Centrum Brings Top-Flight Bluegrass Talent to Port Townsend
For almost 40 years, Northwest arts organization, Centrum, has been producing innovative arts programming out of their home in Port Townsend’s historic Fort Worden. Each year they bring master musicians and artists from all over the US and the world, and they attract in turn participants from the Northwest and beyond to attend workshops, lessons, jams, and concerts from these master artists. Centrum’s programming races across many genres, from jazz and classical music, to literature and poetry, but with two of their core summer festivals they’re focusing on American roots music and bluegrass traditions.
Voice Works Festival
June 25-July 1, 2012
Voice Works is one of Centrum’s newer festivals. It’s a week-long festival dedicated to teaching vocal music rooted in American traditions. And this year they’re dipping into the deep bluegrass well of song by bringing out Tim O’Brien and his extended family. O’Brien Party of 7 includes members of Tim O’Brien’s and his sister Mollie O’Briens families. This year they’ve released an album of Roger Miller’s songs, dipping into the famed country/pop songwriter’s catalogue of fun songs. Both Tim O’Brien and Mollie O’Brien will be teaching all week and performing at the large public concert on Saturday, June 28. Another rising bluegrass star, Aoife O’Donovan, will be another artist joining the faculty at Voice Works this year. The lead singer of the young, cutting-edge chambergrass band Crooked Still, Aoife was recently featured on the Goat Rodeo Sessions, an album from Chris Thile, Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan and Edgar Meyer. Young singer Emma Beaton of Joy Kills Sorrow will also be joining the faculty of Voice Works, making for a great sampling of today’s best young talent on the national bluegrass scene. And these are only a few of the artists teaching this year. Check out the complete list!
Here’s a great video of Aoife O’Donovan singing with Chris Thile:
Though the week of workshops is only for participants, there will be two public concerts and a honky-tonk dance that will be open to the public. It’s certainly worth the ferry ride out to Port Townsend to catch these amazing artists in person!
VOICE WORKS PUBLIC CONCERT
Presented by Centrum
Saturday, June 30
Country Roots & Bluegrass
McCurdy Pavilion 7:30 PM
Link to Tickets
Aoife O’Donovan American and Irish folksongs
Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore Folk and Roots
Linda and David Lay Classic country
Tim O’Brien High octane, Grammy-winning bluegrass.
FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN FIDDLE TUNES
July 1-July 8
The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes is a national destination for people looking to learn first-hand from the old masters of traditional fiddle. Each year, Centrum flies in fiddlers from many different North American traditions, and the grounds of Fort Worden swarm with hundreds of fiddlers, banjo players, guitarists, bass players, accordionists, even some bagpipers, all looking for a great jam session and to learn tunes at the feet of the very best.
True to form, this year the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes will be bringing bluegrass fiddle legend Byron Berline! One of the most acclaimed bluegrass fiddlers in the world, Berline’s fiddled with artists as diverse as Bill Monroe, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Earl Scruggs, Bob Dylan, The Band, Emmylou Harris and many many more. It’s a rare treat to have him out to the Northwest, let alone for a whole week! Bluegrass fans will also be happy to hear that old-time fiddler Bruce Molsky (of Fiddlers 4 with Michael Doucet, Darol Anger, and Rushad Eggleston) will be playing at Fiddle Tunes as well. And in keeping with Fiddle Tunes love for the old masters, there will be three musicians over 90 years old this year! Talk about tradition bearers!
Like Voice Works, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes is geared towards participants during the days, but offers great public concerts and a Cajun dance that are all open to the public:
FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN FIDDLE TUNES PUBLIC CONCERT
Fiddle Grand Finale
Saturday, July 7, 2012, 1:30pm
Fort Worden State Park
Reserved seating: $37/$26/$18 (processing fee applies)
18 and under: free
Barely in his 20s, but now a virtuoso of banjo, guitar, harmonica, and piano performed in their authentic pre-war American styles.
Vesta Johnson (Missouri)
Traditional Missouri Fiddle Tunes from a master fiddler
Byron Berline (Oklahoma)
Three-time National Fiddle Champion plays a wide range of fiddle styles
Antonia Apodaca, with Jeanie McClerie and Ken Keppeler, (New Mexico)
Hispanic melodies from old New Mexico
Elmer Rich, with Kim Johnson, (West Virginia)
Elmer once played for Eleanor Roosevelt! Old-time tradition direct from the source with Appalachian clawhammer banjo
The youthful trio of wooden flute, guitar and fiddle & feet bring their exhilarating delivery of traditional Quebecois back to Centrum.
As a special offer to friends of Wintergrass, Centrum is offering a pair of tickets to the main public concert of the festival of your choice. You and a friend can attend either the Voice Works public concert on Saturday, June 30 to see Tim, Mollie and the O’Brien family, OR you can attend the Fiddle Tunes public concert on Saturday, July 7 to see bluegrass fiddle legend Byron Berline.
Just email Eric Frommer (firstname.lastname@example.org) to enter yourself in the contest!
OTHER PUBLIC EVENTS FROM VOICE WORKS/FIDDLE TUNES
Voice Works: Thursday, June 28
Two by Two: An Intimate Evening of Duet Singing
Wheeler Theater 7:30 PM $15*
Left Over Dreams (Tony Marcus and Patrice Haan)
Great American Songbook
Pharis and Jason Romero
Vintage country harmonies
Voice Works: Honky Tonk Dance
USO 7:30 PM
$10 (at door only)
Caleb Klauder; Courtney Granger; Bill Kirchen and Friends
Fiddle Tunes: Fiddlin’ on the Fourth
Wednesday, July 4, 2012, 1:30pm
Fort Worden State Park
Reserved Seating: $37/$26/$18 (processing fee applies)
18 & under: free
Elmer Rich, with Mark Crabtree, West Virginia (Old time)
Legendary old-time fiddlin’ from the Mountain State
Kimberley Fraser and Dave MacIsaac, (Cape Breton)
Left handed and youthful, Kimberley Fraser has enchanted the world with her Cape Breton classics
Bruce Molsky, Virgina (Old time)
Virtuoso fiddling in the Appalachian tradition and more.
George Wilson & Bob McQuillen (New England)
Two New England traditional music icons return to Fiddle Tunes
Dwight Lamb, Iowa with Mette Katherine Jensen and Kristian Bugge, (Danish)
Old Danish tunes given new life with a Danish American master and two young Danish fiddle and accordion sensations
Bayou Seco (Southwest)
Southwestern Roots and everything in between from this eclectic duo
Kevin Burke’s Open House (Irish)
Charismatic Irish fiddling with virtuoso harmonica & clarinet as well as guitar, bouzouki and engaging percussive dance with Celtic Roots
Fiddle Tunes: Cajun Dance
Friday, July 6, 2012, 7:00pm
Littlefield Green at McCurdy Pavilion
Fort Worden State Park
General admission (bring your own blankets and low back chairs): $15 (processing fee applies)
18 and under: free
Picnics encouraged and we’ll have free gumbo while it lasts!
Ray Abshire, Brandon Moreau, and Al Berard
Three generations of Cajun musicians in the Balfa Tradition
Jesse Lege and Joel Savoy
Soulful Cajun vocals & accordion with the featured fiddler of the Savoy Family Band