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Save the date: Palestine (East Texas) concertina workshops

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Today was a cold and frosty morning in Texas…so it must be time to start thinking of springtime in the sleepy east Texas town of Palestine, and our fifteenth annual concertina workshop, which takes place tucked within the wonderful Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival, Thursday, March 28 through Saturday, March 30, 2019. We're not sure, but this may be the oldest continuous concertina workshop in North America!


Our ‘modus operandi’ at Palestine is to engage a concertinist who can not only teach us but who can entertain as one of the general festival’s headliners and take part in old time jam sessions; in past years our workshops have been graced with such varied folks as Jody Kruskal (many times!), Bertram Levy, Dave Roberts, and Ann Kirrane. We have two full days of concertina workshops and events, along with the festival’s three evening concerts, workshops for instruments of all sorts, and plenty of old time jams. Our concertina workshops are generally oriented toward all systems, with usually some workshops that are Anglo specific.


This year, we are very pleased to welcome back by popular demand Ann Kirrane, from Tuam, Co. Galway and Bellharbour, County Clare, Ireland. Ann has a very welcoming way of leading what will be a number of concertina workshops concentrating on tunes in the north Clare concertina style of her father, Chris Droney. That particular playing style lends itself well to all systems, and the emphasis is on the development of clear melody and danceable rhythm. In addition to her concertina playing, Ann is a superb singer, and she’ll be performing during some of the festival’s lunchtime and evening concerts. Here is some more information on Ann: http://www.annkirrane.com/bio.php


The concertina workshops are on Friday and Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. each day. As is our usual custom, the concertina players pay $30 for attendance at the workshops, in addition to paying the normal all-weekend admittance to the larger Palestine music festival of which we are a part.


The festival website, below, has information on all of the other activities, including evening and lunchtime concerts, dozens of workshops on various old time instruments as well as voice, plenty of impromptu tune sessions, shape-note singing workshops, and many other events. The festival is a small, family-friendly event that takes place in a turn-of-the-(last) century schoolhouse and auditorium. Palestine is a wonderful old lumber and railroad town, and the festival happens near the peak of dogwood season; a drive or walk through Davey Dogwood Park is a must! Lodging information is on the festival website; we recommend asking for the festival rate at the Best Western. There are also campsites and RV parks around town.


We only request that you let us know if you are coming, so that we can reserve a slot for you in the workshops; please email either Erica Braverman at eabraverman@gmail.com or Dan Worrall at danworrall@msn.com . We’ll send more details on the workshops, as well as music dots for those wishing them, to those who pre-register. Thanks for supporting this concertina weekend and the Palestine old time music festival!


Dan Worrall and Erica Bravermann, organizers


Festival website: http://www.oldpalmusic.com/Home.html (information at time of writing is for 2018, but it should be updated soon for 2019).

Edited by Dan Worrall
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On 12/18/2018 at 9:30 AM, Dan Worrall said:

The concertina workshops are on Friday and Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. each day.


So glad to see this info.  I'm in Dallas and trying to figure out how to resolve a work conflict on these two days.  Can you tell me approximately when the concertina workshops end each day?


And one more question - I play EC.  It seems the world is dominated by Anglo players and wonder how you accommodate different systems at the workshops?


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Hi McDouglas, to answer your first question the workshops finish up in the late afternoon, around 4:00-4:30 if I remember correctly.


To answer your second question, we accommodate all systems at Old Pal by focusing more on tunes and techniques that are relevant to the whole group vs. a specific system. We don't really get into in-depth fingering systems for example since that would tend to favor one group over the other, but we learn tunes all together and usually have some time where everyone can demonstrate something that they are learning/like to play and get a little individual feedback.


Hopefully you are able to join us this coming year!

Erica (aka ConcertinaFace)

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I will be there! I have been a few times before, and always really enjoyed it. I also play old time music on mountain dulcimer (or whatever I can get my hands on), so this is a particularly nice festival for me, and the weather in East Texas has always been warm and lovely. Not to mention there is some good BBQ to be had there.


If anyone reading this is going and would like to save a few $$$ by sharing a hotel room, send me a PM and maybe we can work something out. I plan to arrive Thursday afternoon. As of 25 Feb. I have not booked a room.

I don't smoke (and it needs to be a non-smoking room), drink, or (so far as I am aware) snore. I do tend to stay out late jamming, especially on Saturday night.

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