Two men sit together in a workshop, holding handmade violins, surrounded by instrument-making equipmentSights & Sounds

Daniel Smith & Richard Maxham

Daniel Smith of Lynchburg is apprenticing Richard Maxham of Alexandria, a fifth-generation violinist, in violin making and repair.


Announcing the 2022 Virginia Folklife Stage and Area at the Richmond Folk Festival

This year’s craft demonstration area at the Richmond Folk Festival will feature an Instrument Makers Workshop and more.

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Skip Herman – Folklife Fieldnotes Episode 2

Skip Herman is a world-renowned instrument repairman from Frog Level Guitar Shop in Abingdon, Virginia. This podcast is produced in partnership with WMRA.

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Chris Testerman, Karlie Keepfer and Sophia Burnett

Instrument Making Chris Testerman has been around instrument makers since he attended Mount Rogers Combined School in Grayson County and played in the Albert Hash Memorial Band, led by Whitetop …

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Remembering Gerald Anderson

I’m sure we join so many throughout Southwest Virginia and beyond in our sadness and shock to learn of the passing of Gerald Anderson. Gerald was a fine luthier, player, …

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Brian Calhoun and Adam McNeil and Jake Hopping

Brian Calhoun grew up in Rockbridge County, an area rich with many fine players of bluegrass and old-time music as well as a wide variety of acoustic styles. Already a …

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Greg Galbreath and Peter Keller

Just as old-time mountain music has risen in popularity across America and the world, so has the art of banjo making. Unlike the three-finger-picking style for bluegrass banjo popularized by …

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Old Recordings Found

Digging around in our archive recently we came across a trove of Betamax and U-matic video tapes from the early 90s. We dusted of the old tape deck and had …

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Dale Wise and Lori Sallade

The accordion, a box-shaped instrument first patented in Vienna in 1829, was a folk instrument played largely by commoners. At the turn of the twentieth century, European emigrants took the …

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Apprenticeships Merge: Dale Wise restores Flory Jagoda’s accordion

Flory Jagoda, a master artist of the Sephardic ballad tradition, escaped from Bosnia in 1941. Her only possession was her Hohner Student III accordion. More than seventy years later, Dale …

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Walter Messick and Chris Testerman

The hills of Grayson County, encompassing the small mountain communities around Mt. Rogers, are a veritable hotbed of luthiers—builders of fretted, stringed instruments. Some of America’s finest guitars, mandolins, fiddles, …

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Wayne Henderson and Jayne Henderson

Wayne Henderson was born, raised and still lives in tiny Rugby, Virginia in Grayson County. He built his first guitar using traced patterns and the wood from the bottom of …

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