The Virginia Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) will present its eleventh annual Folklife Apprenticeship Showcase on Sunday, September 21st, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the VFH Conference Center. This free festival will feature the music, crafts, and traditional skills of Virginia’s “Folk Masters” and their apprentices.
The Folklife Apprenticeships pair an experienced master artist with an apprentice for a one-on-one, nine-month learning experience, in order to ensure that a particular art form is passed on in ways that are conscious of history and faithful to tradition. This year’s showcase will feature masters of a wide range of traditional music styles, including National Heritage Fellows The Holmes Brothers, Sephardic singer Flory Jagoda, the gospel choir Family of Praise from Richmond, as well as bluegrass performers Danny Knicely and Billy Baker, among many others. Other featured crafts include quilts, bee keeping, handmade chairs, farm tools, real Brunswick stew, salt making, fried apple pies, and an oyster shucking competition.
“I’m really excited about this year’s apprenticeship teams,” said Jon Lohman, State Folklorist. “We’re working with incredibly accomplished musicians and crafts men and women who all wish to pass along these vitally important art forms to their apprentices. Participants in this year’s showcase attest to the remarkable range and diversity of folk traditions in Virginia.”
Celebrating the completion of the 2013–2014 Virginia Folklife Apprenticeships:
- Master of Sephardic Jewish Ballad Singing Flory Jagoda of Alexandria and apprentice Aviva Chernick
- Master Bee Keeper Jim King of Grayson County and apprentice Jackson Cunningham
- Master of Traditional Gospel Choir Cheryl Maroney of Richmond and apprentice Robinette D. Cross
- Master Chair Maker Sean “Purl” Samoheyl of Louisa County and apprentice David Rogers
- Master Quilter Sharon Tindall of Fairfax County and apprentice Nancy Chilton
- Master of Traditional Green Wood Working and Farm Implement Construction Danny Wingate of Grayson County and apprentice Sam Linkous
- Master of Bluegrass Fiddle Buddy Pendleton of Patrick County and apprentice Aila Wildman
- Master Mole Sauce Maker Francisca Ramirez Acosta of Arlington and apprentice Laura Ortiz
Introducing the 2014–2015 Master Folk Artists and their apprentices:
- Master of Blues and Gospel Singing The Holmes Brothers of Middlesex County and apprentices Whitney Nelson and Morgan Burrs
- Master Bluegrass Fiddler Billy Baker of Norton and apprentice Jack Hinshelwood
- Master of Accordion Making and Repair Dale Wise of Orange County and apprentice Lori Sallade
- Master Blacksmith Rick Green of Franklin County and apprentices John Butler and Bill Parcell
- Master Salt Maker Jim Bordwine of Saltville and apprentice Baron Bordwine
- Master Mandolin Player Danny Knicely of Loudoun County and apprentice Jack Dunlap
- Master Balalaika Player Andrei Saveliev of Fairfax and apprentice Aaron G. Mott
The Folklife Apprenticeship Showcase is free and open to the public and will take place at the VFH, off 250 West (Ivy Road) at 145 Ednam Drive in the Boar’s Head Inn Complex in Charlottesville. For more information, call 434-924-3296 or visit VirginiaFolklife.org
The Folklife Apprenticeship Program is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and an anonymous donor, and is an initiative of the Virginia Folklife Program, which documents, presents, and supports Virginia’s living cultures, traditions, and folkways. For 25 years, the Folklife Program has documented the Commonwealth’s music and material traditions and shared those histories through hands-on workshops, performances, exhibitions, audio and video recordings, and apprenticeships across Virginia. “We capture the stories of everyday people living extraordinary lives,” said Lohman. “From fiddle-making to gospel singing, our focus is to keep these traditions vibrant from generation to generation.”
The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, celebrating its 40th anniversary, encourages discovery and connection through the humanities by supporting and producing programs for a wide public audience. For more information visit VirginiaHumanities.org.