Appalachia Music

Dance Musicians Week 2015

Dance Musicians Week JCCFS 2015

Chatter and Chitter just finished up a week long class at the John C. Campbell Folk School-Dance Musicians Week. In case you didn’t know-there are some mighty generous people who teach and learn at the JCCFS.

Once again, some of those generous people or heck maybe it’s only one generous person-anonymously donated the class to the girls. I can’t even begin to tell you the excitement, wonder, and gratitude the girls have been filled with since the day they heard they were already enrolled in the class by someone(s) who believe in them and their music enough to gift them with a week worth of learning more about their craft.

Neither can I begin to explain how happy and grateful The Deer Hunter and I are that our girls get to experience and learn at the folk school even though we can’t manage to swing the cost ourselves. Like I said there’s some mighty generous people who teach and learn at the folk school-and the Blind Pig family has been mightily blessed by them.

The title of the class pretty much tells you what it is: musicians learn to play for dances-traditional contra and square dances. The folk school hosts dances each night of the class and there’s even dancing going on in the class. It’s harder to play for a dance than you might think.

First up-the rhythm and tempo have to be correct and they have to be steady. Next-do you know how long some of those dances last? Some up to 10 minutes. So you have to keep up that perfect tempo/rhythm for a long time. And typically each dance is a medley made up of at least 2 tunes-so you have to manage to switch from one tune to another without stopping or losing your tempo/rhythm.

When the Blind Pig bunch is playing at show-its a comfort to know a hard song or a song we’re not doing to well on at the moment is going to end in at least 2 to 3 minutes. But 10 minutes-wow that’s a long time to play if you’re unsure or not feeling it.

Another neat aspect of the week is the instructors (David Kaynor, Sue Songer, Peter Siegel, and Betsy Branch) divide the class up into bands. The bands practice together all week and then on the last night each band actually plays for one of the dances.

Some of the students have never played in front of folks before much less for an entire dance floor of people. And as you can imagine even if you’re an experienced musician like the girls, playing with people you’ve only known a few days is a whole nother thing than playing with your Pap, Uncle, and Mom. The Blind Pig Gang is so used to playing with each other that we know each others parts as well as we know our own.

Here’s a peek at the girls’ week.

I hope you enjoyed the video!

Tipper

 

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Janet Pressley
    July 13, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Yes, many thanks to the donor or donors that made this great opportunity available to these girls. They both did very well! Great sound and rhythm!!!Love you! Janet (Nanner)

  • Reply
    Suzy J
    July 13, 2015 at 9:24 am

    I was fortunate enough to hear the Pressley gang this Sunday in Hayesville. They were so good!! I even had the pleasure of meet Pap 🙂 Thankful I live near where they play so I can see them more often. Great job everyone!

  • Reply
    fred tarr
    July 12, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Great opportunity for the girls to learn and participate .thank to the donor . absolutely
    er for sure!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    July 12, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    HEY! Today I was lucky to be at the Hayesville SQUARE EVENT and was delighted to listen to THOSE PRESSLEY GIRLS sing and play. And they had some ‘backup’ folks helping to make them sound mighty fine! I felt very special to be able to tell strangers walking around on the Square that “Those girls are GOOD!” And everyone agreed! Delightful!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Howland
    July 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    I could not pick out Chatter’s efforts this time because there was another guitar in he segment, but Chitter’s effort was easily noticed; she just keeps improving. I think she’s become more comfortable with the fiddle than she was a couple of years ago.
    I assure you that whomever gave these two girls the opportunity to attend the school hasn’t wasted a dime.
    Keep it up, girls….

  • Reply
    Phyllis S
    July 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Good sounds…looks like fun to me.

  • Reply
    Ken
    July 12, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Tipper,
    The John C. Campbell Folk School is
    my favorite venue for the Blind Pig
    Gang and the Pressley Girls.
    Thanks to the Donner who allowed
    Chitter and Chatter a week of
    entertainment…Ken

  • Reply
    Wright
    July 12, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Them two gals is getting better by the day. Almost made me feel young again.
    p.s. What happened to B. Ruth? If that’s not to much to ask.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 12, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I heard a wee bit of an Irish Jig in there, brings back memories of when I was much younger and me knees and other joints weren’t arthritic and worked so much better. Speaking of the length of the dances I can remember when I was at WCU my room mate’s band played at Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s Festival in Asheville and after the first day his fingers would be bleeding even though he picked every day and had callouses on every finger.

  • Reply
    TimMc
    July 12, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Wow,, what a blessing, For someone to donate in this day of “ME” ,is just wonderful,,congratulations Girls.. .. And great job on the Music..

  • Reply
    dolores
    July 12, 2015 at 9:28 am

    That was some fine toe-tapping music! My feet were moving to the rhythm. Those girls are so great! Keep up the great work!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 12, 2015 at 8:01 am

    How wonderful for the girls. I know living by such a great school has enriched all of your lives.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 12, 2015 at 8:01 am

    How wonderful for the girls. I know living by such a great school has enriched all of your lives.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 12, 2015 at 8:01 am

    How wonderful for the girls. I know living by such a great school has enriched all of your lives.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 12, 2015 at 8:01 am

    How wonderful for the girls. I know living by such a great school has enriched all of your lives.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 12, 2015 at 7:27 am

    It’s amazing, Tipper! The girls are maturing and their skills are improving. They look so comfortable and capable up there on the stage.
    A big THANK YOU! to the donator of their scholarships to Dance Musicians Week this year. I trust you are not disappointed with the results.

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