The Traditional Music Program brings traditional Appalachian music into the daily lives of people by helping communities build and sustain ongoing events such as jam sessions, square dances and storytelling events. The program organizes music and storytelling instruction for youth and adults, residencies, jam sessions, concerts, and radio broadcasts.
- Radio Broadcasts, Concerts & Festivals
- Jams, Dances & Storytelling
- Visiting Masters
- Passing the Pick and Bow After-School Program
- Old Time Days Workshops
The mission of the Traditional Music Program is to strengthen and support the infrastructure for traditional Appalachian music, story and dance culture in the Central Appalachian region with an emphasis on communities in southeast Kentucky and southwest Virginia.
Our objectives are:
- To organize community arts and education programming that teaches the art of traditional Appalachian music, story and dance as well as the history, culture and community of these arts.
- To encourage and initiate new activity and support ongoing events which broaden the region’s traditional music, storytelling and dance infrastructure.
- To build local interest in traditional Appalachian music through outreach and arts programming at schools, senior centers, local festivals and regional performance venues.
- To deepen and broaden traditional music education across the region through the development of curricular and program models for mountain string band instruments, storytelling and square dancing.
RADIO BROADCASTS, CONCERTS & FESTIVALS
JAMS, DANCES & STORYTELLING
The Traditional Music Program brings traditional Appalachian music into the daily lives of people by helping communities build and sustain ongoing events such as jam sessions, square dances and storytelling events. Appalshop is proud to be a part of Central Appalachia’s living traditions through its work with the Carcassonne Square Dance—one of the oldest continuing square dances in the country! From October to May Appalshop’s Old Time Jam takes place at 1:00 PM on the first Saturday of each month.
Appalshop strives to provide opportunities for people in mountain communities to enjoy and interact with their musical heritage. Throughout the year, the Traditional Music Project brings local and visiting musicians into schools, senior centers, nursing homes, and community centers. Recent visiting masters have included:
- Dirk Powell
- Roger Cooper
- Rayna Gellert
- Jeff Barbra & Sarah Pirkle
- Angelyn DeBord
- Art Stamper
PASSING THE PICK AND BOW AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM
Passing the Pick and Bow is an after-school program offering instruction in traditional Appalachian music to elementary, middle, and high school students in Letcher County, Kentucky. The program operates on a sliding-scale from low-cost to no-cost and offers local youth, regardless of their economic situation, a solid background in music, as well as exposure to our region’s rich cultural heritage. Pick and Bow aims to provide students with increased confidence, new skills, and a greater understanding of who they are, as individuals and as Appalachians. By facilitating the passing down of our regional heritage to a new generation, the program also helps keep traditional Appalachian music alive and thriving. Pick and Bow currently serves 50-60 students across four elementary and middle schools, and one high school, in Letcher County. Students are given the choice of guitar, fiddle, banjo, or mandolin lessons. Due to the distressed economic situation of our region, our tuition fees are nominal—weekly lessons are $25 per student per semester, and we provide students with instruments for an additional $10. If a family is unable to pay, the student can still participate; no one is turned away. Lessons are provided by local traditional musicians who have honed their craft by playing with, or apprenticing under, master musicians from across eastern Kentucky.
OLD TIME DAYS WORKSHOPS
For over a decade, Appalshop has offered the Old Time Days workshop and concert series in an effort to nurture the rich musical traditions of the area. The workshops provide an affordable way to learn old time music directly from master musicians. Masters such as Art Stamper, George Gibson and Rayna Gellert have taught workshops as well as some of the best beginning-level instructors, Cathy Grant and Trish Kilby-Fore. Old Time Days students have commented on the patience and resourcefulness of their instructors. A recent participant recounted, “A series of musical light bulbs came on throughout the room throughout the day.”