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.
2018 Zigzag Workshop Schedule
10:00 – 11:00AM
Family Sing and Play Along – Steph Noll
Bring your voice and any other instruments you like for a family sing and play along. We’ll sing some fun old time songs together and welcome you to lead us in your favorite song as well. All ages welcome!
11:00AM – Noon
Tapping out a tune – Julie Shepherd-Powell (feet), Todd Meade (fiddle and banjo)
Learn some rhythmic flatfoot steps to accompany your favorite old time tunes. Julie will guide you through beginner and intermediate steps to some of the most loved dance tunes of the mountains, played by Todd on fiddle or banjo. She’ll also discuss the ways she approaches dance as a percussive element to the music in both jam sessions and performance settings. Be a part of the music with your feet! Be sure to bring your dance board and leather bottomed or slick soled shoes.
1:00 – 2:00PM
Kids fiddle workshop – Kate O’Brien
In this kids’ fiddle workshop, our focus is on fun. We will play some games and learn a fiddle tune called “Lonesome John.” We’ll start by learning the melody and then fill in back up chords and bowing patterns. All levels are welcome.
3:00 – 5:00PM
The Music of “Uncle” Charlie Osborne, Russell County Virginia Fiddler – Todd Meade (fiddle), Julie Shepherd-Powell (banjo)
This workshop will explore the tunes, songs, and stories of legendary old time fiddler and Todd’s great grandfather “Uncle” Charlie Osborne, who was first recorded at the age of 95. Todd will guide fiddlers through the styling, technique, and melodies of three of his Southwest Virginia tunes, while Julie will teach the accompanying old time banjo part. Learn these unique gems, straight from the source.
10:30 – Noon
Kids Jam – Kate O’Brien
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.
11:00 AM- 12:15PM
Lily May Ledford banjo tunes – Julie (banjo), Todd (fiddle)
Learn some East Kentucky banjo classics as played by the legendary Coon Creek Girls leader Lily Mae Ledford. Spending several years in Kentucky, Julie grew to love this “Banjo Pickin’ Girl” and her rhythmic way of playing. Todd will be on hand to play fiddle and assist any fiddlers who want to play along with these banjo tunes.
2:00 – 3:30PM
The Galax Sound – Fiddle and Banjo duets in the Old Fiddlers’ Convention Way (Todd- fiddle, Julie- banjo)
In this workshop, Todd and Julie will play, discuss, and teach the hard-driving tunes that have filled the air at the Galax Fiddlers’ Convention in Southwest Virginia each August for the last 83 years. Through a variety of tunes, Todd and Julie will teach and demonstrate the culture, spirit, and energy of the Galax sound. Be prepared to stomp your feet!
4:00 – 5:00PM
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!
7:00 – 9:00 PM* (TBD – may take place on Saturday evening)
Julie and Todd, 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.
Leela is a nationally-known singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, percussive dancer and teacher of music and dance originally from Missouri. Since moving to Portland, Oregon in 2007, she has built a tremendous following, teaching popular banjo, by-ear harmony singing, and Appalachian clogging classes. In 2014, Leela embarked on the new adventure of motherhood when her daughter was born. In late 2015, Leela and her family moved to northern Vermont following a job opportunity for her partner, Seth. After many “adventures” in the snowy northern lands of the east, she returned to the Pacific Northwest in the fall of 2016, inspired and ready to resume teaching and performing in her home community.
Leela has performed and taught nationally for over 25 years, first with her family, and now as a solo musician and with her sister Ellie Grace (as Leela and Ellie Grace). She has earned critical and audience praise for the “great depth and insight” of her original songs, which have been featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered and chosen for inclusion on a “Best of Portland Acoustic Music” compilation CD. She picked up the banjo as a young teen and has developed her own exceptional clawhammer banjo style, marked by clear, bright melodies and powerful rhythm. Leela is also recognized as a dynamic percussive dancer whose style draws most strongly from Appalachian clogging, but also incorporates Irish step dance, rhythm tap, body percussion, and much more.
Steph is an old-time musician, dance caller, and mama to two, singing and dancing 7 1/2-year-olds. She loves calling family dances and loves the Pacific Northwest old time music scene for its many opportunities to make music with friends of all ages. Steph is offering Family Sing and Dance Along sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
Kate is a classically trained violinist with 10 years teaching experience. She teaches from the classical perspective, utilizing many aspects of the Suzuki Method as well as her training in the Western Classical school. She believes the classical technique is the best vehicle towards playing beautiful and meaningful music of any genre on the violin/viola or cello. She also plays and teaches Old-Time fiddle and improvisation techniques and is always curious to explore all kinds of music!
She has played violin and sang in various rock/pop and folk bands in Portland, OR and also plays and sings in a band called Calico Rose. She has toured the US and Europe with numerous folks and recorded with many different projects. Recently she is enjoying time spent writing her own music.