Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering seeks to identify and preserve traditional music of Pennsylvania. Each year we honor Pennsylvania musicians who have contributed to sustaining the music through the generations. Since 2006 we have honored a wide variety of musicians who have a long history of playing music in Pennsylvania, particularly those of Central Pennsylvania.
An important initiative of the festival is to examine the traditional music of rural Pennsylvania–to gain a better understanding of what Pennsylvania music is and to preserve and perpetuate this musical heritage. Each year we identify a musician (or musicians as is the case this year) with a unique musical background and perspective, invite them to the festival so that all can learn from them, and honor them as a Pennsylvania Heritage Musician.
Each year on Saturday afternoon, we invite the award recipients to to share their history and early experiences in a public workshop. At a following workshop, we invite festival participants to play music with the award recipients.
At this year's festival, Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering will honor Denny Ricker.
Denny will be honored as the 2018 Pennsylvania Heritage Musician at a ceremony and talk on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm at Greenwood Furnace State Park as part of this year's Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
At this year's festival, we are lucky to have Denny Ricker as a representative of the amazingly influential folk revival of the 1960's. Denny, an almost-octogenarian, was active with Penn State's Folklore Club in the early 1960s, helping to shape an organization that influenced so many during the 1960's folk revival. This organization still has bi-annual reunions, with members coming together from throughout the U.S.
Denny became interested in folk music in the 1950's, attending the well-known folk venue Cafe Lena and later volunteering at Bill Monroe's Bean Blossom venue. Denny played with the bluegrass band "Bob Anderson and the Country Ramblers" and old time band "Bob Doyle and the Allegheny String band," and he has experience as a square dance caller.. Denny plays guitar, banjo, and mandolin, though lately he's been focused on mandolin. You'll love meeting him during Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering!
There have been twelve previous year of Pennsylvania Heritage musicians.
2017 - Ed Hansen
Ed Hansen has played the fiddle for all of his adult life and has been a huge influence on younger musicians in northwest Pennsylvania; in fact, he'll tell you that all of his friends are musicians. Ed is entirely self-taught but was heavily influenced by the fiddle playing of Bill Proper from Titusville PA. In his 20's, Ed played in a bluegrass band, then he joined a country band, and more recently Ed sang and played bass in a gospel quartet.
Over the years, Ed has traveled quite a bit with his music: from St. Louis to Ireland, and from northern Ontario to the southern Appalachians. His focus and greatest love is the fiddle, but Ed also plays mandolin, guitar, and electric bass. There's always a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face. Ed is warm, gregarious, and entertaining.
2016 - George Putt
George Putt starting playing music in grade school, and has always had a passion for music. George now plays guitar, bass and fiddle. Seven years ago George and his wife Sandy started hosting a jam at their home in Huntingdon County every other Sunday to help keep the music tradition alive in Central Pennsylvania.
2015 - Wayne Runk
Well-known in the Huntingdon and Mt. Union, PA area, Wayne Runk was the 2015 Pennsylvania Heritage Musician.
He learned many instruments over the years, played in a number of bands and continues to play country, gospel and bluegrass. He plays banjo, dobro, pedal steel, and some mandolin.
2014 - Dianne McDaniel
Dianne McDaniel has been a mainstay for decades in the region's traditional African American gospel and R&B scene.
In addition to playing piano and organ and singing in churches in and around her home base in Huntingdon County PA, Ms. McDanie
l organized and directed several community choirs, performed at the Governor's Heritage Affairs Concert and at numerous festival and university venues, and was the lead singer of Body & Soul, a popular R&B group featured in a local PBS production, Welcome to Happy Valley.
2013 - Claudia Wilson
Claudia Wilson, a local octogenarian, sings, yodels, and plays a bright red "Sears & Roebuck" electric bass! Huntingdon County locals hear Claudia's sweet and powerful voice and strong bass playing monthly at the Huntingdon Hootenanny, a charity event that features country and gospel music.
Claudia has a great sense of humor that shined through and she and her sister June McCellen sang and yodeled the song Tiny Bells. Claudia even gave an impromtu yodeling lesson to an interested audience member. Claudia taught herself to yodel by listening on the radio to Gene Autry.
Claudia played for over 40 years with local musician Paul Quirin as Paul & Claudia and the Country Dreamers, and later The Country Dreamers.
2012 - Leo, Skip, and Cletus Steinbeiser
Leo, Skip, and Cletus Steinbeiser grew up about 25 miles from Greenwood Furnace in a family of 13 kids where music was a daily activity. Their musical development was guided by their father, who played "everything" but was best known for his fiddling. The family band was in demand for square dances, and they developed a strong rhythmic style and repertoire.
Currently the brothers are the mainstays of the Huntingdon Hootenanny and Tipton Hoedown, two monthly musical events thatbenefit those in need. During a special session at the Folk Gathering, we will honor Leo (guitar), Cletus (harmonica), and Skip (piano and accordion) for their talents and contributions. Steinbeiser family members will join us to share their stories, teach their tunes, and reminisce about their father Albert Steinbeiser, who so deeply influenced this generation of musicians.
2011 - Clyde & Dale Wilson
Clyde and Dale Wilson were honored as the 2011 Heritage Musicians at Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering this year. They shared their stories and talents in front of a full house in the Blacksmith Shop at Greenwood Furnace, including a performance of the Stone Valley Boys, their current band. The brothers grew up in a large family in Stone Valley and neighboring communities with music at home as the traditional form of entertainment. Clyde and Dale always shared an affinity to music; Dale “borrowing” his father’s fiddle at an early age, while older brother Clyde perfected his guitar playing skills.
Above- Presenting the award for Pennsylvania Heritage Musicians for 2011 were (left to right) Little Littleton from Simple Gifts, Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Fleck, Award Recipients Dale & Clyde Wilson, and Karen Hirshon from Simple Gifts.
Right- Playing at Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering with their current band the Stone Valley Boys.
2010 - Gene Hoffman
2009 - Bob Foster
2008 - John and JoAnn Dively
John learned to play from his father and played music all his life.
Shown in the photo (left to right):
First row: son Dively, John Dively, JoAnn Dively;
Second Row: Little Littleton and Karen Hirshon, both of Simple Gifts, and Henry Koretzky.
2007 - the late "Fiddlin' Joe" Yesolivich and his wife Helen
2006 - Charlie Arentz and LeRoy Mumma
This was the inaugural year for the Pennsylvania Heritage musicians.
The Huntingdon County Arts Council is dedicated to providing arts and cultural opportunities in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Our programs are designed to provide enjoyment and enrichment as well as educational and professional opportunities to the general public, students amateur and professional artists.
Towards that end, the Huntingdon County Arts Council joined with Simple Gifts to create and maintain the Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering.
For more information about the Arts Council, to request a membership form, or for more information about the Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering, please contact the Huntingdon County Arts Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling