February 19-21, 2016


Ever wanted to learn how to play the banjo, but not sure where to start? Well, this is the perfect opportunity. Herb will teach beginning banjo, working to introduce students to the instrument and beginning skills.

Class Level: Beginner

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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."

the seven elements of blacksmithing
russell colvin

Students will learn the seven elements of blacksmithing: drawing out, bumping up, bending, twisting, punching, cutting and welding. Students will then use combine these elements to into creative projects.

Class Level: Beginner

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Russell Colvin began his blacksmithing career in 1983. He has worked in the farrier industry and also created beautiful works of art, custom hardware and sculpture. Russell builds custom tools and equipment for the blacksmithing industry. 


In this class, instruction will be given regarding materials, composition, image selection and editing, color, drawing and oil painting. Class will take you from your selected image to your own completed original oil painting. Oil painting as a spiritual enrichment tool will be briefly mentioned. 

Class Level: Beginner

$30 Supply Fee

Dorothy Dixon is a lifelong artist, who is finally painting and teaching full time after careers as an RN and attorney. Dorothy studied for five years with a French Impressionist painter. She has written an oil painting book titled "Whatever is Lovely." She leads oil painting workshops, typically at churches or at church camps. 


Are you ready to take your first steps into the world of Old time fiddling?  Well let's get you started on the right path.  This class will focus on giving the beginning fiddler the necessary groundwork to play both halves of Old Time Music, the Melody and the Rhythm.  There will be a heavy emphasis on pointing out and demystify the half of old time fiddling that often gets neglected: the bowing hand, while familiarizing the beginning student with proper left-hand technique. Bowing movements or rhythms will be broken down, and then played in the context of a simple melody.  This class is taught by ear. 

Class Level: Beginner

Michael Ismerio began playing old-time music in 1997 in Portland, Oregon, a tiny music scene at the time that would evolve into one of the most active in the country. He was a member of two prominent west coast string bands, The Dickel Brothers, and The Government Issue Orchestra, and founder of the Portland Old-Time Music Gathering. Since 2000, he has made yearly pilgrimages to the southern Appalachian mountains to visit and learn from older fiddlers such as Clyde Davenport, Joe Thompson, and Charlie Acuff. In 2010, he moved to Indiana to study with Brad Leftwich, a master fiddler and teacher who greatly informed his teaching and led Michael to develop a unique bowing-centric teaching style that is resonating with many new players. Michael has taught, performed, and called square dances all over the country including four years at The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Port Townsend, Wa, The Swannanoa Gathering, Swannanoa, NC, The Nimble Fingers Bluegrass and Old Time Workshop, Sorrento, BC, The Appalachian Stringband Festival, Clifftop, WV, and the Dare To Be Square dance callers gatherings. He has performed internationally in Mexico, Canada, The Netherlands, Ireland, and two trips to China. For more information, visit www.michaelismerio.com. 


In our class, students will learn how to hold a guitar and a pick, and a little about the instrument itself. We'll cover the most commonly used open guitar chords and try some basic strum patterns. We'll discuss what's important about timing, volume control, tone, pitch, sustain, and syncopation, and examine various roles the guitar can play in a body of music. And we'll play and sing some of America's favorite old tunes.

All students will receive a complimentary spiral-bound copy of "Acoustic Guitar: Meet the Rhythm Machine", a reference guide with useful diagrams and charts, plus some songs to practice to help the beginning strummer get off on the right foot.

Class Level: Beginner

Susie Coleman is a lifelong singer and rhythm guitar player. She is the author of Fabulous Folksongs Every Girl Should Know, a series of songbooks for higher singing voices, and founder of its sing-a-long program called "Folkslingers." She also produces the "PegramJam Chord Chart Book", a fiddle tunes reference manual for Old Time players in use throughout the world. Susie has eight first place awards from the annual Old Time Singing competition at Tennessee's Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree, two from Indian State Folk singing contest, and has taken first place honors at Uncle Dave Macon Days, Bluegrass Along the Harpeth and other regional music competitions. In addition to giving guitar and singing lessons, Susie is a web and graphic designer, and lives in Pegram, Tennessee. Learn more about her at www.susiecoleman.com.


Most folks equate harmonica with the blues, but it is also a great instrument for playing old time music. That's what I mostly do, and that is what we will concentrate on in this workshop. Any level of player is welcome, even if you have never played a "harp". 

We will work on playing by ear as I think this is an important skill to develop. We will work on using the harp as a second fiddle, playing single note melody and harmony in straight position. We will explore cross harp position to give a tune more feeling, and work on some rhythm harp. We will also work on "bending" notes for added effect.

I have come up with a simple tablature for harmonica and will provide this for a number of old time tunes that we can play.

Mostly we will have some fun!

Class Level: Beginner

Jamie Finley has played harp with the Red Mountain White Trash for 25+ years. In addition, he plays in a local folk/rock group and has sat in as a guest blues harp musician on several CDs.


Our harmony singing experience will include a variety of song styles, including the Carter family, Appalachian gospel and blues.  We will explore how to find the tenor and baritone harmony parts that compliment the lead melody, and discuss techniques to make songs sound authentic.   The class will practice finding the right vocal range for each participant and will experiment with pitch and harmony parts.   Handouts will be provided with lyrics and chords for those who play an instrument.   Nothing is needed for the class except the desire to sing and have fun!

Class Level: Beginner

Kathy Hinkle grew up singing in the car, at home and at church with her mother and two sisters. Early on she found the “alto” voice and that’s where she's been for more than 50 years (Ooh, that’s hard to say!).  PTA meetings in her small rural community, usually well-attended, always included time for group singing though the school system could only afford a traveling music teacher we saw maybe three or four times a year. A non-audition choral class in college introduced her to classical repertoire, which she loved.  In the mid-80s, she found opportunities in Birmingham to sing with large and small choral groups: Cathedral Church of the Advent Choir, Birmingham Concert Chorale, Camerata and Alabama Choral Artists. In the 90s, she found her way to old-time and bluegrass music. She sings now with the Advent Choir and The Herb Trotman Band. 

Ann Whitley has been playing and singing old-time music since the mid 1980's. As part of The Rosin Sisters, she and her "sisters" Barbara Panter-Connah and Jan Smith teach harmony singing at festivals and camps around the southeast and beyond. 


Easy on the hands, easier on the ear. That's how I think of the ukulele. This little instrument, often viewed as a toy, can be the source of endless hours of musical joy. No prior musical experience needed, but please note that this class is designed for true beginner ukulele players. Handout packets will be provided. With the support of my wife Nancy we will all hum, strum, whistle, sing and laugh together.

Class Level: Beginner

Charlie Hartness has played old-time string band music since the mid-90s. One day he got tired of the way the guitar hurt his hand and he picked up a ukulele that a friend bought at the Goodwill. He sold his guitar in short order.  

He has played in string bands in three of his favorite cities: Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington, and his current home in Athens, Georgia, where he and his wife Nancy are the duo Hawk Proof Rooster.