See the Complete Schedule for times and locations.
Guitar Setup and Evaluation 12 – 12:45
Jim Kozel is a Cleveland-based luthier as well as a guitarist, songwriter and teacher. He has been setting up, repairing and building instruments for more than 50 years. He says your instrument needs to fit you like a comfortable old pair of jeans.
This workshop features a Barbershop Harmony Society Quartet, “Lake Affect,” from the Cleveland East Suburbanaires. They will delight you with their fun-to-sing harmony while teaching you how to ring a chord.
Barbershop is a Made-in-USA, special type of harmony, from its 19th century African American roots through its 20th century popular growth. Its four-part a capella harmony has a unique style and sound. Song choices can go from the turn of (last) century through recent popular tunes – it’s the style, not the song selection that makes Barbershop unique.
Remember – Life’s A Pitch, And Then You SING! Join in to Keep The Whole World Singing!
Fingerpicking for Those Who Only Strum the Guitar 1 – 1:45
Now a member of the band Long Road, Bob Sandham began playing guitar in the early ‘60s, when his mother brought home a used instrument and connected him with a neighbor, Cleveland folk music legend Dick Wedler, for some instruction. Wedler supplied him with records by Bob Gibson, Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs, and Bob was immediately hooked on folk music. Over the years he has played acoustic, electric, and pedal steel guitars in rock, country, blues, and pop settings, as well as continuing in the folk vein.
In the 1970s, Bob played with legendary Ohio singer-songwriters Alex Bevan, John Bassette and Pat Daily, and others in the region, and spent much time recording and performing in concerts, clubs and coffee houses and on radio and TV. In 2006, he joined Bevan and bassist Paul Hamman in a reunion concert at the Kent Stage, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Bevan’s Springboard album.
Bob serves as the pastor of the Little Church in the Vale in Gates Mills.
Ukulele Madness (Beginner/Intermediate) 1 – 1:45
Bring your own ukulele or borrow one of Sheela’s to learn lots of chords, strumming patterns, and songs. All ages welcome! Sheela Das directs Creative Concepts in Music and is the member of an Ohio Arts Council Touring band. She has created numerous commissioned performances and workshops for festivals and Cleveland based arts organizations serving senior citizens, youth and disabled adults since 2007.
We’re thrilled that the one and only Doug Unger will host a clawhammer banjo workshop at Blue Sky Folk Fest with Paul Kovac. Doug is an accomplished musician, artist, Ohio Arts Council grants and fellowships recipient, master instrument builder, storyteller, and joke teller. Don’t miss this one! Thanks to blogger Brad Kramer and Glory-Beaming Banjo for the photo.
Jim Kozel, Cleveland luthier and teacher of ukulele and guitar, writes on his blog, “I saw Jake Shimabukuro’s ukulele arrangement of While My Guitar Gently Weeps nine years ago and immediately brought the ukulele into my family of stringed instruments. Since that time I’ve composed with the ukulele, have built custom ukuleles and teach ukulele.”
Three-Finger Style Banjo 3 – 3:45
Paul Kovac has taught at many music camps, recently including Midwest Banjo Camp and Swannanoa Gathering. He coordinated Bluegrass Week at the Augusta Heritage Center for a decade, performed with Bill Monroe, Chubby Wise and Mac Wiseman among others, and sings and plays most of the bluegrass instruments. A Chardon native, Paul Kovac is active in recording and producing music, has played on countless albums, and considers himself a working folk musician.
The Versatile Harmonica of Blues and Old-Time, with Bob Frank and Dave Rice 3:15 – 4:15
Bob Frank of Blue Lunch got the blues bug when he heard artists such as Muddy Waters and Paul Butterfield on the first few “Blues Bag” programs on WRUW-FM. He went out and bought a harmonica, and played in various band through high school. While in college in Boston, he was able to accompany David Bromberg and Vassar Clements on his harmonica. In 1975 he began playing in bluegrass bands, continuing for about 20 years. Bob also enjoys solo work and writes his own music.
David Rice grew up in Oklahoma and moved to the Cleveland, Ohio area in 1981. It was here that his passion for the harmonica’s role in Old Time music was ignited by hearing recordings of harmonica players Dr. Humphrey Bate and De Ford Bailey. Through the experience of playing in several local area dance bands throughout the 80’s and 90’s and the assimilation of the styles of many different traditional players, most of whom are fiddlers, he has developed an approach to harmonica playing that is both rhythmic and melodic. He is also a luthier on staff at Family Learning Center for Music in Twinsburg.
Discussion on Guitar Building and Repair 3 – 3:45
Pat Podpadec, owner of Liam Guitars, builds guitars and other stringed instruments at his shop in Madison, Ohio. He has been repairing stringed instruments since 1982, when he apprenticed with Luthier Rod Fitts. At his shop Pat custom handcrafts guitars, ukuleles, harp guitars and more in addition to providing instrument repair and repair lessons.
Fiddle Workshop 3 – 3:45
This is jazz violin oriented towards Joe Venuti and the roots of American jazz as it influenced Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Reed Simon has worked with many of Cleveland’s top jazz musicians and national artists including guitarist Tony Mattolla, vibraphonist Gary Burton and as a special guest on a Duke Ellington program at Severance Hall. This is jazz violin oriented towards Joe Venuti and the roots of American jazz as it influenced Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.
Brad Smedley has played music most of his life, starting with piano at age five years and moving to saxophone in junior high. After discovering Bob Dylan, he took up the guitar and focused on folk, bluegrass and country music. Reed and Brad are members of the Gypsy-jazz band Hot Djang! playing the Main Stage today.
Mandolin Workshop 4 – 4:45
Bill Lestock will teach mandolin techniques and a different approach of playing. This includes mandolin as a solo instrument, compositions consisting of crosspicking, using a slide and playing with a new approach to a very old instrument. Bill is a multi instrumentalist and has been playing music in NE Ohio for several decades. His band The Bill Lestock Trio features his mandolin compositions, a variety of something new and different in folk music to the area. Bill is playing in the bluegrass ensemble Paul Kovac’s ‘Grass Party on the Main Stage today.
Song Lyrics Writing 4 – 4:45
Scott Franklin of the band Lost State of Franklin has written nearly 1,000 songs and has authored poetry books, children books and joke books. He writes: “If I said I played music because I had to…that’d be the partial truth. I write words because I have to. I write songs, poems, paragraphs and fill up napkins and paper bags with words because I have to. Music has naturally been the best way to filter those words into the world.” Lost State of Franklin will be on the Main Stage today.
Bluegrass Breakdown 4:15 – 5
Paul Kovac, Scott Pearson and Ron Bonkowski demonstrate/lecture how bluegrass works, and how it’s different from other kinds of folk music. They are three of the five members of Paul Kovac’s ‘Grass Party playing on the Blue Sky Main Stage at 6:15 pm.
Fingerstyle Guitar for Intermediate and Advanced 4:45 – 5:45
With roots in rock, blues, soul, funk and jazz, the popular Nashville-based guitarist Dan Bankhurst brings a new groove to traditional and contemporary fingerstyle guitar playing. He has shared the stage with the likes of Phil Keaggy, Muriel Anderson, Jim Nichols, Thom Bresh, John Knowles, Brent Mason, Johnny Hiland, and the late Pete Huttlinger. Dan was winner of the 2013 International Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Competition, and albums have received critical acclaim. He was featured at the Woodchoppers Ball in Kent in 2013 and 2015, and he has performed repeatedly at the annual Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention.
Melody Writing 5 – 5:45
Scott Franklin is the winner of the 2013 Frank Brown International Songwriter Festival Contest. He is a frequent performer in the Mississippi Songwriters Festival. Scott grew up on the border of North Carolina and Virginia, then attended high school in Cleveland and college at Bowling Green. He was raised on down home American music and grew up to travel the world as a jazz trumpet player.. His longing for the roots music on which he was raised and a new-found love for poetry meshed with jazz, and he transitioned into a jazz beat poet and finally the frontman for Lost State of Franklin.