Hey, if you don’t know about the music workshops that take place each June in WV here’s some info you’re going to want. A group of native West Virginians got together 20 years ago for the purpose of presenting, preserving and teaching traditional WV music (fiddling, banjo picking, storytelling and Bluegrass). After two decades the group is going strong.
The main event each year are the annual Summer workshops. The workshops take place in the little town of Marlinton in scenic Pocahontas County, WV. Take a look on Google maps and you’ll get an idea of the beauty of this part of the country. Students and staff are housed the homey Marlinton Motor Inn with its 70’s decor and ski racks in each room (took us a few years to figure out what they were for!). Classes are held all about town in various community rooms, schools, etc.
The instructors are top-notch. In fact, one year I recall thinking after the Friday night instructor concert, which is free to everyone in attendance and the community, that you would be hard pressed to hear music that good anywhere at any price.
Here’s a brief sample: fiddle (three levels) – Bobby Taylor, Eddie Bond, Jake Krack & more; O-T banjo (three levels) with Tim Bing and Bob Shank & more; guitar (five levels) with Robin Kessinger and Pat Shields & more; vocal instruction with Val Mindel and Patt Plunkett (I know her from somewhere); Bluegrass – banjo (Richard Hefner), mandolin (Brandon Shuping), fiddle (Yours Truly), guitar (Kenny Smith) and dobro (Chris Stockwell). Let’s not forget the doghouse bass class led by Tim Corbett of the Bing Brothers Band. Additionally, and this is unique to such a workshop, poet and professional yarn-spinner Kirk Judd, teaching creative writing. Classes are for all ages.
Here’s a sample of what we did in my Bluegrass fiddle contest.
Add to this daily masters concerts, a square dance, a wild game feed, student concert and instructor concert and you’ve got what amounts to the best week-long traditional music camp anywhere.