September 7-9, 2018

A Fun, Friendly Weekend of Music

2018 Schedule TBD



2017 Schedule

Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering is full of great workshops, concerts, singing and dancing.

Below is the current schedule.*


Friday, September 15, 2017


Friday 3:00 pm Pre-Event Intensive Classes (separate registration required)

A pre-event intensive is a great way to get a jump-start on the weekend. Separate registration is required for these classes.


Choice of:

Folk Music Skills for Beginners with Ryan & Brennish Thomson

In this special workshop designed for those who are fairly new to their instruments, we'll address skills that will help you get more out of the weekend. We'll particularly look at how to learn tunes by ear, how to jam, how to play backup, how to play melody, how to play well with other musicians, and how to get the most out of your practice at home.

For all instruments, advanced beginner.


Irish Fiddle with Deborah Colón

Learn to play Irish fiddle and give it a true Irish sound, including bowing patterns, left-hand ornaments, and more.

For intermediate/advanced level.


Backup Guitar with Karl Colón

The focus will be on being a strong, solid backup player. We'll look at rhythm, chords, and right-hand techniques in Irish and other styles.

For intermediate/advanced level.


Mandolin with Henry Koretzky

Learn how to get the most out of this versatile instrument with tips and techniques to take your mandolin playing to the next level.

For all levels beyond beginner.


Harmonica with Richard Sleigh

Focusing on the 10 hole diatonic harmonica in standard tuning (also known as a blues harp), you will learn 3 main scale pathways that open up the entire 3 octave range of the instrument for playing in any style and a range of keys. We will also look at tongue blocking, pucker style playing, note bending, breath control, and how to increase volume and tone control without playing harder.

For all levels beyond beginner.


Vocal Techniques with Scott Elkins

We all have voices, and they are all a little different, but there are similar things we can get them to do.  We'll look at vocal volume, when to over enunciate, when to slur, how to sing through your nose, and when not to, and how to make it sound right; how to growl, crack, dip, do vocal hammer-ons, or pull offs, double dips, triple dips, etc. Anyone can sing a song, but what is more important is to learn the building blocks to make any song sound unique.

For all levels.

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Friday 4:00 pm Jamming – Judy Minot

This will be a fun, relaxed jam for all levels, also a good way to meet other attendees before things get going.


7:00 pm Staff Concert

You'll meet and hear all of the faculty.


After the Concert

Irish Session – Changeling

Beginner-Friendly Sing & Jam – Simple Gifts

African Drumming – Kelly Parker & Lori Russo


Saturday, September 16, 2017


8:00 to 9:00 am Breakfast

Meals are provided for those who pre-paid. If you've brought your own food, you're welcome to bring it to the food pavilion so you can sit with the group. Mealtime tends to be a prime time for socializing.


8:30 am Greetings & Introduction



9:00 to 10:00 am

Try the Bagpipes – Betsy Gamble

Betsy will bring a few different types of bagpipes for you to see and try, and she'll even take one apart so you can see how it works. We'll have a few practice chanters, so you can learn the basics.


West African Drumming – Kelly Parker & Lori Russo

You’ll learn the basics of playing West African djembe as well as traditional West African rhythms. Bring a drum or use one of Kelly’s.


Singing for Beginners – Karl Colon of Changeling

A little attention to posture, breathing, and enunciation can turn you from someone who thinks they aren't a singer to someone who's singing quite well. Give it a try!


Beginner-Friendly Jam – Simple Gifts

We'll play common tunes that everyone knows, for example, Oh Susannah and This Land is Your Land. The jam will be especially supportive of beginners, but also a great setting for advanced musicians to experiment with improvisation. Singers are welcome too.


Understanding and Playing the Blues – Richard Sleigh

We'll cover a little bit of theory to help you understand what's going on in the blues, then we'll do some playing and analyzing. We'll work by ear with music provided at the end of the workshop. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Pennsylvania Tunes – Henry Koretzky

We’ll look at several wonderful but virtually unknown tunes collected in Pennsylvania, with tips for both melody and chord players. Sheet music and chords will be provided. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.




10:15 to 11:15 am

Try a Banjo - Jay Best

Starting at the very beginning, learn the basics of clawhammer style banjo. We'll jump right into the style by learning a rabbit tune titled "Old Molly Hare." Instruments will be available for you to borrow during the workshop, or bring your own.


Rhythm Basics – Richard Sleigh

What distinguishes one good player from another? RHYTHM!!! It’s their sense of timing, interpretation, articulation, expression, “groove”, and the melody of rhythm. We will explore how these elements contribute to creating a strong and confident rhythmic concept, and how we can develop these skills. For all instruments, advanced beginner level.


Harmony Singing – Judy Minot

Being able to find a harmony part to sing is not as hard as you might think. It takes some practice, but it's a skill you can learn! We'll work on some simple and well known tunes, to look at ways to find a harmony part, and then we'll explore some more unusual harmony options. Note: if you are looking to improve your harmonizing skills on your instrument, try starting with a singing workshop! For all levels of singers.


How to Learn Tunes by Ear – Deborah Colon of Changeling

We'll look at some basic techniques for picking up melodies at jams or from recordings. For all melody instruments, advanced beginner level.


19th Century Village Music – Betsy Gamble

The workshop will begin with a presentation about the sort of tunes that were played in American villages in the 19th century, including photos, sound clips and more. You'll learn about music from wind bands, string bands, parlor music, minstrels, and singing schools and hear how it influenced traditional music commonly played nowadays. Then we'll play some of the most popular tunes of the 19th century. Sheet music and chords will be provided. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Exotic Tunes – Henry Koretzky

Break out of the straight and narrow, and learn some tunes that are really exotic. Tunes will include a Finnish schottische and more. We'll work by ear with music provided at the end of the workshop. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.




12:00 to 1:00 pm


1:15 to 2:15 pm

Honoring Pennsylvania Heritage Musician Ed Hansen

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 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. This year, we honor Ed Hansen, a fiddler and singer from Northwestern Pennsylvania.


Singing - Diana Wagner & Scott Elkins

This will be a relaxed, fun time of singing old favorites and perhaps some new favorites as well. For all voices and instruments.


Jamming – Henry Koretzky

An easy-going jam where we'll play a variety of tunes–anything goes!



What an incredibly beautiful park this is! Meet at the visitor center for a hike that will help you get to know it better.




2:30 to 3:30 pm

Try a Fiddle - Ryan & Brennish Thomson

Fiddle is a wonderful and versatile instrument. Learn the very basics of how to hold the fiddle, draw the bow, and change pitches to play a melody. Fiddles will be provided, or bring your own.


Solo Performance – Richard Sleigh, Diana Wagner, Scott Elkins

Whether you're trying to get your courage up for your first solo gig, or you have been playing out for a while, or you're just curious about what goes into it, come and get some tips from three seasoned performers. Richard, Diana and Scott have been playing solo for years and are ready to pass along their collective wisdom about solo performance. Learn how to wow an audience all by yourself!


Celtic Songs of War & Outlaws – Karl Colon of Changeling

Before B movies and late-night TV, the Celtic peoples entertained themselves and each other in the long evenings with songs and stories–the bloodier the better.  They also passed along their history and cultural values, sometimes coded in songs to hide their meaning from the authorities.  Come hear stories of figures like Shane Crossagh and Johnny Cope, and bring along your own favorite outlaw or wartime song to share.


How to Play Tunes You Don’t Know – Judy Minot

If you’ve sat quietly at jam sessions wishing you knew how to jump into the music, this session is for you. We’ll start from the beginning and show you step by step how to join in on tunes you don’t know. For all instruments, advanced beginner level.


Finding the Groove – Jay Best

When playing nearly any type of music, the groove is so important and so often overlooked! Ever wonder why some bands really make you tap your feet and others don't? It's all about the groove! We'll explore how to support the foundation of the music: the beat, and build a tune from there. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Jamming with PA Heritage Musician Ed Hansen – Simple Gifts

A mix of instrumentals and singing, especially featuring Pennsylvania Heritage Musician Ed Hansen. This will be mostly jamming, but also some chatting and hearing more of the Ed's stories.



3:45 to 4:45 pm

Try a Ukulele – Jay Best

Hooray for the ukulele! Come and try a uke and see why people are so excited about this little instrument! This session is targeted to people with no experience playing fretted string instruments. Ukuleles will be provided.


Conquering Stage Fright – Diana Wagner

Are you uncomfortable playing or singing in front of others? In this workshop, you'll learn techniques and exercises to empower your playing and your confidence.


Spirituality in Mountain Music – Scott Elkins

Even a casual listener of mountain music knows that many of these songs address spiritual topics.  Scott is a pastor who grew up in West Virginia, and will discuss the relevance of religion and music as we learn some old songs.  Lyrics and chords will be provided.


How to Jam – Betsy Gamble

Jamming is a wonderful social activity that you can participate in no matter what your skill level. Learn the basics so you'll be ready to jam all weekend! For all instruments, advanced beginner level.


Contradance Band Practice – Judy Minot, Fiddling Thomsons, Bob Nicholson

We’ll look over the music that the open band will play at the evening dance. Music and chords will be provided. For all instruments; intermediate/advanced level. Note: If you miss this session, it’s still ok to play for the dance.


Improvising Melody Backup on Songs – Changeling

Learn what to play on your instrument to accompany a singer. We'll explore the process step by step, from learning the chords through to playing harmony lines and tags. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.



5:00 to 6:00 pm Dinner


7:00 pm Concert:

Simple Gifts, Changeling


After the Concert



Square and Contradance – Bob Nicholson, Judy Minot, Fiddling Thomsons (Blacksmith West)

Bob will teach and call the dances. Live music will be provided by an open band led by Judy, Ryan, and Brennish, with music and chords provided. Come to dance, play, or both!


Mixed Styles Jamming and Singing (during the dance) – Jay Best (Main Tent)

Anything goes in this jam - songs, instrumentals, old time, Celtic, blues, and whatever songs/tunes you want to suggest.


Saturday Midnight – Midnight Hymn Sing – Scott Elkins (Church)

Join us for this new special workshop. In minimal light and amazing acoustics at the church, we'll sing hymns. Don't worry about not knowing the word, as Scott will line the hymns. Leave your instruments at the tent, this is a voices only event.



Sunday, September 17, 2017


8:00 to 9:00 am Breakfast



9:00 to 10:00 am

Beginning Harmonica (instruments for purchase) - Richard Sleigh

Learn the basics to get you started playing this small but wonderful instrument. You’ll work on how to breathe and then progress to other techniques. Bring a harmonica in the key of A, or you can buy one at the workshop.


Hymn Singing – Diana Wagner (Church)

We'll sing well-known and lesser-known gospel songs. Bring your instrument if you play. Lyrics and chords will be provided. This workshop is free and open to the public.


Easy Dance Tunes – Judy Minot

Learn a few dance tunes appropriate for advanced beginner level. We'll use a combination of by-ear and sheet music. For all instruments, advanced beginner level.


Variations on Irish Tunes – Deborah Colon of Changeling

Learn how to "mess" with tunes, making small changes to the melody that add variety without fundamentally changing the tune. For all melody instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


New England Tunes – Ryan & Brennish Thomson

Learn some cool tunes from New England, taught by two people who live in New Hampshire. Sheet music and chords will be provided. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Rhythm Guitar – Karl Colon of Changeling

How to be a great rhythm guitar player.



10:15 to 11:15 am

Beginning Jaw Harp – Ryan & Brennish Thomson

Jawharp (also knows as Jew's harp) is one of the world's oldest musical instruments, having been traced back to the 4th century BC. You can buy one for $10 at this workshop and learn the beginning techniques.


Shape Note Singing – Betsy Gamble

Shape Note Singing, also called Sacred Harp Singing is a 200-year-old American tradition of singing four-part harmony by following music with shaped notes. The music is sung loud with strong rhythms, simple open harmonies, and a strong sense of community. It’s easier than it sounds!


Hearing Chord Changes – Jay Best

Learn to hear and identify common chords and chord changes and to understand where and when they occur. This skill that will help you at jam sessions and help you to understand how music works. For all instruments, advanced beginner level.


Greatest Hits Irish Tunes – Changeling

Working by ear, you'll learn a few of the most commonly played Irish tunes. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Arranging Traditional Tunes – Henry Koretzky

You'll learn how to take a simple tune and vary it to fit your style, your band, and your audience. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Harmonica Beyond the Basics – Richard Sleigh

For those who already play harmonica, we'll move on to more advanced techniques.



11:30 am to 12:30 pm

West African Drumming – Kelly Parker & Lori Russo

You’ll learn the basics of playing West African djembe as well as traditional West African rhythms. Bring a drum or use one of Kelly’s.


Arranging Songs for Performance – Karl Colon of Changeling

A good song deserves a good arrangement. We’ll look at how to take a simple song and adapt it to your unique musical talents and strengths to come up with your own special version.


Easy Old Time Tunes – Henry Koretzky

There are some easy but wonderful tunes in the old time string band repertoire, and we'll take a look at several. We'll work by ear, with sheet music available at the end of the workshop. For all instruments, advanced beginner level.


Modal Tunes – Judy Minot

Modal tunes are tunes that don't follow the common major and minor scales used in most western music, and as a result they sound wonderfully exotic and fresh. Come to this workshop to learn a few modal tunes, and learn what makes them modal. We'll work by ear, but sheet music will be provided if needed. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Pennsylvania Tunes – Simple Gifts

We’ll look at eight wonderful but virtually unknown tunes collected in Pennsylvania. Sheet music and chords will be provided. For all instruments, all levels beyond beginner.


Irish Fiddle – Deborah Colon of Changeling

Explore how to choose and use ornaments and other fiddle variations in the Irish style. Wondering whether to use a cran or a roll? Itching to know why that tune sounds different every single time? You'll learn easy tricks for making a tune sound complicated in the simplest of ways.




12:45 pm Lunch




Act 48 credits issued through the Intermediate Unit 11.


* Schedule subject to change





Simple Gifts








Two woman, lots of instruments, with the sound of the world in their hearts.


2018 Faculty



2017 Faculty


Henry Koretzky

Kelly Parker & Lori J. Russo

Fiddling Thomsons

Diana Wagner

Judy Minot

Betsy Gamble

Jay Best

Richard Sleigh

Scott Elkins




Heritage Musician

Ed Hansen