[caption id="attachment_12103" align="aligncenter" width="602"] The Brasstown Morris Teams in England. (Carl and his red trombone are on the far right.)[/caption]
There are all sorts of traditions that are alive and well at the Folk School. The Brasstown Fire Department always brings the firetruck to spray down all the children during Little/Middle Folk School, we always dance the Salty Dog Rag during the evening break at Saturday night dances, and the Brasstown Brigade always helps us bring in the New Year with their black powder muskets. One of my favorite Folk School traditions is the Brasstown Follies, the talent show that happens each Winter Dance Week the night before New Years Eve. For as long as I've been coming to Winter Dance Week, the Follies have been organized and MC'ed by Carl Dreher - dancer, musician, magician, and all around Brasstown enthusiast. So enthusiastic, in fact, that he and his wife Charlotte Bristow recently retired and decided to move here from Texas. Let's meet Carl...
[caption id="attachment_12107" align="alignright" width="253"] Carl & Charlotte at Kenilworth Castle. Photo by Julie B. Hearne.[/caption]
CC:When did you first start coming to the Folk School? Was it for Winter Dance Week, or to take another class?CD: I believe it was 1993. I saw an ad for Winter Dance Week in the Country Dance & Song Society (CDSS) newsletter, and saw that Bob Dalsemer (the Music and Dance Coordinator at the Folk School at the time) was in charge. I knew Bob from serving on the Board of CDSS, and that was all the recommendation I needed to know that it would be a fun week. So I loaded up my truck and drove out. Except for one year when my wife Charlotte and I decided to stay home for Christmas (a big mistake, I SO missed everyone!) and one year when I was sick, we've been coming continuously since then.
CC:Tell us about your interest in music and dance? What musical instruments do you play and what kinds of dance have you done?CD: I've always had music in my life, with my parent's encouragement. Neither of them played any instruments that I can remember, although I still have my dad's harmonica. My parents loved German music and bought my brother an accordion...is that child abuse?...but he didn't take to it, so I picked it up. (Not easy...it was a full 120-bass "Billy Baldwin" Har-har.)
I started the trombone in 7th grade. (My parent's reaction was "What? The trombone?! But you have an accordion!") I continued playing it all the way through college and then grad school at the University of Virginia. There was a very fine concertina player at U.Va., which inspired me later to buy an instrument and some books and learn it. The melodeon came next out of necessity, since I wanted to start a Cotswold Morris side and I was the only musician (that's being self-flattering) in the group. Next on the list are the banjo and the ukelele, which are hiding in a closet, waiting to be unleashed on the unsuspecting world. I intend to make use of Folk School classes to get started on those. Wow, accordion, trombone and banjo. The Big Three of social-pariah instruments.
The Folk School is so happy to welcome Annie Fain Liden-Barralon to the position of Music and Dance Coordinator! I sat down with Annie Fain to find out about her experience growing up in the Folk School community and what it’s like to return as the Music and Dance Coordinator.
[caption id="attachment_7893" align="alignleft" width="249"] Annie Fain with her banjo[/caption]
Cory Marie: What’s is like returning to the Folk School Community as a full time resident and employee?
Annie Fain: It feels good in a deep down way. Many things are the same as they were when I was young, from the student name tags to the feel of the wooden dance floor in the Community room to the warmth of the community that surrounds the school.
Cory Marie: So, this isn’t the first time you’ve worked for the Folk School?
Annie Fain: In 2002, I came back from studying abroad at a folk school in Denmark and was awarded an upcoming craftsperson scholarship through the Southern Highland Craft Guild to take a class at Penland in Book Arts and Papermaking. I worked in the office at the Folk School as an Administrative Assistant to save for the class. It was during that time that Karen asked me to be the coordinator for Little/Middle Folk School.
I was 22 at the time and had participated in Little/Middle myself from the ages of 7-17. I was honored and eager for the challenge. Folk School people have always been very supportive and have taught me much. Later, I developed an awareness of marketing through eight years of self-employment as an artist, musician, and dancer. I took business and accounting classes, and realized the importance of being organized, marketing and networking.
Cory Marie: Are you going to stick with Bob’s plan or are you going to shake things up?
Annie Fain: Maybe a little of both! Since classes are booked a year in advance, I have the luxury of observing how 2014 develops. It gives me time to get my feet on the ground, and to get to know our audience. I plan to introduce new things within the context of how things have traditionally been done at the Folk School.
I've taken many classes at the Folk School in the past such as Cape Breton step dancing. Enrollment for dance classes has been down these last few years. I want to reassess and think about, not only bringing classes like those back, but how to fill them. I would also like to start a Cajun music and dance weekend!
Cory Marie: When did you start teaching at the Folk School?
Annie Fain: In 2004, I taught my first Book Arts class and then Bob Dalsemer hired me to teach clawhammer banjo and then Appalachian Clogging with my sister, Emolyn Liden. My father, David Liden, also a local musician, was usually my assistant for the banjo classes and it was great fun. I taught at least one banjo and book arts class every year from that time on.
[caption id="attachment_7897" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Martha, David and Annie Fain play Morningsong[/caption]
Cory Marie: I have been part of the Folk School community for only 2 years, so I’d like to hear about your story. Tell me about yourself.
Annie Fain: I was born in Charleston, West Virginia. Dad was there as part of a land study project for people who had sold their mineral rights to coal companies. The way my parents tell the story is that after my brother (Lindsey) was born, mom (Martha Owen) said "I'm going home to Murphy." Dad said, "Well, she had the kids and she had the check book," so he went with her!