May 26-28, 2023


2023 Faculty

Folk College 2023 Schedule

*Schedule subject to change


Folk College is full of great workshops, concerts, singing and dancing.


Check back for updates.



2=advanced beginner


E=taught by ear
M=sheet music provided
P=instruments provided
D=discussion, no playing


Workshops are for all instruments unless otherwise indicated.


2023 Schedule

The 2023 Schedule has not been announced yet.

Please check back for updates.


2022 Schedule--Past Year for Review

Check out the 2022 schedule to get a feel for how we run the festival. Check back for the 2023 schedule.


Friday, May 27, 2022


10 am - 1 pm Intensive


See Intensive page for Intensive descriptions


Choice of  Intensive Classes:

Taught by Karen Hirshon & Linda Littleton of Simple Gifts (Level 1-2)


Taught by Eric O'Daly of Appleseed Collective (Level 1-5)


Taught by Brandon Smith of Appleseed Collective (Level 2-5)


Taught by Cathy Fink (Level 2-5)


Taught by Marcy Marxer (Level 2-5)


Taught by Judy Minot and Rachel Hall (Level 2-5)


Taught by Andrew Brown of Appleseed Collective (Level 3-5)


Taught by Vidar Skrede & Patrik Ahlberg (Level 3-5)


Taught by Richard Sleigh (Level 3-5)




1:00 pm General Folk College Registration Opens


1:30, 2:30 & 5:30 pm Newcomers’ Orientation & Walking Tour


3:00-4:00 pm Workshops

Shelley Kelley (Level 1-2, P)

Shelley will show you how to play this popular Irish drum. Makeshift bodhrans (made from pizza boxes!) will be available, and we’ll also have a few real bodhrans available for you to try. Besides learning mechanics of playing, we'll touch on which rhythm pattern to use for reels, jigs, hornpipes, etc.

Richard Sleigh (Level 1)

Learn the boundless music you can make with this small instrument. We'll start with how to breathe and how to find the notes, and then we'll progress to other techniques. Bring a harmonica in the key of A, or you can buy an inexpensive one at the workshop.

Cathy Fink (Level 1-5, IS)

National Heritage Fellowship Awardee, IBMA Hall of Famer and humanist Ola Belle Reed was both a carrier of traditional music and an iconic songwriter. Her compositions include the bluegrass/old time classics “High on a Mountain”, “Tear Down the Fences” and “Where the Wild, Wild Flowers Grow.” Cathy visited Ola Belle numerous times and has stories to tell, history to impart, and songs to sing and teach that honor Ola Belle’s place in folk history.

Members of Appleseed Collective (Level 1-5, IS)

Play along to your favorite Beatles songs with the Appleseed Collective!  Participants will "Come Together" to play rhythm, sing melodies and harmonies, and even try taking a solo over some of the Beatles' most well-loved songs.  "Let it Be" known that chords and lyrics sheets will be provided!

Judy Minot & LeAnna Kline (Singers 1-5, Instruments 3-5, EIS)

All styles of singing and instrumentals are welcome, whatever tunes or songs you want to suggest!

Jay Best & Kelly Armor (Level 2, EI)

Learn some jam skills that will help you join in the jams over the weekend. How do you figure out what to play, and what do you do if you don’t know the tune being played? What if you're used to playing from sheet music? How do you cope?

Rachel Hall (Level 2-3, IM)

Come learn a few tunes that are super cool and not so hard to play.
Sheet music and chords will be provided.

Henry Koretzky (Level 4-5, EI)

Add something really different to your repertoire! You'll learn several tunes with an exotic background and sound. We’ll work by ear with music provided at the end of the workshop.



4:15-5:15 pm Workshops

Shelley Kelley & Kelly Armor (Level 1-2, whistles, P)

What else costs so little, does so much, and is so easy to carry? Learn the basics of playing this fun and easy instrument, including fingering, breathing and techniques for good tone quality. Penny whistles will be provided, or bring your own in the key of D.

Marcy Marxer (Level 1-5, IS)

Two and three chord songs by Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, The Louvin Brothers, Johnny Cash and more. Part workshop, part sing-along, part play-along, a great way to build confidence on these heart and Honky Tonk tunes.

Wayne Fugate (Level 2, EI)

Learning melodies by ear is difficult for a lot of people. We'll look at various approaches to figuring out how to play back what you hear, and also approaches to remembering what you just played back. We'll focus on melodies. If you're interested in figuring out chords by ear, please see the "Hearing Chord Changes" workshop just below.

Judy Minot (Level 2-3, EI)

Learn to hear and identify common chords and chord changes and to understand where and when they occur. This skill will help you during jams, when learning new tunes, and when creating arrangements with a band.

Jay Best (Level 2-3, EI)

There are many easy but wonderful tunes in the old time string band repertoire, and we'll take a look at several. We'll work by ear, so please bring a recording device.

Henry Koretzky (Level 3-4, EM)

Learn traditional tunes collected in Pennsylvania.
Sheet music and chords will be provided.

Richard Sleigh (Level 3-5, EIS)

Blues singing and playing. Bring your favorite songs!

Vidar Skrede & Patrik Ahlberg (Level 4-5, EI)

Learn some tunes from the Nordic tradition. We'll work by ear, so please bring a recording device.




5:30-6:30 pm Dinner



7:00pm Concert:


After the Concert

(Singers 1-5, instruments 3-5, EIS)

Join Appleseed on-stage after their concert ends, but first please wait until the sound crew clears the equipment. You just heard Appleseed perform. Now it's your chance to sing and play along with them! We're intending this as mostly singing, but it's ok to suggest instrumental tunes too.

(Level 3-5, EIS)

This will be mostly an instrumental jam and probably will be mostly old time and bluegrass tunes, though it's fine if you want to suggest other tunes, and we suspect some singing will creep in as well.

(Level 1-2, EIS)

We'll play simple tunes that you already know by ear, even if you've never played them on your instrument; for example, Amazing Grace, Oh Susannah, Yankee Doodle. The jam will be paced for beginners, but it's also a good choice for intermediate level players who've never played by ear.

(Level 3-5, IM)

If you have a copy of "Portland Collection," please bring it along, and we'll sight-read tunes out of the book.

(Level 1-5, IS)

A chance to circle up with other songwriters to share songs and feedback.

(Level 1-5, P)

Fun with drums!


11:00pm Late jam at the dorm

Jay Best & LeAnna Kline (Singers 1-5, instruments 3-5, EIS)

Stop by the dorm lounge for informal jamming before you roll into bed. Anything you want to play or sing is welcome!



Saturday, May 28, 2022



Yoga for Musicians - Judy Minot

In yoga we work to balance effort with relaxation. We pay detailed attention to what the body is doing, and we practice breathing deeply to help us relax and become flexible and strong. These are all great things for musicians to work on! Even if you’re “not a yoga person” there’s plenty of benefit here. If you have your own mat, please bring it. (a few will be available).


7:30-8:30 am Breakfast



8:45-9:15 am Orientation

Meet the staff, sign up for a folk band, and get oriented as to what’s happening for the rest of the weekend.







9:30-10:45 am Workshops

John McCutcheon (1-5, D)

This workshop explores the connection between art and social movements. It is both an historical and a practical guide to the use of cultural tools in the process of unleashing the potential for change in individuals and in communities.

Karen Hirshon & Linda Littleton (1, P)

Discover why these little instruments have captured the heart of people everywhere. It's so much fun and easy to do. Learn a few easy chords and songs. The session is part of the Beginners Sampler and therefore will be taught at a level that assumes no prior musical knowledge or experience.
Ukuleles will be provided.

Kelly Parker  (1-5, P)

A gentle look at the art of West African traditional drumming.

Eric O’Daly (1-5, S)

We spend a lot of time practicing scales, chords, and arpeggios on our instruments, but how much time have we put into practicing our voice as an instrument of its own?  In this workshop, Eric will guide you through a series of exercises designed to increase familiarity with the ins and outs of your own voice.  Take a refreshing, new look at singing and vocalizing, and leave with new ideas to enrich your own music practice.

Henry Koretzky & Kelly Armor (2-3, EIM)

There are lots of tunes that are slow, easy, beautiful, and fun to play! Adding a few of these to your repertoire will give you a classier sound. We'll try to learn by ear, but music will be available if needed.

Cathy Fink (2-4, I)

Has anyone ever told you that you speed up or slow down when you play? Do you think the metronome is playing games with you? Rhythm guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and other instruments need to beat to the same drum. Learn to improve your ability to hear and feel the beat and to consistently play “in time.”  
This workshop is for both rhythm and lead players.

Shelley Kelley (3-4, I)

We'll work partly by ear and partly from music to learn some cool French tunes.

Wayne Fugate (Level 3-5, D)

Have you ever wondered why you can sound and feel great when you're practicing, but when you walk out on stage, you experience a meltdown? Have you ever had a piece completely memorized, but suddenly went blank in the middle of performing it? Or spent hours meticulously working on a passage, only to discover the next day that it’s still just as hit or miss? Practicing for performance requires a set of tools that in many ways is different from the strategies that you use when learning a new tune. This session will introduce you to concepts from sport and performance psychology, but with the specific demands of a performing musician in mind. The session will be mostly discussion, with perhaps a little playing.

Patrik Ahlberg (4-5, EI)

Learn some wonderful tunes from Sweden! We'll work by ear with music provided at the end of the workshop.

Brandon Smith (3-5, fiddle)

Does the idea of improvisation send you into a cold sweat? In this workshop we'll learn simple exercises you can practice that will take you from frozen to fluid when it's your turn at the jam.

Jay Best (1-5)

Sign up at Orientation for a short one-on-one session with Jay. Have a question or issue ready to discuss with him.



11:00-12:15 Workshops

John McCutcheon (1-5)

John McCutcheon is just about the most amazing solo performer that the Folk College organizers have had the thrill of seeing. Let's hear him explain how he does it.

Jay Best (1, P)

Starting at the very beginning, learn the basics of clawhammer style banjo. This workshop is part of the Beginner Sampler, so will be taught at a level that assumes you have no prior experience playing instruments.
Banjos will be provided.

Brandon Smith (1-5, I)

Many musicians put way too much effort into their playing. Learn to play with less effort and more body awareness so that you can play your instrument without hurting your body. Much of this class will not involve instruments, but we will be playing some simple exercises so bring your instrument.

Marcy Marxer (1-5, S)

Learn to make your voice blend in beautiful harmony with others.

Henry Koretzky & Kelly Armor (2-3, EIM)

There are lots of tunes that are slow, easy, beautiful, and fun to play! Adding a few of these to your repertoire will give you a classier sound. We'll try to learn by ear, but music will be available if needed.

Wayne Fugate (3-4, EIM)

The pentatonic scale is a simple five-note scale that is one of the most commonly used scales in virtually all forms of roots music. In this session, we’ll learn major and minor pentatonic scales. We’ll listen to some examples of familiar tunes that use these scales and practice how to use them when we jam and improvise. If you’re just beginning to improvise or want to expand your improvisational toolset, this session is for you!

Judy Minot & Rachel Hall (3-5, IM)

We’ll play through the music planned for this evening’s contradance and learn arrangements and approaches that make them come alive! Music and chords will be provided. If you've thought about trying you're hand at leading the band during the dance, please attend this workshop and/or talk to Judy or Rachel. 
[Note: It’s ok to skip band practice and play for the dance anyhow, and it's ok to go to band practice but not play for the dance.]

Richard Sleigh (4-5, I)

You're at a blues jam and it's your turn to play a solo. What do you do? In this workshop, Richard will give advice on how to construct an interesting blues solo.

Vidar Skrede (4-5, EI)

Learn some tunes from Vidar's home region of Rogaland, Norway. We'll work by ear, so please bring a recording device.

Andrew Brown (Guitar 3-5, M)

Learn the powerful plectrum technique used by Django Reinhardt and many other guitarists from the pre-amplification eta. This technique will allow you to get the most tone and volume out of an acoustic guitar with the least effort and tension, and while especially suitable for playing gypsy jazz/swing, learning this technique will be useful guitarists of any style who want to have a fuller and more powerful sound from their picking.

Karen Hirshon (1-5)

Sign up at Orientation for a short one-on-one session with Karen. Have a question or issue ready to discuss with her.


12:30-1:30 pm Lunch



1:45-3:00 pm Workshops

John McCutcheon (1-5)

Hambone is an African-American rhythm technique that uses the whole body as a drum set to produce a variety of sounds. Come learn more and try it out!

Kelly Armor (1, P)

This instrument, typically with a box or gourd resonator, has a row of metal tines you pluck with your thumbs. It has many different names (kalimba, mbira, sansa, to name a few) and is played by many different peoples in sub-Saharan Africa. It is surprisingly easy to play once you approach it as an instrument built to play rhythm. This workshop is part of the Beginner Sampler, so will be taught at a level that assumes you have no prior musical experience.

Vince Russo & Eric O’Daly (1-2, I)

What’s backup? Everything that isn’t the melody! Even if you don’t think of your instrument as a backup instrument, there will be something here for you, including tips for making your backup playing strong, supportive, and interesting.

Richard Sleigh & LeAnna Kline (1-5, IS)

There are tons of songs that just use three chords. Besides being easier to find the chords, these songs tend to also be easier to harmonize and to figure out instrumental breaks and fills.

Eric Ian Farmer (1-5, IS)

Ways to change a song to fit your voice, playing style, or purpose.  Pitch, tempo, melody, harmony, time signature, phrasing, repetition, dynamics, instrumentation . . . it's all fair game!

Wayne Fugate (2-4, I)

The Circle of Fifths is a mystery to many. But what if you found everything you needed to know about notes, scales, chords, and progressions in a simple diagram that could fit in the palm of your hand? The Circle of Fifths is that magical musical master tool. In this session, you'll learn the mechanics behind the circle, including how to apply it in music theory, transposition, singing, songwriting, and more. So fasten your seatbelt: we’re diving deep into this infinite pool of musical wisdom. As you will see, the magical mojo of this Ring of Power surpasses even Tolkien’s imagination!

Vidar Skrede (3-4, EI)

Come learn some tunes that are popular at Irish sessions. We'll work by ear, so please bring a recording device.

Linda Littleton (3-5, D)

How to get gigs, how to negotiate with the presenter, how to promote your gigs, and how to get rehired.

Andrew Brown (4-5, IM)

All instruments learn about playing gypsy jazz in Django Reinhardt's style.

Shelley Kelley (Whistle 2-5, EIM)

For those beyond the beginner stage, we'll look at more advanced techniques including getting a good tone, playing in the upper octave, fingering techniques, and ornamentation. We'll work partly by ear and partly from music.

Henry Koretzky (1-5)

Sign up at Orientation for a short one-on-one session with Henry. Have a question or issue ready to discuss with him.



3:15-4:45 pm

Faculty coaches (1-5, EIMS)

Based on the form you filled out during orientation (Saturday 8:45 am), you’ll be assigned to a band that will rehearse with the help of a staff coach and then perform at Sunday’s Student Concert. There will also be an option to join a non-performing band. Band lists and locations will be posted in Von Leibig Lobby. If you haven’t filled out a folk band form, go to the lobby and we’ll figure out where to fit you in.

Larry Mutti (1, P)

What other instrument can you cradle in your arms and strum next to your ear? Autoharp is a wonderful, versatile and easy instrument, so come give it a try! Instruments will be provided. This workshop is aimed at and paced for folks taking the Beginners Sampler, but is also open to those who choose not to be in a Folk Band.



5:00-6:00 pm Dinner



7:00 pm Faculty Concert


After the Concert

Bob Nicholson (Dancers 1-5)

Dances will be taught and called by the world's best dance caller and party leader! If you can walk and count to 4, you can contradance!

Judy Minot, Bob Nicholson, & Rachel Hall (instruments 3-5, IM)

Play along with the contradance band. Sheet music will be provided.

Dancing might be canceled due to Covid but we will have the band for sure.

John McCutcheon (Singers 1-5, instruments 3-5)

You've just heard an amazing performance by John. Now is your chance to join him for some jamming on-stage, but please first wait until the stage crew has a chance to clear the equipment.

Vidar Skrede & Patrik Ahlberg (3-5, EI)

This will be a mix of instrumental styles, including Irish, old time, and Scandinavian.


11:00 pm Late jam at the dorm

Wayne Fugate, Shelley Kelley, & LeAnna Kline (Singers 1-5, instruments 3-5)

Stop by the dorm lounge for informal jamming before you roll into bed. Anything you want to play or sing is welcome!



Sunday, May 29, 2022


7:30-8:30 am Breakfast


8:45-10:00 am Workshops

Jay Best (Fiddle 1, P)

Designed for people who've never tried a fiddle, this workshop will give you the very basics.
Instruments will be provided.

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer (Singers 1-5, instruments 2-5)

A good old-fashioned hymn sing with focus on old-time hymns. Bring your instrument if you play. Song sheets with chords will be provided. This workshop is free and open to the public. (Ends 9:45 a.m.)

Kelly Armor (1-5, S)

Kelly has been collecting traditional songs from Erie's large resettled refugee population since 2004. Come learn songs that charm and disarm from Sudan, Congo, Bosnia, Ukraine, Iraq, and Bhutan. Consider how music can be a bridge for healing, understanding, and welcoming across cultures.

Eric O’Daly (1-5, S)

Shelley Kelley & Vidar Skrede (1-5, D)

See, hear, meet, learn about, and perhaps get to try two unusual string instruments.

Judy Minot (2-5, I)

Learn practice techniques that will take your practice up a notch, help motivate you, and learn to use the Practice Pyramid to help you make the most of your limited time.

Patrik Ahlberg (4-5, EI)

Learn some cool old-time tunes. We'll work by ear with music provided afterwards.

Members of Appleseed Collective (4-5, EI)

A fun time of playing a variety of swing tunes and songs. Bring your favorites!

Wayne Fugate (Mandolin 2-5, M)

This session is all about learning (or perhaps re-visiting) the basics necessary to play the mandolin well and produce the "3-T's" that are of critical importance to good musicianship; Tone, Technique, and Timing. Tone - We will discuss how the choices made in everything from picks to strings to the angle that our pick hits the string affects the production of tone. Technique - Learn exercises that give both the right and left hands individual attention to increase agility and develop speed, as well as exercises designed to improve coordination between the two. Timing - we will discuss metronome basics and other tools that can be used to improve timing.

Richard Sleigh (Harmonica 2-5)

For those beyond the beginner level, we'll look at techniques to take your playing to the next level, including tongue blocking, pucker style playing, note bending, breath control, volume projection, and tone control.



10:15-11:30 am Workshops

Judy Minot & Kelly Armor (1, P)

Accordions are surging in popularity. Join the club and come try one!
A few accordions will be available. If you have one, please bring it.

Rachel Hall (1-5, S)

Shape Note Singing, also called Sacred Harp Singing is a 200-year-old American tradition of singing four-part harmony by following music with shaped notes. The music is sung loud with strong rhythms, simple open harmonies, and a strong sense of community. It’s easier than it sounds!

Kelly Parker (1-5, P)

Explore the rhythms of traditional West African drumming, especially the basic rhythms of the djembe. Drums will be provided or bring your own.

Brandon Smith (1-5, I)

Most musicians feel butterflies when they're about to take the stage—the trick is getting those butterflies to fly in formation. In this workshop we'll work on overcoming nerves and learn some tricks to help you show up strong on stage (or in front of friends and family).
Bring your instruments.

Jay Best (3-4, EI)

A relaxed and fun time of playing old time tunes!

Richard Sleigh & Henry Koretzky (3-4, I)

Learn how to use your instrument to accompany a singer. The goal is to interject varied and interesting playing but to also (and especially) give the singer room to be heard and featured.

Karen Hirshon & Linda Littleton (3-5, EI)

Ukraine has a wonderful vibrant folk music tradition that tells us a lot about the spirit of the Ukrainian people. We'll work by ear with music available if needed.

Vidar Skrede & Patrik Ahlberg (Fiddle 2-3)

We'll look at technical issues involved in getting a good smooth tone out of your fiddle.

Cathy Fink (Banjo 2-5)

Techniques for old-time banjo players beyond the beginner level.

Marcy Marxer (Ukulele 2-5)

Take your ukulele playing to the next level with new techniques and repertoire.



11:45 am Group Photo

Bring your instrument and smile!


12:00-1:00 pm Lunch


1:15-2:15 pm Band Rehearsal

Another rehearsal with the same band as yesterday


2:30-4:30 pm Student Concert


After the Concert

Henry Koretzky & LeAnna Kline (1-5, EIS)

Stick around after the concert and jam one last time until we see each other again at Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering September 16-18. This will be a mix of singing and instrumentals, whatever tunes or songs you want to suggest.