Folk Gathering's host band is two women (Linda Littleton and Karen Hirshon) playing twelve instruments, performing styles that range from old time to Celtic to Klezmer and beyond. Combining tradition with innovation, Simple Gifts creates some of the finest arrangements in folk music today: swing fiddle creeps into a Romanian dance, spoons show up in an Irish reel, and the concertina ventures far beyond styles considered traditional for that instrument. Based in the hills of central Pennsylvania, Simple Gifts switches with ease among two violins, concertina, mandolin, banjolin, recorders, bowed psaltery, hammered dulcimer, baritone fiddle, guitar, piano, and percussion.
Richard has been exploring the harmonica from the inside out for over 30 years. He has performed with Taj Mahal, Maria Muldaur, Bo Diddley, Susan Werner, and many others. His studio work includes award winning films, TV, radio, and theatre soundtracks, and other projects. As a soloist, he combines his fluid and highly developed rack playing with soulful vocals, guitar, and intricate solo harp flights. Richard’s music is American roots - ranging from rural and urban blues, fiddle tunes, swing, country, gospel, to early rock and roll. He has three solo releases - “Steppin Out”, The Joliet Sessions”, and his most recent collection titled “Celtic Instrumentals”. You can also follow Richard on his blog.
Ryan Thomson (Captain Fiddle)
Ryan Thomson is a music and dance professional who tours with both the Traditional and Touring artist rosters of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. He is a past winner of the North Eastern Regional awardof the National Fiddle Contest and has published numerous books on fiddle, banjo, accordion, flute, piano and more! See captainfiddle.com for more info and lots of videos!
Henry Koretzky is a mandolinist/ guitarist/singer from Harrisburg, PA, who has performed in a wide variety of styles and groups, from bluegrass with Cornerstone, Sweetwater Reunion, and High Strung, klezmer with The Old World Folk Band, old-time with the duo Rootbound, as well as swing, celtic, contemporary folk, and contradance music. He has taught at Folk College in previous years as part of The Keystone Rebels and as part of a duo with singer/songwriter/ guitarist Kevin Neidig, and has also been a staff regular at Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering.
Jerry grew up in Mississippi where he learned and played traditional music at an early age. He has a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in music performance (French horn). Jerry was a high school band director for several years, and he is now a professor in counselor education at Penn State. His current musical passions include playing, researching and building clawhammer and old-time banjos.
Holly Foy and Patty Lambert
Holly Foy and Patty Lambert play with Callanish, a traditional Celtic band where Patty plays flute, whistle and concertina and Holly plays guitar. Patty has studied with National Heritage Fellowship award winner, Mike Rafferty as well as with Chris Norman. Patty has traveled through Ireland twice to collect tunes and to sample Guinness beer with bandmate Holly Foy, who will back her up on guitar. Holly has studied guitar with Daithi Sproule, guitarist from the band Altan, and with Matt Heaton and others.
Diana Wagner is an acoustic musician and folksinger who collects and preserves folk music. Diana plays acoustic and classical guitar, mountain dulcimer, a bit of banjo and diddley-bow. She also plays multiple percussion hand instruments. Folk audiences know that her show-opening trademark is to begin without any instruments and an a capella mountain song or ballad. Whether singing Civil War songs, blues, Irish love ballads, or indie folk from contemporary backroads, Diana is committed to telling the personal stories and sharing the histories of the lives preserved in song. Diana is also a classical guitarist with a variety of musical interests. In addition, she directs the Maryland site of Guitars in the Classroom, an innovative program that brings guitars and music integration to classroom teachers across the country.
Kelly e. Parker is founder and artistic director of ABAFASI. Her life’s roles include: sistah, mother, grandmother, drummer, drum-maker, student, teacher, social worker, composer, craftswoman, wordsmith, jewelry-maker, and welder. Kelly’s first drumming experience occurred in 1994, and it recharged her life, since then drumming has been the soundtrack of her path. The drum is in her walk, talk, hair, children and spirit. Her travel to Africa in 2005 affirmed the influence that West African drumming has had on all genres of music. That influence has informed her rhythmic expressions.
Jerry Zolten is a Penn State educator as well as a musician, musicologist, producer, and author. He and Richard Sleigh have been performing blues, swing, and folk music together as the Jivebombers for more than 35 years. Among Zolten's producing credits, a soon-to-be-released CD/LP of a public radio program, Chimpin' the Blues, co-hosted with cartoonist R. Crumb, CDs by the Grammy-winning Fairfield Four, and Woody@100 at Penn State, a centennial celebration of Woody Guthrie's life and music. Zolten is currently working for Martin Guitars on the development of a roots music cyber site, and for Revenant Records, a compilation of blues, jazz, folk, and gospel recordings from the historically significant Paramount label.
Ryck Kaiser has been playing the fiddle for more than three decades. His main interest has always been Appalachian string band music. A well-rounded musician, Ryck studied classical violin with Joyce Pollard, and played in the West Shore Symphony Orchestra in Harrisburg for over fifteen years. He has also played in a Cajun band, “The Yard Dawgz,” and a western swing band called “The Midtown Fiddlers.” Currently, Ryck performs with “Hot Club du Jour” a Gypsy jazz band from SE Pennsylvania. With all of these diverse experiences Ryck always thinks of old timey fiddle music as a touchstone.
Peggy Shutes is a music teacher in the State College Area School District where her middle school curriculum focuses on Pennsylvania, U.S.A. and World Folk Music. She has studied a variety of instruments including the Appalachian mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, and piano and is a participant in several PA jam groups. She performs with fiddler Ryck Kaiser, playing the traditional dance music of Appalachia and with fiddler Bruce Young in Smash the Windows, specializing in traditional Irish and American dance music. An experienced clinician, Peggy has taught workshops at Folk College, The Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering, HOTAfest, and the Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Annual Conference.
Based in Syracuse, NY, Bob is in demand as a contradance teacher and caller. His dances are easy for beginners while still being fun for accomplished dancers.
Peggy is a founding member and director of FiddleKicks, a dance troupe that performs Appalachian clogging and other styles of percussive dance. In addition to teaching these styles, she has offered workshops in waltzing and couple dances since 1999, and has a strong background in international folk dancing. Peggy is currently working with Simple Gifts on a collaboration where FiddleKicks will perform to Simple Gifts' music. Peggy co-founded Mostly Waltz, a popular social dance in Philadelphia. She also plays recorders in early music ensembles, English country and contradances bands; and manages phillydance.com.
It's safe to say Bob has been singing his whole life. His father, a life-long barbershop bass singer, encouraged him at a very young age to sing whenever the opportunity arose. Harmony singing quickly became second nature. Bob has performed at at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC with the Paul Hill Chorale and sings first tenor with the State College Choral Society. In addition to classical music, he has performed bluegrass, folk, and Americana music with a variety of local musicians in the Washington area. He is currently in a newly formed Americana band, the Long Tailed Cats. Bob arranges vocal harmonies for the group.
Allegheny Bilge Rats Shanty Choir
The Allegheny Bilge Rats Shanty Choir began as an expansion of semi-annual "Shanty Sings" at Steve Sherrill's house and other locations in the area. We sing call-and-response style songs which invites, nay, demands audience participation.
The Allegheny Bilge Rats Shanty Choir consists of students, college professors, clergy, office professionals, code monkeys, burger slingers, karaoke singers and friends.
None of us are professional musicians, but we all share a love of music and terribly punny pirate jokes.
The Cultural Interpreter for Greenwood Furnace State Park, Paul is knowledgeable about the history of the people and places at Greenwood.