2020 Workshop Schedule Coming Soon!

Workshops will be held at the Missoula Hellgate Elks Lodge. There will be a Welcome Table just inside the door, and someone will be there to help you find your workshop location. All workshops are one hour unless indicated otherwise. No need to sign up in advance. Just show up!

All workshops are FREE! And all are welcome.

The following workshop schedule is from the 2019 Social.


10-12 p.m.

Coffee Jam at the Loft

All are welcome! Bring an instrument and play some wake-up tunes. Upstairs in The Loft of Missoula.

12-1 p.m.

Stringband Classics

Mike Williams & Steve Laster

Bring an instrument and join us in celebrating this age-old relationship between the fiddle and banjo. Play along and learn the basic structure of a dance tune. We’ll throw a “crooked” tune out there for comparison with “square” tunes. And, since jammin's where it’s at, and we’ll give you pointers for sliding into a jam circle even when you might not know the tune. It’s all about playing and having fun with the two stringed instruments that are considered the backbone of old time music.

BEginning Clawhammer | Dan Stone

Come all ye novice banjo players! This workshop will cover introductory clawhammer banjo skills, tune structure, and resources for further learning. We'll work on the essential "bum-ditty" stroke, learn a common chord progression in the key of G, and add some left hand technique to put it all together in a tune.

Cowboy Songs | Bill Siems

This workshop will focus on cowboy songs that originated in Montana or are about Montana. My old partner Ted Hensold will help out — we performed for many years as “Educated Fellers.” I will play guitar and mandolin, Ted will play harmonica and banjo, but the focus will be singing. It is my hope people will want to join in: folks are welcome to bring instruments if they would like, but I encourage all to join in with their voices. For the cowboy singers out there—bring any Montana songs you know—we are always looking to hear new ones we haven’t heard before!

Fiddling for Kids | Chelle Karcher

This workshop is just for kids and all about having a good time with some old time fiddle tunes. We will learn a couple of tunes by listening, singing, and playing together as a group. Bring your fiddle and we will saw away!

1-2 p.m.

Fiddling | Mike Williams

This is an advanced fiddling workshop for participants who have experience with different types of dance music including reels, waltzes, hornpipes, and schottisches.

Carter Family Songs  | Charmaine Slaven

Let's sing some of the beautiful, poignant songs of the first family of country music. Charmaine will cover everything from what chords to play, different harmony parts, lyrics, hiccups, instrumental accompaniment, and the like... the Carter Family's music is an endless well of old-times inspiration! This session will be presented in a jam format, everyone encouraged to lead any Carter Family songs or make requests. Bring your instruments and play along! All-levels of voices & instruments welcome, we will try to keep things accessible and inclusive!

Old Time Guitar | Steve & Sally O’Neill

There are plenty of good options for guitar accompaniment. It often depends on what the music is about: Is it a song? Or a dance? And how many players are there? Are you also playing with a bass or piano? What you, as an accompanist, need to provide is usually simple, but it varies with your musical situation. We'll start with some classic alternating bass for song vocals. We'll play to instrumentals, add more sophisticated bass runs and rhythms. (Worth spending time there.) Lastly, we'll look at a different aspect of this: as the performance area fills with audience and dancers and ambient noise, are you still delivering what others need to hear? Ah, these and more questions will be answered at this brilliant workshop event. So bring your axe, some coffee, and let's have some fun!

Banjo Uke and ukulele | Bill LaCroix

For lack of proper training, Bill figures that the banjo-uke usually occupies roughly the same space in an old-time ensemble as a bodhran does in an Irish group. He will be giving an introductory 1-hour workshop emphasizing simple chords, rhythm, playing by ear, and banjo jokes.

2-3 p.m.

Shape Note Singing  | Jessica Catron

Shape-note singing is a musical tradition of both secular and sacred social singing popularized in America in the early 1800s. This workshop will be an introduction into the history of the music, reading the shapes, and singing several awesome 3-4 part songs from the tradition. All voices welcomed! No prior experience necessary, just a willingness to wail!

Going Across The C | Charlie Beck

Fiddle tunes in the key of C! Fun, interesting and accessible fiddle tunes will be introduced, broken-down slowly and then played up to speed. All experience levels welcome.

Slow Jam | Sally & Steve O'Neill & Alan Sillars

Playing tunes at dance tempo is a good ol’ time, but slowing it down is fun, too. This ‘workshop’ will be an opportunity to play some of those Old Time favorites SLOWLY. No teaching involved here – come ready to play.

3-4 p.m.

Appalachian Flatfoot dancing

Charmaine Slaven

Learn the art of accompanying Southern fiddle music with your feet!

All levels are encouraged to participate, as we'll start by building a foundation of basic rhythm steps, then build upon those steps, learning how to accent melodies. Flatfooting is an excellent way to improve your rhythm as a dancer and/or musician. You'll be learning to let your entire body "hear" the music. It's also an excellent work-out, as you'll be so entrenched in the music, you won't even realize you're working up a sweat! This class is physical, so be cautious if you suffer from back, hip, knee, ankle issues. Comfortable work-out clothing, a full water bottle, and low-heeled leather-soled shoes appropriate for dancing are recommended. This class is suitable for all levels, we'll start with basics and build up, with more advanced steps towards the latter half of class.

Clawhammer banjo | Steve Laster

We’ll climb ol' Sugar Hill, and visit Black Eyed Susie, learning some cool clawhammer banjo techniques that will spice up these old dance tunes. Learn the Galax Lick, and put your thumb to work for that old time Bump-A-Ditty sound. Not to mention the life changing Alternate String Pulloff. Lots of good stuff for the novice and intermediate alike.

Beginning Fiddle | Annie Caires

Tune up that fiddle! This workshop is for beginning fiddlers interested in old time. We will work on a basic bowing pattern, which we will apply to a classic old time fiddle tune.

4-5 p.m.

FAMily Dance | Bev Young

Join us for 90 minutes of just plain fun and playful dances. Small kids, teens, tweens, and adults will enjoy frolicking to the Wood Hogs in circle, square and longways dances. No experience is necessary because each dance is taught and figures are called throughout the dance. Beginners are celebrated!

3-Finger BAnjo | Charlie Beck

Through playing some great, old songs, we'll take a peek at the banjo's many plucky possibilities. I'll start with some foundational banjo techniques, and then cover their many uses and variations. There will be an emphasis on creating solid grooves. All experience levels welcome. We're gonna have fun and learn stuff too, so bring your banjo, any banjo questions you may have, and your voice.

Old Time Mandolin  | Brian Herbel

Brian's workshop will speak to what old time mandolin means rhythm and tune wise, will cover old time mandolin resources, will be historical, and we will learn a tune or two.

Yodeling | Aaron Jennings

This one-hour workshop will cover an introduction to Yodeling techniques in the early 20th century. Students of all ages and experience are welcome - and will be guided through the basic breathing and singing techniques necessary to achieve a beautiful yodel! All students will receive a free CD of yodeling songs and practice materials. We will practice three different styles of yodel and practice techniques to improve speed, volume, pitch, and vibrato.