2018 Workshop Schedule

We are excited about our workshop instructors and to the variety of workshops they will offer this year. Just like our campout, the workshops are rather casual.  Sit in on as many – or as few as you like.  All levels are welcome in the workshops.  You can even just sit in for a few minutes and listen, if you like.

homestead sign & jam

Zigzag Mountain Farm is a beautiful place to spend a weekend playing tunes and soaking in the magic of Mt. Hood.

(It will be similar to the one below!)

2017 Zigzag Workshop Schedule


10:30 – 11:20
Family Sing and Dance Along – Steph Noll

Come join us for singing, playing, and dancing. We’ll be on our feet for most of this active musical session for the littlest Zigzaggers and their bigger friends.  All ages welcome, but very appropriate for toddler-early elementary. Just bring your singing voices and your dancing feet. You’re welcome to drop in at any time.  Kids who are allowed to come and go as they please are welcome on their own, but smaller friends should bring along a favorite big person (or the whole family!)

11:30 – 12:30
How to Find the Old Time Groove – Nathan Bontrager

For all including non instrumentalists  (Nathan)
Nathan will unravel the rhythms of old time and work with class to take apart and put back together the rhythms of the fiddle, guitar, bass and banjo. This is partly a vocal workshop as well and is open to all.

2:00 – 3:30
Music from Owen “Snake” Chapman of Eastern Kentucky: Janie Rothfield

Open to all instruments: Janie learned a number of Snake Chapman original and traditional fiddle tunes from Paul David Smith and Jimmy McCown who played a lot with Snake and knew him personally.  She will teach several of her favorite Snake Chapman tunes with a focus on rhythm and drive-something Snake was known for.  And a few stories too! We encourage everyone to record (either audio or video) the workshops!

3:00 – 4:00
Kids fiddle workshop – Sophie Vittels Enloe

Kids of all ages are welcome to come and and learn some new fiddle tunes. At this workshop we will learn two or three “advanced beginner” and intermediate level old time tunes. Sheet music will be provided, and we will also learn the tunes by ear.

4:30 – 5:30
Body Percussion – Leela Grace

Learn a variety of fun ways to make rhythm with instruments you always have with you — your hands, your feet, and your body! From hambone songs to bits of South African boot dance, from Appalachian clogging steps to flamenco rhythms, and from stepping to rhythm tap polyrhythms, there will be something for everyone! Every step and rhythm will be broken down and accessible to anyone who wants to try it out. Join the fun!



10:00 -12:00
Kids Jam – Sophie Vittels Enloe

All are welcome to come and jam! We will play some common old time tunes, as well as the tunes taught at the kids’ fiddle workshop. Participants will be encouraged to suggest and lead tunes, and those who don’t know a tune will be given ideas for playing along. Grown ups who can play backup instruments (guitar, banjo, uke, etc) are also encouraged to join in. Sheet music for several tunes will be provided.

Intro to By-Ear Harmony Singing – Leela Grace

With a patient, light-hearted approach, Leela will help you discover the power of voices raised in harmony. Through large and small group singing, we will practice the fundamentals of two- and three-part harmony using by-ear techniques. This workshop is all about singing . . . singing together, finding your voice, experiencing the power of harmony, listening, laughing, and generally having lots of fun. We will learn to understand harmonies and how they work by SINGING. All abilities and experience levels are welcome. Come explore the possibilities!  “Learn how to harmonize easily and joyfully! Leela Grace is a leading harmony teacher in the Pacific Northwest from the real world of folk music. This workshop is taught in the oral tradition. Leela’s teaching is both simple and profound for its common sense and its accessibility for both the new – and seasoned – singer. Treat yourself to the discovery of harmony and learn how it really works.” — Kate Power, Quality Folk 11:00 -12:30

1:00 – 2:30
Fiddling the Banjo – Janie Rothfield  

Janie will work with the class to add more fiddle-esque melody and variations into your clawhammer banjo tune playing, as well as some chordal rhythmic fun-all without sacrificing that clawhammer drive.  This is for the intermediate-advanced clawhammer banjo who are comfortable at playing at a medium to fast tempo. She will teach as many tunes as possible.

We encourage everyone to record (either audio or video) the workshops!

3:30 – 5:00
Old-time Harmony: More Than Just Chords – Janie Rothfield &  Nathan Bontrager

Open to all instruments.  Much of the time we treat harmonies or chords in Appalachian music as a static element that is really just there as a foundation for the fiddle tune.  The foundation part is definitely true but these harmonies contain a whole world of nuances which can make a tune into something deeper and more musical.  We will look at some basic elements of harmony which can add spice to your backing up of tunes and give tips on how to figure out the chords for a tune you’ve never heard before.  We will also talk about the idea of melodic chordal accompaniment, especially useful for guitar, bass and similar instruments. We encourage everyone to record (either audio or video) the workshops!

4:00 – 4:50
Family Dance!

We’ll dance some traditional square dance figures in a format that’s fun and accessible to dancers of all ages. If you’re a young dancer that would like to try out calling a dance, find Steph before the workshop!

7:00 – 9:00
Bonfire Concert

Hen’s Teeth, followed by open mic.

2018 Zigzag Workshop faculty

Julie Shepherd-Powell is an award-winning flatfoot dancer and clawhammer style banjo player, Julie has made Appalachian music and dance a lifelong study. Julie has taught old-time banjo and flatfooting all across the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and has called square dances from Knoxville to New York. She also performs with the Railsplitters, a high-energy Appalachian old-time string band.

Todd Meade is an expert in old-time and bluegrass fiddle music, carrying on the musical heritage of the Big Moccasin area of southwest Virginia (Scott County – home of the Carter Family). He also plays the banjo and bass fiddle. Todd has played extensively with bluegrass bands throughout the region, including Dr. Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys, Carolina Road, and Appalachian Trail. He performed at the 2008 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) 25th Annual National Convention, where he was nominated for Bass Fiddle Performer of the Year. Todd has served as an adjunct music instructor at Mountain Empire Community College, where he is now involved in organizing the Mountain Music School, and the Home Craft Days festival and teaching old-time fiddle, banjo and bass.

Here’s a Youtube of Julie & Todd at Laurel Bloomery fiddlers’ competition last summer.