April 18-21, 2016

Banjo I
Herb Trotman

In this beginning banjo class, Herb will cover the basics of musical theory. He will then build on that theory and teach students popular bluegrass tunes.

Class Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Herb Trotman, a lifetime banjo and guitar player, has owned and operated Fretted Instruments, an acoustic instrument store in downtown Homewood, Alabama since the early 1970s. He currently plays in the Herb Trotman Band. The band’s influences include: Tim O'Brien, Guy Clark, John Prine, Greencards, and The Steel Drivers. In the past, Herb performed with the Spaulding Brothers band and the Front Porch String Band. His band has made appearances at myriad festivals and the Acoustic Café in Hayden, Alabama and plays for groups such as the Birmingham Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance. Herb’s talent is showcased on Fretted Instruments’ annual Christmas CD and can often be heard during jam sessions held at the store. He is quoted as saying, "I sometimes view myself more as a custodian for a rather large amorphous therapy group."

Banjo II
ned luberecki

This class will focus on learning by ear and creating banjo solos to songs, beginning with the melody, then adding rolls and common banjo licks to keep the melody prominent while creating a solo of your own. Then we’ll move on to “Jam Session Survival” where we’ll work on tips and tricks to “faking it” and playing solos to songs you’ve never played before. 

Class Level: Intermediate

Ned Luberecki plays banjo with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers and tours as Nedski & Mojo with Stephen Mougin (of the Sam Bush Band.)Ned is an on-air personality on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s Channel 61 Bluegrass Junction. Ned’s show is on the air Saturdays from 6pm – Midnight (est) and Sundays from Noon – 6pmET. Tune in for Ned’s “Less Talk – More Banjo Sunday” featuring the “Sunday Banjo Lesson” every Sunday at 3pmET.Ned is a popular banjo instructor at music camps across the country and around the world.

Gee’s Bend Quilting
China Pettway & Mary Ann Pettway

In this mixed-level class Mary Ann and China will set you free with beautifully colored fabric strips and your imagination. They will teach block cutting and assist with hand stitching and machine-stitching if needed. This class will focus on the basics including how to blend color and how to create different patterns and styles, particularly of the Gee's Bend tradition. They will discuss how to go from colors, to blocks, to finished quilt. Singing and storytelling included! Depending on your skill level, you will go home with some quilt blocks or a full pattern and many good memories.

Class Level: Beginner to Advanced

Mary Ann Pettway is currently the manager of the Gee's Bend quilters collective. She made her first quilt for the collective in the summer of 2005. The seventh of 12 children, Mary Ann Pettway was born and raised in Gee's Bend. She has one married daughter and two grandsons. After graduating high school in 1975, Mary Ann took college bookkeeping and accounting classes before working in a sewing factory for 20 years.

Pettway is one of the lead singers of the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church and became involved with quilting after hearing about the trips the quilters of the community went on. "Before I started back to quilting, I was with (friend) Sabrina's grandmother Arlonzia a lot and heard about these trips they would go on (to other cities through The Quilts of Gee's Bend traveling exhibition.) So I told her, "I'm tired of hearing how good of a time y'all are having. I want to start having a good time too." So she told me, "Well then start quilting!" And she is, thankfully, still quilting today. For more information about the Gee's Bend collective go to www.quiltsofgeesbend.com.

One of Gee's Bend's leading gospel singers, China Pettway is one of the few locals who attended college and returned to live in the community. China was taught by her mother, Leola, how to quilt at the young age of eleven. "We had to quilt until 10 at night. Then, she would let us stop and get to bed. That was every evening except Saturday and Sunday. I made my first quilt, it was a 'Star.' And I still have it." Now a home-health worker, Pettway enjoys working with the elderly. "I love my patients and I think they are the most sweet and beautiful people you can meet." Singing is Pettway's hobby.

Fiddle I
Robbi podrug

In this class, we will focus on technique, accuracy, how to practice, building speed and agility, ear-training, style, simple improvisation, double stops, shuffles, and learn new tunes.  Then we will go home and amaze our friends and familiies with what we’ve learned!

Class Level: Intermediate

Robbi Podrug has been playing fiddle with various bluegrass, and other groups for the last 40+ years.  She is a an ardent fan of Kenny Baker.  Her current band is King Wilkie’s Dream, based in the Twin Cities, MN.  You can check them out at www.KWdream.com .

Fiddle II: jamtasmagorical fiddling
becky buller

In this class, students will work on learning classic fiddle breaks and important licks. Students will develop skills that will wow their friends and neighbors and impress fellow musicians in while taking part in any Bluegrass jam. 

Class Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Becky Buller fiddles, clawhammers the banjo, and writes songs which she records as do others, including Rick Skggs, Rhonda Vincent, Special Consensus and more.  She teaches fiddle in Manchester, Tenn., as well as online via Skype.  She serves of the board of directors for the International Bluegrass Music Association and currently chairs their songwriting committee.  Catch her on the road with her own band promoting her third solo album, ‘Tween Earth And Sky, and visit her online at BeckyBuller.com. 

Guitar I
CHas Williams


Guitar II
Kenny smith

Is your guitar playing in a rut lately? Are you tired of playing the same old chords and riffs? Come join us and we will study rhythm and lead ideas to help you think about your playing differently. We will study how to become a solid Bluegrass rhythm player. I will discuss lead playing techniques like tone, attack, and how to compose a tasteful solo. If you are ready for a guitar player’s tune up, this class is for you.

Class Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Originally from Nine Mile, Indiana, Kenny Smith is widely considered one of the most important and influential flat-picking guitarists of his generation. A two-time IBMA Guitarist of the Year award winner, his professional credits include six years with the popular Lonesome River Band and an exceptional solo cd, Studebaker, released on Sugar Hill Records in 1997. 

Mandolin I
Jason Bailey

Mandolin I is intended to get both beginners and folks who have never played well acquainted with the essential basics for becoming a solid player. We will learn songs from different genres and play both melodies and chords. The class is also set up to allow intermediate players a chance to learn more without the stress of an advanced class.

Class Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Mandolinist, composer, teacher, studio musician, Jason Bailey possesses a range of musicianship of a well-seasoned professional and is an essential and powerful asset to Birmingham-based favorites such as Celtic-infused Shilleleagh Law, folk/rock Three Man Stone, bluegrass group The Bluegrass Cartel and the regional touring jazz/bluegrass/southern jam band Tonal Vision. Jason has taught at the Alabama Folk School every year since it began. For more information, visit his website at www.baileyjason.com.

Mandolin II
stephen mougin

In this class, Stephen will guide intermediate and advanced students to learn and perfect bluegrass tunes on the mandolin. 

Class Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Stephen Mougin tours with the Sam Bush Band, is the Director of Bluegrass at Bethel University, tours with Nedski & Mojo, owns/operates Dark Shadow Recording (studio, independent record label), and holds a

Bachelors of Music from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Vocal Music Education. Stephen has developed a series of bluegrass educational CDs and he produces and engineers products for clients.  Go to http://stephenmougin.com/ for more information.

SKip Ward

The class goal is to make individuals the BEST bass players they can be.... going over basic technique from physically holding the bass through how to gain TONE and TIME. Defining what the job of the bass player is for the most part and then some fun stuff on melodies, solos, bowing and more....

Class Level: Intermediate

Skip Ward is a Grammy Award Winning Bassist, Guitarist, Ukulele-ist (is that a word?). He also plays the Lap Steel, Tuba and Penny Whistle, gets around on piano, and sings background vocals. He is a classically-trained jazz musician with a penchant for rock n' roll. And fusion, blues and bluegrass. In fact, Skip can play in just about anything with a rhythm section, and has had experience in too many genres and styles to count. He plays four, five and six string electric and acoustic fretted and fretless basses, and has a special love for the upright.


Though Skip was born and raised in the thriving metropolis of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, he now lives in New York City. He says he prefers the quietness of the Big Apple. He has studied with Anthony Knight of the Cleveland Orchestra and Frank DiLaberto of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also had the privilege of studying with the great Jaco Pastorius, and surviving to tell the tale. Whether it's live or in the studio, Skip's bottom end truly is a very heavy thing. Artists he has played/recorded with include: Tony Trischka, Steve Martin, Rosanne Cash, Trey Anastasio, Bela Fleck, Gordon Stone (Phish), Phoebe Snow, Marc Cohn, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Cyndi Lauper, Cassandra Wilson, David Sancious (Sting, Eric Clapton), Dominic Miller, Manolo Badrena, Jim White, Tandy, The Wild Colonials, Angela McCluskey, David Benoit, Carrie Rodriguez, Melissa Manchester, Shannon McNally, Michael Daves, Steve Holley (Paul McCartney, Ian Hunter), Demolition String Band (featuring Boo Reiners), Brendan O'Shea, Mark Geary, Ana Egge, Darren Lyons Group, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tom Pierson Big Band, Canton Symphony, Akron Symphony, the Ohio Ballet. For a complete list of artists, call Skip and be prepared to listen for a while. 

faces in clay
sam williams

Each participant will create a face jug from clay. Face jugs are an art form of old pottery believed to have originated in the United States in the mid 1850's in and around Edgefield, South Carolina. They were made by slave potters, who were carrying on an African tradition of figural pottery. Students will also learn other hand building techniques of pottery. They will create items such as h'ors d'oeuvres trays and mugs.

Class Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Sam H. Williams is a graduate of Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina where he received a degree in biology. Since retiring, Sam has owned a pottery studio called "Pottery by Williams" in Monroeville, Alabama. You may visit his website at www. potterybywilliams.com.