00 AM: Songs of the Spirit, hosted by Clarice Kjerulff (Participatory). Songs of the spirit are many and varied, and include everything from super serious dirges, Gregorian chants, long Hindu and Buddhist mantras, Bach cantatas, and, of course, rousing hymns about going to Heaven, acquiring a mansion, and sitting around gaping at a jewel-encrusted throne. If there is a heaven, I'm not sure I would want to spend thousands of years looking at a throne, but if there is group singing and wonderful adhoc harmonies, I would want to be there. Bring whatever kind of song of the spirit that cheers you on, and join in with the (Zoom) angel band. Sadly, no room of celestial harmonies over Zoom, but we can keep our spirits up until we can all meet and sing and harmonize together again.

11:00 AM: Lullabies (Brian and Elizabeth) - We have several traditional and original lullabies that we have been singing to our young son since he was born. Some of them were handed down through Elizabeth’s family. Some of them we spontaneously came up with during many hours of sweet sleep deprivation. All of them we find quite beautiful and soothing. Perhaps you too would like some soothing music to sing? Parents and caregivers are invited to bring kids to listen to this workshop, and if you too need a good nap, we welcome you to do so.

12 noon: Folk Duets & Harmonies for the Home Pod (Elizabeth and Brian) - We will teach some of our favorite folk songs to sing with your partner, housemate, or self. We are drawing on from our favorite material from diverse American singing traditions: from Appalachian balladry and Old Time, from camp meeting songs and shape note hymns, and from Gospel and contemporary singer-songwriters. Depending on your level of interest, we can talk about how we harmonize and arrange some of these traditional songs or we can just sing catchy songs that get everyone singing along with us (and each other).

1:00 PM Camper Concert II, chat, and Farewell

modified 4/12/21 (hw) &  4/22/21(dw)