Published April 21, 2017

The Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Showcase at James Monroe’s Highland on May 7 from 12:00 to 5:00pm will for the first time host two stages to feature the master artists and apprentices. The performance stage will highlight the work of teams of musicians while the crafts area stage will give the material culture artists an opportunity to speak about their work. The showcase will end with a square dance called by the master callers Ellen and Eugene Ratcliffe and their apprentice Hannah Johnson.

Performance Stage Schedule

12:00pm: Cabin Creek Boys and special guests
12:45: Opening remarks by Jon Lohman, state folklorist and director of the Virginia Folklife Program
1:00: Sephardic ballads with Susan Gaeta and Gina Sobel
1:20: Hindustani Khyal Singing with Humayun Khan and Ved Sheth
1:40: Fiddle and bluegrass singing with Scott Freeman, Linda Lay, and Kitty Amaral
2:10: Appalachian singing with Linda Kay Justice and Helen White
2:30: Persian classical music with Nader Majd and Ali Reza Analouei
2:50: Recognition of crafters and food purveyors
3:00: Songwriters David and Mason Via
3:20: Fiddling with Nate Leath, Eli Wildman, and guests
3:40: Bluegrass mandolin with Herschel Sizemore and Mike Walker
4:00: Oyster shucking contest with Clementine Macon Boyd and Deborah Pratt
4:30: Square Dance called by Ellen and Eugene Ratcliffe and Hannah Johnson, with music by participating old-time artists

Crafts Area Schedule

12:30pm: Decoy carving with Grayson Chesser, P.G. Ross, Mark Ross, Drew Sturgis, and Andy Dunton
1:00: Soul food cooking with Tina Ingram-Murphy and Cheryl Maroney Beaver
1:30: Banjo making with Greg Galbreath and Peter Keller
2:00: Spinning and weaving with Evelyn Lahman and Dr. Michael Gilley
2:30: Paper sculpture with Mama-Girl and David Rogers
3:00: Cambodian costume making with Sochietah Ung, Matthew Regan, and Lena Ouk
3:30: Logsmithing with Gary and Tommy Horton
4:15: Bolivian mesa ceremony with Julia Garcia and Marcela Alejandra Ardaya Barron

Cabin Creek Boys (photo by Pat Jarrett).

The Showcase will open with music from the Cabin Creek Boys, who play old-time “hillbilly” music from the mountains of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina They perform regularly at area fiddlers’ conventions, festivals, square dances, and other community events. Led by multi-instrumentalist husband and wife duo Chris and Erika Testerman, the band also includes Jackson Cunningham on guitar, Trish Kilby Fore on banjo, and Jerry Steinberg on bass. Both Jackson Cunningham and Chris Testerman have previously participated in the in the Apprenticeship Program: Jackson was a beekeeping apprentice to Jim King and Chris learned how to make dulcimers and other instruments from Walter Messick. Both are now excellent instrument makers in their own right, and both learned many of their skills from the late Audrey Hash Ham, a fiddle maker who was in the first ever class of Virginia Folklife master artists. Jackson specializes in archtop guitars and Chris mostly makes fiddles. Trish Fore’s husband, Kevin Fore, is also an excellent maker of clawhammer banjos.